By Jeffro on August 18, 2010
John James Jacoby who is one of the core developers of BuddyPress has published a post on the BuddyPress development blog that talks about the future of bbPress and BuddyPress as he sees it. In fact, if you didn’t know it by now, John is leading the initiative in turning bbPress into a plugin versus stand-alone software.
Since BuddyPress 1.1, bbPress has come bundled in the package to help make the installation as smooth and easy as possible. Through a little bit of massaging we successfully integrated bbPress into a dedicated forum component to allow for group discussion, and we included a central discussion directory to help put all of these topics in one easy place. All of these ideas were great on paper but have had mixed feedback and results in practice. Making bbPress a standalone plugin will help allow for more customizable installations which is great news for anyone that’s currently using BuddyPress for the forum component, or has been holding off because of the complexity of it all.
Our goal with me giving some attention to the bbPress plugin project is to keep it tightly integrated with BuddyPress, but have them act totally independently or alone if necessary. This means in a future version of BuddyPress, bbPress will no longer come packaged in the download, and both plugins will be aware of each other being activated. When that happens, additional features will be available to you to help create the kind of community that you’d like to have, instead of forcing forums to be tucked away into BuddyPress discussion groups.
John ends the post by saying BuddyPress 1.2.6 is on its way out the door. It will contain a few bug fixes with perhaps an enhancement or two. As for BuddyPress 1.3, it should be shipped before the end of the year while bbPress 1.2 might be ready for testing around September 15th with a ship date of around the same time BuddyPress 1.3 is released.
By Jeffro on July 25, 2010
About a week ago, Matt Mullenweg published a post over on the newly designed bbPress blog that hints to the platforms future. The topic of discussion was WordPress integration, and what better way to do that than to build an awesome bbPress plugin?
One, it’s an embarrassing pain in the butt to do now. One of the most frequent questions here on our forums. You have to jump through endless loops, and end up with something worse than most of the WP plugins for forums.
Two, we get the benefit of all the WordPress plugins and themes, which vastly outnumber our current options. Want private messaging? Use the BuddyPress plugin for it. Want OpenID? Stats? Sitemaps? There’s a plugin for that. Social network and profile features, in particular, are useful to the future of discussion forums and it’d be silly of us to duplicate that effort.
One of the more interesting points addressed in the post was Matt’s admittance that having BackPress and bbPress together turned out to be a hindrance more than a convenience, not to mention a performance hit.
Full, seamless integration with WordPress is something I’ve discussed for years. (Remember my dream of having each comment section being a mini-bbPress forum, complete with threads?) We’ve just taken a number of unfortunate detours (BackPress) on the way there.
This is an exciting development and I’ll be looking forward to seeing how mini-bbPress forums within the comments actually pans out. I’ve always thought that blog posts are just like forum threads except that the blog author gets to control the initial conversation. Forums on the other hand allow the community to create conversations. So if Matt can find a way to balance the two together, more power to him!
By the way, there are a few vocal people within the bbPress community that are pretty upset by the news that bbPress will be turned into a plugin but I think the benefits outweigh the negatives, as outlined by Matt in the post. However, thanks to the license and the open source nature surrounding the software, anyone will be able to take the core of bbPress, rename it, and continue providing updates as stand alone software. However, Matt did post this within a forum thread that addresses bbPress the plugin and the stand alone product:
Non-plugin bbPress development is going to continue until we have a perfect importer so people will be able to bring their content out of the legacy codebase.
By Jeffro on August 14, 2009
During the past few days, I’ve been participating in an interesting discussion revolving around the state of documentation for WordPress, namely the Codex. The discussion centered around the fact that although the Wiki approach was good in the beginning, it simply doesn’t make sense today. Quality has gone way down, there is a ton of trash in the way of the good stuff, and in some ways, it’s difficult. At the end of the day, all involved in this conversation agreed that the Codex would not be the future for WordPress documentation. I leave it up to you now to place your vote and your opinion in the comments.
Do You Think The Codex Is The Future Of Documentation For WordPress?
- Yes (51%, 23 Votes)
- No (44%, 20 Votes)
- What Is A Codex? (5%, 2 Votes)
Total Voters: 45
By Jeffro on April 21, 2009
Over on the BuddPress blog, Andy Peatling has published a post explaining to us why BuddyPress themes are future proof. Andy explains that for folks into blogging, it makes sense to access a backend to configure settings such as your profile, etc. The software should enable you to write with little distractions without the need for flashy graphics.
