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Help with jQuery Mods and Hacks for your Ning Network!

Hi all!
I've been looking at the developments of the Ning platform lately and am not impressed with the way the company has shifted. It's time for me to officially move on from Ning. I've enjoyed a great few years with Ning however glam aka modes pricing structure and failed promises have left me not trusting the company that bought out Ning some years back.

What Ning used to be, is not what Ning is now. I expect a large number of people will be looking for a way to move their content by January 1st. If you are on Ning 2.0, you can easily download your content using the Ning archiver when ever you like so long as you are the network creator. You can import it into social engine and the nice thing about social engine is that it is a one time cost of $700. That is half a years worth of a Ning 3.0 ultimate subscription and a whole years worth of a Ning pro 2.0 subscription. I'd like to show you where good social engine hosting servers are found, what you can expect to pay and how you can get started using social engine.

The product you want when visiting social engine is social engine php. The latest version is 4.8.9. I've been working diligently with the social engine developers as well as the team over on their github page to improve the product particularly when it comes to a potential mass import of Ning users. If interested, you can check out their Ning discount plans here where you can migrate for cheaper than if you were to buy it outright starting from scratch.

Over on ex creators you can sign up to the forum over there and Troy can help you test social engine for free so you can decide how to set up your community and talk to other people migrating from Ning to other platforms. I chose social engine php because of its ease of use and its wordpress like plugins of which their are many within the marketplace. It is the best alternative to Ning 2.0 out there. Another popular alternative is jamroom though it involves a steep learning curve with lots of coding knowledge and support requests applied before your community can be set up with the ease of use you'd expect to find. To this end, social engine php is the most realistic alternative to the ease of use that ning offers.

I expect every day to be Ning's last, so without further adue, check out host iso and name cheap for your hosting and domain needs which you will need prior to setting up social engine. I have looked around many web server hosting platforms even before this Ning crisis began and found those two to be very satisfactory and are very open to individual customer needs. Their customer support is top of the line as is their service, I haven't had a problem using them yet and I've done so successfully for several months respectively, whatever you need, it is possible. I hope this helps you, lets not let our communities and business go to waste because of a management decision that effects us all in a very dissatisfactory way.

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Thanks for the post, and Happy New Year!

Ning sure is quiet, and we don't know what the new year will bring.  Ning clients are still keeping me very busy with plenty of custom work implementing features Ning has not provided.  But many are leaving, and I respect anyone who has made the decision to move on.

For people with Ning 3 sites worried about their content, since Ning has no exporter, I can provide custom help in  exporting your data.

One day I will check out ex creators; I have heard a lot about it!

Best wishes and Happy New Year to all!

TJ

'TJ' is the Owner of jQueryHelp.
Please Visit http://YouTubeStars.com - Thanks!

Oh I miss the old 2.0 platform. Back when things were white label and Eric Suesz was around. I keep wondering if he had the right idea all along. He knew what was coming when he left I just had a feeling he did back when at the end of 2012 there was no response from him. I keep wondering though how long Ning will keep up 2.0 especially since videos and music are things in addition to events and such Ning doesn't support in 3.0. In other words, their bandwidth bill or storage bill costs for every upload and what with file attachments being as they are, I'd hate to lose what people have already made out of Ning. Long term customers are happy with what they signed up for, it's sad to see them go but no alternative php self hosting solution can take away what Ning brought us back in the day. Of that I'm sure.

TJ @ jQueryHelp said:

Thanks for the post, and Happy New Year!

Ning sure is quiet, and we don't know what the new year will bring.  Ning clients are still keeping me very busy with plenty of custom work implementing features Ning has not provided.  But many are leaving, and I respect anyone who has made the decision to move on.

For people with Ning 3 sites worried about their content, since Ning has no exporter, I can provide custom help in  exporting your data.

One day I will check out ex creators; I have heard a lot about it!

Best wishes and Happy New Year to all!

TJ

'TJ' is the Owner of jQueryHelp.
Please Visit http://YouTubeStars.com - Thanks!

