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I wrote my own documentation, so if you want it, please send me a sticky.
I wish you luck in your script evaluation. Also, note that free software (mambo/joomla, wordpress, phplist, phpbb and other stuff you can integrate) is not necessarily supported. Paid software gives you the right to file bugs with support, versus depend upon the community for help.
phpfox may be good but look at the small-print.
Even when you pay to remove the "powered by phpfox" (an extra $75) you STILL have to have the words 'fox portal" all over your site INCLUDING ON EVERY PAGE TITLE
Suppose you produce a page, "how to use green widgets". Here's what your title looks like:
"PhpFox Portal How to use green widget"
Sure, for the $75 you don't have to have:
"PhpFox Portal How to use green widgets Powered by phpfox"
I was literally about to purchase the software today until I noticed this:
"RealityFox" accepts no responsibility for site content and any complaints received from any third party may result in license suspension or revocation if the matter cannot be resolved."
What? If someone doesn't like my website and complains to the software company they'll revoke my license? Wha'?
Then read further:
"Upon payment of the advertised fee the removal of "Powered by phpFoX" at the foot of each page and title of each page of the software is permitted. The removal fee relates to no other "RealityFoX" or phpFox identifier including its copyright notices wherever located."
So pay em an extra $75 and you can remove all the "powered by" stuff but you'll still have it on every page and in every page title.
I've written asking if they really are that crazy (in politer terms) and no reply as yet, though were quick enough to reply to a different query.
Also be aware it does not support RSS in any way shape or form.
Pity, as it looked good.
An alternative is "Build A Community" or 'BAC'. Very large range of modules that all bolt together. Bit more pricey if you have everything but you don't really need everything, such as giving users their own email address etc.
in fact their demo site, with every option on there, is a bit messy.
Another irritation with phpfox is the way they put "starting at $39.99!" on their front page. First it dents your credibility when people wonder what this fox thing mentioned all over your site is about and when they look they see that low price. Secondly it's deceptive, that's the price per month but your visitors that are not your actual competition probably won't look that far - they'll just think you're running your site on $40 software.
It's crazy really, seems like a fairly professional script but they seem to go out of their way to make you look unprofessional and dent your credibility.
I HOPE I'm mistaken about the need to display the software's name all over your site. Will see. Invision and Vbulletin get away with it but they're heavy-hitting favorites and so well-known everyone recognises em anyway.
Right now I'm using a heavily customised version of Profile Manager Premium, with B2evo blogs and phpBB, along with little custom scripts to intergrate everything. Lovely system, looks great, works a treat but a nightmare to patch or update. And now it *doesn't* work a treat, for have developed a problem if I change prices. Works as it is but if I alter the price the cgi script can't find the .htaccess file for some reason.
Rather than keep building and customising, and in this case repairing, I'd rather put the money towards an off-the-shelf all in one. PhpFox doesn't have all the features of my custom site, which also does what BAC does in terms of giving the user their own custom start page and stuff. But right now I just want something that works so I can concentrate elsewhere.
Later I may do the Vbulletin thing, will also look at a better blog system if only for RSS (or see if it is feasible to set up an RSS feed for the current blogs, which are very plain on phpfox)
Didn't buy it last night, my net connection was too slow to be doing credit card stuff but should be getting it today.
Am going to have to find the required patches that robertdjung says it needs, produce a re-sized version of my logo and so on before going live with the thing. I think BAC is probably a more capable long term solution but my finances and time are stretched. For example BAC doesn't appear to actually offer a payment option, you need to buy "BACpayment" for an additional $129?
It does however offer sale of downloadable products, which phpfox doesn't appear to from what I can see.
Guess it depends if the community is a major part of the site or a sideline? For me it will be on the side and a subdomain.
Too many bugs to list really, and nowhere near as capable as I thought it was. Forget stepped membership, it's effectively useless because you can only block access, not actions.
The forum is lamer than a lame thing, and even gets the post count wrong.
Has some bizarre weirdness about it, for example trying to change the forum pic, it kept saying the new pic was uploaded - and continued showing the old one. When I right-clicked and copied the image to check sizes, it was a gif. Uploaded one with the same file name - still the same old pic? Turned out it was a jpg. So why on Earth was the one I saved a .gif? I can only presume the unusual file name makes it easy to find fox sites?
You deffo need to be able to code in php to get up running properly.
Thumbnails are distorted.
Basically I'm about 1" away from claiming the refund. There's other stuff I could spend $375 on. It needs Vbulletin, though not officially supported, so call it $525.
Manually copied a few regular members over from the old system and sent em a mass email. They recieved a mail OK. But it was blank?
As a sideline it might do but I cannot recommend it for a serious community site. Talk of improvements in the future so who knows, maybe it'll get better?
Staff seem friendly enough, though always at least a 24hr email lag.
