I am writing this review in the hope that it will help others from falling into the same trap as me.
A brief summary will be provided, followed by a more in-depth review - if you are interested,
-- Brief Summary --:
Installation – Hard to do if you do not have a reasonably high level of experience. The installation instructions are poor with much information missing, misleading and incorrect. So if you want to install it yourself, you will have to figure it out. There is no automatic installer, and a painstaking manual install will be required with the url, database and other details having to be put in many different files.
Programming – Poor: it will not work in php 5.3 or higher causing errors due to many depreciated values and poor coding practices. There is a mix of tags, tables and css for display and layout.
SEO – The rss feed has no url rewriting for the links within it, whilst the job posts themselves do, so you end up with 2 pages for each of the same job. The url rewriting where it has been used is poor. The meta descriptions and keywords are exactly the same on every single page, and therefore on each different job. This is all really bad for SEO.
Refunds using the terms and conditions – not available. It said on the website at the time of purchase that you could get your money back within 7 days of purchase, no questions asked, but if you ask for this even on the same day you purchased, you are refused and told the terms are out of date.
Support – Very Poor. The telephone number is just is a messaging service with a recorded message and no one ever answers at any time of the day, even if you phone at the times stated on the telephone message. Email replies are patchy, and often no replies are received. There is a very odd poor quality online chat on which it is hit and miss whether you will catch the script programmer. And when you do catch him he is not helpful with often uneducated, and unhelpful responses – often blaming you for things that are his own fault, and coming up with excuses that do not involve his at amateur programming skills.
Price – Very expensive for what it is. I would not even use this in its current state, even if it was free. The programmer is quick to ask for more money to fix his own faulty programming, such as for making it error free and work under php 5.3x.
Overall – Not fit for purpose. Do not buy.
-- More In-Depth Review --:
On the surface, the front-end looks cosmetically pretty good, functionally it also seems ok. It has functions for both employers and jobseekers. It has many of the functions you would expect, including showing locations, categories, rss feeds on the front page with url rewriting (useful for seo). The back-end (admin panel) looks somewhat sparse and basic, but it also seems adequate and functional. This is the script as you would see it on the website demo.
When you actually purchase the Joblite Enterprise 1.9 script, you are sent a .rar file archive by email. When uncompressed, the resulting package it is somewhat disorganised in structure, with a mishmash of files and folders. No specific instructions are provided, but if you look within the top level folder there is a Microsoft Word document that describes, albeit very poorly, an installation process.
The installation document starts with a blurb about the software, what it is and what it can do, etc, and then follows on with what is required from the server:
PHP 4.1.2 or higher
1 MySQL database
HTML experience if you wish to modify the templates.
These are quite important, as they are not stated anywhere else, as on the Joblite website it only mentions MySQL and PHP.
Anyway, this seems fine and pretty standard, especially as the PHP mentioned is 4.1.2 or higher. Everyone will be using “higher”, probably 5.3x if you want a current supported and safe version by php.net, or php 5.2x that is no longer supported.
As you read through the installation document, things will start to concern you. The first thing is that there is no mention of an installer script, it is an all manual install. What fairly expensive commercial script has a totally manual install method? Even many free scripts have elegant and simple installers.
Essentially, once you have copied all the files to your web server and set the permissions, you have to carry out a series of laborious and potentially difficult tasks (depending upon your level of experience). You could potentially have it installed by Joblite, or you may decide to go for their hosted solution, but in my case I just wanted a script that I could install myself. I don’t want or need any help with basic installations and I don’t want to give anyone access to my server unnecessarily.
The first thing that some may find difficult is that you have to setup the Joblite database by inserting the provided MySQL table.sql file (also in the same folder) into a MySQL database that you intend to use with the script. This step could either be nothing too serious or a real challenge, depending on experience.
