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BuddyPress 3.0 Beta 2

Published on April 15th, 2018 by Hugo Ashmore

It’s with a huge amount of pleasure and excitement that we’re announcing the Beta 2 release of BP 3.0 today ready for testing and feedback.

BuddyPress 3.0 will be a major milestone release for us and one we’re all really excited about, it’s been a long time coming but finally we are close to releasing the first template pack for BP, this is a completely new ‘theme’ or set of template files and functionality designed to replace bp-legacy which has served us so well since it’s inception way back in the major release of 1.7 where we introduced ‘Theme Compatibility’, and we’re all really eager for any feedback during these beta phases you may grab a copy of our beta1 release here to test with.

Nouveau – as our new template pack has been named – provides an all new clean set of markup files, refactored from the ground up to be semantic and accessible. Styles are re-written and provided as Sass partials for developers if wanting to build out new packs. A lot of core functionality for components has been re-written and re-located to be sourced from include files by component in the template directory which allows even easier access to modify functions by overloading to a new theme or child theme. Our major loops, members, activity etc have been re-factored to run under Backbone for a smooth Ajax experience and indeed all the Javascript functionality is re-written to be far more modular than it was before and has a far better modern feel to it’s structuring.

For the first time we have brought in the Customizer to provide user option choices and a range of layout configurations may be selected. In our initial offering we have provided various layout options for the main BP navigation elements allowing for vertical navs or horizontal, tab effect where suitable. for the component loops such as members, Groups we provide an option to display in a grid layout & at row quantity options or simply as a flat classic list layout.

While we are really excited about Nouveau 3.0 also has many other improvements to offer and you can view a list of all closed tickets for 3.0

As always your feedback and testing is an invaluable part of our releases, helping us to catch any last minute bugs.
You can download the beta release for testing at downloads.wordpress.org and install on a local copy of WordPress ( please remember this is a beta release and should not be run on an active production site). Any issues found can be reported on our Trac by creating a new ticket

If you’re a developer comfortable with SVN you might like to checkout a development copy which you can do from this link patches can be submitted to existing tickets or issues found reported on a new ticket.

Further guidance on contributing to BuddyPress is covered on our Contributor guidelines page in our Codex

10 years

Published on March 25th, 2018 by JJJ

In 2008 (just 10 short years ago) Andy Peatling made the very first code-commit to the newly adopted BuddyPress project, joining bbPress, GlotPress, and BackPress at the time. As most of you can probably imagine, BuddyPress was a different piece of software back then, trying to solve a completely different decade’s worth of problems for a completely different version of WordPress.

BuddyPress was multisite only, meaning it did not work on the regular version of WordPress that most people were accustomed to installing. It needed to completely take over the entire website experience to work, with a specific theme for the primary part of your site, and blog themes for user profiles and everything else.

There was a lot to love about the original vision and version of BuddyPress. It was ambitious, but in a clever kind of way that made everyone tilt their heads, squint their eyes, and ponder what WordPress was capable of. BuddyPress knew exactly what it was trying to do, and owned it without apologies.

It touted itself as a “Social Network in a box” at a time when MySpace was generating 75.9 million unique visitors per month, so if you couldn’t imagine how different BuddyPress may have been before, imagine how excited everyone was at the idea of owning their own MySpace.

Since then, Andy invited BoonePaul, and me to help lead the project forward, and in-turn we’ve invited several other prolific BuddyPress contributors to help with every aspect of the project, website, design, and so on.

The BuddyPress team has grown in a few different ways. Most recently, we’ve added Renato Alves to the team to help with WP-CLI support. Renato is a long-time contributor who stepped up big-time to really own the WP-CLI implementation and finally see it through to the end.

Slava Abakumov lead the 2.8 release, and we finally met in person for the very first time just last week at WordCamp Miami. He’s another long-time contributor who has always had the best interests of the project in mind and at heart.

Laurens Offereins has been helping fix BuddyPress bugs and work on evolving features since version 2.1, and while we haven’t met in person yet, I look forward to it someday!

