Dolphin Evolution and Some Details on 7.1

Andrew Boon posted 17th of January 2011 in Dolphin.pro News. 35 comments.

While Dolphin 7.0.5 is to be outed any day now, I'd like to shed some light on what is going to happen afterwards. We like to think that one of the most important qualities of BoonEx is that we are not developing for money. I mean, we still need some dough (is it still Ok to say so, or am I stuck in the Catcher in The Rye mode?), but it's not the primary motive. To spur the turnover we could just add a couple of fancy social networking or dating templates; convert to a paid-only software model; promise eternally wondrous support and open pockets wide enough.

 

Not cool.

 

We now have a unique opportunity to actually think on what's best for a real social site, what makes ideas click and where to direct our development efforts. We took a long brake from adding any significant features and produced a line of service updates to make Dolphin fast and stable. Now the time has come to reevaluate, pull Dolphin out of the box (pond?) and furnish the world with something a little more exciting than yet another Jack-of-all-trades-CMS.

 

Here's what we have in mind...

 

 

Dolphin is (to be) "effortlessly social"

 

Consider some of today's super-star "social services"... Twitter, Foursquare, Groupon, Quora, LinkedIn, Tumblr, Flickr, YouTube and even Facebook. All of them largely rely on a handful of core features that enable main use-cases. 2-3 use-cases at a maximum. Everything else is a blurb build around them, and is often unnecessary, if not damaging.

 

It takes sticking to only one good idea to become a hit.

 

Dolphin, as it is now, fits this tenet neatly - turn on a module of your choice, modify it, launch. Not everyone does that, unfortunately. Most admins enthusiastically activate all Dolphin modules and wait, just like fishermen with a bunch of rods. This approach doesn't work in 2011, not with the pampered fish we are dealing with, anyway. We need good nets and good bait.

 

We've got to get it together

You bring the wine, we'll bring the weather

 

So, the bait (idea) is your part, and the net (social engagement tools) are our concern. What are they? Now that is exactly what we are going to identify and focus on in Dolphin 7.1 and further on. Looking back at those "super-stars" we can tell that flashy (pun-intended) features, like 3D-chats, virtual worlds, video-conferencing, etc. don't matter that much. The most important ingredient, it seems, is a clear way of "connecting" with new or existing social graphs and seamless content sharing within them. Befriending procedures, notifications and friend's feed are on the table as the most important revisions. All existing CMSs have those functions added as an afterthough, a diminutive set of "must-have" buttons thrown-in to feed the feature-hungry crowd. "That ain't right". Dolphin 7.1 is going to fix that wrong.

 

 

Dolphin is fast, but needs to be faster!

 

It's nothing short of amazing how increased internet connection speeds work against slow-loading sites. Top performers shape users' expectations and we need to keep up. Page loading should be instantaneous. Not just "pretty damn quick", but absolutely immediate. hence further fat reduction surgeries are warranted. We want to see you blown-away with Dolphin speed.

 

 

Dolphin has to look and feel lighter

 

Flexibility of default template look-and-feel modification and overall "fitness" requirements finally made us redesign Dolphin's default template. We already have some mock-ups and plan to share some screens with Premium Members shortly (this needs to be kept a little more "private" for a while). Basically, we tried to remove unnecessary images and construct a layout that'd be easier to tailor for different backgrounds and color schemes.

 

 

But what about that super-cool and uber-important feature...?

 

Oh, how we love them bells and whistles - BoonEx devs beg for a "something new" assignment routinely, commenters bestow world-changing ideas upon us every day and quick addition of some magic social plugin promises smashing triumph...

 

Hear the sleigh bells jingle, jingle
Fingers freeze and then they tingle
Friends are singing and we mingle
While the snowflakes fall

Tempting stuff.

Allright, we surely will add new features to 7.1, will work on most of the long-standing tickets and will pack-in a few surprises, but that's not our goal and not our priority. Don't expect much and please, please, please be patient. We will all be back to jingling mood once sleights are fixed and lined-up.

All in all, the future looks bright and not-too-distant. Stay tuned!


p.s. Is dream within a dream possible?

or, in other words, do we have any news on Dolphin 8 / Trident? We do, actually. Despite "Dreams within dreams is too unstable!" adage we have made some serious advancements and plan to discuss them later this week via for-Premium-only blog posts.

