Today is a very special day for the BuddyPress open source project: 15 years ago, Andy pushed the first code commit on BP Trac. To remember the “whys” & the important “whos” of our early days, I advise you to read (again) the great post John wrote when we reached 10.

Let’s talk about the next 15 years!

It’s starting today with the first BP Attachments Add-on version. The screenshot above shows you an image attached to an activity update: you may say “OK, great, but it’s a basic feature every social network software include, what’s your point?” 

Our point is: this long awaited feature is finally available in BuddyPress 🎊, you simply need to install & activate it from the plugin directory or directly from your dashboard using the BuddyPress Add-ons tab of the Plugins/Add new WP Admin screen 👇.

We’ve been talking about Media in BuddyPress for a long while, we know there are a lot of expectations about it: these are probably the reasons why adding the feature was an intimidating task for the development team. We’ve put ourselves under a lot of pressure to satisfy some of your expectations as a very humble start and we thought it could be a nice gift 🎁 to offer the community for our 15th birthday 🎂.

BP Attachments 1.0.0

It’s not perfect! (Does anyone reach perfection anyway? 🙂 ) Some of you will probably tell us “Hey, the plugin is lacking support for this and that, etc…”: yes, you’re absolutely right, but let’s remember BuddyPress is free & open source software and keep in mind we, as code contributors, first need a bit of cheers to keep the will to progress. Let me remind you “free & open source” is demanding a lot more to users: telling what’s wrong is not enough, you need to contribute to how to fix it.

This primary statement made, let’s talk about what’s inside this Attachments BuddyPress Add-on first version.

Attach rich media to your Activity updates

Can you see the camera with the music symbol behind in the above screenshot? Great! That’s the button you need to click on to browse your device media and attach one to your activity. Once done you’ll get a small preview of it and information about it. You only want to share a media without any text inside your update? You can do it!

Media shared inside activities are public, every member of the community can view it and download it. Of course, you need the Activity component to be active to attach media to its items!

Two central places to manage your private or public media.

BP Attachments comes with a ReactJS UI built thanks to the many WordPress React components available since it uses Blocks. This personal Media Library can be reached from your front-end profile. Once you’ve reached it, you’ll see a Public directory (and a Private one if the site administrator configured it & made it available). Open this directory to be able to share public media, folders, photo albums, music or movie playlists.

That’s the first place where you can add, delete, edit and organize all your media. The second one is located inside the WordPress dashboard. If you have a subscriber or a contributor role, you’ll notice the WordPress Media menu will bring you to your personal Media library.

If you have an author or editor role, your personal media library will be available from a sub menu of the WordPress Media menu. In this place you can do exactly the same thing you are able to do from the front-end interface; it can act as a fallback if the active theme or other plugins are not playing nicely with the Media library page of your front-end profile.

Both locations are only accessible to the Member who created the media (or the Media owner), site administrators also own a front-end Media library, but in the WordPress dashboard, they get something more powerful: a moderating tool.

As you can see, the site administrator can access the Media Library belonging to @dcavins or @imath to remove some “spammy” media if necessary. Using the “My Media” directory drives the administrator to his or her personal Media library.

Attach rich media to your private conversations

If the Messages component is active & Private media is allowed by the administrator from the BuddyPress options screen as shown above, then community members can share media within their private conversations. Unlike Activity Attachments, Messages Attachments are always private and can only be viewed or downloaded by the Media owner and the private conversation participants.

Community Media directory

All public media can be browsed from the Community Media directory. Depending on the allowed media types the administrator chose, this directory can contain one or more navigation items to filter the displayed layout : one for all media, one for images, one for movies, one for sounds and one for all other file types.

When you click on one of the displayed media items, you reach its single view where you can download it, and where you’ll be able to comment, like, share etc.. in future releases of the BuddyPress Add-on.

PS: you can already share an embedded version of the media copying & pasting its link into a WordPress embed block.

Attach rich media to WordPress posts

Finally, the BP Attachments Add-on comes with image, video, sound and file blocks. Unlike regular WordPress media, your contributors will be able to use their personal Media Library when writing their content.

That’s all for this first version! Expect some Groups and Friends component-related features to land in the next major version of the BP Attachments Add-on. If you’re wondering when this next version will be published: it’s up to you! If you contribute to the Add-on and if it’s becoming popular, it can happen very quickly.

We hope you’ll have great times playing with these new features, don’t forget to celebrate BuddyPress’s 15th year before the end of the day & most importantly let’s have some fun and be kind to each other 🤝.