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Total Wellness Challenge: Fitness with BuddyPress

Published on May 1st, 2017 by @mercime
This a guest post by Tara Claeys (taraclaeys) of Design TLC, LLC. When she’s not working, Tara enjoys cycling, running, watching movies and spending time with friends and family.

Peer reviewed by @boonebgorges.

Total Wellness Challenge site


Ginny Wright started an outdoor boot camp fitness business, Body By Ginny, in Arlington, Virginia in 2003. The business grew and Ginny expanded into nutrition and wellness coaching. As a result, she began offering “Challenges” on printed sheets to her clients a few years later. They could track their daily wellness activities (nutrition, fitness, and mental health) on the sheet, giving themselves points for good behaviors and subtracting points for negative activities. This “game” became popular among her clients, just as online wellness communities started offering similar experiences on websites and apps.

Tara Claeys, a fitness client and friend, offered to help Ginny expand her existing WordPress site by adding a membership component, allow commenting to create interaction between members, and also include the ability for people to track their “Challenge Points” online using a Google Spreadsheet. This was the rudimentary beginning of the online program for her Challenges.


In 2015, Ginny decided to brand her Challenges and decided to launch a separate website for this program, The Total Wellness Challenge (TWC). Her goal was to expand the program beyond her fitness clients and to offer branded Challenges for corporate wellness programs. Tara worked with her to create a multisite installation with BuddyPress and MemberPress that would have:

  • Subsites for individual, private Challenges in corporate and other groups
  • Restricted access to Challenges for members only
  • Allow a “Reflections” commenting page for Challengers to interact with each other
  • Point Logging for 3 components of the Challenge
    • Limit submission to same day after 8pm until next day until 5pm.
    • Allow users to select one day to be a “Free” day where they would receive the maximum nutrition score, no matter what they ate
    • Add a “bonus” point automatically if a user logs 5 consecutive 12-point days
    • Show points for all Challengers on a Totals Page
    • Limits to only one entry per user per day
    • Each category (nutrition, fitness, lifestyle) has limit on max points per day
    • Ability for admin to edit user points on the back end

Tara hired Tom Ransom of One Big Idea to help develop a custom plugin that would connect MemberPress with BuddyPress. They chose BuddyPress because is primed for multisite configuration, it worked well with MemberPress, and is very customizable. Plus, the BuddyPress Groups functionality was a good fit for the separate Challenges. For TWC, each Challenge is a unique BuddyPress Group, set up on the front end by the admin.

The TWC is a point-logging game at its core. Participants keep track of their activity throughout each day for about 4 weeks and must log in to the website each day to record their points. There are 3 components of the Challenge:

TWC groups

1. Nutrition: Players can earn up to 12 points per day. Everyone starts the day with 5 points, and can gain points for positive food choices, such as avoiding white flour, eating 3 cups of greens and drinking a specified amount of water based on their weight. Players lose points for unhealthy choices, such as eating too much sugar, eating processed foods, and consuming more than one serving of beer or wine.

2. Fitness: Players can earn up to 2 points per day. They earn one point for doing 30 minutes or more of exercise per day and another point for stretching for at least 10 minutes.

3. Lifestyle: Players earn one point for posting a daily Reflection on the website, and a second point for participating in the lifestyle challenge of the week. Each week, a different lifestyle activity is listed, including behaviors such as noting 3 things you are grateful for each day, getting 7 hours of sleep, or doing an act of kindness for someone. A maximum of 2 lifestyle points can be earned each day.

Log Points

The participant can go to the Totals page to check their score against other players.

Totals page

Tom’s plugin includes code that directs the PayPal IPN to the respective subsite for MemberPress (MP) purchases. In addition, this plugin adds the new MP user into the corresponding BuddyPress group once the MP transaction was returned compete. (twc-fit-challenges-member-management.php)

TWC custom plugin

Other components of the custom plugin include:

  • buddypress.php: sets up BuddyPress (message for logged out users, custom date picker)
  • Challenges-bp-points.php: Extends BP Group functionality: add_points => adds to database
  • admin-menu-points — UI for front end
  • admin-points — Doing work
  • admin-menus — puts nav in Dashboard
  • twcfit-challenges.php — timezones – offset GMT, returns city timezone (php only reads city)

In addition, a separate twc-utility plugin hides some BuddyPress content that is not needed and redirects login to BuddyPress.

