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Review on Dolphin Admin Panel | By: best_pilot

This community script review will talk about the Admin CP of Dolphin. For this Dolphin review we’ll be using the Admin CP demo from the official site of the software. The demo is located over here:

http://www.demozzz.com/dolphin/admindemo/admin/
Username: admin
Password: dolphin



As you can see in the screen capture above, the fields are missing the username and password. Since this is a demo, would be really great to put the admin access username and password in the appropriate fields so the users will not have to do it manually. This is a demo dear developers, make it user friendly as much as you can.

Here’s the admin CP dashboard which you can see just after the login.



On the left site, as usual, we can see the navigation menus which have submenus loading upon clicking on the main menu items. On the right side you can see a menu of latest activity, the content awaiting moderation, version information, links to other resources and loading news from BoonEx site. I always dislike when the software developers put such content to be loaded from other web-sites or systems. Imagine a situation when the Boonex site is down and the system will not find the path to load the news. That will be awful. However Dolphin is loading such content as well which is not good. Besides of it, you can’t be sure that it will not load any malware or spyware to your system. Hacking RSS feeds is pretty easy and you must always avoid such content to be loaded from other sites or servers.

Let’s return to the Latest Activity section. I think that there are some lacks of implementation and incorrect wording. Let’s see the top section:



As you can see, the section is named “Latest Activity”, however that’s not only the latest activity shown in that section. As you can see, just under the main title it shows 46 members, some articles, etc. Means it’s the statistics of the site itself, not just the latest activity. Another issue, as you can see, the sections Music, Videos, Photos, etc., are links, however there’s nothing to show if you go through those links as the counter says 0 for each of them. Besides of it, in some places the wording is linked to some pages and the others are not. This is confusing. As of my understanding, Dolphin developers intended to create it in a way to show links when there is at least 1 item to show through that link and not to show a link when there’s nothing to show. However the system doesn’t work as it was intended which is really bad.

And just under that section we can see the section of the content awaiting moderation. As you can see, some sections have links and the others don’t. This is the same lack of implementation we’ve seen above.



Also. When you create a demo site, make sure to put some content to show all the abilities of your solutions. For example, I wanted to see how the approval is being conducted, but I can’t do it as there’s nothing to approve or just see how it is being done.

Now let's start examining the menu items for this community script review.



This is the section to manage the site Members, Affiliates and Moderators. Let's see the section of Members management.



This is the Members management section, the top part of it. I was expecting to see a shiny and comfortable admin CP in Dolphin, however what I see doesn't seem to be either of those statements. On the top it shows the amount of the registered users and the amount of the active users. Just after it we can see a link to create a new profile (discussed below), a search box and the list of the users of the site.

The list of the users. Well, I've seen a lot of such lists in other solutions and I can say that Dolphin's list is far from being good or comfortable for the admin to browse it. The main cause of this statement of mine is the fact that the links to the profiles are set on the ID-s of the profiles when it would be much better to link the usernames.

And here's the bottom part of the members management page.



And here’s a huge bug. I’ve checked some users as you can see from the screen capture above, but the buttons to Delete, Confirm Email, Activate, Approval, Ban, UnBan, Send Message are still inactive and frozen. The buttons get active when you click on the “Check all” link and chose all the users in the list. This is surely a bug as it can’t work in this way. You can’t delete all the users when you want to delete only one user. The same is for the approval, ban or unban. This is a huge mistake in the development.

And the “Send Message” box. What’s that box used for? Is this the place to send mass mail? If so, why it doesn’t have any kind of formatting, etc? Really bad. I was expecting to see a better admin CP.



I guess this is the section to manage the content of the site – photos, videos, music, blogs, etc. Let’s see the Photos section.



Can’t even see how the approval is being done. Guys, put at least 1 file in each section so the testing users can see how it is being done. This is at least non-professional.

The same is in all the other sections in the menu Content. That’s why I’m forced to proceed to the next section for this Dolphin review.



This section contains the tools of the administrator. Here I see a Mass Mailer feature. So, why did they need to put such a feature under the list of the users? There are a lot of confusing features in Dolphin admin CP.



Like it was in the section of the users management, the e-mail message box doesn’t have any kind of formatting tools. It says that you can use HTML in the e-mail body. However you must be familiar with HTML in order to able to use it. There are no hints on what kind of HTML tags you can use there. They could at least put some tags there, as an example.

Didn’t find anything interested in the other sections of this menu item, except of one, the Modules section which simply loads an empty page:



Are there any guarantees that it will work fine if you start to use it on your own server? There aren’t as there’s no warranty on Dolphin as it is a “free” solution. Also there’s no support. This was just a quick note.

Let’s continues this community script review.

In this Dolphin review I’ll not examine the Plug-ins section as it contains features which will not come in the software package, you’ll need to purchase them separately. But I think that it’s not honest to show features in a free software demo when you will not get most of the features shown there. Be honest, dear developers. Don’t mislead your prospective customers.



There are 3 builders in this section. Didn’t find anything interesting. Just simple drag and drop items. Taken the idea from WordPress.

And the last section to be reviewed in this Dolphin review is the Settings section.



This is the section to manage the web-site settings and contains a bunch of various settings starting from the administrator password, language settings, membership levels, payment settings, etc. I’ve found there a submenu which would be better to place in the Tools section. I’m talking about the “CSS Styles Editor” section. It is not a setting, isn’t it?



This is the language settings page. As you can see there, Dolphin has 1 language only – English. That’s bad. I was expecting to see it multilingual. Also it is possible to edit the language file’s content, though in a little bit complicated way.



You will need to click “Edit” for each word (in total there are more than 1600 strings), edit the content and save it separately. Would be much better to avoid such separate “Edit” links for each word. Make the fields directly editable and create a common “Save” button for all the fields. It would save a lot of time.

There are a lot of things to work on in this Dolphin admin CP. Admin CP must be more comfortable for the users as the most part of the site owners are not programmers or systems administrators. Everybody likes to have a comfortable place to manage the site from.
/p

Problems | By: Natali | Dec 11, 2009
Boonex problem nr1. No coding standard Boonex is writen by several people using different technologies. Its main base (Dolphin) is writen 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...
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