Elgg vs BuddyPress
It’s a been a while since I last touched this blog series, but BP’s been in sort of a stall with a bunch of features and tweaks that have been added over the course of the last several months, so I really wanted to wait till 1.0 comes out… but from the looks of things, that could take a while, especially with a WP (not to confuse with WPMU) version due out around the same time as the official release. Then again, Andy said RC1 is pretty darn close to the real thing, so off to the review bullet-style…
- Elgg took just as little (or much) time as WP’s worldwide famous 5-minute install. Keeping in mind the last time I installed Elgg 1.1 — as of writing this, it’s in version 1.5 — was several months ago, what I can recall is that it was a silky smooth install. In fact, I never had to go back once or re-read the instructions, since everything was pretty straight forward.
- Once Elgg was installed, every single module worked right out of the box — messaging, photo albums, wires/feeds and groups among other things. Important to note here is that this was a single install for the entire CMS. Upgrading was a breeze, too.
- First I want to make it clear that I believe BP is far superior to Elgg in usability and flexibility. That said, this was probably one of the most headache-inducing installations I have ever done! I’m not sure if it was the pure joy and excitement that got me to confused that I made it all janky the first time around, but I do remember having to take a stab at it two or three times to get it right. The problem is that BP requires you to install WPMU first and if you need to tweak your server settings, before you can get WPMU up and running, then that’s just one more hoop to jump through. But it doesn’t end there. BP also requires you to install bbPress, if you’re running message boards. FINALLY, BP requires all the various plugins to work and the BP theme itself. Keep in mind, you also have to download every single component before you do all of this.
- Upgrading BP the first time around (this was around WPMU version 2.6) was also a major pain, because the message alerts stopped working. Once I had everything upgraded, including WPMU, and another trunk version, it worked the way it was supposed to. Overall, there were lots of “surprises” that made me want to smash my keyboard again the wall… cept, I have a laptop, so that wouldn’t be good.
Elgg, in this case, wins by far with the ease of the all-inclusive installation and quick upgrades. It is, however, a lot more rigid when it come to fine-tuning the app to make it fit your site down the road. And although BuddyPress is phenominally successful right now even with its Release Candidate stamp, definitely expect to set aside about an hour or so to get it up and running the first time around. It’s a lot more granular in every sense of the word, so the installation is a lot more involved. Hopefully, future installations won’t be as painful!