Tara customized the style sheets and some BuddyPress theme files to add a custom button to the BuddyPress Group page, and edited the BuddyPress navigation and styles. For example:

  • activity > post-form.php customized “What is your reflection for the xx Challenge today, name?”
  • groups > single > group-header.php — Adds RESOURCES button to header
    BuddyPress Customization

The site also uses the BuddyPress Custom Profile Menu and Custom User Profile Photo plugins.

Current Status

Over the past 13+ years, Ginny has hired 4 instructors, expanded her business to McLean, Virginia, and wrote the “Good Food Recipe Book” which is available for sale on her website. At this time, Ginny is still deciding whether she wants to invest in marketing Total Wellness Challenge or keep it small, mostly based on word of mouth. The increased competition in this space has made it harder to gain exposure without a large marketing budget.

The Total Wellness Challenge website has been running well for a little over a year. Six Challenges have been conducted so far, and participants have loved interacting with each other. Tara and Tom are happy with the positive feedback on their customized “gamification” of BuddyPress and how it has helped provide additional clients and exposure for Ginny’s outdoor boot camps.

Tara Claeys Tara Claeys of Design TLC, LLC provides custom website and graphic design services, with a focus on creating effective, clean and personal communication platforms for small businesses. Tara has a marketing background, combined with design and website coding expertise. Tara is the proud recipient of the Arlington Chamber of Commerce 2016 “Best Technology Business Award.”
Links: Twitter, Linkedin


2016 BuddyPress Survey Results

Published on April 2nd, 2017 by @mercime

61 country flags of survey participants


Thank you!

This report presents the results from the 2016 BuddyPress Survey held from November 1 through December 31, 2016. Three hundred and two (302) respondents from 61 countries completed the survey and provided valuable and interesting feedback. Many thanks!


Survey Design/Method

The survey contained 36 questions geared towards Site Builders and WordPress Developers. Adjusting to this more focused target audience compared to previous years’, I selected some questions from our BuddyPress 2013, 2014 and 2015 Surveys, combined/split/modified some of the questions, and added 15 new questions. The survey was designed to maximize responses and get snapshots of:
– basic demographic information
– versions of WordPress, BuddyPress, bbPress, and PHP used
– the types, languages, number of members in BP sites
– comfort levels with BuddyPress, BP theme compatibility, and BP Hooks
– development practices and tools
– respondents willing to share their BP use cases
– BuddyPress participation and contributions
– comments about BuddyPress, BP theme/plugin development, and the survey.

The questionnaire was finalized after incorporating the feedback on the draft from the BP Lead/Core Developers last year. The survey was then promoted via Twitter, BP support forums,, and survey banners added by @johnjamesjacoby at and which helped a lot.


Key Findings

This section shows some of the highlights from the survey with short comments about each. All supporting graphs, tables, and user comments from this survey are available in the accompanying accessible webpage.

A. What’s New

1. PHP Versions Used

99% using PHP 5.3+
BuddyPress 2.8 requires at least PHP 5.3. It’s encouraging to learn that 99% of respondents’ sites are on PHP version 5.3.x or better. Kudos to the 88% of respondents who are already using PHP 5.6.x or better for their sites.

2. Years Using BuddyPress

45% have using BuddyPress for a year or less
Providing additional context for the results of this survey, a whopping 45% of respondents have been using BuddyPress for a year or less. Welcome!

3. Testing BuddyPress

58% test BudddyPress at Stable Release
The majority of builders/developers (58%) prefer to test their sites, themes, and plugins against BuddyPress stable releases while 27% do so a month after Stable release and 13% test sites at RC 1. Eleven percent (11%) do not test BuddyPress.

4. Keep Updated with BuddyPress Development

66% read changelogs to keep updated
Following the top-ranked preference of reading changelogs to keep updated with BuddyPress development, users ranked these preferences almost evenly: follow BP Twitter account/s (32%), subscribe to (32%), and checking regularly (29%).

5. BuddyPress Knowledge

Knowledge BuddyPress BP Themes BP Hooks
Beginner 31% 34% 39%
Intermediate 42% 32% 26%
Advanced 19% 13% 11%
Expert 8% 7% 8%
What _*_? n/a 14% 16%

The table above is a compilation of the answers to three questions which sought to gauge the users’ confidence or comfort levels with BuddyPress in general, BP Theme Compatibility, and BP Plugin development.

6. BuddyPress Theme Dev

51% customize BP style sheets every time
On the other side of the equation: 27% sometimes customize style sheets while the remaining 22% never customize BP style sheets.

7. BuddyPress Plugin Dev

46% extend profile component sometimes
Around a third of BP users extend the following components every time: Members, Extended Profiles, User Groups, and Activity.

8. Number of Members

58% of sites have up to 500 members
Most of the respondents who had up to 500 members are those using BP for 2 years or less, have BP installed in WP domain root, have sites on Shared hosting plans, on PHP 5.6 or better, test against BP Stable release, and on the latest versions of WordPress, BuddyPress, and bbPress.

9. Local Development

23% use LAMP for local development
Out of the 70% who develop locally, the preferred local development environments after LAMP are: XAMPP (19%), MAMP (18%), WAMP (13%), and VVV (13%), among others.

10. Sharing BuddyPress Use Cases

63 participants signed up to share their BP use cases
Expect posts about how site builders or developers are using BuddyPress. Thank you to everyone who signed up!

B. Trends

1. Using BuddyPress

62% use BuddyPress for own sites
For the fourth year in a row, “I use BuddyPress in My Own Site” ranks number one (62% in this survey), followed by “I build BuddyPress sites for others” at 37%. One participant commented “Also have a family BuddyPress site on a raspberry pi (in dev).”

2. Languages of BuddyPress Sites

Languages used in BuddyPress sites
For the third year (2013, 2015, 2016), the English language is used in most of the sites (69%). This is followed by Spanish (11%), German (10%), and French (9%), among many others.

3. Types of BuddyPress Sites

Types of BuddyPress sites built
For the third year (2013, 2015, 2016), Generic (33%), Academic (29%), Sports (16%), Artistic (15%), and Gaming (12%) are the most common types of BuddyPress sites built. Generic and Academic types are consistently in the top two spots.

4. BuddyPress Versions Used

86% use BuddyPress 2.7 during survey
Eighty six percent (86%) are on BuddyPress 2.7+, followed by BP 2.6+ (23%), BP 2.5+ (6%), BP 2.4+ (4%), and BP 2.3+ (4%). Note: BP 2.7.x was the current release version during the survey period.

5. WordPress Versions Used

92% use WordPress 4.6+ during survey
Ninety two percent (92%) have WordPress 4.6+ installed, followed by WP 4.5+ (13%), WP 4.4+ (5%), WP 4.3+ (3%), and WP 4.2+ (3%). Note: WordPress 4.6 was the current major release version when the survey was launched.

6. BuddyPress Setups

72% installed at WP domain root
BuddyPress activated in a single WordPress installation continues to be popular with 72% of the respondents in 2016 as it was in the 2013 survey with 75%.

7. BuddyPress Hosting

48% use shared hosting for BP sites
For sites hosted on Shared Hosting plans: half have 500 members or less, 40% of the sites are on single WP in domain root, 47% on PHP 5.6 or better, almost half of the respondents have been using BuddyPress for a year or less, and a little more than a third use BuddyPress for their own sites.

8. Other Software Evaluated

54% chose BuddyPress without further ado
For the third year in a row, most of the users (54% for 2016) shared that they did not evaluate any other networking/membership plugin/software before selecting BuddyPress.

9. Contributions to BuddyPress development

58% have not contributed to BP development
Note: 26% of the 58% who indicated that they have not participated nor contributed to BuddyPress development have also checked that they: helped out in the BP forums, reported bugs at BP Trac, submitted patches at BP Trac, among others.

10. bbPress Versions Used

89% use bbPress 2.5+
Consistent with the vast majority using the latest versions of WordPress and BuddyPress at the time of this survey, 89% of respondents are using the latest version of bbPress which provides a tight integration with BuddyPress.

11. bbPress Setups in BuddyPress

66% use sitewide and group forums
For the third year in a row, the Sitewide and Group Forums setup is the most popular bbPress configuration at 60%, a big bump from its 49% first place ranking in 2015.

C. Shifts

1. Female Participation in Survey

13% female developers and site builders
The number of female respondents increased from 8% (17) in 2015 to 13% (37) in this survey. Levels of BuddyPress knowledge range from Beginner through Expert.

2. BuddyPress Sites Per Respondent

36% built 2 to 5 BuddyPress sites
In 2015, 41% of respondents (87) built or were responsible for one site followed by 38% (80) with 2 to 5 sites. For 2016, there were more developers who built or were responsible for 2 to 5 sites (99) than for only one site (95).

3. Number of Survey Participants

302 Participants for BuddyPress 2016 Survey

The number of respondents increased from 211 from 42 countries in the 2015 survey up to 302 respondents from 61 countries for the 2016 survey. We are grateful to everyone who took the time to take the survey.


Survey Participants: Net total of 302 who completed the survey
Online Survey Solution: and for the corporate account
Survey Preparation: @mercime, @johnjamesjacoby, @boonebgorges, @djpaul, @r-a-y, @imath, @dcavins, @hnla, and @tw2113
Survey Report: (gh-pages), Microsoft Excel, Google Documents & Spreadsheets, and

Moving Forward

BuddyPress will be celebrating the 8th anniversary of the first stable release on April 30, 2017. Thanks to @apeatling and the many contributors who brought that milestone to fruition. Looking at all the major and minor releases through the years led by @johnjamesjacoby, @boonebgorges, and @djpaul, it’s amazing how much has been accomplished by the all-volunteer lead/core developers and contributors.

The lead developers have set the priorities for this year and we look forward to the bp-nouveau template pack and the BP REST API, among many other new features based on some of your comments/requests from this survey.

All are welcome to participate and contribute to the development of BuddyPress. Keep abreast of the latest BuddyPress news at,, Twitter @buddypress @buddypressdev @bptrac, and/or weekly BuddyPress Dev Chats at the #buddypress channel (WP Slack account required).

Finally, all supporting graphs, tables, and comments from this survey are available on the accessible and mobile-friendly BuddyPress 2016 Survey Results webpage. Where possible, data from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 surveys have been added to the charts for comparison. Some data from the older surveys have been recalculated when needed to fit in the format of the question in this survey and noted as such.

Thank you.
BuddyPress 2016 Survey Results link

BuddyPress at WordCamp London 2017 Contributor Day

Published on March 22nd, 2017 by Henry Wright

Contributor Day is a big part of WordCamp London. This year it was held on Friday 17th March at London Metropolitan University. 100 contributors descended on the venue each aiming to make WordPress better in some wonderful way.

A room full of people
Contributors at WordCamp London 2017. Photo by Pradeep Singh.

Attendees were asked to choose an area of interest. The options were Accessibility, BuddyPress, Community, Core, Design & Flow, Documentation, Polyglots, Support and Themes. 5 of the 100 contributors chose BuddyPress. 2 of the 5 were new to contributing in general but all had used, or had at least heard of, BuddyPress at some point.

After a quick refill of coffee the team convened and began discussing how to get the most from the next 8 hours. Due to a diverse range of skills available within the group, we were able to focus on documentation, coding and localisation.

People using laptops
BuddyPress contributors. Photo by Pradeep Singh.

As a team we managed to identify an issue related to colour contrast in the Twenty Seventeen theme. #7471 was opened and a patch was submitted. We were also able to translate all remaining strings into Italian.

The day was a huge success and all team members indicated they will contribute again going forward.

BuddyPress 2.8.2 Security Release

Published on March 10th, 2017 by Boone Gorges

BuddyPress 2.8.2 is now available. This is a security release. We strongly encourage all BuddyPress sites to upgrade as soon as possible.

BuddyPress 2.8.1 and earlier versions were affected by the following three security issues:

  1. Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) in the XProfile administration Dashboard panel.
  2. Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) in a number of user-facing AJAX endpoints.
  3. Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) when dismissing a pending email change.

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

BuddyPress 2.8.1 Maintenance Release

Published on February 22nd, 2017 by Boone Gorges

BuddyPress 2.8.1 is now available. This maintenance release fixes four bugs, including two regressions in BuddyPress 2.8.0. See the Trac milestone or the official changelog for more details.

Version 2.8.1 is a recommended update for all BP installations. Update via the WordPress Dashboard, or download manually from

BuddyPress 2.8.0 – “San Matteo”

Published on February 15th, 2017 by Slava Abakumov

BuddyPress 2.8.0 “San Matteo” is now available for download from the plugin repository, or right from your WordPress Dashboard. “San Matteo” focuses on various improvement for developers, site builders and site managers.

For Developers & Site Builders

Modernizing the Codebase

To continue the migration of legacy code to modern standards and techniques necessary for the BP REST API project and other new features moving forward, BuddyPress 2.8 requires at least PHP 5.3. This will allow us to build better, robust, and secure code, benefiting developers and users now and in the future.

More helpful “Activate Pending Accounts” screen

When you click on the username on the “Users > Manage Signups” page, you can now view profile data entered by the user at the time of registration.

Support for List-Unsubscribe header in emails

Allow users to unsubscribe from BuddyPress email notifications in some email clients such as Gmail (web), when properly configured.

Twenty Seventeen Companion Style sheet

BuddyPress looks great in WordPress’s latest default theme with the new Twenty Seventeen companion style sheet.

To change the default two-column page layout to a full-width layout as seen in the image, add the following code to the functions.php file of your Twenty Seventeen child theme.

More hooks for Messages

We’ve added new filters and actions for different methods throughout the Messages component.

A more flexible Group search

The new search_column parameter allows developers to specify which columns should be matched, as well as where wildcard characters should be placed, when searching via BP_Groups_Group::get().

Alphabetical sorting for Groups widget

The groups widget can now be sorted alphabetically, in addition to sorting the results by recently active, popular, and newest groups.

Enable choice of PHPMailer

Developers can specify which PHPMailer should be used when sending BuddyPress with a new filter.

Localization Improvements

We continue to improve our localization internals, making it easier for translation editors to ensure that BuddyPress will be available for everyone in their own language.

Developer Reference

Regular updates to inline code documentation make it easier for developers to understand how BuddyPress works.

Accessibility Upgrades

Continued improvements for universal access help make BuddyPress back- and front-end screens usable for everyone (and on more devices).

…and much more!

Read about all the bug fixes and feature enhancements introduced in BuddyPress 2.8.0 at our official 2.8.0 changelog.

Thank You to Our Contributors

Many, many thanks to all those who contributed during this development cycle. This is a volunteer-run project, and these contributors freely gave of their time and expertise to make BuddyPress better than ever:

Andrea Tarantini (dontdream), Ankit K Gupta (ankit-k-gupta), angeljs, Boone B Gorges (boonebgorges), Brandon Allen (thebrandonallen), Bunty (bhargavbhandari90),chetansatasiya (ketuchetan), Chirag Patel (chiragpatel), danbp, David Cavins (dcavins), Dennis (wpdennis), Diana K. Cury (Dianakc), finzend, Hugo (hnla),J.D. Grimes (jdgrimes), John James Jacoby (johnjamesjacoby), Jonas Lundman (jonas-lundman), jonieske, jreeve, lakrisgubben, Laurens Offereins (Offereins), lgreenwoo,maccast, Mathieu Viet (imath), mchansy, mercime, Michael Beckwith (tw2113), modemlooper, Mustafa Uysal (m_uysl), Nick Momrik (nickmomrik), Paul Gibbs (DJPaul),paresh.radadiya (pareshradadiya), Petya Raykovska, r-a-y, rekmla, Renato Alves (espellcaste), Roger Coathup (rogercoathup), Salvatore (DarkWolf),Sanket Parmar (sanket.parmar), Slava Abakumov (slaffik), Stagger Lee (stagger-lee), Stephen Edgar (netweb), Sven Wagener (mahype), wordpressrene.


BuddyPress 2.8 is called “San Matteo” after a great pizza restaurant in New York City. San Matteo specializes in the “panuozzo”, a pizza-sandwich hybrid native to Salerno, Italy. The proprietor of San Matteo is a friendly fellow who insists on speaking Italian even to customers who don’t understand a word of it. If you find yourself in the neighborhood, be sure to stop by for a great pizza.

Time to Go Get 2.8.0!

Grab BuddyPress 2.8.0 “San Matteo” from the plugin repository, or right from your WordPress Dashboard.

Questions, comments, feature requests, or bug reports? Please use our support forums or our development tracker.

BuddyPress 2.8.0 Release Candidate 1

Published on February 10th, 2017 by Slava Abakumov

BuddyPress 2.8.0 Release Candidate 1 is now available for testing. Please download the 2.8.0-RC1 zip or get a copy via our Subversion repository.

This is our last chance to find any bugs that slipped through the beta process. So please test with your themes and plugins. We plan to release BuddyPress 2.8.0 next Wednesday, February 15.

A detailed changelog will be part of our official release notes, but you can get a quick overview by reading the post about the 2.8.0 Beta 1 release.

Release Candidate means we are in string freeze, so translators should feel confident in finishing their BuddyPress translations in GlotPress.

Let us know of any issues you find in the support forums and/or on our development tracker.

Thanks in advance for giving the release candidate a test drive!

BuddyPress 2.8.0 Beta 1

Published on January 19th, 2017 by Slava Abakumov

BuddyPress 2.8.0 Beta 1 is packed with new features and enhancements and is now available for testing. You can download the BP 2.8.0-beta1 zip or get a copy via our Subversion repository. We’d love to have your feedback and testing help.

BuddyPress 2.8.0 requires PHP 5.3+, and will not be activated on a server with a lower version of PHP. We also remind you that BuddyPress 2.8.0 will require at least WordPress 4.3.

A detailed changelog will be part of our official release notes, but, until then, here’s a list of some of our favorite changes. (Check out this report on Trac for the full list.)

  • BP Email: Allow end user to specify which PHPMailer should be used #7286
  • Companion Stylesheet – Twentyseventeen #7338
  • Minimum PHP version is 5.3 #7325#7299
  • Support List-Unsubscribe header in emails #7390
  • Make group search more flexible #7418 and other groups improvements, like #7419#7399#7388#7386#7375
  • Lots of new filters in various parts of the code, like #6667#5193
  • Lots of inline documentation tweaks and other fixes and improvements

BP 2.8.0 is almost ready, but please do not run it in a production environment just yet. Let us know of any issues you find in the support forums and/or development tracker.

Thanks everyone for all your help to date. We are excited to release BuddyPress 2.8.0 in February!

BuddyPress 2.7.4 – Security Release

Published on December 23rd, 2016 by JJJ

BuddyPress 2.7.4 is now available, and is a security release & recommended upgrade for all BuddyPress installations. We’ve also ported the code changes in 2.7.4 to all branches back 2.0, and are pushing updates out for all installations where we are able to do so.

These releases include a fix to the BuddyPress core attachments API that could allow arbitrary file deletion on certain installation configurations.

This bug was responsibly disclosed to the WordPress security team (and the BuddyPress team) through the WordPress HackerOne Bounty Program by Sam Pizzey (mopman).

Both Boone & Paul worked together to fix this for all versions of BuddyPress that are currently in active use, and Stephen & Dion helped package and push these releases out.

Please update to these latest versions of BuddyPress today in your WordPress Dashboard, or by downloading from the plugin repository.

Questions or comments? Check out the 2.7.4 changelog, or stop by our support forums or  Trac.

BuddyPress 2.7.3

Published on December 7th, 2016 by @mercime

BuddyPress 2.7.3 is now available. This is a maintenance release and a recommended upgrade for all BuddyPress installations.

BP 2.7.3 fixes bugs in several components. For more information, see the 2.7.3 milestone on BuddyPress Trac.

Update to BuddyPress 2.7.3 today in your WordPress Dashboard, or by downloading from the plugin repository.

Questions or comments? Check out the 2.7.3 changelog, or stop by our support forums or  Trac.

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