Add Comments To gpEasy Pages

Due to:

  1. Idiots (spammers) making comments on this page and
  2. the new gpEasy "Easy Comments" plugin that now allows you to add comments to any page easily I am removing the comment items from this page.

The rest of the review will remain as it was. Thanks spammers!!!

 

While you can add a "simple blog" to gpEasy CMS as a plugin there currently is no option to add comments to pages; however, there are a few external comment management systems available that will allow you to add comments to gpEasy pages. I'm going to discuss three that are easy to apply and free, unfortunately I have not found an open source version that is applicable. All three are based on JavaScript and therefor you need to know how to add JavaScript to gpEasy pages and/or themes.

PLEASE. . . DO NOT post comments to any of these!

HTML Comment Box

First up, and by far the simplest, is HTML Comment Box. On the front page you have the code generator and below that you can select some options to customize the code such as receive emails when you get a comment, different skins, etc. Then simply paste the code into your theme or page where you want comments to be available. I recommend pasting it inside of your page at the very bottom, of course while in "source view" in CKEditor. You can sign up for HTML Comment Box with your Google ID. There doesn't appear to be any other registration than using a Google ID.

Once logged in you have a very simple administration area that allows you to moderate comments, and that's really all there is to HTML Comment Box. Here's what it looks like:

--- Start HTML Comment Box Example ---

REMOVED

 

--- End HTML Comment Box Example ---

Pros
HTML Comment Box is super simple to use on all accounts. The code is very simple, just one peace to paste where you want the comments. . . either inside a page or your theme. It's very lightweight and therefore shouldn't slow down your sight too much. The admin area is also very simple and straight forward. You won't be overwhelmed with this setup.

Cons
There aren't a lot of options such as reply via email, delete via email, etc. There seems to be NO support other than leaving a comment.

Overall HTML Comment Box is simple and straight forward. If you are using a local installation of gpEasy to work from one thing to realize about all these is how they do or don't load on the local install. HTML Comment Box doesn't load while editing the page. It gives you a "loading comments. . ." which is fine, and when viewing a page on a local install it views in a default mode, not the actual code you will have if you changed some settings.

I think this is the "plugin" to use for those that know they won't be getting a lot of comments but still want some way to allow users to give feedback.

Disqus

This is a major comment management system that you will see on some very big sites, nonetheless it's very easy to use. It's a little more complicated than HTML Comment Box but you also get a lot more options and features with it.

The installation process is rather straight forward. Just register at Disqus.com and follow the steps to add your site. You will get some code that you paste into your page or theme. Unlike the previous application, Disqus gives you a couple chunks of code. One is for the actual comments and the other is for the link to comments. . . you know those links that say how many comments are in an article and click it to go to that article? That's really more for blogs with abstracts. You don't have to use the second bit of code, just the first.

You add the code the same was as the previous comment app. Just put the comment code where you want comments to be displayed. Again, I suggest at the bottom of your page instead of site wide. Here's what it looks like. . . probably rather familiar.

--- Start Disqus Example ---
--- End Disqus Example ---

Pros
Disqus is feature rich, integrated email reply, delete, etc. Full featured administration panel on their site. Users are able to login with different social networking IDs. They offer a lot of extra code that you can add to "fancy" up your comments, widgets and what not. . . more than I cared for. The admin panel is very clean.

Cons
It seems a bit slow to load compared to the others I tried. Styling didn't work well with my theme and some of their styling settings that they suggest did nothing at all. I also had some problems with the admin panel when saving settings, but who knows what that was. Working with a localhost installation requires an extra bit of code to make it function properly. . . or you just look at the error telling you that it couldn't connect. Personally I don't like having to use that extra bit of code.

