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Warming up to UNA

After several installs and uninstalls of UNA I am finally warming up to the platform. I have ran my website on dolphin for about 7 years and, as most standalone sites, have seen a significant drop in traffic over the years thanks to facebook, and the like. I often wonder if it is worth the cost of the VPS to continue paying for and maintaining a website dedicated to the group of dogs know as the molossers.  That is still debatable.

Anyhow, I installed UNA recently and am plunking around in the system to learn more about it and have found it to be a very decent platform.  I will pay again for my VPS for one more year and try to breathe some life back into http://molosserdogs.com when I convert it over to UNA.  The UNA install is at http://molosserdogs.com/una

A couple wishes:

Be more responsive to questions in the forum

Take a look at the most popular modules on dolphin and make them free or one-paid on UNA.  I am not a fan of subscriptions.

Things like News, Photos and Articles should be included free or at least be reasonable priced on a one time basis for premium license holders

Reduce the size of those cards that hold peoples photos as the little round circle in the center - seems like a waste of space to me

speed, speed, speed up the system

Do whatever is needed to attract devs like modzzz and Deano over to UNA - I have about 25 modules from Modzzz and several from other dolphin devs.... would love to see them start developing for UNA.

Ok that was more than a couple.. :) 

The platform is maturing nicely so keep  up the good work.... Articles, News, Photos.  Articles, News, Photos.  One time payment of free. :) they are the cornerstone of my site so selfishly I need to see good modules on UNA before completely migrating.

Cheers All.

Gary

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Replies (39)
  • Thank you Gary! Good points. We are continually reassessing what modules we need to include, which ones to make free, etc. Ideally I’d like to offer all our modules for free and simply provide cloud hosting as main revenue driver... maybe one day it’d happen.

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    • I agree with Gary Sicard.

      - subscription is a life sentence

      - better to pay a fine and get out of jail once and for all

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      • Subscriptions are what helps pay the bills so that UNA can continue to be developed. I think if you have a premium license key, then the modules are included. And, if you are a newcomer and choose Cloud hosting by UNA then the modules are included, but, if you are neither, then you download the platform for free and pay for the modules you need/want. Remember, support and development time is taking away people from their own family lives. Let's be fair.

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        • Monthly fee is what guarantees a descent maintenance of modules. As long as price is descent i see nothig wrong with it. Only more module should be free, because many paid one are not justified.

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          • It seems to me that all the modules included in the subscription closes the market to independent developers, which is not a good thing for diversity precisely. I find the current model very good, but as said the author of this post, developer indepentives do not answer the call except AQB (Fortunately they are there), and I have trouble understanding why . So I agree with him, we have to make sure to attract them here, it's really THE problem now, without that, life would be almost pink here!

            Also, Andrew Boon a friend asked me if there was a model of license without Web hosting in payment once. I did not know how to answer him, does it exist?

            I like this picture ...

            - better to pay a fine and get out of jail once and for all

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            • Jeremy, you are right and also maybe misunderstood me.  I said free or one time payment.  I will buy a module that I thinks can help my site (I have about 25 from Modzzz and some from other - so I don't mind paying) but I am not a fan of subscriptions especially for features that are key block of any successful site.  That may seem counter intuitive to the developers but thinking from a site builder perspective it it logical. BTW I have frequently donated money to devs or scripts that I use so maybe I am thinking a bit differently. 

              Anyhow - thanks for your thoughts Jeremy. Remember, people who build sites also have time away from their families too. :)

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              • Baloo, Ok. Sounds good. Nothing wrong with it for you. No problem.

                I prefer a one time fee - I like to buy things not rent them.

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                • With a one-time payment model, do you expect the developers to continue to support the software with bug fixes and work for free, and/or price the support into the one-time payment?

                  In the end I think it's a wash in one-time vs subscription. You'll end up paying the same over time. Subscriptions are typical cheaper in the beginning when your evaluating because you can stop subscribing instead of committing to a much higher initial price.

                  In regards to not many third-party plugins/apps, I personally think Una is not well known, doesn't rank well in Google (there were many terms I used to try to find community software, but Una didn't show in the majority of the searches/terms), and its homepage doesn't do a good enough job of selling it and fully explaining the features.



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                  • Did you try Boonex? Dolphin? That is the original name is Boonex Dolphin. Una is the redesign into a platform vs just another social networking script. I have been with Boonex for almost 10 years. Boonex started in 2000 so it's definitely not new. 

