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Gartner Magic Quadrant; a dark horse closing up the outside fence…

Gartner Magic Quadrant: Social Software

Just been reading the Gartner Magic Quadrant: Social Software. Jive  come out as the clear leaders, closely followed by IBM and Microsoft (the latter featuring better on ability to execute). Other notables – Drupal, Telligent, SocialText and blueKiwi jostle with Google for the Visionary space. Gartner wonder if Google’s move into the enterprise is opportunistic. I think it’s strategic. Open Text and Atlassian feature as Challengers.

I think the horse racing up the outside fence as they close into the paddock will be Thought Farmer. Their biggest weakness is the fact they don’t have any big customers, a fact that their alliance with the Dachis group is bound to change! I enjoyed their latest blog too The Problem of the Intranet – so much so I actually read it on my iPod Touch! Touche to the Canadians!

n.b…Hmm, I wonder where WordPress will feature in future Magic Quadrants?

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Going to work on an Elgg

About two thirds through a complex social media project using Elgg. The aim of the project is to build a complete social network for some clients in West London. The project originally started off as a Drupal based one but we (West London Web Design) changed course when we realised the following:

1) Using Drupal would have meant a highly bespoke system that would have tied the client into that system

2) Almost all the functionality we were trying to create already existed in Elgg

3) Time – building in Elgg would be quicker and easier, and hence cheaper

Overall the experience has been fruitful but not without headaches. The key obstacle is the intensely entrenched way that Elgg cascades hierarchy in its CSS, via a quite arcane structure. The problem here was working out that what looked extremely complex was in fact reasonable simple once the flow of the CSS cascade was clear. Once that was done it became a lot more easy to manipulate the PHP and numerous div tags that define the layout.

Too early to talk in any detail about the project substance as it’s under an NDA. But very pleased with the functionality as it provides a wide range of rich features:

1) Site wide messaging via a Facebook style wall

2) Nifty integration with Twitter

3) Customised profiles

4) Tagging – the glue that coheres an social network

5) Photo albums – a very important feature and one which stopped us using WordPress Multi User (WPMU) with Buddy Press

6) Groups with the ability for users to create discussion forums and their own albums

7) Various news and ad embeds – both critical for this project

Overall pretty pleased with Elgg. It may lack the user-base of WordPress, but it’s a very well supported platform. Watch this space for the final release

n.b., special thanks to @veruus for some very welcome tech support at the start of this project.

Enterprise 2.0 Featured Articles

Drupal vs WPMU + BuddyPress + bbpress

2 great projects underway at my web design and social network company West London Web. One is for a client to build a social network site using Drupal, which as it’s under NDA is all I can say at the moment. The 2nd is more a personal project to get WordPress Multi-User (WPMU) with BuddyPress and bbpress installed. I have an aim in mind for this but that too is a little under wraps at present, though those that know me might guess what it is 😉

What I’m interested in doing is really comparing the 2 platforms/apps. Drupal is to my mind the more industrial of the two and certainly the only one that offers the sort of robust customisation we need for Project One. WordPress is the one I’m most familiar with though and the one I’m most fond of.

Getting all the integration with WPMU is proving a headache. I can get WPMU working with BuddyPress, but getting the forum powered by bbpress working is a ‘mare. Diligently following the instructions at bbpress forums and it all goes well until the last synch up with the WPMU bbpress plug-in. I add the code and all the accounts get mangled. Time for install number 391 to see if I can get over that final hurdle…