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Review on phpFox Admin Panel | By: aquajuice

This community software review will talk about the Admin Panel of phpFox. In order to see the admin panel demo you'll need to request an admin to be created for you. There can be 2 causes of why they require it – they create an individual admin panel for each user who wants to test it, so they will not mess up the demo editing it at the same time, they just need your e-mail address for spam purposes ;) After going to the “Live Demos” section and clicking on the link “View the admin interface demo now!” we got the following screen:

Written my e-mail address, typed in the captcha code, clicked on the “Setup Your Demo Now!” button and the system sent me a link to admin interface along with the admin username and password. Here's the dashboard which appears after you log into the site with your admin username and password:



There's no different admin login page. You will need to log into the site itself and then to through the “Go To Admin Panel” link to get to the admin panel.



Huh, we're here, at last. Here's the admin interface dashboard. What we can see here. First of all on the left part there's a frame with menu items, news and updates information in the center, server stats (?) and site stats of the day. Well, don't understand why they show server stats on the main page of admin interface? Is it absolutely needed to check every day the version of PHP, MySQL version, GD version, whether PHP Safe Mode is on or off? Absolutely not useful. The dashboard is being used to show important information, guys! Not some unneeded stuff. Those settings aren't being changed each day and this the worst admin interface dashboard I've ever seen. phpFox developers should urgently take some lectures on usability.

Let's go on with this community software review and examine the menu items.

OPTIONS



This has 3 submenus – Edit options, Update Options, Add Option (?). What’s the difference between edit and update? Weird… But let’s see the submenus first, maybe there’s a difference :)

EDIT OPTIONS



The right column lists the sections which options you can edit. Checking a setting and clicking on “Edit Settings” will bring the following:



UPDATE OPTIONS

This brought a very odd page. I don’t understand what this page is for:



What missing features can be shown there? Where are those options missing from? Couldn’t get that.

ADD OPTION

In this section you’re supposed to add options (?). What wordings they’ve chosen for their sections? Complicated wordings. The look of the section is more complicated:



What’s konsort? What’s varname? What are you supposed to write there? How you can add an option there? Pretty unuseful feature of phpFox admin interface.

CUSTOM MENUS



There are 2 submenus in this section – Menu Management and Create Menu. Let’s examine them one by one.

MENU MANAGEMENT

In this section you can manage the existing menu items. The section looks like the following:



Possible options are View, Edit and Delete. Also you can rearrange them.

CREATE MENU

First of all want to mention that it is incorrect wording. You can't create menu, you can create a menu item.



And here again. The title is Menu Management while it should be Create Menu, since we're in that very section at the moment.

In this section you can create a new menu item, put the destination URL (where the menu item should take), chose the menu location (main menu, header, footer) and the permission.

CUSTOM PAGES



The section has 2 submenus – Page Management and Create New Page.

Let's go on with this community software review and examine them.

PAGE MANAGEMENT

This section is supposed to show the custom pages, created by the admin. At the moment there are no custom pages, so this page is empty:



CREATE NEW PAGE



In this section you can create your own custom page which can be a page with some advertisement, etc. The section has a WYSIWYG editor which can be turned off or on.

CUSTOM FIELDS



This section has 2 submenus – Manage Fields, Add Field. Don’t think that it is absolutely necessary to view those sections in more details. It is clear that the Manage Fields section will bring the list of the available fields which you can edit and the Add Field will let you add a custom field to the registration.

STYLES & TEMPLATES



The section has 2 submenus – Style, Install New. Let’s see them as it is not clear how they work.

STYLE



Wow. Now we know what “Konsort” is :D That’s the name of the template the site uses for default, heh. Here you can edit the CSS, change the logo, edit the name of the template you’re using. To edit CSS you must be familiar with that technology, otherwise you’ll mess up your site. So, be careful.

INSTALL NEW



Gone to this section and it says – no new styles found. But where they should be found? In which folder? Giving users some hints is a good idea. Community software developers should consider that the most part of the owners of such sites are not technicians or programmers and they must give them some kind of hints.

LANGUAGES AND PHRASES



The section is created to manage the language files. Let’s see those sections for this phpFox review.

LANGUAGE MANAGER



This section lists all the available languages and gives you an opportunity to edit them. Pretty bad that there’s only English language available in the software. I thought this was a multilingual solution…

CONTENT MANAGER

In this section you can manage the letters which are being sent to the users of the site and also automated messages.



The other submenus in this section are doing the same actions. In the Upload Language section you can upload your custom created language file. And in the Download Package you can download the language file from your site. Don’t know what this last submenu is being used for.

SUBSCRIPTIONS



This section has 1 submenu only – API Gateways. I’m curious to see it.



So, this is the section to configure the payments on your site by setting up your PayPal account which will be accepting the payments done by your site users. The system doesn’t have any other payment systems, just PayPal.

USERS



As you may understand, this section is intended to manage the users of the site, mass mailing, setting up invite lists and other stuff regarding users.

USER GROUPS



Well, they could combine this and the previous sections. In this section you can create new user groups or manage the existing ones and also set the permissions for those groups members.

USER GROUP MANAGER



The section lists all the available user groups giving you an ability to edit them.

SECTIONS



Each of this submenu brings you a section to edit the appropriate content of Forum, Groups, Classifieds, Polls, Quizzes, Gallery. There’s no need to examine each section separately as it is already clear what they will do.

MUSIC



The section works with music files. Here you can approve albums created by the users and the uploaded songs. Also here you can edit genres and add new genres.

VIDEOS



The same as for the songs with one exception that there are no albums for videos and there’s no section to approve those albums :) Here you can approve the uploaded videos (or delete them) and edit the categories.

CHAT & SHOUTBOX



This is the section to manage those 2 features of the software. Let’s see what you can do in the Chat Manager section.



So, here we can add new chat rooms and edit/delete the existing rooms.

DENY & BAN



Well. These submenus could be put into the section USERS. phpFox has a lot of problems with usability and this community software review revealed them. Why to create separate sections of menus which can be combined? That’s hard to understand. In this section you can ban users, deny usernames (for example, if you don’t want registrations with username superadmin, root, etc.), demy e-mail addresses (for example, from hotmail.com), set word filter (presumably those are the words which will be filtered from the site) and ban IP-s (users from machines with the specified IP-s will not be able to access the site).

ADS



This is the section to manage the ADS on the site. You can edit the created ADS or delete them or create new Ads.

SESSIONS



And again. phpFox put another unneeded section of submenus in the admin interface. 90% of all the site owners will never use this section. Who will be interested in the Page Session or the Site Session? I don't understand those guys.

MAINTENANCE



And the last section to be examined in this phpFox review is the Maintenance section. It contains a submenu where you can backup the database, view the tables in the database (MySQL submenu), clear the cache, PHPINFO (again this unneeded thing in admin console), diagnostics information and a section to update the counters.

Finishing this community software review I want to say that phpFox developers have a lot of work with making the admin console usable and user friendly. There is a lot of unneeded information, sections which could be combined. Some hints should be added to the sections. In the existing form the admin console can't be used by simple users, not technicians which is a huge lack.
/p

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