 

 
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tomakali
Super cool...

i prefer to have a good cms
with social networking a core feature
1.like fb social plugins
2.Fb like user creatable apps
3.html5 mobile site
4.advanced membership levels management
5.user customizable pages
6.multiplayer game api for developers
7.content share/exchange between unity websites
8.social comment/engagement systems
9.redefining forums and groups
10.posterous/hellotxt like service in the core...
cosmobc
Great ideas you have here!
All those 10 features would be a great addition to Dolphin.
imoverhere
Hi could this feature ever be developed were members data can be extracted in a simple file? reason. if i make a huge mistake on my site and i want to delete everything reinstall dolpin then upload the members data file again, im not so worried about the content they posted, its better then loosing everything, this would be good for members with limited skills. this feature would also be good for members with limited funds.
doctormusic78
Hi Adrew, it's good to hear about BoonEx work in progress.
I think D7 has many useful modules but it certainly lacks on some fundamental social network features that were already present in the market more than 2 years ago (activity feeds, a good management of befriend and notifications) and that are now available on Dolphin thanx to third-parties mods.
But, I must desagree on your positivity on "turn on a module of your choice, modify it, launch". If a BoonEx client uses Dolphin to see more power a commercial community site he soon realizes that it is dam expensive, time-consuming and simply not worth it, to keep modifying modules, just to read of a new update from BoonEx after several weeks which requires to re-write code in every page of his site.
Why is that? I sometimes wonder, are there serious small businesses that use Dolphin to run their community site? From what I have seen so far there are very few of them, and most of users here run Dolphin for fun (most of websites mentioned on Dolphin official page refer to either sites that are not up anymore or that certainly look very old or not updated).
I'm running a commercail website based on D7 and lots of customization (mostly layout and some code), which make me simply uneconomical to even upgrade to a newer Dolphin version every 6 months (for new critical sections that I'm planning to add to my website, Im now even considering switching to other scripts or customized coding).
I will eagerly look at these new BoonEx development and see if anything positive will come out of the box.
Best,
Riccardo
AlexT
Many mods are written without any changes, so upgrade for such mods is flawless. So, to avoid problems with version upgrades try to choose mods will less changes in Dolphin core code.
richmanfl
@doctormusic - I agree on many points that the mods are written and actually scary when you upgrade. I have taken sites through the upgrade processes many times on Dolphin, and it is days worth of work for each upgrade. My ExamDiff and other tools get a lot of use when doing upgrades. But the worst part of the upgrade is the core modules which stop working after an upgrade. I have only had 1 module which needed big changes during an upgrade, but it is a constant fight to get things like the ORCA see more forums to work in many cases. This should never happen when you do an upgrade.

@AlexT I agree that many mods are written without changes, but many overwrite the core files and you never know that unless you bu it and unpack it. I think that there should be a link on Unity Market to a txt file which describes the files in the program and a list of the core files changed BEFORE you upgrade. Mods that were some of the best on UNITY were by UE30, in rewriting the events pages to be actually functional. But these were heavily modded core files...... until he just wrote his standalone mod last month. So if you are going to make upgrading easier, you have to make tools available to better check the mods BEFORE purchase.
mods4dolphin
We deal with doing site upgrades and that's one area which gives us the most headache - when core files are modified. Modifying one or two files can still be tolerated but when some mods talks about modifying 4-5 core files and that too adding major code chunks, it gets really hard for us to handle the upgrade as well and it becomes a very time consuming and manual process.

And some of these mods are amongst the top selling mods and also picked by Boonex under "staff picks" category, see more so most of our customers have them on site. i don't want to name the mods but if Boonex needs the name, I can PM them. And it keeps getting difficult with higher version numbers being released and more changes introduced in the system.

Kindly follow a rigid policy for mod submissions and remove all unnecessary mods from the market which involve a lot of modifications to core files.

That's an honest opinion from someone who handles site upgrades on a daily basis...