                    I do agree with what you said in regards to bug fixes and support. It's more than worth it in my book and been loving the ride with Boonex all through the years. Looking for many, many more.

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                    • I should note one important thing about our subscriptions - they are not binding. If you get a subscription for 1 month you can download, install and forever use all modules that we made (3rd party developers sell their modules as they want - subscriptions or one time fee). If you stop paying the subscription fee modules won’t stop working. They will only stop updating to newer versions. In effect we charge the fee for two things - access to updates and the right to send us direct support emails, or in other words we charge for ongoing service. 

                      Collecting one time fee for something we have to do continually, hopefully for many years, is not sustainable and can quickly become a Ponzi scheme where development would rely on influx of new clients to pay for work needed by ever growing pool of old clients. The only workaround is to collect one time fees large enough to be able to freeze funds at interest accounts and spread them over time, ideally matching average Client LTV. But then, you can just do it yourself - set aside that money and use them to pay for monthly subscription. 

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                      • Keith Fawcett I think they are trying not to just say this is community software, it's not. The options for what you can achieve are endless.

                        Mark Purser posted recently how they are working towards a setup feature where you can choose the type of site your making. Community, dating, online stores etc.

                        Not sure if many are aware but this is the best resource to learn UNA.

                        https://github.com/unaio/una/wiki


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                        • Michael Newton  I can see a lot of the groundwork is there, but I would still say the platform is mostly geared toward community sites. If Una wants to be used for more, then there needs to be more ready-made blocks and a visual workflow editor that make it easy to create standard web pages or apps without coding.

                          There are a lot of other platforms like Bubble.is or Wappler.io that allow for much more control over the site you're building. Where Una shines, in my opinion, is in its community-type features and the speed at which you can get a site up and running without needing to spend months building out a permissions system, a payment system, a discussion system, and all of the other parts of Una that are as simple as turning them on and creating content.

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                          • Jeremy Crisp  my site is currently powered by Boonex Dolphin 7.4.2.  It was working fine on 7.3.5 and when the upgrade to 7.4.0 came out I jumped in not realizing all the incompatibility issues with third party modules etc.  What a fiasco that was. since then I have been a bit put off by all things Dolphin and thought to try out UNA in earnest.

                            The key features on my dolphin site are forum (orca), articles (advanced Articles Modzzz), and Photos (Boonex).  I have spent lots of money on 3PM (3rd Party Modules) to extend dolphin over the numerous years I have ran it.

                            So, yes I was surprised that photos and articles were paid options (subscription) on UNA. I thought my premium license would include them.

                            Anyway - Gents, I was just voicing an opinion here. Not wrong or right but my opinion. I am glad to see responses to the discussion as it allows the various thoughts to flow. Thanks all.

                            Best regards,

                            Gary



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                            • I have always liked mods by Modzzz Top notch work. Definitely helps having participation. I had stopped my site at 7.3.5 also due to the same but once UNA came out for release, I jumped onboard and glad I did.

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                              • So what does it come out of this discussion? well, everything is fine, but people from Dolphin, which is my case and I see that I'm not alone, are happy except that they are a little frustrated that the market is poor, which strongly restricts the possibilities.

                                Andrew has already explained that with the experience of Dolphin, he hopes that the time needed to increase UNA's (well-deserved) reputation will solve this problem.

                                I am perplexed about this, people who know the Dolphin market know that it was mainly filled by two entities, AQB and Modzzz, and if we remove the modules made by these two, there is not much left.

                                Modzzz did not follow where he came on a camel and lost his way in the desert, AQB is still very busy working on the core, so the time, he misses.I'm not a marketing specialist, and I do not know what's the solution to that, what I know is that it's a problem, because the time is good, but I do not like not vegetate. Jeremy, a good SEO is not to find a site by looking after his name, when we search so it's necessarily because we already know, what is needed is to attract those who do not know not yet. So in my opinion what Keith Fawcett
                                says is not stupid and is probably to be improved, some good articles for developers could not help bring them here? Maybe some specific videos to develop on Youtube too?

                                I do not know, but it's a subject that will come back to the table often as long as things do not change.

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                                • I've spoken with Modzzz a couple of times and he indicated he was working on bringing his software into UNA -  we haven't seen anything yet, but these are still early days.

