With the release of BuddyPress 1.7 just a few days ago, and with almost 1.5 million downloads behind us, I wanted to take the time to remind everyone about what’s gone into improving BuddyPress recently, and to reassure everyone that it’s okay to update.

In the early days of BuddyPress, things were in flux. Andy and I were furiously building components and features, deprecating code, refactoring the way things worked, and generally tearing up the codebase over and over again. It helped us build a great foundation, but it made updating to the next version a scary and frustrating experience. To those that remember those days, I apologize; to everyone else, I’m sorry you missed out on the fun. :)

Whenever your WordPress installation checks to see if BuddyPress needs an update, the WordPress.org Extend API remembers the current version of BuddyPress that you’re running. This is how we know (with relative accuracy) approximately how many of what versions are out in the wild, and it’s also how we generated the pinwheel below, taken from the Stats page from WordPress.org Extend:

Active BuddyPress Versions

Every color of the rainbow is clearly represented

Despite the pretty colors, this pie chart is actually a little scary. There are so many old and outdated installations of BuddyPress out there, not taking advantage of the neat new features, and not running the most stable and secure code available. The irony is, this is largely our fault.

These days, BuddyPress is a 1 click update in your WordPress dashboard, and we’ve built a bunch of API’s that allow third party plugin developers to write plugins that won’t break when BuddyPress needs an update. We’ve spent a large part of the past 2 years reinforcing the foundation we invested in, so that no one needs to be afraid to update BuddyPress ever again.

Starting with BuddyPress 1.8, the core team will be focusing our efforts on including automated tests with each enhancement and critical bug fix, to help ensure that each future release gets more stable than the release before it. Boone Gorges and Paul Gibbs both donated huge amounts of labor building a test suite that is already committed into our development branch, just days after BuddyPress 1.7 was packaged up. Their dedication towards making BuddyPress stable and amazing for everyone is unwavering, and their contributions are truly awesome.

If you’re running an old version of BuddyPress, I urge you to check out and update to BuddyPress 1.7. It’s the culmination of thousands of hours of effort, and is the most stable, secure, and performant version of BuddyPress yet. Help us change that pinwheel into more of a Pac-Man or a circle.