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.

Because work on Status was done in close connection with the BuddyPress core team, some of the improvements that arose during development were passed upstream to BP itself. For example, as Status was being built, it became aware there were limitations in the JavaScript used by the BuddyPress Default theme. The Status team took the lead on this ticket, where bp-default’s JS was reworked in a way to be much less dependent on the specific markup of the bp-default templates. This was done not only to benefit Status; it also means others can have extra flexibility in their templates.

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:

@hnla, @vebailovity, @mercime, @DJPaul, @karmatosed

Also props go to @jarret for saving the day with the last bug fix during the chase to the finish line.

Call to arms

Status is an ongoing open project. If you want help shape version 1.1, 1.2, and beyond, check out the project on GitHub.  Want Status to have x or y feature?  Well, you can get involved and add it in.