Perhaps my point of view is wrong but when I look at how development is taking place for the BuddyPress project and how certain things are being accomplished, I can’t help but think that the BuddyPress project is proving to be a test bed for the way development might happen for the WordPress project in the future. For example, the project roadmap for BuddyPress was recently published online but before it was finalized, users had the chance to vote and rank on items that they felt were important enough to see in earlier versions versus other features. Jane Wells starting with WordPress 2.7 has used PollDaddy to conduct similar surveys in order to measure what the overall community felt should be included in the next release.
Another example is that BuddyPress has the unique ability to use the latest and greatest build of the software right on the site which is accessible to anyone who wants to register an account. You can actually test drive the software as it’s being developed. If any bugs are discovered on the site, they go right into trac or are reported to Andy. I’m not sure how far WordPress.org is going to take this concept, but I can certainly see the opportunity of using BuddyPress features such as the profiles and group blogging on the WordPress.org domain or subdomain with a WordPress bleeding edge install. With all of the activity and blogging taking place within this centralized community, it could be possible to increase the testing environment strictly for the WordPress.org software with any bugs being discovered sent straight to trac. Although, I’m not sure how smart of an idea it is to base your centralized community around bleeding edge software.
Group Development. Thanks to the ability of groups through BuddyPress, Andy Peatling is able to get developers or those interested in creating certain features centralize around one location for feedback, reviews, discussions, etc.
Group creation is now open on this site, why not pick a feature you’d be interested in working on and create a group for it? By doing this you’ll encourage other BuddyPress developers to join in, discuss the feature and give feedback. I’ll be more than happy to take a look at plugins that add roadmap features and consider them for inclusion in the core of BuddyPress. You may even end up as a core committer.
I think it would be cool to see the same kind of workflow make it to WordPress.org but I believe some of this already occurs through trac and other means. However, if WordPress.org were to do something similar to BuddyPress, it would open up the discussion, involvement, and contribution level to a much wider audience in terms of more user level feedback and not entirely developer centric.
Do you think I’ve been able to establish any connections between the two projects or do you think this is all pie in the sky? I know they are both separate projects but I wonder how cool it would be if some of the development processes that Andy is able to accomplish would make it to WordPress.org.