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Dolphin review | By: bikruch

This community software review will talk about Dolphin social networking script of Boonex. First of all let’s take a look at the company profile which produces it.

Dolphin is being produced by a company with name Boonex, which, as the site of the company states, is located in Australia:



The company produces several other products as well, but this article will be about Dolphin only.

Just one quick note and we’ll continue this Dolphin review. I can’t understand – is it so hard for a software producer company to create its own and unique logo and not take ideas from other famous solutions? Now you’ll see what I’m talking about.

Here’s the logo of Boonex:



Here’s the logo of SupportSuite which is being produced by Kayako Infotech:



See what I talk about? :)

Ok, let’s proceed with this community software review.

1. System requirements.

Here’s the list of the requirements which I’ve found on the web-site of the company:

• Linux/Unix (Red Hat, Debian, FreeBSD, Mandrake, etc.) or Windows OS, Apache Web Server
• Ability to run executable files (necessary for ffmpeg.exe)
• root SSH access (necessary for RMS installation)
• PHP 4.4.0/5.1.0 and higher (register_globals must be Off, safe_mode must be Off, exec() must be allowed and allow_url_fopen also must be On) with mbstring, domxml and xsl extensions (they are required to run Orca forum and support UTF-8)
• MySQL 4.1.2 and higher
• GD library compiled with TrueType fonts (for photo processing) or ImageMagick as an alternative
• Sendmail or Postfix
• shell or another interface for setting Cron Jobs
• 20MB of disk space and 1MB of MySQL DB space for installation
• 8MB of disk space and 50KB of MySQL DB space for an average user

I got a little bit scared from this list. Too many technical terms. So, there are just 2 ways. Either you are a professional systems administrator to be able to install all those things on your server or hosting account, or you should get a hosting account from the list of the recommended hosting companies.

2. License types.

Dolphin is being distributed free of charge. But let's see how much free it is. In the free package you can’t remove brands.

The price for brand removal:

$39/year. $99/unlimited.

Also there is a fee, if you want Boonex specialists make your installation:

$79/order.

Taking into the consideration the high price of the installation, I can think that the installation is not so easy as the web-site of the company states. Any third party installer company offers installations for 20-35 USD per an installation. Here we see 79 dollars per an installation. That’s at least strange. Also, that’s the installation of the software only, not configuring of the server or hosting account, otherwise they would have mentioned that.

Also there’s a license for $998. Here what it includes:

• Lifetime link-free Dolphin license
• Lifetime link-free Orca license
• Lifetime ad-free Ray Widgets licenses
• Lifetime access to version upgrades
• 3 years of Contributor Status at Expertzzz
• 3 professional installations (or version upgrades)
• Full pre-deployment assessment (ensuring site is 100% operational)
• Pre-integrated commercial BoonEx mods (eCards, zipcodes, etc)
• Hosting server assessment and setup assistance
• Site performance optimization assistance and advice
• Site customization assistance
This license type will be suitable for web-studios or developers. A coupe of words regarding the following points of the list above:

• Site performance optimization assistance and advice

The free version isn’t optimized?

• Site customization assistance

How much customization does that mean? Will they create new features for you or change the existing ones? Or what does it include? Why to write something without explaining what it means?

3. Design/layout.

Let's take a look at the demo site and see how well it is designed and implemented. Here’s the look of Dolphin demo:



First of all I want to pay your attention on the changing pictures at the top (hands in the picture above, in this case). The screen you see above is made in FireFox. Here how it looks in Internet Explorer:



Not very good for “COMMUNITY SOFTWARE EXPERTS” like they name themselves, isn't it?

The layout is pretty simple, not too many graphical parts. Theoretically the site should load very fast, but in fact it loads very long. Possibly because of the big changing images in the header which I completely dislike.

4. Registration.

Now let’s register and try to use Dolphin for this community software review.

There are several fields which you should fill for the registration.



“Enter the name of the city where are you living”. I think that no comment is needed for this part. English is the official language of Australia. Can't even imagine the cause of that grammatical error.

Captcha doesn’t work correctly. See what I’ve entered and it still says that the code is incorrect:



Also – there is no reload button for the captcha code. You can kill yourself, but it will not accept your entered code and you can’t even change the captcha code. Seems that I need to refresh the full page if I want to continue this Dolphin review.

Reloaded the page, filled in the data once again and the registration went through. So I can continue.



Clicked on the picture of the man in gray and got the following page:



That’s good that there is a counter of characters in the Title, but what about the file types which you can upload and the file size? Do I have to try them all or just guess?

5. Admin panel.

Here’s the admin panel of Dolphin:



Let’s examine the Tools, Plugins and Builders sections.

Tools:



Don’t see any interesting feature here. All is clear.

Plugins:



This is the section to configure the integrated plugins, such as Ray Suite and Orca Forum (solutions of Boonex).

Builders:



Want to discuss those features one by one.

- fields builder



When I was going to check this feature, I expected to see that I can add new table fields or edit the existing ones. But now I see that I can just move the table fields from one section to another and remove them. There is no possibility to add a new, custom table field which is extremely bad.

- menu builder



The same I can see here. You can either remove an item from the menu or add to that menu BUT from the list of available submenus, no possibility to add your own link or menu item.

6. Usability.

Implemented on a high level. No unneeded links or static pictures of menu items are available. The users will not be lost even visiting the site for the first time. This is an advantage. If a user finds your site too complicated to use, that user will leave your site and not return any more.

7. Support.

There is no support if you download and use the free version. Also, there is no support if you get a license to remove the brands or order an installation done by them. You will get support only if you purchase the $998 option.

Well. That's all what I wanted to mention in this Dolphin review. Though the software can be used free of charge, there are several things which stop me from downloading it and starting a new community web-site. Everybody knows that a good site needs a good investment. If even you don't pay money for the script, you will have to pay for search engine optimization, submissions, advertisement, etc., otherwise your site will be used by your family and friends only :) Don't think that you want to open a community just for your family usage :) If you get a free copy of software, you will not get any kind of support. That's the same as downloading a GNU licensed CMS. Even worse. If you use such a CMS like Joomla or WordPress, there are a lot of forums and sites which will teach you how to use it, forums, the members of which will help you with your problems. Such things are missing in the free version of Dolphin. You are alone with your downloaded copy of software and will have to hire somebody if you find a bug in the software or your site which took a lot of money and time.
/p

Owner | By: kevin | Jul 25, 2011
Hello I own a dolphin software, NOT the 900 version but the $600.00 version. I agree with everything you have posted and glad you did, thank God for people like you. www.boonex.com has the site set up so members can have their on line store. I don't want that crap!!! I told the...
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Be careful | By: Gerard | Dec 11, 2009
Boonex Dolphin is the most ugly and terrible piece of code I've ever seen!!! Try to digg in the code, change something substantially - and you'll see yourself that it has architecture that is impossible to deploy. Structured programming mixed with OOP that violates all normal r...
Read more>>

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