Andrew B

Been working with social software for as long as I can remember. Now, UNA is the best we got. Any questions, reports, suggestions and ideas are very welcome.
We are committing to one particular goal - reaching one million real members registered at In this blog, we will be sharing everything we do to reach that goal; all the wins, fails, tricks, and ideas. Everything. Real data.
Why a million members?
The total count of real members is quite simply... see more the most straightforward and universally relatable metric; however, it's not the best indicator of the site success, admittedly. For most sites, a better indicator would be the number of active users. For some, it would be the online users count. Even more specifically, you could measure impact, content volume, or indeed, revenue.
Well, first and foremost, we want this blog to serve as a source of inspiration and factual experimental data that other community builders can apply in their own initiatives. Focusing on revenue or any specialised performance indicator could be too far removed from the goals of many communities. While is a software platform site with a unique market proposition, we hope to share findings that will work for anyone building a community site.
Setting the goal at a million is a milestone. We hope to reach it, surpass it, and set a new one. It also often seems to be a magic number, where any healthy community site finds sustained traction from viral expansion. A million members means that you've more or less figured out how to scale your software, hardware, support, and site administration. And unless you are building a Facebook clone, it also shows that you're likely one of the dominant players in your niche.
Are you building a web community?
Over the last 17 years, we have launched a number of community sites, some enjoying long-term success, some doing well for a short time, and most flopping quickly. If only we had read a blog like this 17 years ago!
Whatever kind of website you're creating - customer community, niche social network, interest-based club, online dating, social initiative, entertainment hub - this information is very likely to be useful.
We are using UNA - our own open-source platform - as the site software engine. You can use it too, but you don't have to. The information we are sharing is largely platform-agnostic. Using UNA would simply make it easier to reproduce any positive findings.
Starting from now was "soft-launched" a few months ago. We didn't promote it in any way since the main product was still in the active, pre-release, development stage. We have had a few registrations, and a little bit of organic traffic has been trickling in, but for the most part, is making a fresh start.
As from the 1st of April, we have 110 registered members.

It does not seem like much, but it means that over a hundred real people have given us their precious time and have created an account on That is already a great start. About 2-3 new registrations come daily.
As for the traffic, we have reached about 10 daily active users, with 100 weekly, 200 fortnightly, and just over 300 monthly users. 

In future posts we will dive deeper into other metrics, like pageviews, sessions, visits, bounce rate and such. For now, active users seems to be the most relevant indicator to track. 
Next up, bringing more people in.
For most A/B tests and experiments with conversions, we need a broader scope of reference. Simply put, we need a bigger number to work with. Therefore, next week we will be concentrating on early efforts to bring more people in, building up the initial flow of registrations.
Do not miss the next post.
Missing the next post may mean missing the opportunity to learn how to promote your community in its early stages.
Simply create a free account, and we will keep you updated about the new posts. Registration is free, and you do not have to create a public profile. The fun part is that by registering, you will help us to move one step closer to that '1,000,000' goal. Join and let us make history together!
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The fourth (and likely the final) beta of UNA 9 is, to put it mildly, extraordinary. Whole new modules, new features, core improvements and big-fixes in this update could easily justify a whole new version release. There is a lot! It is downloadable, upgradable and available now.
UNA v.9.0.0-B4 (beta... see more 4)
Significant changes:

Polls module
Files module
Stripe Connect module
Social Engine migration module
"Mark as featured" functionality
New "Protean" Template style mixes
Email notification for friend request
Default storage engine selection
Views engine improvements: views count and list of viewers
Events: reminders
Events: timeline post and browsing unit layout update
Events: new categories (old content is assigned to "Other" category)
Events/Groups: invite participants after creation
Albums/Posts: more paginate parameters
Timeline: new (additional) layout representation
Timeline: ability to post directly to site timeline
Timeline: integration for posted links
Timeline: RSS feed
Timeline: "share" functionality
Notifications: "repost" notification
Forums: search improvements
Protean: updated system mix styling
Posts: new view for snippets and cards layout
Payments: allow to manage currencies and other improvements
Payments: Trial Mode for Stripe
Accounts manager: ability to reset passwords, edit email and subscription preferences.
OAuth2: editing Name & URI for key&secret
Studio: link to homepage was added to all Studio pages

To make all new functions to work properly, add the following line to inc/ 

define('BX_SYSTEM_JAVA', '/path/to/java'); ///< path to java binary

before the following line:

define('BX_SYSTEM_FFMPEG', '/path/to/plugins/ffmpeg/ffmpeg.exe'); ///< path to ffmpeg binary

Replace /path/to/java to the real path to java binary.

