This report presents the results from the 2013 BuddyPress Codex Survey held from August 16 – 26, 2013. One hundred seventy-eight developers from thirty-six countries responded to provide valuable information about BP usage and documentation requirements. Thank you all.

A. Background

At the beginning of the development cycle for BP version 1.9, @hnla and @mercime were put in charge of improving the current BP Codex. Feedback was scarce on the proposed codex outline and the timeline posted by @hnla at It was at this stage that the decision was made to create and deploy a BP codex survey even when it was not originally included in the timeline.

B. Goal of Survey

Gather data to determine priority tasks and to identify resources necessary to complete the project to clean up and refresh the BP codex.


  • Improve information architecture of BP Codex
  • Learn more about BP usage to assess information requirements of the community
  • Determine users’ preferred methods of learning BP to prioritize short-term and long-term tasks
  • Identify developers who are willing to author articles in BP Codex

C. Survey Design/Method

The first-ever BP survey included 21 questions in three sections namely: You and BuddyPress (8), BP codex (10), and about the survey (3). In effect, questions were designed to gather feedback on the usability of current available documentation with regards to the survey’s goal and objectives mentioned above. A wide variety of survey question types were employed to gather the data required: multiple choices, check boxes, matrices, and open‐ended/comments.

The survey was originally designed using Google Forms and submitted to the BP Project/Lead Developers for comments/approval. Upon approval, the survey was copied over to the account for public access. Huge props to Siobhan McKeown (@siobhan) for the survey consult. Special thanks to Automattic and for the upgraded account.

Polldaddy, the survey tool used, has excellent reporting and filtering functions available in real time with quantitative data and allowed for the export of such data in different file formats. Additional chart types, tag clouds and further analyses of qualitative data collected from the survey were implemented using Microsoft Excel, Google Charts and

D. Survey Results

General Information: One hundred seventy-eight BP developers/designers from thirty-six countries participated in this survey. The majority of respondents (37%) took the survey in the United States, followed by Germany (6%) then Italy, United Kingdom and Australia at 4% each. Of those respondents from the U.S., 28% took the survey in California, followed by New York (5%), then New Jersey and Massachusetts at 4% each.


1. Gender:


2. Where did you first learn about BuddyPress?

Inclusion in the WP Plugin Repository brought about the largest number of BP users.
Note: “Google/Search” (7.3%) for social networks and “Cannot Remember”/not sure (5.1%) were brought out from the “Other Option” results to be included in comparison with other choices.


3. When did you first use BuddyPress in a site? (BP version)

BuddyPress alpha/beta to BP 1.1+ versions worked in WP Multi-User (WPMU) installations only and required manual transfer of theme folders. The release of BuddyPress 1.2 expanded the user/developer base when BP could be used for both single WP and WPMU installations and one could install BP in three steps (no longer requiring manual configuration of folders in server). BuddyPress 1.5 further expanded user/developer base with new features and component classes, enhancements and bug fixes and closed 1001 BP Trac tickets in all.


4. How are you using BuddyPress?


5. Where have you installed BuddyPress?


6. What types of BuddyPress sites have you built?

This tag cloud incorporates the original types listed in the survey and all the other types added by the respondents in the “Other option” form. The top 10 types of BP networks created are: 1) Generic, 2) Academic, 3) Artistic, 4) Sports, 5) Gaming, 6) Religious, 7) Scientific, 8) Business, 9) Niche community, and 10) Non-profit.


7. In what language is your BuddyPress site?

This tag cloud incorporates the original languages listed in the survey and all the other languages added by the respondents in the “Other option” form. The top 10 languages used in BP installations are: 1) English (56%), 2) Spanish, 3) Italian, 4) French, 5) German, 6) Dutch, 7) Swedish, 8) Portugese, 9) Chinese, and 10) Greek.


8. What components and features are activated in your sites? (Default Active Components: Extended Profiles and Activity Streams)

Component All the time Most of the time Sometimes Never
Account Settings 81% 13% 3% 2%
Friend Connections 54% 21% 16% 8%
Private Messaging 58% 21% 13% 6%
User Groups 55% 26% 11% 7%
Site Tracking 30% 8% 22% 28%
Sitewide Forums 33% 16% 23% 23%
Group Forums 33% 21% 24% 19%

9. What BuddyPress documentation do you currently use?


10. How would you prefer to learn BuddyPress?


11. Where do you look first for answers to your BuddyPress questions?


12. How useful is the current BuddyPress Codex?


13. What sections of the current BuddyPress Codex do you find most useful?


14. What issues do you find in the BuddyPress Codex?


15. What documentation would you like to see in the BuddyPress Codex?


16. Have you contributed to the BuddyPress Codex?
Yes: 13%. No: 87%.

17. Would you like to Contribute to the BuddyPress Codex?
Yes: 35%. No: 65%

Thirty-two developers/designers indicated interest in contributing to the BP codex.
@boonebgorges, @bowromir, @charisevl, @chouf1, @damoncook, @dcavins, @dcrabill, @ddean, @defries, @dianakc, @djpaul, @espellcaste, @grimmwerks, @hnla, @imath, @jjones7, @johnjamesjacoby,@karmatosed, @mercime, @pollyplummer, @r-a-y, @themightymo, @sbrajesh, @slaFFik, @svenl77, @ubernaut and #markfincg, #vanseodesign, #simon-noesi, #gladiatorsuits, #AShenkar, #cidadesonho