Update: Well, it didn't take long for me to cancel out Disqus. Due to a few minor issues it's certainly not the one for me.  . . maybe it will be for you. The main issues for me were, conflict with my theme's formatting, rss feed link, some loading errors and slowness.

intenseDebate

Finally, we have intenseDebate owned and operated by Automattic, the providers of WordPress. . . at least that's what the net is telling me. It is very similar to Disqus and is used by some very large sites as well. The code implementation is very similar as well; however, intenseDebate does give you a few options to easily remove some icons and settings. It seemed a little more straight forward to me than Disqus. It also offers about the same feature set as Disqus. The admin page is very straight forward, and all in all I found intenseDebate to be the most straightforward to apply however, that could just be me.

Here's what my slightly "customized" version looks like:

--- Start intenseDebate Example ---

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--- End intenseDebate Example ---

Pros
Feature rich, email integration for replying, deleting, etc. Allows for user login via WordPress.com ID, Open ID, and intenseDebate ID. Seemed little easier to customize in a simple without having to delve into it much. Seems to load faster than Disqus. Operates on a localhost installation just the same as on the server. 

Cons
When editing a page it gives you no sign that it's there. The others at least show some type of marker, but not this one which, can allow you to delete it rather easily when editing a page; however, it does display the full comment box when not editing on a local install.

Conclusions

These are the three that I would look at using to add comments to my gpEasy CMS site. All three have their advantages and disadvantages. Some would even argue that using a comment management system that uses JavaScript is bad for your site because the comments are NOT searched by the search engines; however, I'm not looking at it form that perspective. I think for our use it's more for the users and ease of use than worrying about search engine optimization. Personally, I don't want or expect a lot of comments.

They should all do well for spam because they are JavaScript based thus bots won't be using them and intenseDebate & Disqus have spam protection as well. All in all I couldn't really tell you which one to use. I read as much as I could on the net about all of theme and finally just gave up and tried each one. If I were expecting a lot of comments on my pages then I would stick with intenseDebate or Disqus because of the integrated email features. If I'm looking at pure simplicity I would go with HTML Comment Box; however, support seems to be there.

The other concern about HTML Comment Box is who owns it, operates it, and will they be around? Disqus and intenseDebate look to be large enough that they will be around and there is little doubt that Automattic will be around.

Which one am I going with?

Haven't fully decided. Since I signed up for all three I think I'll try them out for a while and see which one I like the best. In the lead currently is intenseDebate but for my purposes HTML Comment Box would be just fine. . . but I have to think about the users and not just myself.

Other Concerns About Comment Managers

Since these sites/apps manage your comments you don't actually have the comments on your site. They don't actually appear in the code thus the comment above about SEO. Furthermore, they all keep your comments on their servers and therefore you don't really have them at all, though they all claim you own them. You can delete them from your site within their admin panel but depending on the service the commenter still might retain a copy.

Mainly the concerns about comment managers focus on SEO issues and portability of your comments. Can you export them and then import them into your site? Well, we aren't bloggers using big blogging platforms, that isn't even a concern for us and if you are someone who expects tons of comments and want some SEO juice out of all those comments then you won't be happy with any of these. . . and probably not gpEasy ;)

Other than that the consensus is that the features and ease of use, especially for Disqus and intenseDebate, outweigh the negatives.

Personally I don't really want my site to turn into pages with lots of comments. I'm good with you emailing me what I need to fix in my tutorials. . . other than that the site is what the site is, it's not a blog.

*Updated

HTML Comment Box Vs. intenseDebate

It didn't take me long to drop Disqus. Due to things like styling, slow loading, and a couple quirks here and there I just felt that it wasn't the right one to use, and that leaves me with two choices that are very different. One is super simple and the other is feature rich while being no more difficult to install than the other. The features of intenseDebate are nice if you plan of driving a conversation on your site, I don't. For me comments are a way to get direct feedback. . . preferably I would delete comments once the individual's concerns are met however, that's a very atypical use of comments and I could just use the contact form. Therefore, I would recommend intenseDebate if you want to add comments to your gpEasy CMS. I still think you should check out the other two, your opinion may be completely different than mine. 

Personally I think I will stick with the contact form. If you have a problem or suggestion just hit me up and I'll take care of it! You should see the contact form in the left sidebar.

 

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