BuddyPress 1.2 is here, and it’s now ready for anyone with a WordPress installation!

There are so many new and improved features in this release it’s hard to keep this post short, but let me highlight just a few major ones for you.

Standard WordPress Support

BuddyPress is no longer limited to WordPress MU installations. It will now work with both WordPress and WordPress MU 2.9.1 and higher. You’ll get all the features of BuddyPress regardless of which WordPress version you use, the only difference being the tracking of blogs with WordPress MU.

Simplified Installation

We’ve worked hard to make BuddyPress 1.2 as simple to install as possible. Previous versions required manual installation steps, and a sometimes tough WordPress MU installation. With this version of BuddyPress you can be up and running in three simple steps that even my Mom would have no trouble with!

A Shiny New Default Theme

This version ships with a new default theme, offering out of the box support for all the new features in version 1.2. We’ve worked really hard to provide you with a theme that has great looks, great usability, and is really easy to extend. The feedback has been fantastic during the development stages, and we think you’re going to love what it has to offer.

Awesome Activity Streams

Activity streams in BuddyPress 1.2 have been completely transformed into something considerably more powerful. Activity streams form the focus of the new default theme and provide a really easy and intuitive way for users to interact.

Each activity item now has a permalink so it’s easy to bookmark or send direct links to any type of activity. Any user can also comment on activity across a site, with support for threading so your users can ignite their own individual discussions around a single activity.

There’s also direct update posting to the activity stream, so it’s easy to share your thoughts globally, or even within a particular group. Not only that, you can also mark activity items as a favorite, and send other users @username mentions.

Give 1.2 a Go

The best way to really experience what BuddyPress 1.2 has to offer is to try it for yourself. If you’d like to give it a go without downloading and installing then take a look at the BuddyPress Test Drive. This site is always running the latest version of BuddyPress and boasts a more than 15,000 strong user base, all interested in testing and discussing the newest features of BuddyPress.

Of course, downloading and installing BuddyPress yourself is going to give you the best taste of what BuddyPress can do. You’ll be able to experience just how extensible it really is with the ever growing list of great plugins. You’ll even be able to start creating your very first child theme.

Those who are upgrading from a previous version of BuddyPress should follow the official upgrade instructions.

Special Thanks

There are a large number of people who have helped BuddyPress reach this important milestone. Participation has really been fantastic, with more than double the number of tickets for 1.2 than we had for 1.1. These tickets help so much in ensuring that BuddyPress is a stable, well tested product with each milestone reached.

Special thanks goes to: 21cdb, andrea_r, DJPaul, Ezd, _DorsVenabili, arturo84, chouf1, cnorris23, developdaly, erich73, floris, grosbouff, intimez, jivany, johnjamesjacoby, madloki, miguael, mikepratt, MrMaz, nuprn1, ousep, r-a-y, rvenable, snark, teebes, windhamdavid, wpmuguru.