BP needs to Focus on Child Themes
Child themes will make or break BP.
There are several things that need to be improved.
First, ease of upgrade. There is currently no guide or instructions for updating a child theme after a BP update.
Second, separation of the default theme from the rest of the BP plugin. BP should continue to provide a default them, but it should be more the like WP default themes. BP’s theme is too interwoven into the core of BP. It should be more independent.
Getting premium and other theme developers on board with BP is the only way it will reach the level of success BP deserves. Currently upgrades and stable theme functions make it too labor intensive for mass development or consumption.
Yes, we hope more theme authors will start releasing BuddyPress themes or “add-on” packs for their existing themes. I think the separation between BP’s default theme and the BP code is pretty good, actually. It’s not perfect, but most of the remaining stuff is left over from the BP 1.0 release. And that’ll only change as and when developers contribute to the project.
@DJPaul Could you point me towards the 1.2.5 upgrade instructions for child themes?
I think the separation between BP’s default theme and the BP code is pretty good, actually. It’s not perfect
Yep it’s not perfect, it suffers from being too tied into the default theme, something I queried when 1.2 changed the location of the default theme to nestle within the BP core files – an odd thing for a theme in some senses.
This aspect has been raised though and there is no immediate short term answer, true and proper separation of model/controller from views or mid tier from presentational layer is doubtless a while off yet (Mr Mazz alludes to this aspect in his inner/internal thoughts section of the nextGenAPI paper)
It took WP an absolute age to get to a stage where it was possible to truly write themes with no fear that each and every upgrade would break custom themes and require hours of work to bring back into line, anyone who was trying to work with WP pre 1.5 era will remember the nightmare fondly
At the moment writing true themes (not simply skins) is a somewhat problematic issue the core can and will and does break your custom themes and involves having to trawl through presentational files finding those changes; this isn’t good and makes it difficult to have confidence in truly creating a theme – however the fact is that the default theme is actually pretty good, creating a child theme from it works pretty well, it will still break and you will still need to find those changes to theme files and transpose them to your child theme file copies, but generally that shouldn’t involve huge amounts of changes.
Issues need to be addressed but take heart that BP is a million miles ahead of where WP was at this stage and nowhere near as frustrating but you need to have lived through those early WP days perhaps to appreciate that
I’ve just uploaded our Facelook theme to the WP site (which it says will appear on here too sometime). For anyone thinking, “Oh no, not another Facebook clone”, you could change the colours, etc., easily enough. The main aim is lots of space for content, and simplification for ordinary site visitors (ie., non-techies). It’s a port of Fishbook by Avenue B2, and after a lot of time and effort, we think it works really well.
If you’d like it right now (as someone else did) just email or msg me. Oh, and it looks very nice with Featured Members, Recently Active Members, and Groups widgets. And thanks to @nuprn1 for the advice on how to properly hide the silly View link with a function.
Sounds cool, @lincme. I’m not 100% confident that the theme gallery on this site is updating properly so if, once it’s on the wordpress site, it doesn’t appear on here, get in contact with me and I’ll prod the necessary people
The fact no one can provide a update guide for child themes simply means child themes are not compatible with BP (in the real world).
“Getting premium and other theme developers on board with BP is the only way it will reach the level of success BP deserves. “
One premium theme shop currently selling WordPress themes outright is alreayd on board with BP themes. Another is right behind.
@DJPaul; “Yes, we hope more theme authors will start releasing BuddyPress themes or “add-on” packs for their existing themes. I think the separation between BP’s default theme and the BP code is pretty good, actually. It’s not perfect, but most of the remaining stuff is left over from the BP 1.0 release. And that’ll only change as and when developers contribute to the project.”
What project is that? Where is the project “Make Child Themes Usable and Upgradeable?” I see a project trying to improve this site (Buddypress.org) that makes absolutely no sense whatsoever (improve BP use BP). It guess it makes sense if the only real BP sites they have are reliant on this one and not the real world.
Sorry for my rant, I’m cranky and going to bed.
@Dennis_H; Have to laugh! BP has made me cranky as hell during the past couple of weeks, as nothing is easy with it. I actually trashed all the downloaded files, plugins, etc., THREE times in a hissy fit! The thing is, it’s the only way at present to have a working social network with member groups, which is essential for what we need. Our site will be advertised locally very soon, and so will be a real world example. I’m sure there must be others too (did I see a ‘Featured sites’ link somewhere..?)
@lincme I feel your pain
But, I should be clear, I love BP I am grateful of all the hard work everyone has done here. But, the forum is a developers culture. I’m not a developer , at least not as this site is concerned. So, I feel I need to go out of my way to make a point. I hope it doesn’t offend the developers I respect (too much), but if it does maybe they need to be offended every now and then to stay on goal. Then again maybe I’m just an a$$hole that wants everything his way.
@Dennis_H; Laughing here. BP is a great tool, for all the slagging-off the poor developers get! They have the patience of saints.
This sort of comment is why we end up closing threads; trying to provoke developers into responding to your thread in this way is, at the very least, rude.
I was referring to the main BuddyPress project, as that’s where the theme is. The project to improve bp.org is not related. And child themes are usable and upgradeable; I personally have clients doing exactly that.
Giving the entire community less than two hours to link you to BP 1.2.5 theme upgrade instructions and then saying that “child themes are not compatible with BP” is unrealistic and misleading for anyone casually browsing these forums.
The best I will do for you is link you to this page on the Trac, which shows the differences in the BP-Default theme from 1.2.4 to 1.2.5. Red means something deleted, green means something changed or new.
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