                                  No doubt there is much we could (and will) do to drive more traffic to UNA. We are steadily working on this, now that UNA 10 is mostly stable, we can turn our direction to this task more so.

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                                  • I loved my website in Dolphin. Dolphin had features way ahead of even major sites like Facebook. I used to show off my site in college and people were amazed by all the cool features it had that simply didn't exist on other major sites. I mentioned this before that I liked how members could switch backgrounds, fonts, font colors, borders, etc. I also loved alot of the 3rd party mods. I tried to talk to a couple developers to try and get permission to use paid for scripts and get them reformatted to UNA. Maybe UNA could work on a mod that can do that like you can with transferring Dolphin to UNA. Also maybe members that have had custom work could sell their custom mods on the market. Maybe Dolphin developers could sell "rights" to mods that are already purchased so the buyers can have UNA team develop a custom mod for it in UNA. I really don't wanna see those mods go to waste when the developers can make money still by selling purchasing rights to the original scripts. Or maybe UNA can get the rights to the scripts and make UNA mods and everytime an UNA mod is bought, the Dolphin developer can get a certain percentage of the money.

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                                    • Just imagine what Dolphin could be now if all the energy into UNA had been put into Dolphin; and there would be a wide developer base building modules; or if you want to call them apps, call them apps.  Don't hold your breath waiting for a lot of Dolphin developers to come to UNA; they are looking at other platforms but just not UNA.  Andrew Boone caused too much distrust in the Dolphin community for them to feel comfortable coming to UNA.  You can't put on a dog and pony show and expect people to be OK with it; he only told a dozen different stories on Dolphin.  I was told by an Australian, a paying customer of Boonex, that he requested a conference with Andrew Boone and he did not have the common decency to respond.  He offered to travel to meet Mr. Boone so that Andrew would not be inconvenienced. Most of UNA is not new; they dusted off 10 year old code; it is why the studio is the horrible mess it is, it was coded 10 years ago.  We have tried to talk to Mr. Boone on acquiring Dolphin because Andrew has made it clear he is going to kill Dolphin.  Again, he ignores us as if we are lepers.  The Dolphin code base can be forked; for that we don't need permission.

                                      The short of it is that no Dolphin developers are coming, be happy with what Andrew feeds you.

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                                      • Developers can convert the mods to work; Modzzz updated his modules as well as some others.  Modzzz will also update other developers' mods as well but for a fee of course.  What does UNA offer you that you actually had to move your site?  If it ain't broke, don't fix it and by the way, don't buy into the php 5.6 fear mongering.

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                                        • is patreon a viable integration to UNA? i wouldn't mind supporting devs over patreon as well as paying a 1 time fee just a thought.

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                                          • @ Geek Girl the organizations profiles was a big one for me as my platform needs such features also a few other things i liked the profile pages alot better its more clean and tidy looking to me but i do understand some ppl like dolphin and others like una

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                                            • Why did this just pop up in my notifications? All the comments I see are from over 6 months ago with nothing new added. Ok I see now a friend liked the post. 

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                                              • Hi everyone, the OP here for a quick update.

                                                The more I interact with UNA the more I like it. The system is quite good and meets my needs when I transferred from Dolphin. I started with Dolphin in 2007 and switched to UNA in Summer 2019. So far I have been able to transfer most of my content over to UNA with some assistance from a friend who is a db guru.  Molosserdogs.com is mostly driven by content (AQB articles-needs work), discussions (remember those), and photos.  I find that UNA is suitable for this.  

                                                As the site gets built out and gain in popularity (at one time we had over 17000 active members on e107 platform, then came facebook) I will be able to assess how it performs under load with multiple logged in users.

                                                The DB was switched from MyISAM over to Innodb based on a post by Alex T⚜️ and pages load about 30% faster - not sure if this will hold up under load.

                                                Some things that need improvement.