Once that is done, there is another unnecessary challenge. You have to edit a number of, way too many files. You have to put in the MySQL database (username and password details) into several files. You also have to edit a number of files to reflect the base url, the website domain name and title, the relative server folder structure, etc. This is all very odd as normally you would only have to edit one, or possibly two, files rather than in to a multitude of files. If you follow the instructions faithfully then you will be somewhat frustrated as it also mentions edits that simply don’t exist.
If you managed to do all of the steps so far then you ought have some sort of functional script, but probably won’t as in my case.
The installation document is defective and incomplete. So, apart from the locations mentioned, there are various other files that needing editing for the MySQL, base url, relative server paths, etc. Another thing not mentioned is that you would require mod rewrite to be active on your server for the url rewriting. You also have to edit the supplied .htaccess file to reflect the location of where you want the script to run (mydomain.com/jobs, in my case) for the url rewiting to work.
All of this is totally unnecessary. All it should have had was a simple installer script. Once you upload the files and set the permissions, all you would have to do is insert your MySQL database details into the installer script, set your name, url, etc, the database tables would be automatically created, and that is it.
When you finally manage to access the script, it looks like the demo Onlinejobhunt site that Joblite links to on its website – it is even labelled the same.
As with the Joblite demo website, it looks pretty good cosmetically. You many notice various errors when you click on things, either in the front-end, or back-end (admin panel). This is when you find that something else was missed off that needed editing during the installation.
I also added a random test job. This is when I noticed that the url rewriting was really odd. The rewritten urls did not remove any special characters from the source job title and they were included in the link. Also, each space was replaced with a ‘_’, so when in combination with any other removed or special characters it looked really odd (e.g. programming_@_/_test_job.html). Normally, with url rewriting, special characters are removed and when multiple spaces emerge only a single space is seen (e.g. programming_test_job.html). It even leaves parentheses (brackets) in the url. The url rewriting is simply badly programmed and defective.
Another issue, associated with url rewriting, is with the rss feed generated. It shows a non-url rewritten link for a particular job. So you have a rewritten link, albeit badly, for the job itself but not for the same job via the rss. Why would you want the link for the job rewritten via the page and not via the rss? This is another bit of bad programming.
The more you look at this script the more defects you seem to find.
Another really bad defect is due to bad programming throughout. I’ll have to talk a little bit about programming to explain it, but I’ll keep it simple. I noticed that under location if I put USA in as a country it would change to Usa. It was the same if I added a State, where say FL would become Fl. Then I noticed that this was happening in other places as well, where everything was being changed to sentence case, such as in the title, title tags, etc. This was really bad, particularly with an acronym. Digging around the programming, I found that the function ucword, where the first character of each word in a string is made into uppercase, has been used in many locations. It does have a valid purpose in the right circumstances, but not how it has been used in this script. Another associated function that has been used in the programming, all over the place, is strtolower, where all characters in a string are made into lowercase. As this function has been used extensively, the other command ucwords has had to be used so everything is not lowercase. Using these functions like this is bad programming.
I’ve left the best, or is it the worst, for last. Whilst poking around the programming, I noticed a few outdated deprecated (depreciated) functions for php 5.3x. What this means is that php.net has deemed that they will be removed and if they continue to be used the script will stop working. I couldn’t understand why they were in the programming, particularly as this was a commercial script and php 5.3 had come out in June 2009. I then did a more extensive search and I found multiple instances and defects throughout the programming that would be an issue with php 5.3 and later releases. I decided I had to try the demo script on a php 5.3 server, as my production (live) server would be on that. I have error reporting (E_ALL and E_STRICT) on and display reporting on my server. As expected, errors were everywhere. So, even though the script is supposed to work on “php 4.1.2 or higher”, with an emphasis on higher, no it won’t. PHP 5.3 is the current supported version by php.net, and it is shocking that the programming contains so many deprecated values and poor coding practices. This script is not fit for purpose, as I intended to run it on a php 5.3 production environment. A commercial script purchased at the end of July 2011 should not have these issues.