Please refer to UNA 9.0.0-B4 Release Note in GitHub for download link and more details.
All those new apps... what are they?
Most notably, we have Polls, Files and Stripe Connect apps in UNA now. 
Polls app allows your community members to post interactive surveys, polls, questions, with multiple-choice answer options. Reply/vote counts are represented as a bar chart, with options for anonymous or open voting. 
Files app is a file-sharing module, with support for various file formats and integrated "viewer". Site members can upload and share files, preview documents prior to download and choose visibility options. 
Stripe Connect adds additional layer to UNA Stripe payment system integration, allowing for automated distribution of funds to sellers in community Marketplace, powered by the UNA Market app. Visit for more info on Stripe Connect.
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Merry Christmas, Andrew! Sending good wishes to you and your family today and all days
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The new Timeline layout for UNA is coming. It can be used instead of masonry-style layout of the Outline.
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Reposted Andrew B's post.
It is now possible to migrate from SocialEngine platform to UNA and keep all the data and media. In most cases, the move would require preparation of matching fields and installed apps in UNA instance, as well as consideration of any changes that may have been done to the stock SocialEngine installation. 
Our... see more assisted SocialEngine to UNA migration service includes preparation, test run and post-migration audit. If you feel confident about doing it yourself, feel free to download UNA package with the migration tool from the UNA GitHub repository.
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It is now possible to migrate from SocialEngine platform to UNA and keep all the data and media. In most cases, the move would require preparation of matching fields and installed apps in UNA instance, as well as consideration of any changes that may have been done to the stock SocialEngine installation. 
Our... see more assisted SocialEngine to UNA migration service includes preparation, test run and post-migration audit. If you feel confident about doing it yourself, feel free to download UNA package with the migration tool from the UNA GitHub repository.
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The third beta is here, bringing improvements, new features and a number if important fixes. We are nearing the full release, with next update likely to be an RC. 
Download links and source code is here - Beta3 is upgradable, so if you're using b2,... see more definitely update to b3. 
What's new:

New license - MIT
New modules icons
Favourites engine
Shopping cart improvements
Subscriptions/billing management
Security improvements
PHP7 compatibility fixes
Page cover improvements (cover area height & cropper)
Custom email header & footer
New date field for storing dates earlier than 1970
Conversation module improvements (add/remove participants, permission to edit main post)
Forum notifications remake
Invitation module improvements (show messages when invitation link is already used)
Some email templates were changed

IMPORTANT: Some rewrite rules were changed, for Apache it should be updated automatically, for Nginx change the following line:

rewrite "^/path-to-una/storage/([a-zA-Z0-9]+)/([a-zA-Z0-9\.]+)" /path-to-una/storage.php?o=... see more __item_content_more__&f= last;

rewrite "^/path-to-una/s/([a-zA-Z0-9_]+)/([a-zA-Z0-9\.]+)" /path-to-una/storage.php?o=... see more __item_content_more__&f= last;

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UNA Documentation comes in a few different forms, for different purposes. We are still at the early (still BETA) days, and a lot of functionality is changing, so the documentation is rather raw as well. Still, there are a few really helpful articles available and more is on the way.
Most of the UNA-platform... see more docs are at the UNA Github Repo. Anything specific to services, however, is at the Articles section (powered by Articles UNA App from AQB Soft). 
Here is the current index for the UNA platform docs (some are still "in progress"):

System Apps
Core Apps
Premium Apps
Template Apps
Language Apps
Integration Apps
Tailored Apps

Getting Started



Studio Overview
Adding Apps




Code Convention
Code Quality
Creating a Module App
Creating a Language App
Creating an Integration App
Handling Date and Time
Images Transcoder
Video Transcoder
Auto-Generated Documentation

