Hot off the press is the announcement of the BuddyPress template packs plugin. This plugin makes it very easy to use your current theme with BuddyPress on a single site install of WordPress instead of having to use the default BuddyPress theme. Kudos to Andy Peatling for making it even easier for people to use BuddyPress without reconfiguring their entire site. Note that the template pack won’t do anything unless you have BuddyPress installed.
By Jeffro on February 26, 2010
By Jeffro on February 16, 2010
Andy Peatling has announced on the official BuddyPress development blog that version 1.2 is now available to the public. This version is a milestone because BuddyPress can now be used on standard WordPress installations whereas before, you needed to have WordPress MU installed. Other goodies that 1.2 offers include:
Simplified Install Process – This version only uses three steps and has done away with the manual installation routine.
New Default Themes – Andy Peatling must have drank the default theme kool-aid as 1.2 sports a new, out of the box look.
Activity Streams – Activity streams have been revamped. Each activity stream item has it’s own permalink making bookmarking or saving the event much easier. Any user can comment on activity across the site with support for threaded conversations. You can also publish events to a group activity stream or site wide while also marking activity items as favorites.
If you don’t want to test BuddyPress by installing it on a live or local site, take a gander at the BuddyPress Test drive website which is using the latest version.
Congratulations to Andy Peatling, John James Jacoby and everyone who contributed to the release. It seems like it was only yesterday when 1.0 was released where the most requested feature was support for standard WordPress installations. Now that BuddyPress can be used on regular WordPress sites, expect to see BuddyPress empowering the social nature of WordPress sites all across the web.
By Jeffro on November 30, 2009
For those using BuddyPress and having a hard time coming across decent free themes for the project you’re in luck. A new site has launched called FreebpThemes.com which so far contains six different themes for BuddyPress. Out of the choices provided, Avenue K9 looks to be my favorite from a design perspective. It’s pretty easy to figure out who is behind the site but it’s nice to see a dedicated person developing and releasing BuddyPress themes for free. I’d say sooner rather than later, BuddyPress will have a theme repository that mimics the one for WordPress.
By Jeffro on October 30, 2009
There is some great news for those involved with or following the BuddyPress project. Andy Peatling announced today on the development blog that John James Jacoby aka jjj has been added to the BuddyPress core development team which brings the total to two members. Anytime I’ve done a show about BuddyPress or needed to ask a question or two in the BuddyPress IRC channel, John has been around to listen or try to push me in the right direction. Congrats to him for being added to the core team for one heck of a project. This is a huge step forward allowing Andy to remove some of the development weight off his shoulders.
By Jeffro on October 1, 2009
Andy Peatling announced on September 30th that version 1.1 of BuddyPress was available to the public. This new version contains a bunch of core improvements along with new features. One of the new features that I think is huge, especially for those who want easier bbPress integration revolves around the new forum component. This component was rewritten from the ground up to eliminate the difficulties that were involved with bbPress integration prior to 1.1. Some other additions worth mentioning:
- Completely re-written theme handling. One theme now controls all of your installation. No hidden HTML, everything is in the template ready for you to skin.
- Easily create themes that are upgraded automatically when BuddyPress is updated.
- Total site admin control of all content within an installation. Edit user’s profiles, update avatars, mark users as spammers, manage all groups, delete site activity entries.
- Activity streams everywhere. Activity streams can be filtered allowing for feature specific activity streams or adding an activity stream to your custom plugin.
You can grab the latest version of BuddyPress here.
By Jeffro on August 24, 2009
Over on the BuddyPress Development blog, Andy Peatling has announced that the project will now have a new theme architecture. The big change between the old way of doing themes versus the new way is that starting with BuddyPress 1.1, there will only be one theme that handles everything instead of a Home/Member theme. Also, those two words ‘Theme Framework‘ pop up again as BuddyPress will ship with its own.
BuddyPress will ship with a theme framework that acts as a parent theme. The default theme will be a child theme based on this framework and contain only images and css. Building a new BuddyPress theme will be as simple as creating a child theme based on the framework.
According to Andy, this approach with themes provides many benefits such as removing the need to recreate every template file for a new theme, receive new functionality when the parent theme is upgraded, etc. While themes that were created on the old system will continue to work for at least the next few versions, converting those themes to the new system shouldn’t be that hard. It’s important to note though that using the Framework is just an option and is not necessary.
BuddyPress 1.1 is on track for a September release.
Has this verified the importance or benefits using a Theme Framework? Theme authors, are you happy to see BuddyPress ship with it’s own framework?
By Jeffro on July 22, 2009
Andy Peatling announced on Twitter today that he had completely rewritten the forums component for bbPress alleviating what he says are integration nightmares. One of the biggest advancements for the component is no longer needing an existing bbPress install to function. bbPress is now included as an external which can be setup in one click for new installations which is pretty darn cool in my book. If you already have an existing bbPress install, you can point the component to the bbPress bb-config file.
Also of note are the forum management tools in this new component:
Added complete forum management for group mods and admins (sticky/delete/close/edit) and edit/delete for group members on their own posts. Make sure you update your theme with the new template files in the /groups/ directory to get access to these features.
