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AbleSpace review | By: sagaPO

This community software review will talk about one of the leaders in the industry of community software solutions - AbleSpace. AbleSpace has a lot of features which makes it unique and distinguish. In this review I’ll try to show the features and abilities of AbleSpace. Let’s see what is AbleSpace leader for.

I think that the main advantage of AbleSpace is the set of the features included in the main package. The software comes for one time fee, includes all the features which the company has created, free installation done by the specialists of the company, lifetime free 24/7 support and updates. This all is impressive, isn’t it? But let’s write a point by point AbleSpace review.

1. System requirements.

- AbleSpace requires at least 70Mb of web-space and 500K of MySQL DB space for installation,

- Linux/Unix (RedHat, Debian, FreeBSD, Mandrake, etc.) or Windows OS,

- Apache Web Server,

- PHP 4.1 and higher (Apache and CGI modules),

- MySQL 4.1 and higher,

- Cron Jobs,

- ionCube Loader for the license files,

- open IN and OUT TCP connection on ports 999, 1982 and 1983.

I can see ionCube Loader, means some of the files are encrypted. But I’ve found the list of the encrypted files in the documentation at AbleSpace’s site and can say that they don’t affect the modifications. There are listed almost 20 files for the license key checking purposes.

And concerning the open ports. Usually all hosting companies open those ports if you take a dedicated IP. So, it is not a problem to find a compatible hosting for AbleSpace. Besides of it, the company recommends a hosting company which will be suitable for the software work. So, you’ll not have any problems with that.

In the list of the features I see VideoUpload, VoIP and VideoChat, which, as we know, require a FFMPEG server. However I don't see that requirement in the list. I've contacted their support via Skype and found out that the software uses the remote media streaming servers of the company for those conversion and streaming purposes. This is a good solution if you don't have your own server. However, as the support specialist said, you can use your own FFMPEG. If needed the company will provide you with the instructions and the needed files.

2. License types.

AbleSpace is being sold under 4 different license types. Though, those license types have minor differences. Let’s get acquainted with the license types:

Single Domain License - $597
May be used on one domain. The design is chosen from several templates.

Single Domain License with Unique Design - $697
May be used on one domain. A unique design is made by our designers.

Multi Domain License - $897
May be used on many domains. The design is chosen from templates.

Multi Domain License with Unique Design - $997
May be used on many domains. A unique design is made by our designers.

So, the difference between the license types is the amount of the domains you can install the software on and a custom design to be created by the designers of the company.

I’ve checked with the support team and they’ve confirmed that the set of the features is not different in different license types. Everything is the same, support and updates are included in all of them, as well as a free installation. Pretty good.

Let’s continue this community software review.

3. Design/layout.

There is one default template available in the package of the software. If you purchase the software with Unique Design option (more 100 USD), the designers of the company will create a design according to your wishes, ideas, sketches and examples. I’ve taken a look at the design gallery of the company and I can say, that for more 100 USD the designers create real masterpieces. I’ll show some examples of the designs in the Custom design section of this AbleSpace review.

Now let’s test the demo site with the default template and see how it looks and works.

Well. I like what I see. Good performed design. Well chosen and combined colors. A clear Web 2.0 design. Suitable for a community site.

Let’s register and use AbleSpace.

Simple registration form. No unneeded and complicated questions. Just main information. The registration fields have input check which is a good feature:

Tried to enter special symbols and got a message with a hint. Interactivity is a good ability of the software.

Let’s register and use AbleSpace.

The second step of registration is asking you to upload a photo. You can do it or skip that step, in case you don’t want to upload a photo yet:

OK. I’m registered and logged in:

Pretty nice look. I like this clear design. There are not too many heavy graphical files, site loads and works fast.

Let’s continue this AbleSpace review.

I see a REC button just on the photo placeholder. Let’s see what it does.

It is for Greeting Recording. Clicked on it and the system is asking to record my voice greeting. The users, visiting my profile, will be able to playback that greeting. That’s nice.

Let’s see what we can do in the profile. The company announces a customizable profile. Let’s see how customizable it is and what exactly is meant with that statement.

Well, this is the look of that profile customization tool. The text was drawn by me, the different pictures put by me as well :) Besides of drawing and putting such standard pictures, it is also possible to upload your own photo from your PC and set them as background, upload video and audio files:

This is a good customization tool. In other packages I’ve seen customization using HTML and CSS. But if you’re not familiar with those technologies, you’ll not be able to do much things with them. But here I can see simple drag and drop and shiny buttons.

Another unique feature which I want to pay your attention to. That is 3D City:

This is a 3D world where the users can walk and interact with each other. There are several different locations available there. Haven’t seen such a feature in any other solution.

The rest of the features are implemented on a high level too. Couldn’t find any lack of the implementation. AbleSpace works fine in both FireFox and Internet Explorer. This is an advantage too.

Let’s test the admin panel for this community software review.

5. Admin panel.

This AbleSpace review continues a chapter about the admin panel. The same shiny look is available here as well. Let’s visit the first 3 submenus and see what we can do with them.

It is very comfortable to be able to disable some features which you don’t need at the moment or don’t need at all. I see such a section in AbleSpace admin.

Another good feature of admin is the ability to edit the template files through the admin CP. Here how it is implemented in AbleSpace:

And here is the section to edit the language files or translate the site into another language (there are 12 languages included in the package - Arabic, Chinese, English, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Lithuanian, Spanish, Turkish, Russian, Romanian and Portuguese.):

I like customizable solutions. Don't like to be stuck with the default things. Seems that AbleSpace can be customized so much as you need.

The other thing which I always seek in community or community sites is the ability to edit, delete or add custom profile fields. I've found such a section in AbleSpace too:

Pretty configurable solution. Even the default fields can be edited or deleted.

OK. I'm finishing this part of AbleSpace review. I've done my best to make a good research and show you the solution in the way I see it.

6. Custom design.

There is one default template available in AbleSpace package. As it was mentioned above, for more 100 USD the company creates a custom design according to your wishes and ideas. Want to show you some examples of the designs which they've created. Found them in the design portfolio:

Pretty good designs for 100 USD. The price is quite reasonable.

7. 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. 8. Support.

The price of the software includes lifetime free 24/7 support (announced on the web-site of the company). A phone number is available on the top of the web-site and it is nice. I've called and the call was answered by a support specialist while I was calling on Sunday. This is good. Also their support is available through the following messengers:

This is good if you don't want or can't call them. In most cases it is not comfortable to discuss technical questions over the phone. That's why messenger support is a good alternative.

I'm finishing this community software review. AbleSpace is a good implemented solution with a reasonable price. From the advantages of the software I can mention the relatively low price, a lot of features, lifetime free support and updates. The default templates delivered in the package are well designed. Also the company offers custom design option for more 100 USD. Didn't find any lack of implementation. The software works fine in all major browsers. I like what I've seen here.

UstillUp.com | By: Jason Vandenbrink | Aug 19, 2009
I've had an ablespace 1.0 site for over a year now. The site ishttp://www.ustillup.com It's a late night singles chat, dating and hook up site for "late night encounters". I love this software, and have only good things to say about their support department. I am now ...
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