Is bp dying a slow death?
Part of my routine each morning is to go through and check the wp and bp trac to see what changes have been made that I need to be aware of. With wp 3.0, this has become very important for me, and has actually taught me a lot about wp. It also helps to know when major changes are made between beta’s and rc’s that will affect what I am building. (I hope to one day get my coding ability to the point where I can actually contribute instead of just leaching)
I’ve just noticed over the past number of weeks that there is really no activity going on with the bp trac. Yeah, there are a few minor changesets, but that’s about it. It seems to me that Andy has completely fallen off the planet. None of us in the regular community have heard anything from him in what seems forever. Even the bpdev site is very quiet, and I didn’t see much of anything mentioned for the dev chats. (I wish I could attend, but for me at least, they fall at the worst possible time each week)
This thread is in no way meant to be a rant, and I don’t want it to go that direction. I’m simply asking if bp is pretty much being abandoned by automatic. At the very least, after watching the furious action over the past few months on wp 3.0 in the trac, it has become very apparent that bp does not carry anywhere near the weight with automatic. Of course that is to be expected. It’s just after watching so many video’s of Matt talking about bp, one would think that automatic would at least assign some resources to bp.
Am I way off base with this observation?
Things have slowed up (trac-wise) and I have noticed less activity on the boards (from Andy too) but it is hard to assume what happens within a company and allocation of resources.
I think you are… but it is totally OK to be concerned when our websites and communities rely on wp and bp working together. Everyone who’s involved in similar projects, like this one is, know that it can be quite tricky to dedicate all of his time to development and that there are ups and downs when it comes to enthusiasm. So no worries, I don’t think that bp is slowly dying.
I’m afraid I too have noticed this decline in activity from when I first started frequenting buddypress.org and it’s Trac last november-ish when it was to a degree a hive of activity and one did see the three core developers drop in on a fairly regular basis, they are now extremely noticeable in their absence. It’s a little worrying as The community aspect of open source projects is often held aloft like a torch but that torch needs to be kept burning (rubbish metaphor )
It’s always awkward when a company such as Automattic backs something like BP as many might see that as a seal of approval and a reassurance that the project will be kept firmly on track and supported (I certainly did and it helped cement our decision to go with BP) at the moment it does feel as though things are on the back burner when – with the imminent release of stable WP 3.0 – BP appears to be far from release of 1.3 judging by the backlog of Tickets to be resolved.
I would really love to hear from the core dev team or even Automattic that BP is being kept on course and not sidelined for the moment while Automattic allocate resources elsewhere?
And no this is not a rant either just a fair degree of concern
@rainman I think one of the concerns is that BP is – too an extent – not to be considered a hobby project , it’s backed by Automattic and they employ Andy, and as far as I’m aware – not that I know one way or another – to work on developing BP; however I’m sure he help out in general where needed on Automattic’s development projects?
I noticed a lot of projects slowing down & waiting on a stable release of WP3.0, with that about to happen I’m sure dev will pick up here again.
I wouldn’t worry about BP just yet…
Yep trouble is projects can’t just halt waiting on something else, WP 3.0 from beta 1 has appeared remarkably stable and each subsequent release has too, stable enough to base development on I would have thought, but you have a point it is, I guess, safer to know ones developing to a final stable release.
I think it seems people are waiting for the next stable releases as well… Don’t give up on BP! ever! It rocks! Thank you all, if I could code I would… but as a newbie with bp, the potential for this far is beyond anything else out there for sure.
Yes indeed we may have seen a bit of slowing down recently, but IMHO: WP3 will be out this week and devs are really waiting for this final release. @johnjamesjacoby has worked on the 1.2 branch in the past few days and the trac says BP 1.2.5 is due in a couple of weeks, hopefully bringing even more compatibility with WP3 for the BP 1.2 branch. Then I think they will need to merge that with the trunk, where a lot of work is already done in terms of 1.3 roadmapped features. And what about the wonderful plugins coming within a couple of months from GSOC projects? And what about all the other plugin devs, constantly bringing us extraordinary new features for BP? Future seems bright to me!
This is an interesting topic… If i had to answer the topic I would say YES! Since it’s very inception BP has continually shed plugin and theme developers. With all do respect to Andy, the software development has continually managed to break many useful plugins and themes forcing people to either stay or go with the project. I think it has been demoralizing for many developers and adopters like myself to worry about the “break” factor when upgrading. I know I am still using 1.1.3 and will most likely be there for a while if not permanently because there are just no good substitutes for many of the plugins I use. It’s good to be positive but at this point there has to be a good hard evaluation of the project and it’s progress.
Buddypress has become an extension of BBpress.
I just assume that they are more focused on making BP compliant with WP 3.0 so that there isn’t a meltdown when 3.0 is released, and afterwards turn their attention back to the community and improving Buddypress further. I am pretty upset by the lack of presence and response on the forum. I don’t stress over following the trac day to day, and I don’t live on the bleeding edge, but when you contact someone directly it is important to get a response and some direction, everybody has something riding on this.