Stephen Edgar (who you may recognize from bbPress) also works a bit on BuddyPress, largely around tooling & meta related things, but he’s fully capable and will jump in and help anywhere he can, be it the forums or features.

Mercime would prefer I not blather on endlessly here about how important she is, or how much I appreciate her, or anything like that, so please forget I mentioned it.

Hugo Ashmore has spent the past 2 years completely rebuilding the default template pack. This is an absolutely huge undertaking, and everyone is really excited about sunsetting ye olde bp-legacy.

Tammie Lister has moved on to work on the enormously important and equally ambitious Gutenberg project. Tammie is wonderful, and doing a great job crafting what the future of democratizing publishing is.

Lastly, a few of our veteran team members took sabbaticals from contributing to BuddyPress in the past few years, which I see as an opportunity to return with fresh ideas and perspectives, or maybe moving onto new & exciting challenges. This is a good, healthy thing to do, both for oneself and the project. Space makes the heart grow fonder, and all that.


A small aside but worth saying here & now, is that leading an open-source project is everything you think it is (or maybe have read already that it is) and like a million other things that are hard to understand until you understand. The one constant (and subsequently the hardest and funnest part) is how to provide opportunities for personal growth, without prohibiting contributions, while also doing what’s best for the greater vision of the project itself, amongst a completely remote group of bespoke volunteers. I think Paul, Boone, and I do OK at this, but we are always learning and adjusting, so please reach out to us if there is anything we can do differently or better.


BuddyPress is my personal favorite piece of software. It’s my favorite community. I wake up excited every day because of what it can do and who it does it for. Put another way, I love what we make it do and who we make it for: ourselves, one another, each other, and you.

Cheers to 10 years, and here’s to another 10!

BuddyPress 2.9.3 Security and Maintenance Release

Published on January 26th, 2018 by Boone Gorges

BuddyPress 2.9.3 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release. We strongly encourage all BuddyPress sites to upgrade as soon as possible.

The 2.9.3 release addresses two security issues:

  • A dynamic template loading feature could be used in some cases for unauthorized file execution and directory traversal. Reported by James Golovich.
  • Some permissions checks and path validations in the attachment deletion process were hardened. Reported by RIPSTech and Slava Abakumov of the BuddyPress security team.

These vulnerabilities were reported privately to the BuddyPress team, in accordance with WordPress’s security policies. Our thanks to all reporters for practicing coordinated disclosure.

In addition, 2.9.3 includes a change that fixes the ability to install legacy bbPress 1.x forums. Please note that legacy forum support will be removed altogether in BuddyPress 3.0; see the announcement blog post for more details.

BuddyPress 2018 Survey

Published on December 1st, 2017 by @mercime

What would you like BuddyPress to focus on in 2018? The core team has ideas of where BuddyPress can expand on and your input is important to harness the time and resources of an all-volunteer crew.

The survey will take 10-15 minutes to complete. Be assured that we will not publish your name, email address, nor IP address when we post the results of this survey at BuddyPress.org.

Thank you for your time and cooperation. Your feedback will help us improve BuddyPress for you.

=> Take the 2018 BuddyPress Survey

BuddyPress 2.9.2 Security and Maintenance Release

Published on November 2nd, 2017 by Boone Gorges

BuddyPress 2.9.2 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release. We strongly encourage all BuddyPress sites to upgrade as soon as possible.

The 2.9.2 release addresses five security issues:

  • A Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) vulnerability was fixed in the interface used by admins to perform certain actions related to sitewide notices. Reported by J.D. Grimes.
  • Some uses of serialized data were judged to need hardening. Reported by John James Jacoby of the BuddyPress security team.
  • An open redirect was fixed on the user edit screens. Reported by Yasin Soliman (ysx).
  • An unauthorized information disclosure vulnerability was fixed in an AJAX handler. Reported by J.D. Grimes.
  • A Cross Site Scripting (XSS) vulnerability was fixed in the avatar upload interface. Reported by Ronnie Skansing.

These vulnerabilities were reported privately to the BuddyPress team, in accordance with WordPress’s security policies. Our thanks to all reporters for practicing coordinated disclosure.