Happy new year. You are a good friend to me and always will be. I doubt I'll leave here so long as 2.0 is around. I kind of wish the good things of 3.0 came to 2.0 like a new dashboard. I honestly thought that would happen in early 2013. When they decided to ditch the 2.0 platform altogether, I still see that as Ning's saddest hour. I was one of the last people to get a 2.0 network and while it lasted, I took great care of it. I was around since 2009 and miss the days when what we pay for now, used to be free and booming with more people than ever before. Glam media was the worse thing Ning did to us, I'd be happy to have rolled back to a donation based plan or even a pay for feature plan but sadly, that didn't happen. I hope you are well. Custom features will be needed now more than ever if people want to go ahead with the new plans. But you won't be reaching as many people, sad to say. Excreators is great, you should check it out. Yeah it isn't ideal, but it's hosted on social engine php, what I use now, and love it.

TJ @ jQueryHelp said:

Thanks for the post, and Happy New Year!

Ning sure is quiet, and we don't know what the new year will bring.  Ning clients are still keeping me very busy with plenty of custom work implementing features Ning has not provided.  But many are leaving, and I respect anyone who has made the decision to move on.

For people with Ning 3 sites worried about their content, since Ning has no exporter, I can provide custom help in  exporting your data.

One day I will check out ex creators; I have heard a lot about it!

Best wishes and Happy New Year to all!

TJ

'TJ' is the Owner of jQueryHelp.
Please Visit http://YouTubeStars.com - Thanks!

I just came across this... did you do the migration? If so, can I have a link to your site?

I'm currently interviewing developers to help me move my 2.0 site to Social Engine PHP... the downtime is killing me. I've been down more than 25% of the time thanks to Ning. 

I've successfully completed a migration in the past to social engine more than once. Circumstancially, I don't have a live demo of an active migration to show you since I decided it was much better to just build the whole thing from scratch, however you can see my site live in action as I've done some custom modifications to it and compared to Ning these days it is a thousand times better. It never goes down on it's own, servers are very reliable.

http://starseeds.co

I can give you a hand with migration if you need it. It's honestly a very simple process, everything in social engine is apart from a need to edit core files, something I haven't actually done. You should be good for the majority of your time with the platform, it is very easy to use.

I know other people are offering migrations to platforms like word press and jam room however they are extensively complex and if you're desperate, they work. But they cost money, more money than I'm willing to spend on a working developer to do it so social engine is kind of fool proof in this way.

It's as simple as uploading a Ning archive.

I never ran into any issues with it at all. It reads the archive very wisely. All left members and their content are stored as unapproved members once the migration completes and so they can be reinstated at any time as full members so you don't lose any important data. The only thing you have to consider is members passwords. They may need to reset them if their old passwords don't work. And because Ning doesn't provide the following features to my knowledge, private messages and friends lists may need to be reordered. However all in all nobody looses anything, even their profile avatars get saved. Profile music just gets added to their uploaded files. Also be mindful that if you decide to migrate from local files, you'll need to keep your Ning site open during the process of downloading the archive. The files will not exist on Ning servers if you do not download media and all things your Ning archive provides. This is a major issue if you find you have to reinstall the website as you can only do this once if you have 0 posts in social engine. This means having to get your settings right without posting anything before you import anything. All in all however, it works pretty much flawlessly. I find the less you have on each page, the better your site will work. Note comet chat is pretty much a must so it doesn't come with Social Engine but I have it on my site as the only noticeable mod. Hope this helps.



Just Asking said:

I just came across this... did you do the migration? If so, can I have a link to your site?

I'm currently interviewing developers to help me move my 2.0 site to Social Engine PHP... the downtime is killing me. I've been down more than 25% of the time thanks to Ning. 

Thank you for responding!

Ooh. It looks nice. I like how your discussions are still fluid and together. A lot of the SE sites I have seen split them up, so it looks disjointed. You have a very nice interface that's easy to use. Well done!

