Earlier this year, BuddyPress contributors announced that the project would be adopting the features-as-plugins model to help speed up future development. This is the same development model that has been working well for WordPress core, helping four major features land in the 3.8 release.
The BuddyPress Media Component and Attachment API was the first feature to enter development as a plugin. One of the benefits of using this model, where it makes sense, is that it gets more people involved in creating and testing new features before they are added to BP core.
Buddypress xProfile Rich Text Field
Buddypress xProfile Rich Text Field is the second plugin to present itself as a feature plugin for consideration. It adds a rich-text editor custom field type to extended profiles. Christian Wach, better known as @needle, created the plugin with the hope that it will be included in BP core.
Once installed, you’ll find a new profile field type called “Rich Text Area” as an option when creating a new field. It’s essentially a multi-line textarea field with a visual editor added in.
Instead of a blank multi-line text box, members will find simple tools for formatting text, links, bullet lists, etc. on the frontend. Having these familiar formatting options available makes it easier for users provide a more readable profile entry, as opposed to a flat block of text.
BuddyPress themes that use compatibility mode will automatically work with this plugin. However, if your theme supplies its own BuddyPress template files, you may need to make a few adjustments in order for this plugin to work.
A ticket is open for discussion regarding adding this feature to BuddyPress 2.2. Christian Wach created a preliminary patch for a Visual Editor field type. BuddyPress core developer Boone Gorges shared his initial thoughts on the patch:
We should not have a separate field type for this. IMHO, all multi-line textarea fields should support rich text. In fact, I think we should just turn it on for those fields and not allow it to be turned off (since there’s a Text tab in addition to the Visual tab), though if others feel differently perhaps we could have an admin toggle to disable on a per-field basis. In any case, I don’t see a strong case for having a separate field type.
This makes sense, as I’m not sure why you would ever want a textarea field type that doesn’t have visual editing capabilities. Wach revised his patch to add options to the textarea field type instead of creating a brand new field type. This change appears to be the direction that the feature will take, if it is approved for inclusion in BP core.
In the meantime, you can utilize the Buddypress xProfile Rich Text Field feature plugin to get this working on your site. If the feature is included in BuddyPress 2.2, it will be easy to simply switch the field type to “multi-line textarea” when the time comes.