This developer spotlight features WebHive, an experienced development team for SocialEngine. They provide customization services as well as plugins for the SocialEngine community. Let’s get started!
SocialEngine: Thanks for participating in our interview. So how long has your team been around? When did you start developing for SocialEngine?
WebHive: At first, we’d like to thank your team for a chance to participate in this interview. It all started in 2005 when we’ve finished our first web project. We’ve started working with SocialEngine since its version 2. Our first plugin was a small ‘Friends’ profile widget with carousel animation. It was originally done for a client who suggested that we improve it and sell as a mod. Since then, we have developed more than 30 other plugins and themes.
SocialEngine: What types of services do you provide for the SocialEngine community?
Webhive: We try to keep our team small, but highly professional. That’s how we are able to cover everything from a rough idea to launch of a community and future improvements. Some clients come to us with just a couple of layout drafts. If a person knows what he or she wants and doesn’t want to just blindly clone some popular website, that’s enough for us to start!
SocialEngine: Do you take on a lot of custom projects or are you more focused on plugin development?
Webhive: Custom projects are our priority. Plugin development is interesting and we put a lot of effort into it to deliver high-quality plugins. But when you work on a SocialEngine module, you have to keep in mind that numerous communities will install it. Plugin layout should work with different themes and follow the standards. Its design has to be simple, user-friendly and easy customizable. But smart design isn’t just about a visual attractiveness. It’s also about boosting your sales, subscriptions and user engagement. When you work on a custom project, you know exactly where and how the functionality will be used. And when you know the exact goals and limitations, you can deliver the more effective result.
SocialEngine: Which plugins are your most popular?
Webhive: Here is our Top 3:
- Media Projects is a multi-purpose media plugin that our customers consider to be best plugin for online portfolios.
- Custom Menu plugin. This module was developed for our own designing projects to get more flexible menus in SocialEngine PHP.
- Questions and Answers. We had clients who have chosen SocialEngine because other platforms had nothing as powerful as our Q&A.
Also, Podium is currently our most popular theme. It goes bundled with 2 plugins: Custom Menu and Custom Background.
SocialEngine: Do you have examples of client websites that you’d like to share?
Webhive: We’d love to show the readers the projects we are proud of, but the most interesting projects we were working on recently (and are still working on some of them) were under NDA. Our clients don’t want the competitors to know about development or the chosen platform.
SocialEngine: As a whitelabel provider ourselves we understand how that goes. Moving on, one great contribution you’ve made to the community is socialenginecamp.com. What can you tell us about this site?
Webhive: It was pretty sad that we had no developers’ community available there except shady warez forums. SocialEngineCamp was done within few days using our theme and plugins. We wanted to show, how fast and easily SocialEngine project can be put online, and get a place where people can discuss development issues.
SocialEngine: What are your thoughts on developing for the SocialEngine platform?
Webhive: SocialEngine PHP is based on Zend Framework, which is a really powerful base to build on. As a team that specializes on community development, we always monitor and try different community platforms. SocialEngine has it’s own flaws, as any other platform. But it’s still the best script you can get if you want to build an online community. One thing we miss a lot is an official issue tracking for SocialEngine PHP. Such service will bring the quality of SocialEngine core to the next level.
SocialEngine. Thanks for the feedback. So what’s on the horizon? What can we expect from WebHive?
Webhive: There are few interesting plugins we are planning to release for SocialEngine PHP. Recently, we have started to provide a consultation services for community building. Often, we see projects that require months of development and huge budgets. A lot of them have stylish design and good technical specifications. But after these projects are launched, there is a pretty feeble members activity. WebHive consultation can help in avoiding situations like this. We detect ‘weak spots’ in clients’ specifications and give advices on how to cut the development costs. In future, we plan to make few articles that will help people to avoid common mistakes and use the best practices.
SocialEngine: Great! Any last words or thoughts?
Webhive: We wanted to thank all people who contacted us with amazing project ideas and plugin suggestions. That’s the thing we love about community building: no matter how long you are doing this, there still will be a project that surprises you. There is nothing better than working with people who are passionate about what they do. We hope to see more interesting project ideas. And we hope SocialEngine team will continue to improve this wonderful platform that helps people to get their projects done fast and efficient.
SocialEngine: Thanks, guys!