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A fork or WPMU that integrates BP and has simpler useability for end users

  • zageek


    Now I have a suggesstion for Andy and the team, possibly off the wall and out the box…

    Buddypress and WordPress are designed for different user contexts…

    Why doesnt you look into have a special fork of WPMU tailored for BP developed. This version can include BP in its core and also have new look and feel backend, as well as front end widgets that allow most of the sites user interaction to take place from the front end

    There can still be a backend for users which will allow them to customize their space on the site unlike facebook where you are stuck with the ugly vanilla theme all the time. The user backend will only be for really critical and tech savvy tasks and most users could get away with never using it if they don’t want to because of having all the user infterface components like creating pages and posts etc in the front end or in the users “admin bar” ala facebook.

    The reason why I am suggesting this is because people tend to be happy with what they are familiar with. WordPress and WPMU are blogging tools and aren’t really aimed at internet noobs. Thats fine because if you want to setup a blog you are most likely more than just a casual or internet noob and you will have no problem finding your way around the WordPress backend. On the other hand for a lot of people it seems to technical and involved and they would prefer the simpler interaface of facebook that they are used to.

    I have tried to get some people at a student society at my university to use their own blog and domain using a combo of Joomla and WordPress for the blogging component but they lost interest and instead created a group on facebook which everyone flocks around.

    To summarise, since buddypress is aimed at a different kind of user than WordPress ie its for social networking, the casual social user might be put off or struggle with the complexities of WP, so instead of merely inheriting the way in which WP works, what about adapting a WP to make it more suitable for social networking and make it a more attractive platform for micro communities.

    Good idea, stupid idea? what do you guys think

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
  • Speaking of usability – I’ve also notices that end users are quite confused to have let us say two admin interfaces: one is WP native admin to manage blog posts and second is admin area of BP-powered components (profiles and groups).

    So the closer integration between WP and BP from this point of view would be appreciated I think.

    Andrea Rennick


    WordPress & MU are merging, so I doubt they’d want to make a special version. Really, the only hurdle here is posting to the blog area from the front end. Most everything else is about to be discovered I think.

    would be illogical from Andy to branch WP… he is with Automattic, and i don’t think the company would appreciate spreaded work.

    btw, i think that with WP 3.0 and BP 1.3, we will see a better merge of usability, and yet, we wait to see if Andy will generate a front-end posting template — which would make everybody happy!

    Andrea Rennick


    BP as a project is still pretty young and a lot of the big time devs who do crazy good work haven;t had a chance to explore it fully yet. Now that it is available for single WP, I expect to see not only more widespread usage, but also some fancy-schmancy stuff happening in the future. Give it six months – my money is on an explosion.



    @Nexia I hear you but nothing is set in stone and politics shouldn’t get in the way. Why can’t Automitic consider then forking WordPress to create a standalone BP with most of the interfacing hooked into the front end.

    The worst thing to happen is to have users complain that this isn’t as simple to use as Facebook or even Ning.

    you name Facebook or Ning, but both are completely different things from BP… you can not download the facebook program and make a site of it… *(ok, i can, but not everybody can)… so the comparaison is nulled.

    the goals of any company is to make it simple. if Automattic decides to branch WP-BP ?!… why then they decided to merge WP and WPµ ?? your point goes directly in the opposite path of the company.

    btw, i know exactly where you want to go, i just give the feedback from the developers side of things… i’ve done the same debate with vBulletin in the last 2 years, until the last months when we released vB 4.0…

    Jeff Sayre


    As Open Source projects, anyone is free to fork any of the WordPress family of products as long as they adhere to the GPL licensing. In fact, WordPress itself started as a fork of another blogging platform.

    However, Automattic will not fork its own products. With Andy as the only full-time Automattic employee working on BuddyPress, there is already too much for him to do with the current BuddyPress product, not to mention that forking your own product is basically creating a competitor.

    Forking is not a task that should be taken lightly. Successful Open Source projects require a lot of supporting infrastructure: from a project repository; to an up-to-date and maintained project website; to a core team of developers; to a community that springs up and supports the project fork; to a support forum to offer help to users. These are just a few of the many requirements of creating and growing a healthy OS project.

    But that should not stop you or anyone else who feels they have a different vision for the future of the platform to fork it and take it in a different direction.



    I am not trying to compare facebook or ning to BP. I am merely trying to highlight that users will ultimately make comparisons, whether webmasters or developers like it or not.

    Most casual users of the internet are you used to the facebook experience where you do everything from the front end. Lets say if i want to use Buddypress to set up an organic farming community for example I am going to have many of my users getting confused with having a backend and a front end and all of the options and admin stuff in the backend.

