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Social networking is not only for personal connections, as organizations are discovering. However, as public social networks are not always suitable for professional collaboration, tools like Elgg prove to be useful in the enterprise setting. The latest 1.8.0.1 release introduces improvements in administration, security and web markup standards.

New Features Improve Administration and Management

Elgg's latest stable update, 1.8.0 brings in a handful of improvements, both for the end-user and administrator, and likewise to better-conform to current web markup standards.

  • Simpler installation -- Elgg 1.8.0 makes it easier for administrators to install the software on any compatible web server. The step-by-step process likewise checks for common server misconfigurations and will offer advice on how to fix these.
  • Consistent default theme -- The Elgg default theme better-conforms to web markup standards, and is easier to customize. The user interface is now more consistent across applications and plugins.
  • Improved administration section -- The admin panel was redesigned from ground up for improved usability. The admin area is now separate from the front-end, so that problematic plugins should not prevent access to administration.
  • Sticky forms and renewing security tokens -- Form content will not be lost in between sessions due to expired security tokens, which will help prevent lost data during input.

Back-End Fixes Improve Performance

Aside from fixes on the front-end and management, Elgg 1.8.0 also highlights several back-end improvements that will make the software speedier, more compliant and more robust as a collaboration software.

  • Markup improvements -- Elgg 1.8.0 complies to W3C markup standards, and features improved CSS styling.
  • New menu system -- 1.8.0 features a more intuitive menu system for easier management of the back-end.
  • Improved JavaScript support -- Elgg 1.8.0 has a new dedicated JS engine, which lets administrators implement a more extensive feature set on their sites through Ajax and PHP.
  • New plugin system -- The latest release also highlights new plugin features, including dependency requirements and prioritization, which should help resolve conflicts and dependency issues when installing plugins.
  • Standardized API -- Most functions will now accept an options array instead of more complicated arguments. This simplifies the method for accessing data from external applications.
  • Better metadata handling -- The API for handling metadata and annotations has been improved and offers more options.

Elgg 1.8.0 also offers an improved documentation and a more consistent coding style, which should make development on an installation and new plugins easier.

Is it Easy to Upgrade?

Organizations that use Elgg 1.7.0 to run their corporate social networks might want to check first for plugin availability, since old plugins might not work with 1.8.0 due to improvements in plugin management. As such, the 1.7.x branch will still be updated with security patches, although no new features will be added. A recent incremental update -- 1.8.0.1 -- fixes a small bug in the installation system.