In addition, 2.9.2 includes a change that improves compatibility with the upcoming WordPress 4.9 release, by removing the call to a newly deprecated hook.

BuddyPress 2.9.1 Security Release

Published on August 23rd, 2017 by Paul Gibbs

BuddyPress 2.9.1 is now available. This is a security and maintenance release. We strongly encourage all BuddyPress sites to upgrade as soon as possible.

We fixed two regressions introduced in 2.9:

  • Groups: fix group description truncation length on group screen.
  • Profiles: fix avatar quality when requesting avatar sizes larger than the user’s uploaded avatar.

Importantly, BuddyPress 2.9.1 and earlier versions were affected by the following security issue:

  • Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) in the XProfile administration Dashboard panel.

These vulnerabilities were reported privately by Ronnie Skansing. Our thanks to Ronnie for reporting security issues in accordance with WordPress’ security policies.

BuddyPress 2.9.0 – ‘La Lombarda’

Published on July 31st, 2017 by Hugo Ashmore

BuddyPress is happy to announce the immediate availability of it’s latest release 2.9 ‘La Lombarda’ available for download or updatable from your WordPress install plugin directory.

This release features a range of improvements and updates for both core functionality and templates.

Amongst a range of improvements and enhancements:

  • BP legacy templates are updated for aria labels to bring a vastly improved level of accessibility to layouts.
  • In line with current practises anchor title attributes are replaced with an enhanced version usable for all devices, BP Tooltips now provides pop up title requirements on mouse hover or keyboard focus.
  • Provide the capability to edit the Group slug: now site admins may edit the group name and the permalink in the dashboard.
  • Prevent group invites being sent to users that have already received one.
  • Uploading of profile images in mobile devices improved as well as better handling of files with non ASCII characters.
  • Email links to private message threads now re-direct logged out users to the login screen, logged in users are directed to message thread.
  • New template tag bp_group_link()
  • Add an order_by parameter for activity queries.

You can see the full set of changes on our codex page Version 2.9.0

Comments & feedback
Please report any issues to the Buddypress Support Forum or open a ticket on our Trac development home.

Contributors
Buddypress is a volunteer project and the core team acknowledges the contributions from everyone listed below that helped to bring 2.9 to the community.

La Lombada
This release is named after what is thought to the oldest and thus first Italian restaurant in the UK established circa 1922 in Aberdeen.

BuddyPress 2.9.0 Release Candidate 1

Published on July 14th, 2017 by Hugo Ashmore

Today sees BP 2.9.0 move to The final testing phase Release Candidate 1.

This is the last chance to test out this release and report back any issues found before final release in approximately two weeks time.

Any issues found can be reported to our trac ticket home , or raised on the support forum.

Amongst other improvements and fixes to look out for are:

  • Fixing display of older activity comments.
  • Correction of message when removing friends that are not friends.
  • Group invites – omit sending to previously invited members.
  • Profile image upload fix for IE Edge breaksIOS fix.
  • Correct issue with hidden group & CSS specificity.
  • URL compatibility for LightSpeed.
  • Fix inability resizing of member avatar for cyrillic character filenames.

For a full list of commits see 2.9 tickets A full changelog will be available when we release the final version.

You can download the plugin to test from the WP repo BP 2.9.0-RC1 or grab a copy from our SVN repo.

A reminder to all theme developers that there are changes to template markup that could effect layouts and ask that they check their themes carefully, the changes are listed below along with changelog links; again any issues or problems please report as soon as possible to the BP trac or slack channel.

Template changes

In this release there are a number of improvements to templates that add a level of improved a11y performance and markup changes for better semantics & Standards.

Theme authors may want to pay particular attention to changes to profile field visibility links and the profile field descriptions where significant markup changes are made that effect positioning of these elements – changesets for these are r11617 & r11618

Nouveau – new template pack

If you’re looking for Nouveau as we mentioned in the beta2 announcement we have delayed the release of this new template pack to ensure it receives as much code checking & refinement as possible and we’ll be looking to probably package this as it’s own release shortly after 2.9 is released.

