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Some Basic Questions About Hotaru

Discussion in 'General Troubleshooting' started by seekyt, Sep 12, 2010.

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  1. seekyt

    seekyt Donor Donor

    Hey Everybody,

    I own a pligg site and I am very seriously considering switching to Hotaru for obvious and not so obvious reasons. I have a few questions about the functionality of Hotaru for users of my site.

    First, one part of my site that is important to me and my users is the ability to "skip" step one during submission (for you non-pligg users, that's entering a URL), which gives the person a way to write and submit an original story or article. I read that you can set permissions for certain users to post without a URL, but since I have not tested Hotaru yet, is it possible to allow ALL users to write and submit original stories ALONGSIDE the bookmarking function, without giving them admin status? Basically, I'd just like people to have the ability to skip the URL requirement if they wanted to write some original content, but without having to rely on the "magazine" plugin I read about.

    Next, and this may sound silly, but is Hotaru as simple and user friendly as Pligg is? I'm not a developer, and this seems like a great CMS for someone like myself. I have been successful at heavily modifying pligg modules, css, php etc., and I'm just wondering if this is as user friendly as pligg is for a non-tech person such as myself.

    Next, I have built a referral program for my pligg site that I believe to be one of a kind (haven't released it yet, though), yet absolutely believe it won't work on Hotaru because of heavy DB changes and changes to revenue sharing modules and such. It functions similar to the Xomba referral program (further splitting the revenue sharing plug in to work between three parties if the user was referred by someone). Is there an existing plugin available for Hotaru that is similar?

    Finally, are all of those plugins really free?... I paid really good money for things like the "post images" plugin (called "auto images" or "auto thumb" on pligg), bad behavior plugin, etc. Surely, I am missing something about the price of these plugins and templates, right?

    Sorry for the long post! Thanks everybody!
  2. petsagouris

    petsagouris Design & Development

    There is the Submit No-Links Plugin for that.

    You'll need to download the latest release, and give it a try on your local setup to find that out. Saying whether it is user-friendly or not it is more or less subjective. Give it a try, I hope it doesn't let you down ;)

    I am not familiar with such a function, maybe there is something we can go ahead and create a plugin for.

    Everything that is available in the forums it is free, there are people around the forums that take up freelance work for creating unique themes and/or plugins, there is a forum section for posting jobs like that. But all the plugins & themes available in the forums are free and it is really worth it to go ahead and spend some time browsing around the respective forums.

    I realize that you are having a lot of question marks before actually trying the software. When you've had a hands-on experience and played with it for a sufficient amount of time and tried some things about it you will have much less worries (judging from my own experience). Try Hotaru and enjoy it :)
    Last edited: Sep 12, 2010
    Nick and seekyt like this.
  3. James Stein

    James Stein New Member

    Pligg User Friendly ??? Pligg is the worst coded and clunky piece of mess I have seen in many years... Not to mention the support sucks and the top developer/owner acts like a prick ....

    HotaruCMS has pligg beat by leaps and bounds ... Not only on user friendly but also on coding...

  4. seekyt

    seekyt Donor Donor

    Hahaha.... you mean the guy with a username similar to "rumpsteak?" I know how you feel..

    In fact, every time I have ever asked a question over there, I have either been attacked for not understanding the code, told to purchase a "pro" module, or I was asked to hire a developer.

    So far, it looks like this community is the antithesis of the pligg community - I was surprised people took interest in questions and ideas, which is why I voted for Hotaru as my "favorite cms," and believe this will push other cms' out of the water.

    Thanks for your straight forward and brutally honest answer. That the kind of enthusiasm that I was hoping to see!
  5. shibuya246

    shibuya246 Hotaru Developer Staff Member Admin

    There are about 100 plugins for hotaru and so far they are all free. If a developer wants to charge for a plugin it is up to the individual.

    Some plugin requests can be fast tracked by making a donation to developers who night then feel more motivated.

    There are some good premium themes about. Nick has a few around the $50 mark at http://nickramsay.com which is good value. There are also many basic free themes to get you started.

    Good luck and enjoy.
  6. richrf

    richrf New Member


    I've been using Hotaru for a few weeks on Links.com. I also tried using Pligg in the past. From what I have experiences, Hotaru is far superior in design, stability, and security (esp. spam protection), flexibility, and availability of features. Also, as you noted, the support is much better though I have some reservations in this area. But it goes with the open source territory. Some users definitely get better support than others.

    My major reservation with Hotaru, is that the piece-meal plugin architecture will ultimately not be able to scale into a very large site. Going into details will probably get too technical, but essentially what is happening is that all plugins have to do their own read/writes to the full database which can create excessive performance issues at times. Optimally, the architecture should be designed so that key features require the absolute minimum amount of updates and reads against the smallest number of tables that are either indexed correctly or are stored in memory.

    This is not a problem when tables are small and are on a dedicated server but the product will require a significant (if not total) redesign for a very large site. From my own discussions with the developers, I do not think they even realize the design/performance issues they have created. I believe that they think that one can keep throwing more and more hardware at the problem and solve it in this way. It is possible - but expensive.

    The piece-meal, plug-and-play architecture also creates installation and maintenance issues. You have to learn to install plug-ins in the right order and learn what each plug-in does. Also, plug-ins can interact with each other in unpredictable ways, and are therefore difficult to debug, so what I do is stick to the plugins that are commonly used and tested with each other. Since the overall application logic is spread over so many plugins, it is difficult to predict how the code will evolve over time since there is not one cohesive vision and architecture. Most open-source plugin-based software suffers from this problem. The more evolved apps tend to have a core architecture that evolves as one unit - e.g. Wordpress and VBulletin.

