I had the opportunity to catch up with John James Jacoby at WordCamp US 2015. Jacoby is the project lead for bbPress and BuddyPress. In the video interview below he offers a quick overview of what to expect in BuddyPress 2.5.
Jacoby also gives us a look inside his Stuttter project, which contains several social components, and explores how they might fit into WordPress. These include his experiments with users, profiles, and the user experience as it pertains to aggregating activity.
“It’s really just attacking the idea of the big features of BuddyPress in a smaller way that developers can interact with more conveniently, such as taxonomies and metadata vs. the big monolithic solution that BuddyPress tends to be,” he said.
“I don’t think my experimentation with Stuttter is going to translate into me spending less time on BuddyPress,” Jacoby said. “It’s like a side project. It’s like an artist switching from oil to watercolor paint. You try and see what’s over there and bring back in what you learned.”
Jacoby said that he hopes to continue to provide leadership for BuddyPress for the foreseeable future. Part of this is mentoring BP core leadership to step up to feel comfortable leading and making decisions. The other part is helping the project navigate what he believes to be an identity crisis.
“BuddyPress as a project has an identity crisis,” Jacoby said. “It doesn’t know what exactly it’s supposed to be to the people who are using it. Defining what BuddyPress’ identity is or what problems it’s truly trying to solve is what it needs. Until that happens it’s going to float along without a clear definition of what it’s trying to do.”
As part of his efforts to help BuddyPress navigate this identity crisis, Jacoby has been talking to people and agencies who are actively using it. At the end of the interview he puts out a call for anyone who is using the software to reach out to him with feedback on where BuddyPress should go in the future.