We thank you in advance for all testing and reports and it need not be mentioned but please don’t run Beta or RC releases in a production environment only on test installs.

Regards,
The BuddyPress team.

BuddyPress 2.9.0 Beta 2

Published on June 24th, 2017 by Hugo Ashmore

Today sees BP 2.9 move to Beta 2 ( Beta 1 skipped for technical reasons ) testing phase and we would request all plugin authors, theme developers and other interested parties test out this release and feedback any issues found to our trac ticket home , or raise on the support forum.

Amongst other improvements and fixes to look out for are:

  • Fixing display of older activity comments.
  • Correction of message when removing friends that are not friends.
  • Group invites – omit sending to previously invited members.
  • Profile image upload fix for IE Edge breaksIOS fix.
  • Correct issue with hidden group & CSS specificity.
  • URL compatibility for LightSpeed.
  • Fix inability resizing of member avatar for cyrillic character filenames.

For a full list of commits see 2.9 tickets A full changelog will be available when we release the final version.

You can download the plugin to test from the WP repo BP 2.9.0-beta2 or grab a copy from our SVN repo.

Template changes

In this release there are a number of improvements to templates that add a level of improved a11y performance and markup changes for better semantics & Standards.

Theme authors may want to pay particular attention to changes to profile field visibility links and the profile field descriptions where significant markup changes are made that effect positioning of these elements – changesets for these are r11617 & r11618

Nouveau – new template pack

While we were definitely aiming for release of this feature for 2.9, the necessary final fixes and feature enhancements along with the necessary code reviews were going to prove very tight to get finished in time and would have likely meant a degree of rushing. We have decided that as this is such a major new feature, the first new theme in many years and that expectations will be high for it that we should not rush to put out a product that might be even slightly sub optimal.

However fear not we are very concerned that the project is focussed on through the last stages of 2.9 and has primary focus during the next release cycle to ensure an early completion.

It is further proposed that we’ll actually release Nouveau in a much shorter release cycle as 3.0, this way we can get an early release and not have the project just sitting in trunk until the end of the year.

Building Bridges between Students and Educators in Nepal

Published on May 30th, 2017 by @mercime
This is a guest post by Arjun Bhattarai (aju29), Founder and Developer of StudentsNepal.com. He is currently working towards a Masters degree in Economics.

Peer reviewed by @boonebgorges

StudentsNepal.com logged in

StudentsNepal.com is the first and largest community website for students of Nepal with 9,700 registered members and 50,000 subscribers. The site helps students find answers to popular courses and colleges by acting as a bridge between the students and educators/educational organizations.

Background

I started working on this side project in December 2014. I remembered I had very little information about courses and colleges I could choose from after finishing Higher Secondary level back in 2011. There were no websites that could readily help students to explore the various opportunities available in Nepal. There are still a lot of students in Nepal who have been brain-fed that studying abroad is the one and only option to be successful. My vision was to change this mindset among the young students of Nepal by informing them about the abundant opportunities and options available within the country.

The goal for creating StudentsNepal is to increase communication among different students with different educational backgrounds while helping them to learn all sorts of information and get hold of educational resources. Communication and interaction are the core values of StudentsNepal and these are the features that help the platform stand out from rest of the educational websites. BuddyPress and bbPress have helped us to achieve these values in a cost effective and efficient way. The beauty of these plugins is that our members can create content and help to rank us higher with search engines.

Implementation

The investment to create StudentsNepal.com was very low, a fraction of my pocket money during my final years in college. It is now one of the top educational portals of Nepal. Since WordPress was so easy to master, my dev team and I were able to use most of our free time to create initial content and other valuable resources for our visitors – students, parents, and educators – rather than spending time/money coding from scratch or buying a proprietary platform.

Before choosing BuddyPress, I researched open-source social network scripts and platforms. My shortlist included WordPress (BuddyPress), Joomla (JomSocial), and Drupal (social modules). It was clear to me, after reading a lot of support forum posts and articles, that the BuddyPress/WordPress combo was the way to move forward with my dream. I am really happy about this choice today. The other heavyweight plugins that I added were GravityForms, Sucuri, bbPress, and MyCred plus other smaller plugins for specific tasks.