If you're serious I'd suggest Invision, which has a gallery and blog add-on already available. Cheaper too. I think the only reason I might keep it is that it has a lot of red bars, which my site already has :o/ Oh yeah, and it runs slow too. My current set-up, 3 different prog's bolted together with mini-apps, actually runs quicker. More features too and much better blogs, albeit paid member or no member, which is a bit restrictive, hence the desire for stepped. But here the stepping is too brutal, no finesse.
2 out of 5.
So basically it's main claim to fame was everything, functions and graphics, all totally meshed together. One sign-up, one login, one complete site.
So it's that intergration rather than any one specific feature, though as I mentioned my older system also gave each member their own personal start page. I still have the old sytem running and have installed fox on a sub-domain.
My primary desire from fox was the idea of stepped membership, where for example those particularly active or getting high 'karma' or rep points would gain extra goodies.
Exactly what those extra goodies should be is another matter. The simple fact the script offered guest, normal, VIP and Gold memberships suggested a structured and interesting system. I should have looked closer at it for it does nothing really. If for example I block any member level from having a blog, such as blogs only for VIP or above - it actually blocks all access to the blogs!
I mean c'mon, the entire point of a blog is that it's a public journal that the blogger wants people to read. It may, for certain sites be suitable but generally speaking, who wants a blog that only a select few can ever read?
In fact if I were to restrict normal' users from blogs, an unregistered member of the public could have greater access than the registered member. Unless I also prevent the general public from being able to see member's blogs?
The only 2 real benefits you can give a VIP are more storage and no adverts. Even the adverts are screwy, with ads appearing on log-out pages and so on, which is against Google's TOS (zero content)
You can only really choose the size of the ad, not where it is going to go and on what pages.
Take the classified section for example - great, my members could post adverts. What I'd like though is a system where for example guests can see the ads, normal users can see the ads, only 'VIP' members can post ads and only Gold members can post professional service ads (as opposed to items for sale or wanted)
Again perhaps only Gold can post images with their classified?
Give normal users an actual number of pics, such as 3, while VIP's can have 10 photos, Gold up to 20 photos, that kind of thing. I CAN adjust their storage space but that's about it.
Bottom line, I wanted something where the more active, helpful and smart users get rewarded with extra functions and abilities. Instead I can only give by blocking bits of the site to everyone else. Not functions but any access at all.
In addition, there is no auto-bump, anyone changing status needs me to do so manually.
Ironically, although I'm aware of a great many short-comings, overall I quite like it. But just as I start to grow fond I spot something else that's annoying. For example I like the fact it displays the most recent forum discussion.. but not the fact they are only there to people who've already signed in. Instead the public homepage shows most recent blogs - which won't get the same activity as the forum and will make the site look stale.
Nor am I keen on th fact that almost anything a user does is tracked and reported, with no way to turn it off. You look at something and there's a pic or avatar - "The most recent people to look at this bit....". Again might be great once busy but right now it just points to the lack of current members (existing members still get my old system)
A burst of activity and one person can have their pic shown all over the place, making it look there's only one member.
As for SEO, forget it. The only things caught by a G site-map is the homepage.
If it were faster I'd be a lot happier but it's pretty slugish.
Slow as a slow thing with a limp, despite upgrading to the new 1.1, which has fixed the distorted thumbnails and added RSS - but was a nightmare to install and still has a lot of bugs.
And now the thing won't let me log in to my own site. :o/
Eventually had to pretend I had 'lost' my password and got it to send me an email with a link to click to get a new password. Nice. Got new password, signed in, updated my pasword to what it was to start with, wondered why it seemed to have changed, then found that once again it kept asking me to log in.
And once again, "wrong password". The new one didn't work, the old one didn't work, nothing works. Sure, could get a new one by email again but what's the point if it's going to keep forgetting who I am? Even when you ARE signed in it still displays the sign-in box and you have to actually try doing something to confirm you are actually logged in.
Too many bugs and too slow, even on a powerful server. I give up.
Will report back regarding if they honor their 30 day moneyback guarantee..
Per line of code it's a steal.
I'm using v1.1, have adapted the script all over the place, fixed (almost) all the bugs and managed to lock it down to a total invitation only, paid-for space. Users are loving it and bizarrely are using it as most as a weird Webmail.
User A sends internal message to User B, User B gets pretty html notification and logs on to read messages and reply, Why? Fox looks nicer than Outlook and you get a pretty pic of your correspondent. Who knew that would be the thing!? Users are 65/35 female.
It's not an easy out of the box solution, it's hard to modify, but there's a good community with a good attitude to mods and bugs are mostly fixed collaboratively.
It runs fast too, no complaints.
New version 'Konsort' arrives soon. But no way will we risk upgrading and losing all our mod work.