BuddyPress really seems to be slowing down when following its TRAC and I have followed it for more than a year now. The only thing I am seeing are Andys updates on his Twitter-page talking about soccer and his iPad. For my understanding, this is an indication that BP is (slowly) dying.
There are only a few major features which need to be developed in the BP-Core-Code in order to make BuddyPress a proper Social-Networking-software:
- Privacy features
- Properly working Private-Groups (I do have a TRAC-ticket out there regarding this)
- Blog-Posts from the Front-End
Less is More !
KISS (Keep It Simple & Stupid)
No need to panic, everything is fine. JJJ is working hard on 1.2.5 and I’m still working towards 1.3 at a slower pace as my time is split in a few areas. I’m talking about soccer on Twitter because the world cup is on, and there’s more to life than code.
and there’s more to life than code
An inaccurate statement – Life is code!
Soccer?! what’s that? thought you were British born?.
There are clearly concerns as can be seen here and in other threads, while I appreciate pressure of work and the fact that you are perhaps not able to devote 100% of your time to BP, it’s vital that the core team are seen to be around – even if only from time to time – When one talks of Community it’s important to remember that communities have leaders and community members look to leaders for inspiration, guidance, reassurance; what can wreck a communities spirit is for it’s leaders to be perceived as not caring or concerned with other matters, or simply locked away in ivory towers, unapproachable. There has to to be the notion that the larger community is able to participate, to feedback concerns, that input does not fall on deaf ears.
I would agree with @hnla. I accept all that @apeatling and @johnjamesjacoby are up to. The pace is absolutely no issue. The problem is that the BP dev community is langiushing. We need to accept that this is the current state. I’ll make this an open plea to Andy and John, et all to work with us to bring it back to it’s once fervent state. We are all willing to be community sub-leaders but would ask that guidance, feedback and participation come back. Too many messages go unnoticed and unanswered and communities disintegrate when that happens. The new BP.org has issues that need to be addressed (design and flow, not bugs – altho those are present as well).
I truly hope that bp is not dying a slow death. After fiddling with it earlier this year, briefly considering Drupal and Joomla!, exploring SocialEngine, and finally examining TikiWiki, I just FINALLY settled on BuddyPress and am hoping to become an active member of this community. My programming skills are dusty and outdated but I will work hard to give back to the community and help out in anyway that I can. @mikepratt: I just watched your video from a talk you gave in Texas (I found it somewhere on this site, I believe). I found it very informative. Thank you!
Keep BP going! The website http://students.expression.edu relies on BuddyPress!
@andy: I agree there is much more to life than code… but soccer? Seriously? You mean that “game” where guys run around for 2+ hours and never score a goal? Now if you’d said hockey or any other actual sport… I’d be right there with yah. LOL
Sorry. Just teasing (obviously). I’m fine with the pace by the way. No worries here. Enjoy your summer!!!
I agree with Mike. It does seem like the community is not as active as it was. That may be due to the new website. I’m not sure all these groups are helping. I think the previous simple forum may have been better… for a developer site at least.
Some good points, but remember that each of us has the power to shape BuddyPress; that is what is great about the larger WordPress community. I agree with hnla’s points about community leaders; I have clients, lots of twitter messages and emails from all sorts of people who keep asking where Andy Peatling’s gone to.
Without being disrespectful towards Automattic, the consequence of them having Andy work on other projects, such as wordpress.com, is that Andy has less time to work on BuddyPress. As Andy is very much the project leader and is the man with the vision, our community has slowed to some extent. This has caused some concerns, which is why we have this thread. This wouldn’t affect the WordPress project in the same way, because it’s a significantly more mature project and has many more contributors.
It’s worth considering that the current user base of BuddyPress may have reached a plateau at the moment, and that the lack of new users isn’t a sign of weakness in the product; the last big driver for activity was when BuddyPress became compatible with regular WordPress.
Finally, regarding active contributors on these forums; it seems to me that the more “active” forum contributors now earn some sort of money from BuddyPress or WordPress work, and that there just aren’t enough hours in a day to devote to work, clients, our own themes/plugins as well as helping on the forums.
From the perspective of a forum moderator, I can say that the team do take notice of people who do contribute in some way in the forums, and we all are very appreciative of everyone’s contributions.
Thanks to Paul and Ray for keeping up with this forum and helping out !
While I do understand the logic of Automattic to get all their employed coders onto projects which generate the most money for Automattic, I would love to see Andy back dedicated 100% towards BuddyPress….
I’ve been watching this thread since @anointed ‘s first post and have been hesitant to jump in as most community members view moderators as part of the core team. So first let me state, as has been periodically stated in the past by other members and moderators, that I am not part of the core BuddyPress team.