    Also, I have not found any developers or designers to support enhancement to the site. You seem to be self-sufficient but if you aren't this is something to consider.

    Last edited: Sep 13, 2010
  7. seekyt

    seekyt Donor Donor

    Thanks, Rich - I had not even considered that aspect or thought about such vulnerabilities.

    shibuya246 - Thanks! I am already a fan of your plugins, and I haven't even installed Hotaru yet. Also, the templates Nick is selling for $50 are amazing - many similar pligg templates sell for $70.

    I'm excited that the few things available for purchase are reasonably priced and I'm excited to get this up and running. I hired a programmer to rewrite some of my pligg stuff for hotaru - so I hope to be able to bring my site to Hotaru very soon.
  8. narc

    narc Well-Known Member

    Hi seekyt. I also used some years Pligg. plugins have purchased. yet the support very miserable. the system is complicated and rigid.
    I now also switched to hotaru, and am thrilled. the support of Nick and forum members is simply fantastic.

    Here you look at it: http://www.pligg.com/gallery/news-media/trendkraft-1/ and now with hotaru http://www.trendkraft.de

    So I am very happy with my decision. and nick is a great cms has placed on the legs.

    ps: still have 4 other projects Pligg, which I will soon switch to hotaru. my next project -> http://hype.pbguide.com/
  9. shibuya246

    shibuya246 Hotaru Developer Staff Member Admin

    The idea of plugins is that they can be turned on or off without upsetting the core code or the database records. This is how Hotaru, Wordpress and other such CMS's tend to work. Hotaru is built around a robust core code which very easily supports plugin design. Hotaru and Wordpress both have a core architecture and then allow plugin developers to add features through the use of plugin code.

    The database tables are small in number compared to platforms such as vBulletin. The tables are indexed for performance. The Hotaru core has an advanced caching method for database calls, even from the plugins, increasing performance not decreasing it.

    If you prefer not to deal with plugins then I suggest having someone write custom software for your application needs. This will not be a CMS that can support other peoples requirements, but will be something specifically tailored to what you want. This is the difference between building an application for many versus building for just one user.

    I have taken on board a number of your suggestions and written some plugins to meet your needs, but you constantly seem to be comparing Hotaru to a customized piece of software written just for your site. Hotaru is an open source CMS platform which can be used for many purposes by many people. The plugins allow people to change out the pieces they want to customize the site. Suggesting Hotaru is piece-meal, not able to scale and has performance issues, is absolutely wrong and misleading. The architecture of software systems 30 years ago and those of today are very different.

    It is unfair to new people trying to learn about Hotaru for you to continue to spread negative aspersions about Hotaru which are not true.
    Nick likes this.
  10. richrf

    richrf New Member

    Hi Alan,

    I appreciate your writing for me the one plugin that will display the most read posts. It has been very helpful.

    I stand by my comments and I do not want to get into a technical discussion here since for the vast majority of users of Hotaru they will never reach the performance limits of the software. However, there are sites that do reach thousands of users daily that run on both Wordpress and vBulletin, the former being free and the latter commercial, both of which are optimized to scale to a very large number of users. I have reviewed their architecture and understand how they are able to achieve their goals. Techniques have to be used that optimize functionality and database usage. This can only be done within the core functions since this is where the database and code can be fine-tuned to work together in order to maximizing performance.

    I stand completely by my comments concerning Hotaru and its underlying architecture, and I regret that you do not respect my system design and database credentials. I completely understand the problems that the Hotaru architecture will create as it scales and since I am well aware of them, I will plan for the issues accordingly.

    Thank you for your comments.

    Last edited: Sep 14, 2010
  11. Nick

    Nick Well-Known Member

    I am confident that Hotaru will continue to grow, adapt and overcome future challenges, just as it has during the last year.

    We thrive on encouragement, appreciation and positive contributions. Our future success depends on it! :D
  12. petsagouris

    petsagouris Design & Development

    When making a PHP site more effective first thing that you do is using a opcode caching system and enabling the MySQL caching too.
    After you do those two things, the PHP execution time is really really of no importance, it is all about hardware.

    Optimizing a website is about hardware, if you are pointing a finger to PHP programming then you should be using software based on some other language, a much faster one.
  13. richrf

    richrf New Member

    Fixing database and system design problems with coding techniques via PHP (or any other language) is analogous to a plumber trying to fix a piping problem in a building after the architect neglected to leave enough room for the piping.

    The problems with Hotaru are at the database design and conceptual design level which make them chronic and inevitable as the application scales. I know how to fix them and if my site ever does reach the volume of visitors that I hope it will reach then I will have to build an optimized version of Hotaru from scratch. But, I am not sure at this time I will be able to. So, my plans are to throw hardware at the problem. A very expensive solution if you consider the cost to each user in hardware costs over the full life of the application simply because the application was not designed correctly from inception.

    However, almost all generalized CMS products suffer from the problem. There are those however that are highly optimized for a specific application (e.g. Wordpress and vBulletin) and are able to scale because there were experts that are designing the database and the overall architecture. Hotaru is designed like a home where there were separate general contractors for each room in the home.
  14. Nick

    Nick Well-Known Member

    I repeat...

    And with that said, I'm closing this thread since the OP's questions have already been answered.
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