BuddyPress Takes bbPress Integration Up A Notch

buddypresslogoAndy Peatling announced on Twitter today that he had completely rewritten the forums component for bbPress alleviating what he says are integration nightmares. One of the biggest advancements for the component is no longer needing an existing bbPress install to function. bbPress is now included as an external which can be setup in one click for new installations which is pretty darn cool in my book. If you already have an existing bbPress install, you can point the component to the bbPress bb-config file.

Also of note are the forum management tools in this new component:

Added complete forum management for group mods and admins (sticky/delete/close/edit) and edit/delete for group members on their own posts. Make sure you update your theme with the new template files in the /groups/ directory to get access to these features.

However, the “use existing install” option needs some testing so if you use BuddyPress, lend Andy a hand. Also expect some changes down the line with how it functions based on testing feedback.

Possible Growing Pains?

This new component reminds me of WordPress MU and WordPress. WordPress getting developed as the main project and WordPress MU just building on top of it. That’s what I see with BuddyPress and bbPress although I don’t think the component is getting any additional bbPress love that’s not there by default.

While this component now makes it as easy as possible to have forums as part of your BuddyPress powered site, I foresee many more bbPress users in the future which in turn should lead to more bugs being discovered, more patches being written, and of course, more feedback for Sam. bbPress ought to benefit from this ease of integration but one thing I’m concerned about regarding both projects is the development resources behind each one. Sam Bauers develops bbPress, Andy Peatling develops BuddyPress. That’s it in terms of paid developers. The rest comes from any contributions the community makes towards those projects. I wonder what will happen if BuddyPress becomes as big as I think it will and at the same time, brings bbPress along for the ride? Will they be able to handle their respective eco systems? It’s a problem I’m sure they would like to have but I’m interested in knowing how much more development resources will be pushed to these two if things go well.

6 Comments


  1. As I understand it, this improvement has not yet been fully tested and appears only in the bleeding edge version of BuddyPress. You should not use the bleeding edge version for production sites. According to the roadmap, the improvement will appear in 1.1 release of the stable version, due August 27th.

    It is, certainly, a very welcome improvement – one of the best features of BuddyPress is the way in which it gives each group it’s own forum, a very smart way to interweave the forum activity with the profiles and other social activities of the group members. This is so much smarter than having one monolithic forum section, with the forums all in one place, creating an artificial divide between the forums and the social elements of your site.

    As such, bbPress is pretty much an essential part of BuddyPress but, until now, installing bbPress and then integrating it has been problematic, far more difficult than the MU side of things. I was lucky enough to find a good set of instructions and got my own site up and running fairly quickly, but I didn’t bookmark the instructions and, when a friend tried setting up a BuddyPress site this week, he wasted several hours before giving up in frustration.

    Anyone who encounters problems should consider waiting just a month for BuddyPress 1.1 but, if you have a use for it now, you might be as well try the current 1.0.3 version, you might encounter no problems, just search the BuddyPress.org developers forum for good instructions.

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  2. Oh, wow. I spent like two hours setting up BuddyPress and bbPress for a friend of mine a few days ago. I would’ve waited If I knew an update was coming, heh. Well, it did go smooth though, but I’m glad that you guys are simplifying things for the non-coder peeps out there.

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  3. I’ve spent the better part of two days testing this, and I have to say it’s a great, great thing. It plays friendly with existing installations if it has to, but I think once people get used to seeing how this works, and the way (like donncha mentioned above) that this allows people to break free from a single forums section and turn this into forums with purpose, it only makes sense to let BuddyPress do the work.

    The way that BuddyPress is developed also opens the door for other plugins to tap into the forum creation API, so it’s possible to have forums that aren’t just for groups, but maybe events, or blogs, or any other type of object that is centered around users in a group-esque fashion.

    This isn’t a 100% complete setup yet, as there isn’t a forum directory or a global tag search yet, and things like forum/subforum relationships or groups with multiple forums aren’t implemented. But, it’s safe to assume that much of the bbPress functionality will be mirrored in BP by the time 1.1 comes around.

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  4. @John James Jacoby

    Wow, forums for individual blogs and events too, that makes so much sense, this is going to blow vBulletin out of the water.

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  5. After spending a few days trying to integrate buddypress 1.0.3 with bbPress, the process remains more akin to a quick lesson in particle physics combined with rattling a few chicken bones for good luck. I look forward to BuddyPress 1.1 and true forum integration for the rest of us.

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  6. I just finished setting up my site with integration this morning…. darnit!

    In any event this is an excellent play which makes an existing WordPRess MU plugin like BuddyPress all that more cool. Watch this space ‘cos I got a feeling BuddyPress and WordPress MU sites are going to burst out big time.

    See you at the social
    B.

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