I appreciate the offer the offer to help. Initially, I was a little freaked out by having so much power to break something, but the quotes I have been getting are all over the place, from thousands of dollars to a few hundred. The more I look at how it works and the plugins that are available, the easier it looks for me as a DIY project. If I can hack Ning, this should be a walk in the park. lol

Do you mind me asking which plugins you're using?

Elshara Silverheart said:

I've successfully completed a migration in the past to social engine more than once. Circumstancially, I don't have a live demo of an active migration to show you since I decided it was much better to just build the whole thing from scratch, however you can see my site live in action as I've done some custom modifications to it and compared to Ning these days it is a thousand times better. It never goes down on it's own, servers are very reliable.

http://starseeds.co

I can give you a hand with migration if you need it. It's honestly a very simple process, everything in social engine is apart from a need to edit core files, something I haven't actually done. You should be good for the majority of your time with the platform, it is very easy to use.

I know other people are offering migrations to platforms like word press and jam room however they are extensively complex and if you're desperate, they work. But they cost money, more money than I'm willing to spend on a working developer to do it so social engine is kind of fool proof in this way.

It's as simple as uploading a Ning archive.



Just Asking said:

I just came across this... did you do the migration? If so, can I have a link to your site?

I'm currently interviewing developers to help me move my 2.0 site to Social Engine PHP... the downtime is killing me. I've been down more than 25% of the time thanks to Ning. 

You know what I hate how the forum plugin works in se. How people can use it I don't know. I didn't even know it looked better than the others. I'm using the slip stream theme. Maybe that has something to do with it. I'm using se chat, forums, groups, events, blogs, photos, called albums, music, videos, polls, classifieds, called marketplace on my site specifically, just sounds better, got it from a similar idea phpfox uses for their version of the module, and mobile though I turned off the mobile plugin. I am also using you net advanced layout editor, you net advanced notifications, you net profile styler, comet chat and have used a plethora of others in the past. These ones were most reliable and popular so I kept them. I have no immediate need to duplicate what already exists on the site, but other people might so I can recommend you others if you wish for specific ways to make them uniquely a part of your site. One thing I will say is that the layout editor in social engine pages makes all the difference in the world and in future release sometime soon I hope, they will be providing the ability to do thing with pages like editing page width and height as currently it is static along with columns although one can choose how columns display. Work in progress for them. Out of all the social software I tried out there, social go, spruz, Ning, Social Engine, Phpfox, Boonex Dolphin, Elgg, Oxwall, Word Press via plugins, social engine is the best even if it seems a bit crude out of the box. Don't worry about breaking the bank, some plugins are worth the price. I'm going to be purchasing some things from Radcodes and social engine add ons and some things from hire experts. Them along with you net seem to be the perfect modules with what ever else is floating around in the marketplace, it is extensive so don't be afraid to search through pages until you find things you may like to install. There are a lot of unnamed developers out there I personally would like to try to work with so yeah I've begun on an awesome journey to say the least. One of the things social engine is also working on is an updated text editor and custom template engine for php7. They are a bit behind in some areas but I'm making sure they are in line as I've personally in vision of ex Ning creators specifically done a lot of contributions to their git hub page for them to consider. In fact because I made so many, they had to put a template up for others to follow so that they can better understand issues reported since I made so many feature suggestions currently in progress. It always does a developer good to keep busy, I've done the same for a lot of companies recently as I have the time to fully appreciate them for what they do. Some take them seriously others don't, it's a game I play to help others at the end of the day that pays off, particularly where companies of customer relation and success matter most at heart. Volunteer work makes a difference, especially if I pay them to be a customer. I ditch the companies who I can't say impressed me on this front or any other. Not everything is an immediate plan in the works, but I've definitely put my share in so hopefully it will be paying off. The question is now when will things start to make a difference. It starts with the customers. I have everyones interest in mind when I go out to support someone in need. That is something you can count on me to rely on companies to make happen, as they are more than capable of doing so where everyone can benefit from such ideas. Sometimes I wonder if I'm a bit over active, but it totally works.

