Available immediately is BuddyPress 1.6.3. This security and maintenance release addresses problems with activity commenting and avatar cropping. BP 1.6.3 is a strongly recommended upgrade for all sites running any version of BuddyPress 1.6.
BuddyPress.org went through another serious clean-up effort in 2012. It now runs a minimal set of plugins, with an emphasis on supporting the project proper.
BuddyPress.org’s group forums were retired. They were a fun experiment, but largely confusing to users and a moderation nightmare for site staffers. BuddyPress.org also experienced another redesign, taking much inspiration from bbPress.org and shifting focus away from evangelizing and towards supporting and showcasing what a nicely integrated BuddyPress installation can be.
BuddyPress saw both 1.5 and 1.6, with focus on cleaning up the codebase, gently migrating off of bbPress 1.1 for group forums, activity stream administration, performance improvements, and better single and multisite switching support. We also had our very first BuddyCamp in Vancouver, which was an amazing event thanks to Matt, the event organizers, sponsors, and all-of-the-other awesome contributors.
In 2012, we added our 4th core committer, Raymond Hoh. Ray has been a prolific contributor since the early days, and recently stepped up his game where him not having commit access was slowing him down. We also started experimenting with new default themes, codenamed Status, and Turtleshell respectively. Neither has made it directly into core, but TS is showing promise as a great compliment to 1.7 as we roll out theme compatibility in BuddyPress.
In 2013, BuddyPress will likely see:
Theme compatibility with all WordPress themes.
Dropping the ability to create new bbPress 1.1 powered group forums, relying solely on bbPress 2.x.
Notifications being extracted into its own component.
More wp-admin integration, starting with Groups management.
What’s New and Credits pages, ala WordPress core.
Again, hopefully another prolific core committer.
A BuddyCamp or two wouldn’t hurt.
2012 has been a great year for the bb’s. The community is really rallying behind bbPress again, and our BuddyPress users are anxiously awaiting the 1.7 release to alleviate all of their theming woes. Overall, I’m very proud about what we were able to accomplish this year, and am excited about what we have planned for 2013.
In the spring of 2011, Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) approached 7Summits for some assistance with the University’s social media efforts. Like most of introductory meetings, we didn’t know what to expect; we hoped that they didn’t think we just built Facebook pages. After a brief introduction to 7Summits, we asked MSOE what they wanted to get out the meeting. Their head of Admissions pretty much summed up both their issue and opportunity when he said, “We need to find a way to connect with the Facebook Generation in new media, before we become irrelevant”. This meeting was the beginning of an intensive 6-month project that would see the creation of the first truly social admissions website and integrated community, affectionately called, “Bridge”.
We built MSOE Bridge on WordPress and BuddyPress, and we’ve made a number of enhancements and upgrades since launch; perhaps the coolest feature is the integration work our team did with BuddyPress and MSOE’s existing Admission System of Record/Intake process (Jenzabar ERP). We take a prospective student’s BuddyPress community profile (student record) and link it directly with a custom PHP Application Form we built. From here, we built an integration process that takes the student profile and application form, and bi-directionally sync it with the student record in the ERP. This allows MSOE to correlate how a social interaction in Bridge is driving real measurable business outcomes for MSOE.
Additionally as a prospective student moves through the college admissions process, their status within the community is updated, and customised content such as people (admissions counselors, faculty, current students, etc.) and tasks/to-dos are presented to them right inside BuddyPress.
A resounding success
In 2012, MSOE beat Harvard as one of the Top 10 most innovative solutions with its Bridge community. But apart from the elegance of the technical solution and pleasing user experience, MSOE has wildly increased its admissions to the school. Since revamping its Admissions process with Bridge, the Admissions team has increased its active/enrollment metric by a full one-third increase year over year. The school had the largest open house ever this year and is over 300 applications ahead of where they were last year.
MSOE has always been known for its personalization, but Bridge gives the university a relevant human voice. It reaches them where they are – on Facebook, Twitter — and draws them into a relationship with the school. The community enables the staff to create real connections with other students and demonstrates authentic caring on behalf of the staff before the students ever set foot on campus.
