Almost two and half years since Ning launched Ning 3.0, there is still no sign that the Mode Media owned “create your own social network” company are anywhere near offering current clients an easy migration path from the old Ning 2.0 version to the new 3.0 version. Even more worryingly, Ning has long since stopped rolling out regular updates to either its Ning 2.0 or Ning 3.0 platforms, the last being minor updates to its activity stream functionality back in July 2014.
All this has caused uncertainty with forum owners and community managers who have been using Ning since its glory days but are not sure where the platform is heading or even if Ning will be around in the long run. Many are contacting experienced Ning developers like me to ask what the migration options are. I’ve spoken before about my experience migrating my Ning site BuddyPress in a previous post, so that is certainly one option.
However, more recently, another viable option has emerged courtesy of SocialEngine PHP. These guys have been around a while, since 2006 in fact (almost as long as Ning), and have long offered an open-source, self-hosted and white label build your own social network platform (as well as a hosted solution called SocialEngine Cloud).
SocialEngine offers many of the tools that Ning creators will be familiar with – blogs, groups, forums, activity feeds, drag-and-drop content management etc – as well as a whole host of other modular add-ons that frankly Ning 3.0 should have included from the get-go. These include two-way friendships (like Facebook), one-way follower functionality (like Twitter), verified/unverified friendships and the ability to buy third-party plugins and themes much like you can on WordPress (albeit on a much smaller scale).
Sensing an opportunity to acquire thousands of disillusioned Ning website owners, SocialEngine PHP have now launched a Ning Importer Tool that promises to make the process of migrating all your data out of your Ning 2.0 site and into another platform all that much easier (sadly Ning 3.0 has no archiver …. still!).
SocialEngine have provided the following list of what to expect from the import tool:
What Gets Imported
- Activity Feed +Comments
- Blog Posts +Comments
- Forums Topics and Discussions
- Photos +Comments
- Videos +Comments
- Music +Comments
- Events (Upcoming and Past) +Comments
- Groups +Group Contents (Photos, Videos etc…)
What Doesn’t Get Imported
- Site Settings and Design
- View Counts on Posts, Photos and Videos
- Organized Photos (Albums)
- Passwords and Profile Privacy Settings
Given the tricky nature of migrating all this data into WordPress then migrating to SocialEngine PHP seems like a real option to consider if you’re looking for a new home for your Ning Social Network.
Keep me posted if you have experience with the SocialEngine PHP importer tool.
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