Just Asking said:

Thank you for responding!

Ooh. It looks nice. I like how your discussions are still fluid and together. A lot of the SE sites I have seen split them up, so it looks disjointed. You have a very nice interface that's easy to use. Well done!

I appreciate the offer the offer to help. Initially, I was a little freaked out by having so much power to break something, but the quotes I have been getting are all over the place, from thousands of dollars to a few hundred. The more I look at how it works and the plugins that are available, the easier it looks for me as a DIY project. If I can hack Ning, this should be a walk in the park. lol

Do you mind me asking which plugins you're using?

Elshara Silverheart said:

I've successfully completed a migration in the past to social engine more than once. Circumstancially, I don't have a live demo of an active migration to show you since I decided it was much better to just build the whole thing from scratch, however you can see my site live in action as I've done some custom modifications to it and compared to Ning these days it is a thousand times better. It never goes down on it's own, servers are very reliable.

http://starseeds.co

I can give you a hand with migration if you need it. It's honestly a very simple process, everything in social engine is apart from a need to edit core files, something I haven't actually done. You should be good for the majority of your time with the platform, it is very easy to use.

I know other people are offering migrations to platforms like word press and jam room however they are extensively complex and if you're desperate, they work. But they cost money, more money than I'm willing to spend on a working developer to do it so social engine is kind of fool proof in this way.

It's as simple as uploading a Ning archive.



Just Asking said:

I just came across this... did you do the migration? If so, can I have a link to your site?

I'm currently interviewing developers to help me move my 2.0 site to Social Engine PHP... the downtime is killing me. I've been down more than 25% of the time thanks to Ning. 

Thank you for all the info. I'm wading in. I'm setting up my server now and have a list of plugins I'm going to grab right away. There is just so much to do with it. It is going to be expensive to set up. I just hope the increased revenue will pay for it all quickly. Between the downtime and the number of people who are lost because they didn't want to receive hundreds of notifications, I seriously think it's possible my traffic will double after the rebuild, but sheesh, getting there is a little overwhelming right now. I'm very excited, though. :)

Go to http://www.radcodes.com and purchase their seo sitemap plugin. It's a must have for your traffic to find you. Also their rss plugin for google is awesome and works quite well. Seo is a must have.

Just Asking said:

Thank you for all the info. I'm wading in. I'm setting up my server now and have a list of plugins I'm going to grab right away. There is just so much to do with it. It is going to be expensive to set up. I just hope the increased revenue will pay for it all quickly. Between the downtime and the number of people who are lost because they didn't want to receive hundreds of notifications, I seriously think it's possible my traffic will double after the rebuild, but sheesh, getting there is a little overwhelming right now. I'm very excited, though. :)

Oh gosh. I didn't realize it didn't have a sitemap integrated. Thanks. 

Not many scripts do.

Just Asking said:

Oh gosh. I didn't realize it didn't have a sitemap integrated. Thanks. 

Well that was fun while it lasted. I mean, it worked for awhile and some things are great with social engine. But it's not for me anymore. Not really.

2018 Update. I'm on Ning 3.0.

https://starseeds.ning.com

And here's why.

1. Emails. Yeah. It seems when you go custom platform, you have to do a lot of work to send regular emails especially the kind where membership growth is concerned. Not a lot of custom templates exist for alternative social networking platforms to dynamically reference what a member's name is, or what they're doing to a blog post for instance. People love to associate images with links as well, and there's no other platform like Ning out there which has that kind of advanced functionality out there to such an extent. Social Engine and a bunch of other platforms also has a very bad email system by default. It runs on Kurl and not a lot of web hosts have this set up by default. If people basically ignore the emails, they go to spam folder because the IP address related to the site is too new. And I didn't want to change hosting every 3 months  just so that regular emails like someone commented on your post were sent.

2. Bugs. Oh my god way too many bugs in the software. You think Ning was bad? Just wait until you've got no support, and a broken database when you're attempting to upgrade a core product. I'm honestly mixed on this issue, there are some things Ning is very buggy at which annoys me, other platforms simply don't have an issue with. But basically what it comes down to is that it's harder than ever to suggest things to a company who doesn't care about customer data, they only want more sails.

