Elgg 1.5 and missing message board

For some weeks now, open source social networking platform Elgg has been offered new version of the product. Version 1.5 came right after 1.2 which seems to be pointing out that there has been more updates in the code than just few added lines.

I shouldn’t complain but the visual side of the new version is a bit disappointing. Although rounded corners and grey schema is very 2009 (like latest WordPress admin panel), overall feeling is very miserable. Like walking in a dusty city just before the rain. Grey is everywhere. But hey, maybe this will push users for creating fancy themes and looks for Elgg more faster than it has happened so far.

Anyway, I’m more or less related to four different projects that are using Elgg as their social platform and last Friday was the date when update from 1.2 to 1.5 took place. First impression was that everything works – all the users created data was in the place and so on. Only the upper menu was messed up.

Elgg 1.5 has actually some useful features too. I mean really useful – “toggle all” possibility, dashboard loading time has been reduced magnificently, frontpage content management etc. And those ARE more important than the visual, just the first impression was not so pleasant.

Back to the upgrading process. Only part what I’m concerned about is themes and quite decent coverage of this topic can be found here. By following this page, you can be pretty sure that your old theme will be running on new core as well.

Some parts are still missing after the last step. Like message board on the group page. Its gone! Or almost gone because its still in the code but invisible to users. And the reason is here (Elgg community forum, Dave Tosh):

It was removed due to the confusion it was causing most users. Many ended up not knowing where to discuss group items – on the messageboard or in the discussion area – so we removed it.

But I still need that feature. Further reading helped me out – by adding one line of code to the start.php located at:


Missing line:

//extend some views
extend_view(‘groups/right_column’, ‘messageboard/group_messageboard’);

And stylesheet, because there is no sign of the message board in the new groups stylesheet:



#right_column .input_textarea{

#right_column #mb_input_wrapper {
background: white;
width: 320px;
margin: 0;
padding: 0;



  1. Hi,

    Thanks a lot for this comment. I am going through the same issue, but I haven’t succeeded in modifying the style of the message board in the groups. The input area is still too wide.

    I don’t understand how to modify /mod/groups/views/default/groups/css.php

    Where exactly should I insert the code you provided?

    Thanks a lot!

  2. Hi Ugo,

    Well, to be honest, you may insert it anywhere in the css file. Although it might be nice if you declare it right after #right_column.

    For example, copy & paste from my css.php file:

    #right_column {
    width:320px !important;
    margin:0 10px 0 0;

    #right_column .input_textarea{
    width:300px !important;

    #right_column #mb_input_wrapper {
    background: white;
    width: 320px;
    margin: 0;
    padding: 0;

    #messageboard_widget_menu {
    margin-bottom: 10px;

    Just add the missing code and it should be working.

  3. Thanks Priit,

    I actually had done that – but only realized later that Elgg takes some time for some changes to take effect. It caches the css files, so even if you have cleaned up the cache of your browser, the changes don’t immediately show. I’ve noticed this with two different installations on different hosting. Now everything is fine 🙂

  4. Hei, one more thing,

    Disable “use simple cache” under Administration panel in Elgg.

  5. in regards to simple cache
    disabling simple cache while working on themes, plug-ins css files is a good idea while working on your project, HOWEVER please be aware this is one way that elgg uses to keep your site running as fast as possible, do not forget to turn it back on unless you are just a hobby site

  6. Absolutely right, Malaga Jack

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