Cheers
freakpower
ANDREW: I agree with Doctormusic78 but its nothing new - thhats why I simply waiting for at least 7.1 release. Now its simply not worth to buy a commercial modules because than upgrade to newer version is either nearly impossible or so expensive that its not worth income from site. Im waiting for main modules to be added to default D7 installation. They are all listed in roadmap so hope it will be really all included.
The main thing please can you share with us in cause you use in dolphin some see more ready made commercial modules developed by boonex programmers itself like AntonLV, Esase etc... which modules this will be ? Im talking about subscriptions mod, affiliate mod, credit mod, mobile payment mod etc... It seems quite ridiculous if your oqn programmer will develop those modules from sacratch if they already have it developed as commercial modules... Can you please spread a work on this ?
mstreet
I believe that I am not the first who speaks about it, but your luck is in front of you! All you need to do is learn how to learn from your market vendors. Before you all that lacking in your product on your hand! Buy abgreads that you need and let the dolphin will be immediately valuable, not only after another $ 500 bought extra features. Moreover many of them are not worth what sellers want for them but people have to go for a compromise. Why do ordinary freelancers can afford to do the right see more module? Why is a group of developers can not cope with this problem? You just have to see the statistics of what applications are best to buy and make their own exactly the same. It's certainly not ethical with respect to the developers. But they have everything in life is relative. Any good for someone else evil and evil for someone else any good! So says the Eastern philosophy) And I agree with it. Your luck is in your hands, you only need it not to reject ) I feel that many users think like me, they dont want to buy something that have to be in start installation.
I will not list the required modules, statistics say it's better than me)
Peace, love and many thanks for a dream that anyway comes true !
LeatherSportB
For speed, performance, and templates.

1) In header.inc.php add a static url variable and update static content to use this url. By default just make it use the same URL as SiteURL. This would make it a very easy to setup a cookie less domain to provide static content AND would be serving content from multiple domains to increase number of connections to downloads of files. This new URL could also point to an origin pull CDN. That 'one' change could see a big improvement in three common test see more areas of page load test systems like Yslow.

2) Let google host jquery (and other large scripts) for us. Should be easy to add a jquery URL variable to header.inc.php as well as the static URL so people can easily use a local copy if needed for some reason. http://encosia.com/2008/12/10/3-reasons-why-you-should-let-google-host-jquery-for-you/

3) CSS Sprites. All the big sites use them. Show the template makers the right way to make a template load fast. If you combine 20 image (and requests to the server) in to one, you will see a speed up in page load time and a reduction of server resources. The down side to this is it would make it harder for swap out template images, but it is still possible to do by using a new sprite or custom images, or editing the old sprite and staying within the bounds of the sub image you need to change.
sonnarinternet
I agree that the system DEFINITELY needs to implement CSS sprites.
sonnarinternet
...and google hosted JQuery.

...the only issue I foresee with google hosted JQuery and a CDN would be if the system were being run through HTTPS. I have had some problems in the past with using SSL and Dolphin, and would love to see that the system was made SSL-aware.
LeatherSportB
Two modules are in dire need of some Time, Care, and Love. Blogs and Events! Blogs would have been nice ten years a go (I think I'm being generous with this) but can't compete with the likes of WordPress Mu. I don't think Dolphin needs a full blown Blog/CMS system like WordPress but there are definitely missing features. Events (along with the sites 'Calendar' feature) is also lacking in a big way. You could do a wish list post to find out what the community wants in those two modules instead see more of me rambling off a list of what I want.

The Videos module is also light years in the past compared to other video sites. This could be a killer 'fishing net' but the the issues with the module itself, and the actual costs in terms of server resources and bandwidth is a huge issue and sadly most 'Noobs' have no idea the true cost of running a video site. Real video embed support to embed a video from another site into yours (like those light-years ahead sites have) would be a HUGE step in addressing this. Only supporting YouTube embed just dosen't cut it. Especially for 'Dating' sites.
richmanfl
LeatherSportB,

I think you have something! But the events mods that UE30 has were rewrites of the core of the events section, and made upgrading a scary proposition. But Chris is a phenomenal support person and takes care of his clients. Now he rewrote the entire mod as a standalone product, and it is world class and better than anything that Boonex would do to the core. If events are important, then follow his example. What he has done is take the entire premise of Meetup.com and improve on see more it.