Customizations & Improvements

1. Login and Registration Pages
We found out that the default login and registration pages made it difficult for members to log in and have kept site visitors from registering. We resolved the issues by installing the Gravity Forms plugin and adding log in integration via Facebook, Twitter, or Google+ as well as making the registration page more user-friendly.

studentsnepal login screen

2. Newsletters
I thought about adding a newsletter because I loved the way some of the blogs I subscribed to sent organized information and recent activities of the blog in a beautiful email format. I decided to add an optin form to start collecting names and emails 2 to 3 months after launching the site. During the first 6 months, only first names and emails were collected with the popup optin form. Later, I changed the optin forms to collect email addresses and phone numbers. I have been using the free package of mailmunch for optin forms (popups) and Amazon AWS for sending newsletters. The newsletter contains scholarship notices for different universities/colleges, student stories, youth events, and other useful academic information.

The newsletters have become one of the most popular features for the community. We did a lot of testing for the positioning and timing of the popup to get the most sign ups. StudentsNepal had around 20,000 subscribers by the end of 2015. The number of subscribers started growing after I inserted the forms in all the subdomains. (news.studentsnepal.com, jobs.studentsnepal.com, quiz.studentsnepal.com, blog.studentsnepal.com). After 3 years, the site has 50,000+ subscribers.

Currently, StudentsNepal sends 1 newsletter per week, and my dev team and I are planning to make it 2 newsletters per week. We had invited students and educators/institutions to contribute content for the newsletters and the response has been just great! Students, particularly, submit generously and regularly to benefit other members, subscribers, and online visitors.

In addition, this project has also helped me connect with lots of awesome individuals and similar-minded startup owners.

3. Design and CSS tweaks
Out of the box, BuddyPress has a plain and simple design and interfaces which can be customized easily. At the end of the day, the features and performance are what matters most to my users whether on mobile, tablet, or desktop. For me, due to extensibility and ease of customization, BuddyPress reigns as king when it comes to a free open source script for a social network.

Forums Archive

4. Upgrading Servers
StudentsNepal.com was on a shared hosting plan when I launched it in 2014. It took around 3 to 4 months to cross the benchmark of 500 visitors/day. After getting articles indexed in search engines and started getting higher ranks, StudentsNepal started getting a lot of visitors (especially from Google). Mid-2015 we upgraded to VPS hosting when the website’s articles and contents started getting listed on the 1st page of search engines and it started getting a couple of thousand visitors daily. Based on my experience, it’s a good decision to get a shared hosting plan while the site was starting out and then upgrade to more powerful hosting plan when data showed the increases in user engagement and participation.

With a community of 9,700 registered members, 50k subscribers, and around 150k visitors/month, I am happy to say that our site runs smoothly with nary a downtime on all devices. If you install BuddyPress, you will need a bit more power on your server.

Fast Forward

Future plans for StudentsNepal.com include moving the Shopping and Jobs sections to separate domains and setting up a new site for online classes. I am testing Woocommerce, WP Job Manager, and Moodle for the other projects to expand our services to the community.

If you are creating a site for any niche community and are not sure on which platform to choose, I definitely suggest using WordPress with BuddyPress. These have a lot of stable and robust add-on plugins to help you create awesome and feature-rich communities.

StudentsNepal.com is the first website of its nature in Nepal and it has garnered a lot of media attention and praise. I received a lot of positive and encouraging messages from educators and students in Nepal for creating this platform. I’m just glad that the services provided by the site have been very helpful to so many Nepalese students as well to those who would like to study in Nepal.

Thanks to WordPress and BuddyPress for making this site possible. If you want to learn more about the site or the other customizations implemented, please feel free to contact me. Also, I can help you promote your social network or other related websites with a guest post in the blog section of StudentsNepal.com 😀

Arjun Bhattarai Arjun Bhattarai is a member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) and is currently working towards MA (Economics) at Tribhuwan University, Nepal. Apart from writing and playing with code, he loves swimming and watching sci-fi videos.
Links: Facebook, Linkedin

 

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