                                                • All content should have quick index like what is in Glossary. A B C E F G ... X Y Z etc to facilitate easy retrieval. This can be with members, groups, orgs, spaces etc. 
                                                • While viewing content, members, groups, posts, orgs etc.. there must be the option to view next and previous. This creates curiosity and encourages viewers to see what is next... 
                                                • Photo upload needs to be simplified. I still get people asking how to upload.  
                                                • Creating albums for groups needs to be simplified as most users will not bother with the dropdown list to find the group in visibility.options.
                                                • The ability for Admin/Operator to log in as a member. many requests for assistance with cover, profile photo, or creation of groups, orgs, etc... 
                                                • Decrease white space.  All blocks should be reduced to eliminate wasted space. Card sizes seem standard regardless of the content therein.
                                                • Chat and instant messages - integrated out of the box.  Must have for engagement. TMD has installed Rocket Chat for me and now I will see about configuring the Ap with the OAuth 2.   
                                                • Speed, speed, speed, and more speed.  eliminate some page loads when content is updated. Just load with was updated instead of an entire page.
                                                • Get the App devs over to UNA. We need choices.

                                                The bottom line - UNA is a robust system with great architecture and positioned for future growth. I like the modularity of it and the ability to make changes without modifying core files. All in all - I have had a great experience with the system and with the UNA Community.

                                                Keep up the great work - and always keep the user experience in mind and develop with simplicity in mind.  Cheers, all.

                                                Merry Christmas!

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                                                • Yes very important for me too.

                                                  The ability for Admin/Operator to log in as a member. many requests for assistance with cover, profile photo, or creation of groups, orgs, etc...

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                                                  • That would be a big plus, dolphin had it

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                                                    • Dolphin had lots that are not in UNA. And Developers who created many enhancements. I suspect that UNA will get there also - please hurry :).

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                                                      • Don't hold your breath waiting for a lot of Dolphin developers to come to UNA; they are looking at other platforms but just not UNA. 

                                                        I do hope they come to UNA and develop their apps - I am waiting to buy.

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                                                        • Yep, true, i hope so as well

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                                                          • I was able to create another sub profile that gave me administrator abilities 

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                                                            • My old website had over 35,000 members at one time. I don't think Facebook killed my members it was Dolphin not being able to have Mobile viewing. Most people view content on apps now and the transition to UNA is a very smart choice. Apps are easier to advertise than websites. The Rocketchat is very outdated and is missing key elements to make it a mobile viewing chat room. It doesnt have access to Android or iphone cameras for video chat. It still has a bunch of menus that are meant for PC users and flutters the screen. Sometimes I think the developers forget they're building mods for mobile phones as most of the example images they upload are in PC format. Trying to keep UNA as a hybrid isn't good. We need Live Streaming capabilities. UNA needs to keep up to date on trends. 

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                                                              • I suggested that UNA should reach out to the old Boonex developers and make a contract to use their mods and transfer it to UNA. It shouldn't be that hard to convert some of those Mods to UNA. If there was a way we could buy the Dolphin Mods and have an UNA developer make it into an UNA Mod I would be doing that but most of them say you cannot modify it etc when you buy it. It's a thought though.

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                                                                • The ability for Admin/Operator to log in as a member. many requests for assistance with cover, profile photo, or creation of groups, orgs, etc...

                                                                  Thank you for the suggestion:
                                                                  https://github.com/unaio/una/issues/2517

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                                                                  • Thank you for the update. Very good suggestions, too.

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                                                                    • login as ;)

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                                                                      • Yes, This would be very useful to me as an Admin and would also be useful for moderators too

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                                                                        • This is quite important
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                                                                          • Very important feature

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                                                                            • You're right. Your project must earn. But, it is worthwhile to find a compromise solution so that beginners can also build a business for themselves. If we start to make good money, then we can pay for subscription IT easily and simply. Perhaps you can make a Paid subscription to Subscription Updates so that a person who has at least the basic version can keep it for himself, abandoning lifelong addiction, and without losing the appearance of the site and users.

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                                                                              • Back on the topic again - I have suggested one simple change across some module type and would really like to to see them implemented as a matter of creating engagement and increasing dwell time and page views.

                                                                                While viewing groups, pages, articles, profiles, organizations, post etc we NEED to have the ability to click NEXT and PREVIOUS to navigate. For sites that are heavy on content or for your wiki or glossary module it is also important.  

                                                                                It keeps members engaged and wanting to see what is next.  If someone has to go back to a top level or search to find something else they will lose interest quickly.

                                                                                AQB Soft Andrew Boon MSolutions please keep this in mind as you develop and try to accommodate this simple change please.

                                                                                I need this especially for the Articles, Posts, and Groups applications urgently.

                                                                                By the way - I still love the platform and my site members are getting the hang of using it. Keep up the great work.😊

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                                                                                UNA - Social Media Software Framework

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