    Most of my users of my hypothetical site are 40 to 50 somethings who hardly know the difference between the front end and the back end and have only recently discovered Facebook. So I will find them struggling and complaining with using the site. So I will have to set up my network on Ning instead, where so many other 40 to 50 somethings have setup groups. It would be better for me to have my own private site but what choice do I have.

    Buddypress is an excellent idea but having it religiously follow the dogma of wordpress when its aimed at being a platform for community sites, is ultimately going to cause some issues. All I am merely suggesting is tailoring WP to make it fit to the requirements of users.

    Obviously human politics creep in everywhere and as a result this as well as technicalities Andy has his hands tied when it comes to forking WP for example. So why not turn BP into a separate project all together by integrating BP and WPMU into one package and stripping out some of the WP centric things like most of the backend. It can still say based on WPMU on the box but it won’t look and feel so much like WP to the end user if you see where I am getting at.

    After all how many people who use BP will also want to use the WPMU only features on their site. Once you set up a social network you can’t go back to just being a multi-user blogging site. So stripping out the WP centric features surely won’t be an issue in the context of running a social network.

    simple reason why Andy could not turn BP as a seperate project… he did the opposite this year… he had a deal with Automattic…

    why people always think that their way of doing things is always the best one… WordPress have no dogma… or it would be dead for years. when i started on this project, 8 years ago, i was with other projects with more straight dogmas… they usually die because of the narrowed thinking. WP is was larger than from a single entity…

    Jeff Sayre


    Since this forum is meant to discuss possible enhancements for future BuddyPress versions in 2010, the idea of forking the project is beyond scope. You of course are free to continue discussing this topic but it might be better to start a new thread in the Miscellaneous Forums.

    As to this example:

    Lets say if i want to use Buddypress to set up an organic farming community for example I am going to have many of my users getting confused with having a backend and a front end and all of the options and admin stuff in the backend.

    The only reason users would need access to the backend is if the Site Admin has set up their BuddyPress community to allow users to have their own blogs. If the mulitblog feature is not enabled, then users only have access to the frontend menus to set options and navigate the network. Also, the Site Admin could choose to build their community on the single-user version of WordPress. Then offering blogs to users is not even an option.

    Whereas your assertion that

    …stripping out the WP centric features surely won’t be an issue in the context of running a social network.

    might be the case from a user’s perspective, it is a huge issue with regards to the amount of programming and code refactoring that would be required.

    I can state with a high-degree of certainty that Andy nor Automattic will not be forking their own creations. The only way I could see that happening is if a few Automattic employees break off and form their own shop.

    Why wait for someone else to do it? As I said in my first post in this thread, forking any OS project is a lot of work, but you are free to do so as long as you follow the GPL. If you think you have a unique, under-served vision for the platform, form a team and do it.

    Roger Coathup



    Yes, usability is a big challenge.

    Here’s my 10 cents worth. Note: I come from the perspective of generally seeing BuddyPress as a tool to implement vertical social networks that would typically connect with / enhance Facebook and other social platforms.

    What you are saying is very reasonable to debate. I’m not sure it’s a role for the core BuddyPress project (or a fork thereof), but can certainly see the need for it in a large number of BuddyPress based sites.

    The Challenge

    To build the system you suggest, the remaining challenge is how to handle blogs whilst appearing not to give the user a separate admin system (the rest is all handled by the front end already).

    I understand where you are coming from, and also have clients for whom this is a major headache.

    The core BuddyPress / WordPress needs to be a broad flexible system, to allow us to build as wide a range of systems as possible (as our clients / users demand). Unfortunately, as you point out, for a lot of developments this provides a lot of ‘excess interface’ that leads to end user confusion.

    Our challenge as developers is, therefore, to build on BuddyPress (or take away from BuddyPress) to ensure we present a clean consistent interface to users in our finished developments.

    Dealing with blogs

    If the site is going to give end users a rich blog feature set (e.g. choosing themes, positioning widgets, and creating category structures), then I don’t see how we can avoid exposing the wp backend.

    In this situation though, you could perhaps re-theme the admin backend to ensure a consistent look and feel with the front end. This is a lot of work, and we don’t go this far with our own site developments, instead we opt for the very partial solution of just rebranding the backend (using plugins from WPMUDEV).

    If you are only going to allow the end users to have minimal blog features (e.g. posting a story), then a clean front end only solution is more viable (have you looked at plugins such as: ?)

    Or, if we are not going to offer blogs, then simply turn them off.

    I thought I’d read something on ‘post from frontend’ features in WordPress 3.0, but might have been dreaming it.

Viewing 11 replies - 1 through 11 (of 11 total)
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