For those who said no, some reasons given were:
~ “Not sure how I could contribute other than offering my experience so far. I’m not a programmer so can’t write plugins, etc (yet).”- “Like I said before BuddyPress is not like WordPress code -wise. If you have a solid understanding of HTML + CSS you can work your way around in almost any ‘regular’ WordPress theme because most PHP code is in between the HTML elements. In BuddyPress there is almost none PHP and just a single line ( Action ) that calls a lot of HTML to be included. Thats what makes it so difficult to do whatever you want with BuddyPress.”
~ “I wouldn’t be able to contribute to the Codex since I’m not a programmer nor do I have extensive time. That’s why I depend on devs and people who are way more knowledgeable than I am.”
~ “I’ll let you know when i’m ready. 🙂 “

18. How did you learn about this survey?
Huge props to Sarah Gooding (@pollyplummer) for bringing in 34% of total respondents via her timely blog post about this survey at We raised from among the sources listed in the “Other option” form as seen below.


19. This BuddyPress survey is:
Just right: 90%
Too long: 8%
Too short: 2%

20. Will you be willing to take another BuddyPress survey 6 months from now?
Yes: 81%.
Maybe: 19%
No: 1%

21. Any last thoughts on improving the BuddyPress Codex:

Following are some suggestions collected at random. Enjoy.

What would be nice on the Codex is to identify all foreign BP translators (the active one at least) or the foreign BP usage oriented sites. I remember back to 2009 the german, italian, spanish BP sites. Where are they actually?

Improve the search on It’s practically impossible to find relevant info in the codex, forum posts and blogs. Need lots more tutorials. See cakephp docs,as a good example.

If tutorials => level of complexity
Future: a home for translated codex (fr,…)
i’m not sure about video training/tuto
I like the quick starting guide idea
I love the phpdoc one

I think having examples; i.e., rather than just code examples in a class, perhaps a write up of a certain function or real life application with pointers to the appropriate docs

Codex is essential for leveraging the power of BP. Currently the entry barrier is too high.

Need much more information about what BuddyPress is, what features it offers (see for an example from bbPress), and other things that help people figure out what its useful for and how to use it. Also provide some more entry level articles. The learning curve is pretty steep, even for a pretty experienced multiple WordPress and phpBB site owner like me.

I’m just glad that you want to improve the Codex.

1. Improve navigation – sidebar links should not be the only way to find and access content (if they’re not, then there’s another issue).
2. Make updating it a priority – it is very disheartening to read something like “We’ve made major changes since x.x version” and then see the docs haven’t been updated for 1000 days. I’m 100% positive that BP would have a much larger (and more knowledgeable) developer base if documentation was correct and current – growth in user base would undoubtedly follow.

Thanks for all the wonderful work – BuddyPress and its documentation already do contribute to make a difference in this world 🙂

Not just think about developers or assume themes are developers – I’m very worried this is happening. We also need to not overwhelm fist time users, developers and designers. We all need to remember what the first time using BuddyPress and then pushing its use was like.

Be more clear, give chance to people to participate in it. Bring more new features. More customization.

Complete code examples with multiple usage scenarios.
Complete “How to” creating themes the PROPER way with 1.7+
More “How To”s.
Detailed “How To”s.

Make everything easier to navigate and more inline with WordPress Codex. Make information on developing themes and plugins clearer maybe by establishing a best practices section.

Look forward to seeing where it’s going. And Thank you.

More content would be great but first and foremost it just needs to be accurate for the version it is on. So much outdated material. I shouldn’t have to search around the internet for basic documentation that should be on the BuddyPress site.

Working examples of plugin development using checkboxes, radio buttons, dropdown menu’s etc. So one can have a look to see how to begin a plugin.

I’ve been a very intermittent dev with BP, and just got back into it. I was in the codex today and was like 0-for-10 on finding anything at all. I found somebodies hooks reference on Github and that was closest I got to help. I think it is great that you’re making it a priority to improve the codex and would love to try to help.

As on WP Codex, I look for usage of hooks/loops but not found (or not easily) on BP Codex. Would love to see hook/loop and expected output.

It will be awesome to have some written guidelines on how to edit codex properly. It is not very clear at the moment. Also, think about increasing the visibility of documentation. I love what I have seen on the new document structure proposed [in bpdevel]. I really hope that it becomes reality.

I’m all for a new Codex and I say thinking plenty before heading into the writing phase is best. Please make something scalable that won’t be obsolete by the time 1.9 comes out!

Go while you’re at it.

Go BP Codex Team!

E. Moving Forward

We asked. You answered quite clearly! Now we’re going back to our planning board and work in the details necessary to push this project onwards and upwards.

In the next BP Codex update at @hnla will be posting the updated Table of Contents where you can indicate which section/topic you’d like to create/update at – though please feel free to post your area of interest in comments below. Among others, we’ll also be providing some guidelines for contributions to the codex along with recommendations arising from this survey.

Thank you again for participating in our first BuddyPress Codex Survey 😉

P.S. To #markfincg, #vanseodesign, #simon-noesi, #gladiatorsuits, #AShenkar, and #cidadesonho: Apologies, couldn’t find your WP/BP usernames. Please post in comment below if you are still interested in contributing to the BP Codex. Thanks.