Boonex – bad programming example

Boonex is an assembly of social site php scripts including chats, forum and the site itself. As we work on several social sites this year, we have chosen boonex as starting platform to build things upon and kinda regret it now.

I wrote a post about newscloud a year ago and about pligg. Well, Boonex is shittier than pligg and as newscloud as well. Why ? Lets tackle some of its problems

Boonex problem Number 1:  No coding standard

Boonex is written by several people using different technologies. Its main base (Dolphin) is written in pure php with its own template engine and forum  (Orca) uses xlst. That has large negative impact to integration of forum in site and site in forum. When coding, please use single technology and template system.

Whats even worser, different parts of dolphins code itself is written by completely different people, and very in the hurry. So everyone has its own imagination how to interact with different parts of the code. It is very tricky to modify code that way to suit site needs.

Boonex problem Number 2: Template engine and separation of code/design/database

This problem in dolphin/Boonex needs a point on its own. Boonex uses custom template system ( that should be called layout system). The blocks of generated html code are passed to specific places in the template. That creates a big headache for programmers as they need to search through code for the place where some box is generated. It might be generated in template, or in specific function in one of many includes. And so on. Even pligg has better templating than this.

It is very tricky to rip Boonex  templating apart, as whole coding is based on such poor programming practice. They would be better off using existing template system like smarty or similar one.

This leads to problem nr3

Boonex problem Number 3: Crappy use of Database

We saw several other competing sites launched on boonex, but we did not care much. Why? Becouse when they reach 500-1000 daily visitors they will break apart. The reason for it is very bad programming and use of database.

For example, Boonex uses profile builder which assigns fields to profiles. So the output of profile uses more than one table and is quite inefficient.

Also, there is a nice 20-30 query overhead on each page display to fetch all the configuration values from table. Silly, isn’t it ? They would be FAR better of using a file for configuring sofware or caching it in php file like it is done in most of the systems.

Another simple problem. When B wants to display a profile being online it additionally check database for its status. But that data was pulled from database already. So 20 useless queries again.

Resume

I would not suggest using Boonex  if you want to keep your programmers sane. We have have changed the code almost completely for now, and you will need to do that too.



Comments

  1. So what social network platform do you suggest ?? have you tried Elgg ??

  2. Henri : Elgg looks promissing, but i still need to try it out.

  3. Elgg is significantly better than Boonex. Cleaner code, and seems to be done by people who know what they’re doing.

  4. King Solomon says:
  5. you mentioned the code has to be changed completely for now. Does that mean you had to rewrite Boonex? Please let me know if you encountered any security issues with Boonex?

    What do you think about their upcoming version 7.0

    • We still use boonex “framework” if one could call it so, and it is a temporally solution. Haven’t seen fresh boonex code, but if there is no major rewrite from scratch, it sucks. The main issues we faced are database overhead while loading configuration, inefficient queries, multiple re-queries of same things during same page load, templating system that poorly separates code from presentation (what would be its main purpose), no caching, using completely different technology for forum, etc. Also, we need quite specific things that weren’t implemented in boonex at all.
      About boonex security… As this article mentions boonex, I get daily worm attacks to my blog that try out typical boonex exploits to hack in and compromise server. Boonex is famous for its XSS vulnerabilities.

      • Thank you Giedrius! Boonex is heavily pushing their upcoming 7.0. Hopefully it will not just another hype from the owner. I read his interview and hope his software will do what he promised. As of now, it looks like a piece of broken car with good painting all over the exterior.

        If I may ask you. My client is looking at AbleDating, Dzoic handshakes, eMeeting. Could you please give me your 2 cents on the mentioned? Take care.

        • Had installed abledating somewhere, however haven’t worked with its code much. They provide additional services as well, for example custom skinning of the software, or fake profiles 🙂 Not my cup of tea, as these profiles look really fake.
          Haven’t tried others yet, though will probably do so 🙂 First one will be buddypress probably (based on wordpress).

  6. Thanks Giedrius! I am seeing “scam” posting almost everywhere when googling for “abledating”. When I tested their demo, it seems the fastest among others. Take care.

  7. Great post Giedrius. I wish I had found it sooner. I too have a boonex site as the framework and have been battling a few big problems. We have just about got everything fixed up but I still could use some help on finding a few people that have had more experience cleaning up Dolphin’s mess. Mainly the DB issues. I’d like to contact you.
    hmmm…
    I’ll try your twitter

  8. ben franly says:

    I love the abledating software myself after using dolphin for a long time its hard not to love anything after that horrible software that is dolphin, mentioning boonex , wow what a total scam, ive never seen anything like it in my life. The way Its leader “Andrew treats its members is terrible, even to the point now that he has turned nasty and insulting against the very many complaints now in the blogs, which are very censored to hide the truth about Boonex. Andrew lie’s all the time in the blogs to string people along with this new dolphin 7, which is now in its 8th Beta, and still no sign of it ever working, but of course Andrew says the RC is imminent, then comes up with some excuse to why it hasnt been released yet. long standing members are leaving Boonex because experienced users can see there is something really wrong with the software and company ethics…. but hey hoo, thats up to them .im only glad im out of it myself, Horrible software, well it is unless you want to fix bugs for the rest of your life and lose your hair in the process, and people pay money for that rubbish, amazing…

  9. I had a bad feeling after intalling the script on our server & have since read many posts like yours warning users about Boonex Dolphin. Our suspicions arose after logging in to their website which full of broken links & no communication channels. Pity we only found this out after going through the whole installation process

  10. I’m trying to get a Boonex website up and running and I have some issues with that.
    I also see from other people that Dolphin 7 in the long term is not a good choice.

    Now my question is: since I want to build a website based on events what would a good alternative be?

