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Elgg Social Networking

Book Description

Create and manage your own social network site using this free open-source tool

  • Create your own customized community site

  • Manage users, invite friends, start groups and blogs

  • Host content: photos, videos, MP3s, podcasts

  • Manage your Elgg site, protect it from spam

  • Written on Elgg version 0.9

In Detail

Elgg is an open-source social web application licensed under GPL version 2, and runs on the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL, and PHP) or WAMP (Windows, Apache, MySQL, PHP) platform. It offers a networking platform combining elements of blogging, e-portfolios, news feed aggregation, file sharing, and social networking. Elgg has its own plug-in architecture, and can use plug-ins to provide a calendar and a wiki. It supports a number of open standards including RSS, LDAP for authentication, FOAF, and XML-RPC for integration with most third-party blogging clients. It can be integrated with MediaWiki, Moodle, Drupal, and WebCT.

Elgg provides each user with a personal weblog, file repository (with podcasting capabilities), an online profile, and an RSS reader. Additionally, all of a user's content can be tagged with keywords—so they can connect with other users with similar interests and create their own personal learning network. However, where Elgg differs from a regular weblog or a commercial social network (such as MySpace) is the degree of control each user is given over who can access their content. Each profile item, blog post, or uploaded file can be assigned its own access restrictions—from fully public to readable only by a particular group or individual.

Using Elgg is the easiest way to create your own fully customized, hosted social network for your business, organization, or group of friends. Elgg communities can include blogs, discussion groups, media galleries, friends' lists, and much more. Because it's open source, and has many plug-ins, Elgg can be extended in unlimited ways. Elgg lets you host your own Facebook-style social network and retain complete control over how it works. This book shows you all you need to know to create safe, fun social networks.

While anybody can use Elgg to create their social network, it is especially useful in education as it has many features making it suitable for e-learning, including groups, communities, and blogs that can be used for online classes where students can communicate in a new way with each other and with students around the world—in a managed, protected environment, creating what its authors term a "personal learning landscape". This book also covers using Elgg in teaching/learning.

