Social Pinboard is an extension that can turn your Joomla site into a Pinterest.com-style social photo sharing site.
With Social Pinboard, your users can create collections of images. Users can also browse other pinboards for inspiration, 're-pin' images to their own collections, and 'like' photos.
In this tutorial, we're going to explain the installation, review the product, and make some comparisons with Pinterest.
Product and Services
Social Pinboard does cost more than most extensions, but it's closer to being an application rather than a simple extension.
Social Pinboard comes with free installation, free 6 months post sales support, and free server consultation.
Installing Social PinBoard requires two uploads
Create your Facebook and Twitter apps
Social Pinboard comes with some pre-installed categories, but you can add more or change these if you want. This is a simpler process than the usual Joomla category creation process. There are no nested categories. You can add a category image, but no description or introduction.
Given that Social Pinboard is primarily an image sharing program, I don't see any reason why you would need this to be more complicated than it is. There isn't really a need for wordy introductions or category depth. You won't get that function with Pinterest, and since Social Pinboard is a clone, you probably won't see it here unless Pinterest adds it.
Special module positions
Social Pinboard ships with several modules. Each module has a special position. You can't readily assign these to other module positions in standard templates. This means you really must use the Social Pinboard template. You can probably make modifications if you know what you're doing, but for the a beginner or intermediate developer, it's best to stick to the provided template.
The frontend of Social Pinboard
The template that ships with the software is a faithful interpretation of the Pinterest site. So much so that when I asked people to test this for me, they thought it was Pinterest.
The look, the feel, the navigation, and the functions are nearly identical to Pinterest. This is a very good clone from that standpoint. If your visitors are familiar with Pinterest already, they will have no problems figuring out how to use Social Pinboard.
You could customize this template for your own look. It would be nice if Apptha supplied at least one alternate template so you could differentiate your site. But the entire idea is so minimalist there isn't too much to change. The concept here seems to be that the site design takes a backseat to user content.
Adding pins and creating boards in the clone is exactly like adding them to the original. It's a simple and intuitive process. One thing that is missing is some user help for uploading pins. You'll have to write help pages for yourself. Pinterest has help pages, but they really aren't all that helpful. It would be nice if Apptha could add some built in help pages that were detailed so your users would have a ready reference.
But the process is intuitive enough that internet savy users could figure it out without help pages.
You can a grab a picture from any webpage by simply typing in the URL and the pictures from that page will be loaded into the slide show. Scroll through them and click Pin it. You can use the same process to embed a You Tube video. You can upload photos from your local hard drive.
On the surface, and from a user standpoint, the functionality closely matches the Pinterest model. The biggest difference is the need for backend administration
I found the mangement adequate, but it could be improved. For instance you can manage pins by deleting them, publishing them and unpublishing them from admin. This could be improved a bit if you could also view the pin from here. If you're going to edit your site, it would be good to visually confirm what you're doing at this point.
I was a bit confused on how to use the Gifts section. Not having used this on Pinterest, I didn't know how to implement it on Social Pin. Not everyone uses, or even knows about, Pinterest. Without user help, there are features you just aren't going to figure out.
To add a pin to the gifts section, you just put a $ somewhere in the description. I heard from Apptha and they are working on adding other currency symbols very soon. But for now only $'s work.
There is a section in the admin for Google Ads. This is great, but there's no explanation or tool tips when you mouse over the field labels. If you didn't know much about Google Ads you would be confused about how to use this section.
From the Social Pinboard dashboard you can see the members, and you can publish / unpublish or delete. But this isn't fully integrated with the Joomla user profiles. You can't click the name and see the user profile or manage passwords from here. It would be better if there were tighter integration with the Joomla users.
The product is evolving, however, and judging from their other products, this is most likely an area where you will see improvement.
All I've tested is the actual functionality and how well this compares with the original. Since backend administration isn't even possible for Pinterest, I can see why Apptha may not have fully implemented all the features for a tighter integration with Joomla.
It could use some improvement in documentation for both the front-end user and the administrator. I would also like to see better and more ways to earn money using this on a site. Making it easy to use affiliate links as well as Google ads, and integration with membership fees would make this more than just a social service, and let you do something on your site that you will probably never be able to do with Pinterest.
As far as being a clone, this is an excellent way to add virtually all the functions of the current Pinterest site. In our testing, users actually thought the test site was Pinterest. If this is what you want, then Social Pinboard is a great clone.
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