The official BuddyPress Test Drive site, located at testbp.org, had been around since the early days of BuddyPress before it was taken down. Testbp.org was always running the latest version of BuddyPress and served as a place where users could try out the plugin in a live environment.
Three years ago, when BuddyPress 1.2 was released, the site had accumulated more than 15,000 members. A good chunk of these users were probably spam or test signups. When I asked BuddyPress lead developer John James Jacoby why they took the site down, he replied, “TestBP.org was popular for spammers, an echo chamber for misplaced support, and less moderated.“
Taking TestBP.org down was probably for the best, as the site was becoming a bit unruly, but that left a need for a generic example site running the latest version of BP.
BPTestDrive.org is Born
David Bisset, BuddyPress developer and creator of WP Armchair, decided to jump in and recreate the site on a new domain: BPTestDrive.org. Part of the reason was because he is giving a presentation at WordCamp Orlando and needed something people could test drive.
BPTestDrive.org currently runs the Twenty Twelve default theme and a very minimal set of plugins. The goal is to provide an example of what BuddyPress looks like “right out of the box.” Bisset plans to wipe the site regularly in order to keep the spam under control. If spam registration gets out of control, he is considering replacing the default registration with a Gravity Form. Although this is not ideal, since it’s not default BuddyPress, Bisset said, “So far I’ve gotten almost zero BP register spam when I’ve done that.”
In light of the BP Default theme being retired in BuddyPress 1.9, the new BP Test Drive site is a valuable reference for people who just want to check out how the plugin works. All the components are in place and users who are new to BuddyPress can easily test out the registration and login process. The Test Drive site is a much easier option for casual exploration than having to install BuddyPress and set all the pages up for components. Many thanks to David Bisset for taking this on. Here’s hoping he can maintain BPTestDrive.org as a long term resource.