Pligg 1.0.0 RC1b Tested and Reviewed

Pligg Security VulnerabilityFinally after almost a year without an update Pligg an open source web application that lets anyone start a digg type social news site released v1.0.0 RC1 back in January. So is v1.0 of Pligg everything users had hoped for wanted and expected, well not quite especially after waiting such a long time.

The version of Pligg we used for this review is v1.0.0 RC1b.

Installation
Installing Pligg is exactly the same as installing previous versions apart from the installer now has a new theme. We decided to install pligg two ways the first being with PHP Display Errors disabled on our server then again with Display Errors enabled to see if there were any hidden code errors that you usually wouldn’t see. During the second install with DISPLAY ERRORS enabled in PHP we got several “Undefined Index” and “Variable” PHP errors popping up on each step of the install process. We have listed the errors that presented themselves on each step of install below.

Install Step 0 Errors


Notice: Undefined index: language in \www\pligg10\install\install0.php on line 3
Notice: Undefined index: language in \www\pligg10\install\header.php on line 4

Install Step 1 Errors


Notice: Undefined variable: header in \www\pligg10\install\header.php on line 39

Install Step 2 Errors


Notice: Undefined variable: header in \www\pligg10\install\header.php on line 39
Notice: Undefined variable: errors in \www\pligg10\install\install2.php on line 25

Install Step 3 Errors


Notice: Undefined variable: header in \www\pligg10\install\header.php on line 39
Notice: Undefined variable: output in \www\pligg10\install\install3.php on line 14
Notice: Undefined variable: check_errors in \www\pligg10\install\install3.php on line 40
Notice: Undefined variable: errors in \www\pligg10\install\install3.php on line 41

Install Step 4 Errors


Notice: Undefined variable: header in \www\pligg10\install\header.php on line 39
Notice: Undefined variable: errors in \www\pligg10\install\install4.php on line 18
Notice: Use of undefined constant table_tag_cache - assumed 'table_tag_cache' in \www\pligg10\install\installtables.php on line 415
Notice: Use of undefined constant table_tag_cache - assumed 'table_tag_cache' in \www\pligg10\install\installtables.php on line 418
Notice: Undefined variable: errors in \www\pligg10\install\install4.php on line 42
Notice: Constant mnminclude already defined in \www\pligg10\config.php on line 29
Notice: Constant table_prefix already defined in \www\pligg10\settings.php on line 5

Install Step 5 Errors


Notice: Undefined variable: header in \www\pligg10\install\header.php on line 39
Notice: Undefined variable: errors in \www\pligg10\install\install5.php on line 25
Notice: Constant mnminclude already defined in \www\pligg10\config.php on line 29

Our First Look After Installing Pligg v1.0.0. RC1b
Again Pligg looks fine at install unless you turn on PHP DISPLAY ERRORS then things start to look less good with lots of errors showing up. Admittedly these errors wont stop normal function of the Pligg system and most hosting environments will by default have PHP ERROR DISPLAY turned of on your server, but errors like this being present is never good even if hey are hidden from the public and your view.

Upgrading
Looking in the pligg forums upgrading isn’t going smoothly for some users, for more information check over there.

Using the Pligg System
With our PHP DISPLAY ERRORS turned off pligg functions much like previous versions of the system and the new default Wistie template while pretty sparse and basic is a definite improvement over yget. Story submission and commenting is the same process as before although we did notice comment ratings have now been removed from the member commenting function.

Admin Section
The Admin section of pligg v1.0 has a new theme which looks much better now than previous versions with all the setting being almost the same it should be familiar to any previous pligg users.

One new addition to pligg which was much needed and can be found in the admin section of v1.0 is the Manage Pages. This new function allows Admins to easily create pages like About, Tools, Terms Of Services etc for their pligg site through a simple wysiwyg type editor. In previous versions of pligg the process to create pages like this required you to fool around with php and .tpl files and hard code your content into the system making changes tedious and time consuming.

One of the features pligg has is the ability to expand it’s features by using modules, it would seem however that the module administration section in Pligg v1.0.0 doesn’t function correctly yet. The pligg package comes with a modules folder in which there are 28 default modules included, none of these included modules however show up in the modules Admin page or seem to be installable even by following the instructions provided by Pligg.

Adding a Module
There are a couple methods for adding a module to your site. The first is to FTP to your server and then upload the module folder (formatted like: /module_name) to the /modules directory of your Pligg site.

A second option is to upload a ZIP Install-compatible .zip file using the ZIP Install module. This method will only work with modules that have been correctly packaged for the ZIP Installer.

Story and User administration is still clumsy, irritating and not as well thought out or implemented like you would get with another CMS system like wordpress or drupal.

