Interview With Beau Lebens Talking BackPress

Have you heard about BackPress? The only times I’ve seen it mentioned are within inner development circles of WordPress and for good reason. It’s not widely known and is a project that has a different focus than WordPress. To get more information about this project, I sent a few questions to Automattic employee, Beau Lebens.

First off, what is BackPress?
BackPress is a library of code which gives developers a head start on creating web applications in a very WordPress-inspired way. It provides a lot of functionality that WordPress developers are used to and have come to rely on, while handling a lot of compatibility and common issues in a standardized way.

What is the history of this project?
When bbPress was being developed, it was quickly realized that a lot of the functionality needed already existed: in WordPress. Rather than re-inventing the wheel, it made a lot of sense to extract some of that code from WordPress and move it into a place where it could be shared between the 2 projects. Once it was modularized like that, it became easier for other projects to include BackPress and use it as a foundation for a common set of features.

What projects currently use BackPress entirely or parts of it?
WordPress (and by extension, WordPress MU) uses parts of it, although as the “seed” for a lot the BackPress codebase, it’s often not indicated as such. bbPress uses all (or most) of the BackPress library. GlotPress is based heavily on BackPress (and is the motivating driver behind a lot of the i18n code in there, which then feeds back to WordPress). Automattic has an internal project called SupportPress which uses BackPress code, and I have a personal project called HTFS which uses it as well. I know there are a few other folks working on unreleased apps using it, but I’m not aware of anything else public that’s using it.

Who’s in charge of or involved with BackPress and is it open to the public?
The current project lead is Peter Westwood (westi), who is also one of the core committers of WordPress. Major contributors include Mike Adams, Nikolay Bachiyski and Demetrious Kelly. I’ve helped out setting up the website and drumming up some attention.

What is the immediate future of BackPress?
For now we’re keeping BackPress in line with WordPress and seeing what happens with the development of bbPress. We’d love to hear from anyone who’s using it in their own projects to see what’s missing, if there’s a better structure for the files, or anything else.

Where can we find more information regarding the project? is the best place to start. We also have the #backpress room on IRC (freenode), but it’s normally pretty quiet.

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