Why I switched from Pligg to Drupal's Drigg

As some know, Dao By Design doesn’t just create sites for others, we began with and continue to develop sites for ourselves, generally based on my wide-spanning interests.

One such site is the Hao Hao Report, a Digg-like social bookmarking/link sharing site that focuses on blog posts and news articles related to China (I live in China, so there’s a vested interest).

Virtually since its inception I ran the Hao Hao Report on Pligg, and as much as I support the effort that the Pligg developers have put into the piece of Webware, in the two years I used it, it gave me a rather painful headache.

Though it’s touted as an “open-source content management system”, the last bit is a misnomer in my opinion. The term “content management system (CMS)” carries with it a certain weight and generally intends that it would provide a simplified method by which to manage content – any content. Pligg can’t, in any easy way, manage anything outside of what it is intended to do – be a link submission service.

In addition, the project’s templating system makes upgrading to new versions a painful experience. Should you customize your Pligg site’s design to any degree, you will need to spend hours upon any upgrade combing through the Smarty-based templates updating core changes.

That I had to hack the core code just to allow myself, the administrator, the ability to physically delete (as in remove from the database completely) stories and users from the site did not add to my coziness with Pligg. In the spam-filled world we live in, this ability shouldn’t be a patch after-thought, it should be the standard.

For an unknown reason Pligg only allows admins to “unpublish” spam and “block” users – leaving the hundreds or thousands of entries and spam users plugging up the database with junk.

Spam is another area where the Pligg project is still just taking baby steps – unfortunately where they are just learning to crawl, spammers are already in full-sprint. The Pligg forum is littered with reports of Pligg sites being blasted with unmanageable spam, and the Pligg core being able to do little but watch in horror.

But the proverbial straw for me was when the Pligg project launched Pligg PRO, a pay-for-use collection of Pligg addons. Don’t get me wrong, obviously I support people making money off their hard work, and in principle have no argument with Pligg developers doing so. However, when the core software is still in beta (after more than 3 years of development – it’s still not at version 1.0) and the project’s main page puts focus on paid development, something in this open-source community has gone terribly wrong.

So, for all these reasons I had been eager to find an alternative, but was somewhat stuck as I had a developed a community of 500+ members and thousands of submissions – a migration was essential.

Then I found Drigg. Drigg is a module for Drupal, a project that truly deserves the phrase: “open-source content management system”.

Drigg offered all the essential components that I required from Pligg, and because it was built on top of the powerful Drupal platform, I am now able to expand the site in any direction I wish with just a few clicks. New pages, additional features, a massive library of expansion modules, are all quick to add.

What’s more, Drigg comes with a Pligg migration script – which, though less than perfect, imported my rather huge collection of users and content with very few problems (backup backup backup!).

Now Drigg is missing a few things that I liked about Pligg, namely the External Vote Module, an Ajax-based “Live” page and a few other nifty gadgets that Pligg has. However, most, if not all, seem to be on the development map for Drigg, and in my opinion the gains far out-weighed the few toys that I’d have to go without.

Spam is still an issue, but instead of relying on the relatively small Pligg community to help, I have the entire resources of the large, well-established Drupal community at my disposal.

29 thoughts on Why I switched from Pligg to Drupal's Drigg

  1. Thanks for the writeup. This answers a lot of my questions. We were thinking of using Pligg for a project at Praxis Language, but, like you, we found Pligg to be too much of a link submission engine and not enough of a real CMS.

    I’m curious what your PHP skills are now. I’ve heard that Drupal can be quite a bear to wrap one’s head around at first, since it can do ANYTHING, but the more PHP you know, the better. Yes?

  2. @Fili: Cheers – though I’m not sure your vote counts, being a confessed Drupalholic and all 😉

    @John: To me some of the basic things (like adding pages) should have been addressed long, long ago in Pligg.

    As for my php skillz – bu cuo. Solid enough to whip together custom Joomla plugins, but not quite to the point of programming my own CMS (due largely to a lack of need, time and desire, I suppose).

    What I hate, absolutely hate, about Drupal is that it has three active versions with a fourth in development – all of which are incompatible with each other. Add in that they have a wide-open platform for creating templating engines and it’s just way to broad.

    Joomla, by far, is still my CMS of choice, but I’m coming around to Drupal’s strengths (namely a sweet ACL system).

  3. Congratulations, Drupal is a definitely good choice. Module system, themes and open source focus make from it an ideal candidate for many kind of website projects. I like it too.

    Could you write a little bit more about problems when moving from Pligg to Drigg?

  4. Drupal: Yeah, a bunch of versions at the moment. What made version 5 so good was a lot of 4.x modules matured at the time the 5.x platform was getting some momentum.

    6.x has a few interesting modules and a lot of optimisation not yet back-ported but easy enough to do so with not only PHP skills but an understanding of Drupal’s hook (and hook override) mechanism.

    And now version 7 (and 8) are in the works while modules are still being ported from version 5 to 6. I think this is the wrong way to work. Core is updated far far too quickly, no time for the overall ‘project’ to mature under a core supported for security releases for at least 2 years since popular non-core modules become mature (around 6 months after the release of a new version, so say a new version every 2.5 years, overall security/support cycle for a production version of 5 years).