    Thanks

    • Alex : Depends how far other aspects of site need to be developed.
      Drupal would be quite good choice as long as your are satisfied with options it provides. There are Elgg (which has better code structure than boonex), though I fear it might have performance problems for custom content types. There are far more choices as long as you look for frameworks rather than CMS’es.
      We work on in-house solution for niche social sites we own, that is not for public use.

  11. Dolphin 7 differs from previous versions. It is modular and secure. There are a lot of speed improvements in it also.

  12. It’s funny how the above complaints should also apply to the stinking pile of spaghetti code called MAGENTO, yet everyone loves magento.

  13. I recently downloaded & installed a Musician / Entertainment site script called “Beatz” which is supposed to somehow be associated with Boonex. It seems like a nice script, but I get a error when you click some of the photos and there’s a change I’d like to make when you click the Featured artists. I’ve written to the script developer several times and no response. If there’s anyone who could help me with this, pls send me an email. Thx!

  14. hi friends.

    hmmm interesting .. i need help in boonex .. my client don’t want to leave boonex 😀

    could any one help me how can i set all newest uploaded video goes to pending

  15. Guy Anderson says:

    Top example of custom social network software –
    http://versus1uk.blogspot.com/
    Many thanks,
    Guy

  16. I bought able soft oryx with unique design. To put it bluntly, its a complete mess and now the subject of a full IC3 investigation.

    As for other posts on here, how many promoting other scripts work for those companies.

    As for boonex, i have taken the free trial and whilst there are some minor issues overall its not too bad a script. It all comes down to what you want, how much you are prepared to pay and whether you have the skills to work on the site to make it how you want.

    • Chris: Haven’t seen boonex code in a while (the post is quite old). I have to agree on one: it depends on how much you expect to pay. Both for modules and/or for development time. Boonex was not a good choice for us, as it requires quite a lot of work for our goals (custom multiple profile sets and relationships) together with bad template structure (at that point). Maybe things have changed…

  17. Let me explain please. I am retired and living off a quite smal pension. I saved for over a year to buy a decent script that i as a relative novice could get customized and run. I had two choices. I aparently chose the wrong one and wasted 697 usd and now have a site that is very poor andfull of bugs. From what i am told these are mostly ajax based and browser compatibility.

    The only option i now have is spend an untold sum on getting a programmer to rectify the errors or take the boonex 99usd package and find someone who can customize the site for me.

    I have tried the boonex demo which fills almost all of my requirements and its appears to be relatively stable and quite good. A friend of mine is going to download the free version for me so i can give the script a good test under real time usage. Then if that script works for me, i will look for someone to customize the site and hopefully i will be up and running.

    What i do like is the free script for trial purposes so in one sense boonex does offer some hope for a novice like myself especially when the script has just about all i need.

    If theres a decent programmer who can design my sites theme, then please leave a link here for me to contact. But be aware. I have been scammed once (Now subject to an FBI investigation) so i will only pay the cost when i have a desing that works.

    • Chris: 3 years ago we started to develop a site with Boonex. At first we thought that it is perfect for our requirements… but after starting developing we started seeing bugs, code inconsistencies and non-efficient behavior. While we had skills to handle anything Boonex threw at us (optimized the site speed multiple times, implemented things that weren’t in boonex core and so on), it was no good. None of programmers that worked with Boonex at that point would like to develop a custom site with it again. However, I believe that code has been changed. I do not want to bash Boonex as it is now – I haven’t seen the code. I just want to point out one thing: If stuff looks close to what one wants it does not mean it is close.

  18. I agree. I cannot quote on code exetra, out of my league sorry to say, but from an operational view it appears to work very well indeed.

    Many people do not seem to realise that the greater majority of script buyers are novices like myself and can only refer to how a script responds to our needs. Certainly this version of boonex appears to work quite well and apart from the store which i believe personally is quite basic, it is good value for money.

    I really have no option now so will give this a try and certainly will report back. If it doesnt work then all my plans for a decent social network site will have to die with me cause i dont have the money for a third attempt.

    So boonex, i am relying on you and a lot of help from that man upstairs. hehehehe

  19. An interim report.
    Boonex free has been downloaded and set up. So far we have not found a single bug in the script. Ok the tests i have carried out have been very basic and we have as yet to start the customization, but so far all is 100%

    The next step is to customize, apply the license and remove all boonex ads etc and add a couple of extra features not in the script. At this point i am very impressed with how it all works. This may, however change as we proceed.

  20. An Update. The script is now fully installed and EVRYTHING works very well. We did have a problem with videos uploads. This was a server issue due to crons not picking up the command. easily resolved. Apart from that all is perfect.

    We are now customizing the site and developing too. So far i would say this new 7.06 script is pretty much perfect. More later as we proceed.

  21. Got Dolphin 7.6 and so far so good.
    into final testing phase now. Only minor issue i have come across is with recording own videos.
    now for the real work to see if it can handle what i need. and i may consider buying it.
    a lot of tweaking server side is needed to get this script going and many hosts are just not up to it.
    This certainly is not the script for you unless you have a minimum of a VPS.
    The OP is dead right when he says dolphin is a mish mash and a little buggy, hey but it is fun!
    All the info is there to tweak it if you can’t code; you just have to dig.

Trackbacks

  1. […] though plugins use more user-friendly system than drupal (which I hate). The comparison to both Boonex and Drupal is quite […]

  2. […] really unproductive topic – that is how to code poorly. Or, more exactly, I am going to pick on my unfavorite  piece of social site again, that is Boonex. We will talk about how one should not implement user sessions and how to do it […]

  3. […] dolphin: The templates and some other modification were really hard. Mostly it requires changes on different parts of the software or an additional budget to buy paid mods. I just found a comment describing the same issues. […]

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