BuddyPress 2.5 beta 1 was released this week with a list of new features and improvements to test, including a brand new BP Email API. The new API allows users to easily customize any email that BuddyPress sends, without having to leave the admin or write any code.
The ticket to overhaul BuddyPress emails was opened six months ago and has received more than 100 replies with feedback and patches from multiple contributors. BuddyPress lead developer Paul Gibbs spearheaded this initiative and summarized the outcome when introducing the new API on his blog:
In a nutshell, we moved emails into a custom post type (BuddyPress’ first!) with a supporting taxonomy (BuddyPress’ second!), devised a HTML email template with Customizer integration, and wrote a new API to manage how we represent emails internally and how we send them (goodbye, wp_mail!).
Gibbs has been writing plugins for the platform for the past seven years. He started with Welcome Pack, a plugin that allowed community admins to customize welcome emails to enhance the new user experience. His experience building and maintaining the now defunct Welcome Pack led him to work on improving BuddyPress’ core email handling.
“With retrospect, adding customizable emails to Welcome Pack is what killed my interest in that plugin,” Gibbs said. “It was such a lengthy, painful slog to get the customization working and nicely implemented (I picked the wrong approach), that when it was finally done, so was I!”
Gibbs’ work on this ticket makes emails in BuddyPress 2.5 much easier to edit than they ever were in his Welcome Pack plugin. The new Emails custom post type allows administrators to edit the content of the plugin’s 16 default emails directly in the admin. The email template can also be edited in the customizer at Appearance >> Emails with controls to change the header, body, and footer background colors, and text size/colors.
The new email capabilities allow BuddyPress community managers to personalize their sites’ communication without having a lot of technical knowledge. It’s a significant improvement over the generic stock emails previously sent by the plugin.
According to the project roadmap, the 2.5 milestone is now 96% complete and the official release is expected in three weeks.