PHP Fusion Review

Today we're going to take a look at the latest release of PHP Fusion: Core Edition 7 in this PHP Fusion Review. This is an interesting release and has been long awaited as version 6 has consistently been in the running for the PacktPub CMS awards that are held every year.

I'm very eager to see what kind of improvements have been made. Let's examine some of the changes since version 6.

There is a new Smiley admin panel.
The user group admin panel has been rewritten to be easier to use.
Forums rewritten to include several new features such as forums polls, mass thread deletion, new admin interface, etc

This is just a teeny number of the changes, there is a nice feature comparison available here:

Let's take a look at this new offering shall we?

After copying the appropriate files to your host (local or otherwise) you start the install process by visiting http://myhostname/setup.php

You will be greeted with this screen:

PHP Fusion Review

Once you've selected your locale (and do note that you can download additional ones from their website as well) you will proceed to this screen:

PHP Fusion Review

On this screen if you notice anything not marked as green then you need to change permissions on the specified files. Be prepared to
involve your hosting company if you do not have shell access or are unfamiliar with how to do this via ftp client. Once you've gone this far, proceed to the screen below:

PHP Fusion Review

Once you've completed these and if the installer can successfully access your database you should get the next screen:

PHP Fusion Review

Once you've successfully done this stage, there's not much left.. so let's continue:

PHP Fusion Review

The above screen is where you put in your admin settings. Note that it will not allow you to have the same password as both admin and login so you will have to differentiate the two (which is a good security move anyways and it's nice that they enforced it).. You will also note specific password rules should you try to put something in that's too easy.. which is another good feature.

We then proceed to:

PHP Fusion Review

As suggested, it's a good idea to delete the setup.php file at this point so that a potential hacker cannot restart the setup process and
potentially “pooch” (that's a technical term btw) your existing setup.

Overall, i'd say their install process is quite simple compared to some other CMS installs i've witnessed and it's a great improvement
over previous versions. PHP Fusion has always been the best Portal based CMS i've ever used and continues to improve as they work hard to make it easier and more useful than ever.

Now you get to see the results of your actions.. What does your new homepage look like? Well here it is:

PHP Fusion Review

Visually, it's a very attractive new look for them and in my opinion, much nicer than the default look that they had in previous
versions. Let's examine a few more screens. Once you log into the system, either as an administrator or a user you'll receive a menu in the right sidebar that will look similar to below. Note that if you are not an admin, you will not see the admin panel choice here. There is also a nice shoutbox setup ready to go for you as well.

PHP Fusion Review

Let's see what the Admin Panel looks like:

PHP Fusion Review

With a very nice layout and easy to use tabs and icons to represent the various areas, this is one of the better admin panels and much
improved over previous versions. I think the labelling of the icons is much improved and a lot easier to understand.

The newly re-designed user admin screen:

PHP Fusion Review

and the Sysadmin panel:

PHP Fusion Review

One of the main downfalls this CMS suffers from is it's somewhat pidgeon holed into a portal type of CMS.. this isn't necessarily a bad
thing though as there are plenty of them out there and they are definitely needed. There are a few themes that have taken PHP Fusion
beyond this look but it's not as easy as some of the other platforms in this aspect.

Overall, this is a great new version of this already much touted CMS and i'm very pleased to say for a Portal, I can't think of anything
better. Theme wise, there are tons available through a number of sources and modules are a plenty as well.

Overall, my ratings are:

Community 8/10 (Good community with quick response to issues and plenty of frequent visitors)

Expandability 7/10 (Outside of a portal, it's tough to use it for much else other than this type of site)

Themability 8/10 (Plenty of themes available and more coming daily)

Useability 9/10 (Pretty easy with a very low learning curve)

Overall Score: 8/10