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UNA vs. socialengine

I am looking to set up a new social platform for my business.  There is so much information out there.  I was seriously considering socialengine, but then stumbled across UNA.  Anyone care to share their experiences with SE and how UNA is better?

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  • Socialengine is more like our old Dolphin was - a CMS, while UNA is closer to a framework, allowing for greater flexibility in setting up a unique website. Another benefit is a more permissive MIT license. 

    Socialengine founders started a couple of years after we launched Dolphin and a few years ago sold their business. I’m not familiar with the new owners, but they do keep the company going, which is a good sign. Anyhow, if you do end up using SE and later change your mind, we have a migration tool to transfer data between SE and UNA. 

    • Thanks for the input.  It is greatly appreciated Andrew

      • I would be interested in what specifically you consider the advantage of UNA over Social Engine?  It seems that it is a more out of the box ready platform but perhaps not as flexible.  Would you agree? 

        • I bought Social Engine and I was impressed with the overall performance. It has some awesome plugins.
          Elgg is not a bad alternative either.

          What I like about UNA, is the immediate accessibility and ease after the learning curve. But then all the problems start. If you want special features as a non-coder, you're in trouble. UNA is not very well documented, when opening the files. There is no coding roadmap. Geekgirl explained why this is and that worried me because it means that the current team, doesn't really know what is inside of UNA. We are fumbling in the dark. Also both Elgg and SocialEngine were very quick to make mobile apps. UNA is still developing. To me it seems that the UNA team is spreading too much over too many areas, instead of making a focus and finish it. My concern is the survival of UNA, because in many areas, UNA is way behind the others. Quality is a concern. Security is a concern.

          • UNA is best understood as a website framework. It is far more sophisticated and capable than SE or Elgg for building unique experiences. Our Dolphin (Legacy) platform is similar to those and we have designed UNA to address some challenges that SE, Elgg and Dolphin presented. For example:

            1. You can build, not just customise.  In UNA you can create custom pages, assign visibility permissions, insert blocks from system and external modules, create reusable navigation and action menus, manipulate forms, etc. In effect you can build a unique combination of pages, features and permissions that would be absolutely different from a vanilla UNA-based site. Whereas with SE and Elgg you are limited to their specific choice of functionality with some preset customisation options. You can ovverride that with custom coding, breaking the site upgradability. we Have been through this with Dolphin - thousands of cooki-cutter sites that look exactly the same and a few customised networks that run on ancient version codebase due to custom modifications they can’t merge. 

            2. Separated configuration and administration layers. Putting content management and site management into one interface is only going to work for small websites managed by solo or small teams. When we talk about scalabilit’s, it’s not just about using remote storage and allowing for database cluster - theres much more to think about in terms of site management. In UNA you can create membership levels like Admins, Moderators, SuperModerators, Assistants, etc. - then create custom dashboards for each one, tuning for their specific task set. SE and Elgg are simply not designed for, say, a team of 1000 admins. 

            3. Account and profile separation. This is a very important feature that mustn’t be overlooked. A user may have one account and multiple profiles with different form fields. Then they can switch personas. This capability allows for really interesting configurations, like when a user can have their personal profile and their company profile, using either one depending on situation. Say, a Real Estate agent and Agency. An org profile may have multiple associated accounts and may be relinquished. Think of cases like Teacher/School, Parent/Child/Family, Team/Employee/Personal, Doctor/Hospital/Patient, etc, etc. So far, this feature alone brings more unique ideas to our ecosystem than anything else. 

            4. Content and contexts. UNA has a context/content/object data model, which is followed closely in UX development. You can post a discussion to a group, space, event, profile and it would have privacy setting governed by the context. Context types can be configured in different combinations, allowing for really unique structures of subcommunities. Say, you can build a site with public subcommunities attached to a location to contain local content, while also have ad-hoc groups for interest-based subcommunities. 

            There is a lot more, but I’ll stop here for now. Point is that UNA is a much more ambitious platform, closer to Drupal than to Elgg or SE. It is still in nascent state, because actual “field” tests with Large active communities only started to happen and we took a lot of time to build the core system, but it is quickly improving and will feel much more polished in coming months. 

            It does take at least twice as much effort to build a platform like this, but once the bases elements start ticking it proves to be 10 times more capable. 

            • Well i find good things with UNA and good things with the core of Phpfox for example. Social Engine i think is moving toward a cloud based version only and planned to ditch the old php self hosted version. I would say that SE and UNA at two very different stages of their path. The only thing with UNA is that they are at an early stage and we feel lots of security features, analitycs, modules of all sorts as well as themes variety are missing yet....UNA needs more time, time always time. 

              • I had successfully created community sites for few schools, temples and small business. I worked in Oxwall, which is kind  of dead now, then tried OSSN, I would say a clone of Facebook, u can have a copy of Facebook with out naming Facebook including true blue color too. Then comes social engine, having more plugins comparing With UNA. Highly scaleable. Support Was not good, Now what I like in UNA, first and Foremost the support provided by the UNA team developers and the community members, there is literally no questions unanswered, even if your are not a paid member. They lack number of apps in store. little disappointed with the timelines, there is documentation available the challenge I felt is it’s little too technicaly written..

                If you are loooking some thing you can customize and grow over the time, stick with UNA.. 

                looking for something not to manage build and go... ossn. but people will tell you irs a clone of fb.... but no need of telljngg users what is what and where it is...

                • Thank you for the mention of ossn. I did not know it. I have seen a fb clone community and wondered what framework it is. Now i know :-)


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