  5. Hi Jan, it’s been a couple months now and my memory is fuzzy at the best of times, but best I can remember the biggest problem I had was all the users’ avatars weren’t migrated properly

    What I remember most though was that the whole process had me on pins and needles. I’m a pretty confident guy when it comes to mucking about with stuff, but this script had me on edge.

    It may have been because I was reading through the forums on the Drigg site, and they got me nervous.

    If you’re migrating, definitely backup your Pligg database and do the migration on a test (local) server first. At least that’s my suggestion.

    Re: Mollom – I’ve got it installed. Essentially Akismet for Drupal (though there’s an Akismet module as well – love choices). Unfortunately it does nothing to stop the piles of hand-crafted spam I get every day – actual people going through the process of signing up, verifying themselves and then hand submitting links – only for me to delete it all in a few seconds upon noticing.

    It would be sort of funny if (en masse) it didn’t take so much time.

  6. Good article. Hopefully Drigg works out for you. Ask you to keep an eye on SocialWebCMS as well (www.socialwebcms.com). We are a fork off of Pligg. We are working on some pretty major innovations – including a static page CMS within Pligg (its already been developed for my site – Informed Networker [www.informednetworker.com] – just has to be integrated into the made source).

  7. Like David stated SWCMS is progressing nicely, a lot of the existing Pligg bugs and security issues that have been around for several months are now taken care of just in the last month since the fork of SWCMS.


  8. @David & Jon: Have been watching SWCMS for the last week or so – interesting stuff happening there. Ash (original guy who ported Pligg) is on the development crew, right?

    Joomla went this way from Mambo and came out of it on top, so best of luck to the SWCMS crew.

    I, admittedly, have somewhat selfish reasons for switching to Drupal – I wanted a personal project based in Drupal I could muck around in and learn more about the CMS with.

  9. Pligg has many unresolved bugs and they are selling modules though they are in Beta. Thats very strange. They must have a valid software before pushing for any marketing strategy. Wondering how good is Drupal’s Drigg?

  10. Pingback: Hao Hao Report Switches From Pligg To Drigg And Explains Why | Social CMS Buzz
  11. I agree the move was a good one, however, the reason logically you cannot delete users, submissions, etc is because is because the developers either didn’t know about them, found found were too much overhead, or a myriad of reasons, but foreign keys weren’t used so there would be errors all over the place when looking at the history of a pligger who’s submissions they voted on are no longer there, or are associated with some user, or a submission has a user join to a comments table when looking at the comments. With sql foreign keys, you can delete a record out of one table, and all records associated with that record that live in other tables, eg comments, history, etc will automatically get deleted as well. Effectively autohealing from the loose records out there, but then you should optimize your db often.

  12. I’m using Pligg right now. And I experience a lot of bugs. Especially when using templates, a lot isn’t working any more.

  13. @ryan – yes, SWCMS has Ash, former lead developer for Pligg.
    @mooren – you should really move to SWCMS. We have a stable 1.0 release already out and a 1.1 release is imminent…not to mention a 2.0 release currently well under way.

  14. Maybe Pligg should allow those deletions, but it’s trivial to do that with a single simple SQL command in PHPMyAdmin.

    WordPress works the same way: spam is retained in the database. The way MySQL works, even hundreds of thousands of such messages don’t slow up anything. WordPress saves them because some spam filters can use old spam to predict whether new comments are spam.

  15. Nice you start your drigg site
    but it very rare to find a free drigg theme

  16. Are there any drigg Themes Available or are there anyone to develop it? I would love if someone can contact me at theonlinecasinobonus (at) gmail for the same

  17. I’m still using pligg and have to randomly shut down registrations to stop the majority of pligg spam!

    Their software sucks!

  18. My problem with Pligg has been the load it generates on the server. Every page has numerous DB calls, and the thing just runs so slowly.

    I looked at this review which came to basically the same conclusion.

    Has anybody had any experience with drigg under heavy load?


  19. I decided to leave pligg just thought I woudl update!

    Right now I’m running live with Social Web CMS a branch that separated from pligg!

    They have an upgrade script and everything to get off pligg!

    Also security holes have been patched!

  20. looks promising 🙂 need to try with one of my pligg site.

    is there any good themes are available for drigg ?

  21. Hi,
    Grate list…
    Thanks for the nice post..
    Please keep it update…

  22. Is Drigg supposed to work properly with Drupal 6?

    I have had nothing but problems and the only installation insructions that I have seen are absolutely full of errors. Perhaps that is part of my problem.

    Can anyone point me to install steps for Drigg on Drupal 6 that even remotely resemble reality? I would *really* appreciate any pointers.

    Thanks very much in advance.

  23. Here’s an open source social bookmarking CMS that is off to a great start
    HotaruCMS.org – the lead developer is very active in developing and updating it and it’s very modular with it’s plugin system. It’s already being used on some large sites japansoc.com is one of them.

  24. I can see that you are an expert at your field! I am launching a website soon, and your information will be very useful for me.. Thanks for all your help and wishing you all the success.

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