I spent a long time today searching for a PHP based portal script either for a small community website or an ISP.

What I am looking for as a small community is a basic version of what thisisstaffordshire.co.uk offers or similar.

What I am looking for in an ISP community website is a basic version to what orange.co.uk (formerly wanadoo/freeserve) offers or similar.

My theory was that something like this would exist already, after all there’s no point re-inventing the wheel, or at the very least I would be getting a feel for what was already out there.

So I began looking in all the normal places, starting with sourceforge.net, where I found nothing decent. I then began looking on hotscripts.com where there is an entire directory just for PHP portals.

I soon discovered that the majority were either PHP-Nuke based or PHP-Nuke like, which is NOT what I am looking for, others were basically a CMS package, not a portal.

Eventually I came across a portal called Creative Community Portal, which looks like it would be perfect for the small community website so I take a look. I’m taking to a website called Creative Software. They are offering this script at $79.99, however I soon realised that these guys aren’t the best at web design, yet it strikes me as odd that they have quite a tidy portal script on offer, my assumption was that they had taken it from somewhere else, and so my research begins.

I began by trying to find other sites that use the same engine by searching for the names of the images, and common strings.

I find the following websites:

  • http://www.spioneers.org/Default.php
  • http://www.omeopatiadirisonanza.it/Default.asp
  • http://www.4so9.com/cauca/default.php
  • http://www.seniorschoice.com/kelowna/Default.php
  • http://www.mcintyreskiarea.com/Default.asp
  • http://www.clubgs.org/Default.asp
  • http://www.prodavisro.com/icoane_site/Default.asp
  • http://www.yuccavalley.com/genealogy/Default.asp
  • http://www.rincenatiarna.com/members/AccessDenied.cfm
  • http://www.mntalent.com/Default.asp
  • http://sleeping.mine.nu/parisian.org/Default.php
  • http://www.pataleo.com/Default.php
  • http://www.watersport.net/portal/Default.asp

The first thing you should notice is that they all appear to be in different programming languages, and none of them use the same design as the one I found originally, yet they are all closely matched. I figure there must be some kind of third party code generating software being used.

So I take a look at the HTML code of some of the sites.

Its not long before I find this:

So I decide to take a look at YesSoftware CodeCharge v3.0.1.6, and I believe I am onto a winner as I find that an example script bundled with the software is infact a portal! And as if that wasn’t enough I found mention on their forums of an online portal which can be downloaded from gotocode.com for free.

The problem I found is that none of these look anything like the sites above, let alone the site I found originally. The search continues.

I go back to looking for similar sites.

Its not long before I find this: http://www.uksamba.org/portal/Default.php

On this site I find more details, including a user guide, license agreement, and more importantly the name of the company that made it, UltraApps. However, when I visit their website, there’s no mention of this application. Never fear though, there’s always the web archive.

The rabbit hole deepens.

I soon find myself on their old website, via the web archive looking at downloading their portal script, there it is, you can download it for free. I download the PHP version and have a play around with this for quite some time. I find two problems, firstly this does not offer all the features that the Creative Software version does, and secondly it doesn’t appear to login for some strange reason.

I go back to the UltraApps web archive, and discover there is another version, which is the Portal Enhanced Edition, which is NOT free, you must purchase this at a price of $50. I figure I have come to the end of the road with this as without paying somebody some money I’m not getting it for free, and as such UltraApps don’t appear to offer it any longer, and Creative Software doesn’t actually have the right to be selling it in the first place.

So as I begin to close down my windows, I notice something strange on the Creative Software “demo” site, the title says: “My USA City Guide”, this strikes me as odd, as their demo is a UK version.

After a quick search I find this demo, which appears to owned by the creators of the style/theme, yet appear to be using the UltraApps code.

I gave this some thought, and I soon realise that this begs some questions:

  • Why does UltraApps no longer offer their portal?
  • Is there an issue with selling applications produced by YesSoftware Code Charge?
  • Does the USA City Guide have the rights to resell the UltraApps product?
  • Does Creative Software have the right to resell the USA City Guide product?

Further more I found that the Creative Community script had some major vulnerabilities.

And after all that I have no decent portal script for a basic small community website.

The only half decent thing I found was called phpFoX, and by a look at the demo, its simply a clone of MySpace, which is NOT what i’m looking for. Despite the fact that it’s expensive.