The core BuddyPress team currently consists of three people: @apeatling, @johnjamesjacoby, and @MrMaz. Within that core team, only @apeatling is employed by Automattic. The other two volunteer their time and energy to the project.
My association with the BuddyPress project is as a volunteer–as a moderator on the BP.org site and as a independent BP plugin author. As a non-core volunteer and moderator, I do not have any special knowledge or an inside track to the discussions of the core team. Everyone has the same access as I do via the biweekly dev chats on IRC.
So what I post is just my personal assessment. This is not a proclamation about the project. These are solely my thoughts and observations based on informal discussions with others.
Any nascent project experiences bursts of intense activity, followed by lulls as excitement wanes for awhile and people catch their breath, preparing for the anticipated next big burst of activity. This is common at least for successful projects. BuddyPress is no exception. I have observed three or four of these bursts over the past 16 months or so. That is as long as I have been involved with the project and therefore my entire BuddyPress timeline. I would imagine that the project experienced one or two noticeable bursts farther back than 15 months.
Is the recent lull a sign of a slowly dying project? Does Andy’s apparent lack of activity in the project’s bleeding-edge version (aka Trunk) point to deeper issues concerning the future health of the project?
I can of course only speculate, using my previous experience with other Open Source projects as data points. But I will not venture a guess as some might surmise my thoughts to be the truth. Instead I will address this thread’s hypothesis with a few thoughts.
First, I will address my recent lack of activity on the BP.org site. It can be attributed to five factors:
1. I took some time off to attend a family reunion
2. When the new BP.org redesign was launched, it dramatically changed the way support topics where organized and managed. From a moderator’s standpoint, I believe it became more difficult to effectively moderator the conversations.
3. I have other projects that need my time. As I do not get paid to moderator and I have earned only $325 dollars from my BuddyPress activity (in the form of plugin donations), other projects have priority.
4. I needed a break from the community. Before the site’s redesign and relaunch, I was the moderator with the most activity and highest post count. That past history was lost (at least is not reported anymore) with the new design as the old external bbPress forum install gave way to the new internal, group-based bbPress forum install.
5. I’ve been working on the BuddyPress Privacy Component.
Now, on to more pertinent thoughts:
* I believe that the official project site of any Open Source project needs to have a strong showing (presence) by the core team members. It demonstrates the team’s commitment to the project and community. As it currently stands, there is little active involvement on BP.org by the core team members as evidenced by their forum post count.
* The community currently has a single person as project gatekeeper. Andy has ultimate control over the BP.org site, Trac, and the overall project codebase. It is difficult for an Open Source project to thrive in the long term when that is the case. Of course, this is Andy’s creation and he was hired by Automattic to continue the build out of BuddyPress. I’m not sure whether Automattic now owns the copyright to BuddyPress or in fact who owns the copyright. But, keep in mind, that BuddyPress is another Automattic project and Automattic is a for-profit corporation that has graciously provided Andy’s services to keep the project going. BuddyPress is not an Open Source project that is created by, run by, and owned by the community. It is not an Open Source project managed by a not-for-profit entity. What does this mean? Ultimately, it is up to Automattic, and not the community, to decide what happens to BuddyPress and the BuddyPress brand.
* BuddyPress needs to have more active, core developers with commit access.
* Andy needs to communicate with the community on a regular basis, responding to inquires in a more timely manner. Of course Andy deserves rest and time off from the project, especially since over the past two years (or more) he has put in yeoman’s duty. But proactive communication from him would go a long way as to keeping the community informed. It may help bring back the excitement that once seemed to permeate the overall community.
* Finally, we all owe Andy a great deal of gratitude for creating a wonderful alternative to the current social networking platform morass. He is responsible for the vast majority of the codebase and has been very open to feedback and new ideas. If he chooses to move on to another project or company (and I am not saying that is the case as I have absolutely zero inside knowledge), we should simply wish him good luck and thank him for his hard work on BuddyPress.
I will end with a link to an article I wrote on my website six months ago pertaining to project management and leadership. Whereas it is not an article about Open Source projects, there are a few key points that apply to projects of any type.
No need to worry. All is well. I can assure you BuddyPress is 100% not abandoned.
My excuses are more client work than I can handle, and building lots of core API’s to make extending BuddyPress /much/ easier in 1.3. Custom post types in WordPress 3.0 have me sidetracked also
I’ll post something up in the blog with some official updates and words to address this topic in better detail.
I think that BuddyPress could flourish and develop and grow by ITSELF into many different directions, features and applications by the many talented Plugin-developers out there (considering the Core-Code to be stable).
Thanks to Andy, JJJ and many others who have contributed during times, the code-base is already available – I guess now is the time for talented Plugin-developers to move ahead based on that foundation. As far as I remember, Andy always encouraged Plugin-developers to engage – however each Plugin developer needs to figure out by himself how to monetize his talents.
I am sure BuddyPress is a great base for talented Plugin-developers to earn a living.
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