Table of Contents

  1. Elgg Social Networking
  2. Credits
  3. About the Author
  4. About the Reviewer
  5. Preface
    1. What This Book Covers
    2. Who is This Book for
    3. Conventions
    4. Reader Feedback
    5. Customer Support
      1. Errata
      2. Questions
  6. 1. Social Networks and Elgg
    1. Types of Social Networks
    2. How Can a Social Network Help You?
    3. Tools of the Trade
    4. What's so Special About Elgg?
    5. So, What can Elgg Do?
    6. Summary
  7. 2. A Tour around Elgg
    1. Playing With Elgg-Powered Networks
    2. Sign Up
    3. Account Settings
    4. Your Profile
    5. Customize Your Account
    6. Define Access Privileges
    7. Your Blog
    8. Manage Your Files
    9. Find People
    10. Make Friends
    11. Your Community
    12. Your Messages
    13. Your Resources
    14. Your Presentation
    15. Recent Activity
    16. Summary
  8. 3. Users, Profiles, and Connections
    1. Connecting to Friends and Users
      1. Inviting Friends to Join
        1. Let Elgg Handle Registration
    2. Build a Profile
      1. The Various Profile Options
        1. What is FOAF?
      2. A Face for Your Profile
      3. Access Control
        1. Define Your Own Control Lists
    3. Making Friends with Internal Members
      1. Use Your Profile to Find Connections
      2. Making Connections
      3. Friendship Moderation
        1. Managing Friendship Requests
        2. What's Friend Of?
      4. Other Account Settings
    4. Attracting Visitors
      1. Welcoming Guests
    5. Administration Options
      1. Add Users in Bulk
      2. Change User Settings
    6. Playing Boss
      1. Blocking Users
        1. Can I Formally Warn Users?
      2. Removing the Ban
    7. Limiting Users on the Site
      1. Changing Space Quota
    8. Sharing Admin Rights
    9. The Scope of an Elgg Administrator
    10. Summary
  9. 4. Blogging and Resources
    1. Handling Files
      1. Creating Folders
      2. Uploading Files
      3. Right to Share
      4. Viewing Files
      5. Moving and Deleting Files/Folders
        1. Commenting on Files
    2. Start Blogging
      1. Posting a New Entry
      2. Adding External Videos
      3. Embedding Files in Blogs
        1. What Does the Number Mean?
    3. Saving Drafts
      1. Mark Posts as Private
      2. So, Why Use a Plug-in?
      3. The Draft Post Plug-in
      4. Editing/Deleting Posts
      5. What Are Your Friends Blogging About?
      6. Keeping Track of Posts and Discussions
    4. Handling Improper Content
      1. Flagging Improper Posts
      2. Managing Flagged Content
      3. Filtering Blog Posts
    5. Preventing Spam
      1. Who Can Comment?
      2. Using Plug-ins
        1. Implementing Captcha
        2. Restricting to Anonymous Users
        3. Increasing the Vocabulary
      3. Handling Improper Words
    6. Downloading Blogs
    7. Managing Resources
      1. Feeding Stuff
      2. Creating Feeds
      3. What Feeds are Available?
      4. Inducting Feeds
      5. Adding Feeds from External Sources
      6. Adding Popular Feeds
      7. Viewing the Feeds
      8. RSS Feed for Files
    8. Podcasting with Elgg
      1. Listening to Podcasts
      2. Blogging Podcasts
    9. Summary
  10. 5. Communities and Files
    1. Creating Communities
      1. Search for Existing Communities
      2. Hatching a Community
    2. Grooming the Community
      1. Community Profile
      2. Community Picture
      3. Announcing the Community
    3. Joining the Community
      1. Membership Restriction
      2. Handling Membership Requests
      3. Leaving the Community
      4. Community Ownership
    4. Using the Community
      1. Community Blog
      2. Removing Improper Posts
      3. Moderating Communities
    5. Other Community Administration
    6. Community Forum
    7. Handling Files
      1. Creating Folders
      2. Uploading Files
      3. Right to Share
      4. Adding Files to a Community Repository
    8. Send Messages
    9. Sharing Bookmarks
    10. Using Files
      1. Viewing Files
      2. RSS Feed for Files
      3. Moving and Deleting Files/Folders
      4. Embedding Files in Blogs
        1. What Does the Number Mean?
      5. Removing Inappropriate Files/Folders
    11. Summary
  11. 6. Customizing Elgg
    1. Why Customize?
    2. What Makes Up a Theme?
    3. Controlling Themes
    4. The Default Template
    5. What are <div> and <span>?
    6. The pageshell
      1. CSS Elements in the pageshell
      2. Other Elements
    7. The frontpage Files
      1. The frontpage_loggedout File
      2. The frontpage_loggedin File
    8. Content Keywords
      1. Other Keywords that Can be Used
    9. Hints for Designing a Custom Template
      1. Pageshell Hacks
        1. Add/Remove Elements
          1. Pageshell with Tagline and Site Name
        2. Add a Copyright Notice
          1. Original Footer
          2. Footer with Custom Text
      2. CSS Hacks
        1. Change Position of Elements
          1. Menu Column in the Right-Side
          2. Menu Column in the Left-Side
      3. Fun with Images
          1. The Old Logo Definition with Color
          2. The New Logo Definition with an Image called rain.gif
          3. The New Header Background Definition
        1. Make Body Use More Space
          1. Existing Container Division
      4. Hacking Other Themes
    10. Adding Public Templates
    11. Changing Templates
      1. Different Themes for Different Areas
    12. Creating Themes Based on Templates
      1. Creating Themes
      2. Validating Themes
    13. Replacing the Default Template
    14. Contributing Themes
    15. Summary
  12. 7. Elgg Plug-Ins
    1. General Structures of Plug-Ins
    2. Things to Remember While Installing Plug-Ins
    3. The Plug-Ins
      1. Maintenance Mode
      2. Custom Metatags in Header
      3. EasyJoin
      4. Related Posts
      5. Tag Suggest and Autocomplete
      6. Blog Categories
      7. Forwarder
      8. Comment Wall
      9. Recent Comments Keyword
      10. Logged In Users
      11. Icons of Site Members
      12. Calendar
        1. Adding an Event
      13. Upcoming Events
    4. How to Remove Plug-Ins
    5. Upgrading Plug-Ins
    6. Summary
  13. A. Installing Elgg
    1. Setting Up LAMP
      1. Step 1: Install Linux
      2. Step 2: Install Apache
      3. Step 3: MySQL
      4. Step 4: Install PHP Support
    2. Setting Up WAMP
    3. Installing Elgg
      1. Editing config.php
        1. Creating a Database
      2. Initial Configuration
      3. Important Settings
      4. First Log In
  14. B. Elgg Case Study
    1. Enabling Non-Profits in Colombia
    2. Connecting Campuses Spread Across the UK
    3. Other Elgg Networks
    4. Summary