In nearly every metric the university tracks, the social initiative has resulted in game-changing results. In fact, ABET, the accreditation board for the University cited the Bridge community in its annual review. That’s the first time in its century-old history that a non-academic feature of the school was cited as a strength in the board’s report.
In the video below, Cyri Jones talks about BuddyCamp Vancouver and does a quick summary of how he’s used BuddyPress at BCIT Burnaby. We were blown away at how well done this video was; it’s a great success story, and does a great job at explaining in simple terms why you might want to use BuddyPress for your community.
The first ever BuddyCamp is happening right now at BCIT Campus in Vancouver, BC. The whole BuddyPress core team (minus Paul) is here, along with WordPress co-founder Matt Mullenweg, and we all just participated in a panel discussion on the social web and BuddyPress’s place in it.
If you weren’t able to make it out to Vancouver, don’t worry; the BuddyCamp Vancouver organizers setup a live stream. For $10 CAD, you can watch the whole event in the comfort of your own home. Check out the link below for details:
On behalf of Matt and the core team, we’re super happy to be here and hope that everyone has a fantastic day!
If you’ve ever attended a WordCamp, you know how valuable – and fun – it can be to spend a day or two learning from like-minded WordPress users. Now, for the first time, fans of BuddyPress have an event all their own.
Boone, Paul, and I, are excited to announce we’ve promoted r-a-y to be the newest member of the BuddyPress Core team!
r-a-y has been involved with BuddyPress since the early days, and has been one of our strongest forum moderators since the very beginning. He’s been diligently iterating on his core patches and contributions, so we’ve asked him to come aboard the crazy train.
r-a-y’s responsibility for the 1.7 release is taking on the tickets and patches he is already familiar with, chipping away at individual issues until he’s built up the courage to take on full feature development. I suspect it won’t take long.
When we were beginning development on BuddyPress 1.6, we had the idea of building a new child theme for BuddyPress Default – something that would show off some of BP’s coolest features by highlighting a single of BP’s several components. The BuddyPress core team put out a call for community contributors to take the lead on this new theme, and we soon had some of the best and brightest theme developers in the BP world working on the project. Today, we’re thrilled to announce the availability of the new theme, Status. You can download it today from its home at Github: status.zip. (It’ll be available in the wordpress.org theme repository soon.)
What follows is a short introduction to Status – why it was built, what it does, and how you can get involved – written by the Status team.
Starting something social
Status started out life thanks to this ticket, where it was suggested to build a new theme alongside of BuddyPress 1.6, which would – in @djpaul’s words – “flex some muscle”. Several months of work and a fair few people later, we have today’s release announcement.
After several initial chats, it was decided that ’Status’ - as it obviously had to be named - would be an ‘activity focused’ theme, along the lines of Twitter. The aim was to show BuddyPress in a more specific guise, to demonstrate how BuddyPress can work well by focusing on just one of its several features. A secondary goal was to re-factor the BuddyPress templates with leaner code, focusing on HTML5 as much as possible.
Status is designed toward a specific function – Twitter-like activity streams – but it also functions as a more general BuddyPress theme, for maximum flexibility.
Status’s Activity page
That little something extra
Status has been blessed with having some great minds working on its code. As a result, it’s got a few features above and beyond your everyday BuddyPress theme:
Per-user profile customization: Under Profile, there is a new navigation element called Design, where users can set custom backgrounds and link colours for their profiles.
Friends list: A list of your friends shows in the sidebar
Member stats: On member profiles, you can see how many status updates, forum topics, forum replies, blog posts, and blog comments the user has created.
Fully responsive: Status looks good on screens of all sizes
Navigation menu in the admin bar : A custom menu area has been added to the WordPress/BuddyPress admin bar.
Show/hide comments in the activity stream: You can open or close any nested comments in the activity stream for a cleaner, less cluttered view.
A login template to mean content doesn’t show on the front unless logged in
Not one designer not one developer
At the heart of the creation process was the idea this project would be developed on GitHub and open to anyone who wanted to be part of it. There was also a ‘just do it’ approach to both the design and development, with most design work done directly in code.
A big thank you to the BuddyPress core team for allowing a different type of contribution to the project in the form of this theme. Thanks go out to all those involved so far in this project: