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New Groupblog Plugin

  • Avatar of Mariusooms
    Mariusooms
    Participant

    @mariusooms

    My and my collegue needed to extend the group functionality using the wpmu blogs. They needed to integrate closer.

    We created a ”Groupblog” plugin which adds an extra form to the Group Admin Settings page. There the admin has a check box to enable the group blog followed by a drop down to select which group to associate with the group.

    Various templates can be implemented, currently we have two. One displays the latest blog posts on the Group home page along side the wire and forum activity. The second one is a template that links from a new menu item in the optionsbar named ’Blog’.

    Each template uses basic wp template tags within the wp post loop to contruct whatever output from your blog you’d like to show on your group.

    It is a basic concept on which could be build on extensively. Also since it is our very first plugin, the code could potentially be better. We followed the skeleton component guidelines and it seems to work fine at the moment.

    Future things we’d like to implement is blog registration along side the group creation. Much like how the user signup offers to sign up a blog. This could be useful especially when disabling user blog and only allow groups to have blogs. Or when you only allow one blog per user at signup.

    Is there any need for this functionality from the BP community? And if so, please realize it is early stage and could use help from more veteran developers to optimize and enhance the code.

Viewing 8 replies - 76 through 83 (of 83 total)
  • Avatar of Boone Gorges
    Boone Gorges
    Keymaster

    @boonebgorges

    The way the plugin is set up, group members have to visit the group blog before they join it. This wasn’t quite as smooth as I wanted it to be – users were complaining that they were getting redirected in funny ways – so I took some time today to rewrite a bit of the code. I describe the changes and provide a link to the revised plugin here: http://teleogistic.net/2009/12/streamlining-group-blogs/

    Avatar of D Cartwright
    D Cartwright
    Participant

    @aekeron

    @Boone Gorges

    Nice work :) For our implementation of this I ended up writing some (very sloppy) code to sort this out, but your solution looks to be miles better. It will be very useful in future.

    Avatar of Mariusooms
    Mariusooms
    Participant

    @mariusooms

    @Boone Gorges, this has been on our todo list for a long time, but never got around rewritting the code. Looking forward to see your approach. We have no problem including code from the community, so you can expect a revised bp-groupblog after we review what can go and stay. Thanks for contributing.

    Avatar of Mike Pratt
    Mike Pratt
    Participant

    @mikepratt

    @Boone – that looks like a logical and necessary change

    @Marisooms – I have some questions and thoughts regarding the Group Blog concept. PLease understand this critique is in the context of my particular use case, although I believe it to be a very common one.

    The Group Bog plugin/tool looks to be quite powerful. In our case, our users are not looking for all that power. We just want to be able to write blog posts as “part of” a group. When you install and run Group Blogs (bp-gb for short), an entirely new blog is created with a url not subordinate to the group. Ex we have a group called USMA-1987 for the class of ’87 on my dev site (mjpratt.com if you care to see the issues). bp-gb created a blog at mjpratt.com/usma1987 instead of mjpratt.com/groups/usma-1987/blog or something like that. When you are viewing blog posts, you are looking at the standard individual blog and widget structure, NOT another section of the Group -> now this may be a bug/error as I once saw that but for the last 2 group blogs I created, there are no Group menus or sections for the group blog showing up. weird.

    Bottom line is, the user should never leave the group menu/system environment when dealing with the group blog. In our case, group admins are more like moderators and should not have to do things like configure Akismet, widgets, etc. So I will have to go in and do that for every group. We’re just looking for a little extra group functionality as opposed to an entire group blog ecosystem.

    I still think this is the best effort down this path and i am determined to figure a solution out so thanks for the work.

    If anyone can hazard a guess why this group -> http://mjpratt.com/groups/usma-1987/ HAS a group blog, created by the plugin at -> http://mjpratt.com/usma1987/ but (as you can see) there are o references to it on the group home page, I would very much appreciate the insight. Thanks

    Avatar of Mariusooms
    Mariusooms
    Participant

    @mariusooms

    I completely understand and feel your pain Mike, I deal with the same issues. It is a balance how you keep it simple yet powerful. Let me first explain the url structure. Buddypress creates groups using the defined constant as a path variable. By default that is ‘groups’, therefore wpmu blogs could never reside inside the same subdirectory because of conflicts. WPMU creates blogs in the root directory. Also WPMU does not allow blogs to be created with dashes or names that or less than 4 characters.

    So -> http://mjpratt.com/groups/usma-1987

    becomes -> http://mjpratt.com/usma1987

    becasue the blog gets created in the root and is stripped from the dashes.

    To stay completely in the group structure would require pulling in the correct data based on the blog id. This is certainly possible, but not a great way to develop. Therefore I’m almost inclined to think the otherway around. Utilize buddypress for profiles and pull in group related info into a blog structure. So I would redirect http://mjpratt.com/groups/usma-1987 to http://mjpratt.com/usma1987. Offcourse the group has many other components, so it is neither ideal.

    I guess what you really are after is not really a group blog, but, and yes, yet, bp-groupblog probably comes closest.

    Let’s see what we can do come bp-groupblog version 2. It is a work in progress and with community feedback in can develop into something truely and universally useful.

    Avatar of Mike Pratt
    Mike Pratt
    Participant

    @mikepratt

    @mariusooms Now that was a response I can truly appreciate, and I do. I definitely see merit in both approaches and I am putting thought into an approach that satisfies my userbase’s needs. I don’t see any way around the problem you so eloquently laid out. Perhaps what we need is not so much a blog for groups, but a post-like-entry/edit mechanism to create content that is clearly part of the /group structure, lives inside that structure, has privacy and permissions consistent with that structure but gives users the opportunity to create content that falls into this category: more than a forum topic or posting, more than a wire posting -> sort of a “thought piece that has been traditionally the domain of blog posts ie with images, etc. that people then lend commentary to.

    I need to figure out what vehicle/mechanism best lends itself to that structure. I’ll keep you up on what I discover, if anything.

    I believe that group documents (via posting or uploading a file???) is on the roadmap… but it’s a long way out.

    Avatar of dtclarinet
    dtclarinet
    Participant

    @dtclarinet

    How is the groupblog different from the buddypress group posting output? A blog posts updates to the top of the page, and so does bp group. Please clarify the differences. I am not sure I want to engage the group blog with a new url, unless there are distinct advantages over the bp group discussion layout.

    Thanks,
    David

    http://blog.davidhthomas.net

Viewing 8 replies - 76 through 83 (of 83 total)

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