3. Speed due to Zend templating system. Okay. slowest platform I ever worked on. No joke. I could never get my search engine ranking above 1 million even with lots of people posting because of this factor. The key here is that you might think something looks really great and cool, but when you're loading tons of inline CSS JS and other files in a script that's so complicated when it doesn't need to be, you're going to have problems. Lots of them. and this just proves it. One syntax change in Zend can cause the entire site to break. Yeah not cool.

4. SEO. It practically doesn't exist. Anything wrong with your site SEO wise will happen. Most importantly, no sitemaps, no RSS and no Pings.

The only nice thing about Social Engine is privacy settings are more robust. And you can add content to practically almost every single page of the site. Assuming you can plug in web hooks and make changes to core app files, you could do the same as well with PHPFox. Ning 3.0, not so much. but you still get the most important pages in the layout editor for convenience sake, that you don't get on 2.0 sites.

All in all, as long as you're not going overboard with either email sending or annoying users, Ning 3.0 is kind of the revolution in a way. But there are still heavy major elements of control that mode media left behind I really wish would change.

Like for instance. The development of the features, the big ones, over the last year or so.

Search, polls, music, leaderboards. It's nowhere near as extensive as what it once could've been. Groups still have no RSS feeds. Events don't have them for categories. You can't add or update the layout page for music. The placement of the code for the sharing of content on the videos page is not consistent with the rest of the features. It's not streamlined at all. Most troubling to me though, is pingomatic. It doesn't exist for Ning 3.0 . Subsequently, no sitemap either. I had to use a custom work around to get the activity feed for Ning 3.0 sites as well. Leaderboards are a huge let down, as they are just for members and are not the same feature as it exists on 2.0, not at all. Search, you can't search individual modules let alone advanced member search based on answers to profile questions. And one thing I want on Ning 3, is the ability to add custom fields to posts. Like you can via Wordpress and WPTypes for instance. But it looks like that isn't happening any time soon. My issue with polls, is that the people who build these features, can't even put the template to proper english. "Multiply Choice indeed" And then there's no sharing by email or custom share options for Ning 3.0 either. That annoys me two because if there's a single discussion I want to share, I have to manually make a broadcast message template to be used for that.

Little grievances like this made me leave in the past. Make trial sites and just not follow through with keeping them. I simply wasn't ready to switch then. I tried, but I sent too many invites at once and Ning over the years felt it best to just cancel the site because it was too much to handle for them at once. they almost tried that trick this time but I held firm to my belief in taking things a little slower. Yes it's corrupt, yes it's not ideal. But what can you do honestly? Not a lot. I really miss the Ning directory. That was my favorite part about the free Ning. People knew what they were doing and they had fun trying. There wasn't all this second guessing, second questioning stuff there is now. I miss what I had most of all, and I greatly desire to feel the love and achievement efforts I used to thanks to the friendships attained and appreciated for all they were. And still are in some cases.

I want to stay, but I want to progress. It's time to just accept that 2.0 won't be coming back. While I'm on the subject, Ning is getting rid of Ning 3.0 API access just because the previous management didn't finish it. Which leave me to believe that Ning developers now doesn't even want to care about what once was before. It's actually really sad, but that's kind of what you get when you auction Ning off to someone who isn't the original owners, users, designers of the platform. Yeah I really wish Jason never took over the running of Ning sites, I really do. I just hope Gina gave up her platform willingly. Ning 2.0 source code would be actually still beyond invaluable in today's website market, I just know it would. Ruby on rails and php integration or no.

If Noosphere adventures ever wants to sell it, you should really consider getting it TJ. I think Jen and you'd be the best lead developers and hope for this place, I truly do.

Anyways, that's what's new with me. Learned a lot. Moved house several times. Still here saying hello and hope all is well if you made it this far in my ramblings lol.

Talk soon,

Elshara.

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