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Reposted Thomas Keily's post.
My career as an economist ended the day I woke up shitting blood.
I had been working at the Reserve Bank of Australia for six years. I had graduated at the top of my class at university, so I think its fair to say that through those six years I was a pretty solid disappointment to the Bank. I just couldn’t... see more muster much enthusiasm for the work, and I modulated between occasional good work and falling asleep in meetings.
As my last performance review said, “Tom is capable of good work, and writes very well, but if he’s serious about a promotion he should consider wearing shoes.”
Not that these were easy days for me. Work felt like a dysfunctional relationship, and I spent my non-work hours trying to figure out what it was I actually wanted to do with life. I ended up putting a lot of time into the local writing and performance scenes, and I maintained a very active activist schedule.
And in the end, I think, I just burnt out.
In the end, I woke up one morning shitting blood. My housemate, who was a nurse, rushed me over to the hospital on his motorbike, and I went in for observation. I still don’t quite know what happened.
But for 36 hours I went through that long, dark tea-time of the soul. And at one point, around 3 in the morning, I had that dreadful thought. “What if I go out like this? There’s so much I want to do.”
The life that I wanted to live was still waiting for me to live it.
And so I bit the peach. The first day back at work, I announced my retirement. For the next 7 years, I just gave myself to my passions. I recorded an album. I joined a radical theatre troupe and went on tour. I spent three years in Turkey living with a Sufi community. I learnt to salsa dance.
And by the end of 7 years, I had reached a point where I could honestly say that if I died tomorrow, I would regret nothing. I had lived a life well lived.
And that, mum, is why it took me so long to have kids.
I have now have two incredible children, a boy and a girl, and an utterly fabulous wife. I work as a content writer, with a focus on the financial sector, and my creative passions find an outlet through poetry and erotic fiction. I am pioneering a genre that blurs the lines between physical and spiritual love and that I call, Ecstatic Erotica.
My vision, through the UNA-powered site I am building, is to create a social gallery experience, where artists working with diverse mediums can exhibit, collaborate and hopefully sell their work.
And oh, I grew up in small-town Australia, so I am friendly by instinct. Drop me a line and say Hi.
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The second Beta of the upcoming v9 release is available for download. We are now getting very close to a feature-final package release and a wide public rollout. 
This update is easily the most important step up we have ever taken. It brings new features, new name, connects everything to the see more and finally introduces the new licensing policy. It's BIG big!
UNA is now distributed under MIT license. No limits, no catch. Download and use it as you will. Our pricing plans and business model, in general, is all about support. 
UNA Apps Market
The UNA acronym stands for United Networking Applications. All plugins, modules, integration, templates and languages are treated as "Una Apps". All the downloadable UNA Apps are now distributed via UNA Apps Market, which can be accessed from within your UNA-powered site Studio configuration system. Apps installation and updating process is automated.
Developers can now start building UNA Apps and submit them to the Market for review. We plan to launch full Market functionality in 2-3 weeks. All Apps will be pre-moderated and payments will go through, with 80/20 revenue sharing. More details will be announced along with the Market update.
UNA v9 Beta 2
Core Enhancements

Auto-complete for location field to make sure correct address is used
Stripe payment provider integration for one-time and recurring payments. Now supporting Stripe, Chargebee and PayPal. 
The new base template called "Protean", featuring Styles - UI customisation settings.
Code injection interface for all those "paste this code..." for header and body sections of pages.
Studio storage interface
Individual "Page Covers" support for every page

New Apps

Discussions (Forum)
Google Connect
LinkedIn Connect
Twitter Connect
DataFox (integration)
Intercom (integration)
Mailchimp (integration)

All apps are currently available for free download and use, all under MIT license. Some apps will be marked as "Premium" later on, and will be listed for a small monthly fee. You only need to pay the fee to be able to access automatic apps updates and direct support for them. 
You only need to download the package if you plan to perform a fresh installation. If you are on a service plan with us, don't worry about it - we will arrange the update for you. 
Update from v9b1 to v9b2
If you have 9.0.0-B1 version and it was upgraded from Trident 8 then execute the following SQL query to correct the version number in the database:
UPDATE `sys_modules` SET `version` = '9.0.0-B1' WHERE `version` = '9.0.0.B1' AND `name` = 'system';
Also make sure that your site is updating to Beta branch, ensure that you have the following line in inc/classes/BxDolUpgrader.php file:
protected $_sUrlVersionCheck = '';
NOTE 1: New key&secret is needed before running upgrade, get new one here
NOTE 2: Site will be not working after core files update, so wait a minute while modules are updated
NOTE 3: If new modules aren't installing - logout from the studio and login again
NOTE 4: For some new functionality Google Maps API key is needed (Studio > Settings > General > Google Maps API key). Instructions for setting up Google Maps key (Getting started section).
If you're running Trident v8 still it may be worth waiting for final release of UNA v9 to perform an update.
Rough Times
A lot is happening at once. In the software world, it means that things can go wrong. We did out best to prepare for this day (took us 5 years so far), but we know that a major feature update, Marketplace release, licensing restructuring and support site launch happening all at once is not a trivial matter. We will be iterating, informing, updating, helping and answering questions A LOT over the next few weeks. Stay tuned and you won't regret. It is the very beginning of a great journey and we truly appreciate your company.
Thank you!
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... or jump to: 2016
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· Andrew B
Sharing everything we do, plan and think. In a not-too-formal way. 
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