If you are still reading this, you will be wondering what about Joblite support. The support at Joblite is patchy at best. It is really hard to get hold of anyone as it seems to be a one man operation, Sumon Miah, who dedicates his time to his other business ventures. It turns out that the UK (or Uk if in Sumon’s script) landline telephone number on his website just goes to a messaging service that constantly says they are closed as it is outside the stated hours, even though you have called during the hours. Nobody calls back if you leave a message. The best, way to catch him is via a dodgy support chatroom on the joblite website. Even that can be extremely hit and miss. He is not helpful at all, and seems somewhat of an amateur based on the kind of things he tends to say. Most of the things he has said are simply ridiculous. For example, he said the script couldn’t be installed in a folder, but had to be in a subdomain or root. What nonsense, you should be able to put a script wherever you like. Nobody would buy a script if it could only be at domain or subdomain level. He said you would have to pay extra to get it to work in the folder as the url rewriting would not work. All you have to do is a few edits in the .htaccess, why would I pay extra for that! For the php 5.3 issues, he just says that you should switch the display error reporting to off or it will show fatal errors. This means that he must have known that the whole program is defective, otherwise why would you experience fatal errors. I’m not switching the display error reporting off, to silence the errors, as my other scripts don’t generate any errors with it on. This is a good way to weed out defective programming. You do usually switch it off when you know nothing is wrong. He even said I should change server. The list can go on and on. Because he comes up with his nonsense replies so quickly, he must be well versed in it. This leads me to believe that he must have been doing this to people for a very long time, trying to intimidate you if you say anything that interferes with his business model of taking your money.
The main thing he will offer to do is install the script. But I don’t want the script installed. I just wanted a proper commercial grade script that I paid for, with proper instructions. Also, I’m not confident in giving him access to my server. To look at the php 5.3 problems I installed, especially for him, a stock demo version to prove the issues (just for him to look at). He asked for ftp access, which is understandable to get the files, but then he said he must have access to my MySQL server. There is no reason under any circumstance that he would need this to look at his own stock default database. It’s never going to happen. He should be debugging his poor excuse for a script on his own server environment, not mine. Based on the things he has said, I don’t trust his skill level or his integrity.
I’ll tell you what he won’t offer you though, a refund. Even though in his website terms and conditions it indicates there is a 7 day no questions asked refund policy. He just said his terms and conditions were out of date on the website and would not give a refund. He just comes off as somewhat of a charlatan. He just tries to wear you down, with a whole load of irrelevant nonsense. One of his classic lines is that he has many people who are using it. Well, they just must be uninformed, as his faulty programming speaks the facts loudly.
What Sumon Miah, at Joblite Ltd, is really offering with Joblite Enterprise 1.9 is an outdated, amateur attempt at programming, that does not work on php 4.1.2 or higher, with unhelpful and inconsistent support. The whole script is not fit for purpose and needs to be rewritten.
My attempts at getting a refund are proving very difficult, but I will pursue it. I didn’t pay for an amateur attempt at programming that is being passed off as a commercial script. A commercial script should be well written, safe, robust and work with the current supported technologies. Due to the poor programming, I have little or no confidence in the safety of this script, particularly as it is intended to hold confidential details of jobseekers and employers. It would be a serious liability issue. As it is commercial, the implementation time should have also been minimal. Based on the demo on the Joblite website I had expected that the commercial script would just work, essentially immediately, with only the requirement for minor configuration after the initial install. The time-frame involved should have been minimal, but what I’m left with is something that can’t really be used and needs significant work (total rewrite).
All I can say is keep away - well away.
- No installer script, with extensive manual editing and installation required.
- Defective installation guide provided, with incomplete and missing steps.
- Limited, untimely and unhelpful support from Joblite Ltd, as one man operation, and not sole business concern.
- Telephone number goes to messaging service and nobody returns calls.
- Programming is amateur and defective throughout.
- Many featured functions are defective. Too many to mention.
- Does not work under current php 5.3x without silencing error reporting as has numerous deprecated values and poor coding practices throughout.
- Will not give refunds, even if in their own website terms and conditions.
- Script is not fit for purpose.