As far as videos, this is a shortcoming of the entire Dolphin project. None of the developers who do even YouTube mods really do a good job. Embedding videos into a profile should be an easy project, and just adding URL checking and validation when a link is put into place should be a small project. THe admin side should just have a list of different services that are accepted and the validation runs according to choice, and then processed and stored. In admin, you should be able to stop upload of videos altogether, and it would not show in options when a person goes to add a video.
paulo rodrigues
I agree with you on the video embedding ...I have been working with rayz on his video embedding mod and he has made a good mod even though it's still a bit buggy and could use some need tweaks dealing with certain programmers can be a bit frustrating his mod does allow for custom coding to be added along with a custom image for that video ....using URL's I recommended allowing members to just be able to upload their own image from their hard drives which would make the users ease of use faster. see more the bugs come in that the embedded videos using the custom embedding don't show up on Google browsers as well as a few others.....would be nice if he would address that and or Boonex incorporate his idea into the next version!

one more thing that i would love to see handled is alertpay added to the payment gateways....I purchased a mod which handles the subscriptions but falls short of letting members buy or sell goods in the store...and sense I run an Adult community Alertpay is the Adult friendly gateway on the block...which does not charge $700 to use and take visa payments....as for the bells and stuff one of the new kids on the block with a large growing base of users is myyearbook.com which has lots and lots of things for its users to do and to discover keeping them on the site longer for them to take in offers from advertisers....so more bells and things needed

a much needed built in banner advertiser and affiliate mod these things help grow a pay site by rewarding active members who promote the site.
as for video chats yes they are the thing most people who are on dating site want to know that that girl they have been courting is in fact a girl and not a 400 lbs couch bum who has a funny kink.....lol and they also add a hint of safety and fun.

but then again just my take on things......:)
futna
what abut the RTL ???
this is your Promise that it will work out soon ... Andrew!!!
silverado350
As LeatherSportB stated, The video module really needs a major rewrite. That thing is older than dirt. I would like to see it require minimal flash files, e.g. no flash admin. This would make it much easier to work with in terms of customization.
sonnarinternet
One of the fundamental features that I think you are missing in your "turn on the module of your choice" philosophy is that SO MANY modules rely on other modules. I would LOVE to use the chat, whiteboard, and groups feature WITHOUT having to use the MP3 and files modules. We don't want the music/MP3 feature at all on our site (due to licensing and royalty concerns), but are required to have them installed because the features we want won't install without these required modules.

Therefore, see more it would be great if you could "unlink" some of the modules so that they aren't so heavily reliant on each other. The system isn't truly modular if it requires everything else to be installed to activate the features that we want.

I also think that we need to step away from the dating aspects of the system a bit, and make the system so that these features are modular. For those of us that *ARE* using this in a commercial (non-dating) setting, having the ability to turn off dating-related features would be a godsend. It would be VERY nice if the search member features could allow us to turn off the "search users by age/sex" since these features look rather creepy on a non-matchmaking site. (Especially if we were to try to be COPPA compliant)
sonnarinternet
One other idea that I think would be useful for speed reasons would be if you were to provide support for Zend Server acceleration and caching. We currently use the community edition of Zend server, and have found that the caching features are very good for our own code. The Shared Memory storage that the server offers would be a good fit for your localization system since all of the language files and keys could be loaded into shared memory once and wouldn't have to be initialized with every page see more load. The other nice thing is that Zend Server's shared memory API is very simple to implement, and only requires a single function call each to save/recall/clear a particular key in Shared Memory.
mods4dolphin
I was hoping and I would really like to see the points, credits and reward system in 7.1.
We have existing mods and they are couple of points and rewards programs out there in the market. We are not sure whether to start providing integration with those mods, wait for Boonex to come up with something or just write one ourselves...

It's an imp. functionality and most other mods depend on that. and would be good to have in 7.1.
richmanfl
Mods4Dolphin,

BINGO! The core of the site should have a points feature, integrate into the store, and if someone wants to integrate into the core, then a new mod can easily add a points feature when developed.
mods4dolphin
Yes, the possibilities are endless. The points can be integrated to the store like you said or can be used as virtual cash, used for membership upgrades, used for rewarding members with gifts blah blah blah

A solid points feature will really take Dolphin to the next level :)
Hate to rain on anyone's parade, as it's always great to hear of new developments, but I would hope any significant advancements are considered in light of some of the most challenging issues in working with Dolphin now, namely, the security / access control / privacy model, which I find incomprehensible and undocumented.