Installing and Enabling a Module
Once a module has been added to your site’s /modules directory you can install it from the bottom of the Module Management page. Once installed the module will automatically enable on your site.

This is a screen shot of the pligg admin modules page and as you can see there is no way to enable modules from the bottom of the module management page as described by pligg. We had all default modules that were included with the package in our modules folder as pligg instructed and none of them show up or can be enabled.

There are a few posts in the pligg forums that would suggest others are having the same issue with modules and topics about other bugs that have been reported, hopefully all the errors including the hidden ones will be fixed before final release. http://forums.pligg.com/bug-report/

Pligg Groups Feature

The only real new addition to Pligg v1.0 feature wise is Groups which are rather disappointing in their implementation, browsing the pligg forums we can see plenty of requests for other features like better spam protection, a finished Askimet module, better story, comment and spam user blacklist administration features and zero for groups? so why were they added in v1.0.0 and what do they do.

It would seem that Groups were added to try and bring together users with a common interest in content on your site. So if  Member1 likes Design topics he can create a Group about Design that others can join, member1 can also set the number of votes that decides when a story submitted to the group will be set to published status. Created Groups are sorted into four sections Published, Upcoming, Shared and Members.

Members who have joined a group now have a new option during the submission process to not only submit there story to a category of their choice but also to any group they are a member of. Members of groups can also use a function called Group Share where any submitted link┬áthats not submitted to a group can be clicked and you get a choice of which group you want to share the article with. When we tested the group share function it didn’t seem to work and we couldn’t share any submitted content to the group although we could submit a new story to the group.

Many of you may like the groups but personally we feel it might have been time better spent on other areas of the system like profile page layouts, tracking friends submissions, better private messaging, better friend connections.

Conclusion
Pligg v1.0.0 is rather disappointing after almost a year of waiting since v9.9.0 was released back in January 2008, most of the changes users will notice are the new admin template, main template Wistie, some new modules, security fixes and some new template hooks in your theme. Features wise Pligg v1.0.0 is not the huge leap lots had hoped for aside from Manage Pages and Groups there are no major changes from v9.9.5 which was a security bug release of v9.9.0. Pligg seem not to have listened to there users on this update and instead of adding features that have been requested for months on end and making pligg’s spam protection more robust (Making ReCAPCTCHA default doesn’t cut it) they added Groups.

If your thinking of using Pligg v1.0 at the moment hold off until the final version is released and can be considered stable and error free.

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Article Details

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Author: on February 17th, 2009

Category: Pligg

Tags: , , ,

  1. bbrian017 says:

    After installing I haven’t seen any errors using pligg. I was more or less disappointed with the overall management of the project and the future development that was made before initial issues were resolved.

    Development continued even tho the pligg management seen issues with it’s current release. I’m not saying the changes were bad! I must admit the software is looking good but usability issue remain.

    Issues with uploading your profile avatar, uploading your group images and user profile maintenance (advertising) is once again forgotten. Also the admin categories still has a bug when adding or moving categories. We cannot launch successful websites with little or no functionality.

    Pligg has to look back at where they were once going to get where they should be today.

    Great review if the software Lincoln it’s always a pleasure reading here at your blog.

    p.s I’m running 1.0 on test overall not too bad! we must remember it’s free open source software!

    cheers!

  2. Geoserv says:

    Good review Lincoln.

    I like others have patiently been waiting for this much praised released, but it took me about 30 minutes to wade through all the errors that ended up being a cookie issue that has also plagued others.

    Highlights for me were the new front and backend UI. But thats as far as it goes.

    I was hoping for better category management, this having to drag and drop, reload the entries page everytime you add a category is too time consuming. Perhaps a manager similar to WordPress would have been a lot better.

    As far as the module manager, agreed, something isn’t right thus far.

    On the front end I like the implementation of Wick for use with the tags.

    I can only hope that when this release is final, it will be more friendly to adding jQuery add-ons then previous versions that required too much tinkering with code.

    I cannot figure out why they didn’t add reCaptcha to the submit process in this release, perhaps one of the biggest requests from members to help eliminate spam from bots.

    I’m going to write my own post about this, but what do you think of the so called “Advanced Search”? I think I am missing something with it.

    Nice to talk to you again, your friend,
    Geoserv.

  3. Yeeeeee says:

    This review can be taken into development by the pligg team, although I think it is time they sold off this project to someone with the capacity to take it to the next level. This kind of poking and prodding and changing themes wont get pligg anywhere.

  4. Tradenet says:

    “Pligg”…just take the “l” out, the extra “g” and you got it. That’s what it is.

  5. Dan says:

    Thanks. I was thinking of upgrading, but now I will wait.

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