Ladies and gentlemen, start your testing engines: BuddyPress 1.8-beta1 is ready for a lap around the track.

If you develop BuddyPress themes or plugins, or if you run a BP-powered community site, now is the time to start testing the next major version of BuddyPress in your development environments. BP 1.8 will feature a large number of fixes and enhancements. For the full list, see the 1.8 milestone in Trac. Here is a short list of major changes, areas where you may want to focus your testing energies:

  • BP_Group_Extension has been largely rewritten, with the goal of making Group Extension plugins faster and more consistent to write (#4955). We’ve worked hard to make sure that existing BP_Group_Extension plugins will continue to work as before, but we encourage you to verify your own plugins. In the upcoming days, I’ll be writing updated Codex documentation for the Group Extension API, so you can see how the new features in BP 1.8 will make writing group extension plugins radically simpler. Watch for updates.
  • The group administration panels in the Dashboard have seen some improvements – in particular, to the way that the Manage Members section works (#4482, #4977). Pagination support has been added to the member lists in these panels, as well as the bp_group_has_members() stack that underpins the panels.
  • The bp-legacy stylesheet has undergone a process of “detheming” (#4953). We’ve combed through the bp-legacy CSS – which provides BP-specific styling on themes that don’t have native support for BP – and removed some of the lingering stylistic remnants of the bp-default theme. Now, things like font faces, buttons, and form element styling will be inherited from your WordPress theme in a much more graceful way.
  • We’ve introduced a new template hierarchy layer for top-level templates (#4639). Similar to WordPress’s template hierarchy, this new feature allows themes to provide top-level template files that are specific to a component or item. For example, if your theme contains a template at groups/index-directory.php, it’ll be used instead of buddypress.php or page.php when viewing the Groups directory. See r7212 for more details on the hierarchy, and watch the Codex and bpdevel for documentation between now and the 1.8 release.
  • bp_has_groups() and bp_has_activities() now accept a meta_query parameter (#3521). This means you can filter a group or activity query based on groupmeta or activitymeta, using the very same meta_query syntax familiar from WP_Query.
  • @-mentions can now be disabled (#3388), by adding add_filter( 'bp_activity_do_mentions', '__return_false' ); to your bp-custom.php file.
  • RSS feeds for activity streams have been overhauled (#5020). Our RSS implementation has been brought more in line with best practices for feed construction. And feed-building logic has been abstracted from myriad standalone feed templates into a single BP_Activity_Feed class, which makes the creation of custom feeds a breeze.

Remember that BuddyPress 1.8-beta1 is beta software, and we don’t recommend running it on a production site quite yet.

Get 1.8-beta1 via svn, or by downloading the zip file from Find a bug or have a question? Check out our support community, or visit our development tracker.