Any effort to implement significant new functionality without addressing at least this glaring problem is troubling. Dolphin has much to be thankful for & optimistic about see more in the future but without addressing issues like this, I don't see how Dolphin can fulfill its promise.
cdurocher
- NO MODULE DEPENDANCE please. Having a very simple and light core.
- Photo upload, crop tools and all media manipulation must be very easy and straight forward.
- More ajax and Ajax scroll call features for long pages.

Most of the people just give MODULE idea to be include in the package but I think that the FRONT-END GUI TOOLS and flexibility of all elements and menus must be improved for web developers. I would love to see the video with better sizes options and more flexible.
@ people who want points system.......Who needs a points system when one already exists via 3rd party mods? Let Boonex concentrate it's efforts on things that we need that we don't currently have that they say they are working on. I think speed and performance are top priority. Easier upgrades would be a much needed improvement.
freakpower
SOme of commercial credit system modules has been developed by boonex programmers itself - so I expect there is nothing to concentrate - they can simply add their commercial mods to default dolphin install. This will have two main great aspect - 1) zero development and implementing time (as its already developed, tested and integrated 2) easy upgrades as if it will be part of dolphin core install files upgrades will be much more easier
Im myself kinda curious how this gonna be as if boonex own programmers see more gopnna develop from scrytch for example credot system which they already developed will be kinda ridiculous ...
CALTRADE
This post contains very little information. How are you doing at fixing the dysfunctional search? - the "null search" issues. Really, really important.
tomakali
After reading all the above requirements and upgrade scares...
i "feel" Boonex has to change the product delivery strategy...
as of now Boonex releases the whole cms and allows its members/developers to customize whatever they want and hence we have too much of incompatibility issues...

rather Boonex should release Core framework to the developers with constrains and developers build/or support in building the core features and release their mods for the framework and not for the CMS.

also see more the D8 cms has to be released to the public and the webmasters can customize its look and feel without disturbing the core...
and if there is any requirement for the webmasters it is good and safe to pick it up from boonex's dev repository and plug it in.

and thus it will ensure the quality of the mods, compatibility of the mods for super smooth upgrades in future...

to be simple, boonex cant be like Joomla
its better to be like apple

i can survive my members for a year or two without the basic copy/paste rather than buying copy/paste mod from someone asap and start worrying about the next upgrade :)
HernanL
As a second class member of Boonex.com, I wanted to say how much I dislike this new feature that allows "premium" users to read certain articles (while we can see the headlines, but not the contents) and post, while us, the last wagon of the train have no voice or vote on such important issues as those generated by this never ending development.

If this is an ongoing project, then you need to hear everybody, including "second class members". Otherwise, instead of uniting people, see more you´re just separating into classes, something not strange in the Anglo-Saxon world.

My opinion, please, remove these useless filters and limitations.

Kind regards,
Hernán
tomakali
@HernanL

You dont have to worry about whats going on there...
I paid for premium membership when it was launched and waited for news about trident every minute
and i havent got any updates and my premium membership expired...
and i did not bother myself to upgrade again...

"premium" is for Mafia
not for others :)
just stay cool and everything will come out when its is already over...
btw, you may just peep into the mafia zone for a month and exit...
just my experience...
maybe see more if you are a hardcore developer, you should be there...
Stuart038
These Premium member posts should be marked as such so we do not waste our time trying to read them. Who honestly would pay to limit their readership?
I think it's very important to have a clear core. A very simple core easily to use for members.
My members say "Dolphin is very powerfull but not clear, it's not simple to find the correct function".

But it's important to keep the good functions :
Visiochat
Pictures and pictures comment
wall
forum

Note : sorry for my bad english i'm french :)
antz1066
Sounds good ! All I'd like to see added is better SEO tools !
nguvu
Am I wrong in saying that add a PHP BLOCK fixes about all these issues, or quick script adds to the html output here and there? I mean, I am glad I found this post, the write up was pretty clear....basically, everyone just hold on one sec...lets stop chasing tails, and do something worth doing. It was a good run, but the innovation doesn't happen without wiping the slate clean. Right?

I read, this post just like this "I am sick of Facebook too, but everyone I connect with is there, so see more I am forced to get requests for some farm app, and use it more than I would otherwise....so, lets beat them, at least provide the tool set so you can get developers more involved with your OWN concepts...that rock."
Did anyone else catch that part? If I am wrong, let me know so I don't put my foot in my mouth again.

And where is the Android app, ey?

Peace, MD/USA
 
 
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