However, the “use existing install” option needs some testing so if you use BuddyPress, lend Andy a hand. Also expect some changes down the line with how it functions based on testing feedback.
Possible Growing Pains?
This new component reminds me of WordPress MU and WordPress. WordPress getting developed as the main project and WordPress MU just building on top of it. That’s what I see with BuddyPress and bbPress although I don’t think the component is getting any additional bbPress love that’s not there by default.
While this component now makes it as easy as possible to have forums as part of your BuddyPress powered site, I foresee many more bbPress users in the future which in turn should lead to more bugs being discovered, more patches being written, and of course, more feedback for Sam. bbPress ought to benefit from this ease of integration but one thing I’m concerned about regarding both projects is the development resources behind each one. Sam Bauers develops bbPress, Andy Peatling develops BuddyPress. That’s it in terms of paid developers. The rest comes from any contributions the community makes towards those projects. I wonder what will happen if BuddyPress becomes as big as I think it will and at the same time, brings bbPress along for the ride? Will they be able to handle their respective eco systems? It’s a problem I’m sure they would like to have but I’m interested in knowing how much more development resources will be pushed to these two if things go well.
By Jeffro on June 22, 2009
Perhaps my point of view is wrong but when I look at how development is taking place for the BuddyPress project and how certain things are being accomplished, I can’t help but think that the BuddyPress project is proving to be a test bed for the way development might happen for the WordPress project in the future. For example, the project roadmap for BuddyPress was recently published online but before it was finalized, users had the chance to vote and rank on items that they felt were important enough to see in earlier versions versus other features. Jane Wells starting with WordPress 2.7 has used PollDaddy to conduct similar surveys in order to measure what the overall community felt should be included in the next release.
Another example is that BuddyPress has the unique ability to use the latest and greatest build of the software right on the site which is accessible to anyone who wants to register an account. You can actually test drive the software as it’s being developed. If any bugs are discovered on the site, they go right into trac or are reported to Andy. I’m not sure how far WordPress.org is going to take this concept, but I can certainly see the opportunity of using BuddyPress features such as the profiles and group blogging on the WordPress.org domain or subdomain with a WordPress bleeding edge install. With all of the activity and blogging taking place within this centralized community, it could be possible to increase the testing environment strictly for the WordPress.org software with any bugs being discovered sent straight to trac. Although, I’m not sure how smart of an idea it is to base your centralized community around bleeding edge software.
Group Development. Thanks to the ability of groups through BuddyPress, Andy Peatling is able to get developers or those interested in creating certain features centralize around one location for feedback, reviews, discussions, etc.
Group creation is now open on this site, why not pick a feature you’d be interested in working on and create a group for it? By doing this you’ll encourage other BuddyPress developers to join in, discuss the feature and give feedback. I’ll be more than happy to take a look at plugins that add roadmap features and consider them for inclusion in the core of BuddyPress. You may even end up as a core committer.
I think it would be cool to see the same kind of workflow make it to WordPress.org but I believe some of this already occurs through trac and other means. However, if WordPress.org were to do something similar to BuddyPress, it would open up the discussion, involvement, and contribution level to a much wider audience in terms of more user level feedback and not entirely developer centric.
Do you think I’ve been able to establish any connections between the two projects or do you think this is all pie in the sky? I know they are both separate projects but I wonder how cool it would be if some of the development processes that Andy is able to accomplish would make it to WordPress.org.
By Jeffro on May 9, 2009
With the release of BuddyPress 1.0, BuddyDress.com has released an updated version of their FaceBuddy theme which strangely enough, looks just like Facebook. This theme is very CSS dependent meaning little to no images. One nice thing about this particular theme is that BuddyDress provides the PSD file to customize the background image with your own logo or text.
If you really want to have your own Facebook look alike, head on over and grab the theme. It’s free.
*Updated July 6th, 2010*
As has been pointed out by a commenter, this theme appears to no longer be available. Even when browsing the BuddyPress website and performing a search for the Facebook theme, the results point to the same link, BuddyPress Social which is part of their Premium theme selection.
By Jeffro on May 1, 2009
There are a couple hundred posts that were published yesterday announcing the release of BuddyPress 1.0 so you should be aware of it by now. I wanted to pass along my sincere congratulations to Andy Peatling and the community he has generated around the project. BuddyPress appears to be the hottest thing since sliced bread and with Andy confirming that at some point down the line when a few architectural changes are applied to WordPress that there will be a version released for the stand alone version of WordPress, the future of BuddyPress is looking bright.
When you consider that BuddyPress will likely play a large role in this unified activity system that Matt proposed on a recent episode of WordPress Weekly to showcase a users contributions to the WordPress project, its Facebook in a box capabilities, the ground up architecture, the ingredients are there for the project to be a bright star in Automattic’s arsenal of projects.
By the way, pretty cool to see community member Brad Williams mentioned in the release post as one of the patch contributors to the 1.0 codebase. Nice job Brad.