Hey, all you WordPress/BuddyPress lovers: There is a camp just for you next month in New York, and word on the street says the camp t-shirts are nothing short of awesome. Not a WordPress–ario? Never heard of BuddyPress? Then this article will answer some of your burning question–about BuddyPress, specifically.
WordPress (WP) is an open source application that web developers use to publish blogs and basic content management. BuddyPress (BP) is an open source package built on top of WordPress that converts WP into a social network (think Facebook). Both are written in PHP scripting language.
BuddyPress does not enjoy the status, widespread use, or intricacies that Facebook and MySpace do; rather, it operates on a much smaller scale, and only in combination with WP. It inherits and extends upon the basic functions of the WordPress engine including plug-ins, themes, and widgets. Upon installation, BP is immediately ready to roll as a basic social network.
When BuddyPress is first installed, a “Basic” group is created with “First Name”, “Last Name” and a profile picture upload function. These fields are the “key” to each member’s profile, so they cannot be removed or modified. However, the site administrator can add fields to this Basic group by using the extended profile component and can specify each field’s type, e.g. text boxes, date selectors, radio buttons, etc.
Here are the features contained in the BuddyPress packaged plug-in:
• Extended Profiles – Web designers can add numerous custom fields to create extended blogger profiles
• Friends – Users can search for, add, and interact with other users. Each member has a visible list of his or her friends on the site. Friend lists are searchable and members can click on each friend for more information.
• Private Message System – Users can exchange private mail with other users
• Activity Stream – Users can keep up with their friends’ activities as long as they are connected. Activity streams combine all of a user’s activity across a BuddyPress installation. Friends’ activities are also recorded and reported. Any type of data can be tracked using the activity stream component, such as wire posts, blogs posts, new friendships, and blog comments.
• The Wire –Members can post messages to other members’ profiles or leave messages for other group members.
• Groups – BuddyPress groups are an assembly of members, wires posts, and forum topics, usually encompassing a similar interest. Any member can create a group in BuddyPress and thus become the group administrator. The administrator can enable certain features such as a group forum (bbPress) and Wire.
• Forums – With the Forums component, groups can create and administer their own bbPress forum. Group members can post and reply to topics all from within the group’s page. Forums can be attached to any content within an installation, which means that third party plug-ins and new components can utilize the Forum component in the future.
• Blog Tracking – This component combines all blogs, blog posts, and comments for each member so that other members can easily find blogs that a member owns or belongs to as well as recent posts and comments.
Because all BuddyPress plug-ins are stand-alone, developers can use them in two ways, either as a whole package or piecemeal in order to customize their existing blog network. If you are a plug-in developer or theme designer and can’t make it to the camp, or if you just want more detailed information, check out the BuddyPress website (www.buddypress.org) and jump on the bandwagon.