However, since BuddyPress has more of a social nature to it, logging into the backend to change minute information such as your profile, or to check messages makes for a bad experience as it breaks continuity. I tend to agree. Andy then explains that BuddyPress themes contain template files and functions for displaying and updating content from the front-end. Essentially, you don’t have to drive a mile to move a foot. What this all means is that, since new features are typically handled by the administration area of the software, themes will usually work all the time with only some template functions added on occasion.
BuddyPress is taking an interesting approach to theme development as illustrated by this point:
New functionality in BuddyPress will almost always be enabled through theme upgrades. However, our policy will be that existing themes will not break and backwards compatibility will always be assured. As a theme designer it is up to you to decide which BuddyPress features you want to provide support for, and whether you want to support new features introduced in future BuddyPress versions.
If that wasn’t enough to get excited about, with each release, they plan on offering a ‘cheat-sheet‘ which will list all of the new functions that were added as well as a backlog of all of the previous functions. The default themes for BuddyPress will always remain up to date, including the skeleton theme meaning you’ll always have a clean slate to start from.
Despite me not using the software, I am very impressed by what I’ve read in this announcement. In fact, I’d like to mention that I would love to see WordPress themes head in more of a direction that BuddyPress themes are in that, I would like to edit certain things from the front-end versus having to always go through the backend. For example, instead of logging into my administration page, clicking Appearance, clicking Widgets, configuring a new text widget or simply correcting a typo I discovered, I’d rather be able to click an edit button from the front page of the blog where the text widget is displayed and be able to edit the title and the content right there, on the spot. Why should EVERYTHING be done in the administration panel?
I remember a WordPress theme called Ajaxified (I think) which provided a bunch of front end editing that worked via Ajax. That project is no longer being updated. However, I know of a plugin called Front-End Editor created by the awesome scribu which appears to do most of what I want. I’ll be sure to give this a plugin a try and follow up with a detailed review. If it works as expected, guess I’ll be happy to see that theme authors won’t need to do a thing to move down this road.
By Jeffro on April 14, 2009
Just wanted to give everyone a heads up regarding the next few weeks of WordPress Weekly. This Friday won’t feature any guest interviews but instead, we’ll take time out to discuss the news of the past two weeks and catchup on other things that are happening within the community.
For episode 52 on April 24th, Matt Mullenweg will be our special guest. He was originally slated for March 20th but was unable to make it due to a meeting. On May 1st, we’ll be interviewing Daniel Scocco of DailyBlogTips.com. Daniel has worked with WordPress for a long time now so it will be nice to get him on to talk about his experiences with the software.
May 8th will feature no guests as we get back on track and possibly talk about WordPress 2.8 and whatever else is happening in the community. For Friday May 15th, it may be a shorter than average show as I will most likely be on the road headed towards Columbus for the WordCamp event scheduled to take place that weekend. We’ll be providing an overview of the event and will be talking about whatever else is happening in the WordPress-O-Sphere.
By Jeffro on March 2, 2009
Ian Stewart published his new annual tradition prediction post which this year contains 15 different thoughts and perspectives on what the future of WordPress themes will be like for 2009. Among those 15 people is yours truly and this is what I had to say.
While 2008 proved to be a dynamite year for WordPress themes, especially the news/magazine layout, I think this year will continue down that same road but with improvements being made in all areas such as less dependency on the end user knowing how to utilize custom fields, better UI when it comes to configuring the theme in the WordPress administration panel, better documentation bundled with themes, etc. In last years prediction, I mentioned that the next trend of themes would revolve around Widgets enabling the end user more control of the initial layout of the theme. It didn’t quite take off as I thought it would however, I saw bits and pieces of the trend taking shape at the end of 2008 and I think it will make lots of progress throughout 2009.
Another trend I’m subscribing to in 2009 is the year of the theme framework. We have quite a few theme frameworks already in action and throughout 2009, I feel a few more will come online. However, educating end users about theme frameworks, child themes, CSS, should be a top priority or else this child theme concept will never lift high off the ground.
Last but not least, I see the premium/proprietary theme market expanding instead of shrinking. Will these new entrants abide by the GPL? Only time will tell.
I read through the responses this morning and it seems like many people are on the pulse when it comes to theme frameworks. Also worthy of discussion is the ever increasing blurred line between themes and plugins which was brought up by Nathan Rice. Lots of great thoughts and opinions regarding WordPress themes and 2009 so go on over and give it a read.