Since its first stable release in May 2009, BuddyPress has grown substantially. The open source software package is used to enhance WordPress websites by transforming them into social network platforms that can be utilized by schools, interest groups, clubs, companies and more. The team at BuddyPress.org (a site that falls under the Automattic corporate umbrella) recently announced that it had concluded work on the first beta of BuddyPress 1.7, and encouraged those starting their first BuddyPress site to download Version 1.7 Beta 1 in order to obtain a strong grasp on the new features that will be available.
In a blog post published February 15th, BuddyPress Lead Developer John James Jacoby stated that “BuddyPress 1.7 is likely to be our most revolutionary release to date. With it will come full theme compatibility with almost all existing WordPress themes, making it easier than ever to get your community up and running quickly. For those of you looking for a complete changelog, check out the 1.7 milestone in trac.”
The official release of BuddyPress 1.7 is expected to take place within the next few months, and will mark the sixth updated downloadable product for the software. Version 1.6 was made available to the public in August of last year.
The advantage of using BuddyPress lies in the ability to connect with other members, classmates or employees within a social network. Visitors can easily view the latest activity of those in the network and keep up with recent posts, news, etc.
Individual posters can be formed into groups and a customized news feed can be achieved; giving front-end users the ability to configure their unique page similarly to the way Facebook users do. BuddyPress is a flexible software package and does not fall into the “all or nothing” category. Those who make use of BuddyPress may wish to only use certain features at first. This can easily be achieved by simply turning certain features off with the click of a button. When this happens, your WordPress website’s theme will automatically adjust by showing only the menu items and buttons to tools that you have selected to appear.
New BuddyPress Users
Jacoby posted that those who are starting up their first BuddyPress site would be well advised to download the new beta version. “From now until 1.7 is released, we will be periodically merging our ongoing development into the WordPress.org plugin repository. If you’re just starting your first BuddyPress site, we encourage you to start with the 1.7 beta rather than 1.6.4, so that you’re familiar with what’s coming rather than what’s passed,” the lead developer said.
So far, a total of 13 BuddyPress users have taken the time to reply to the official blog post, ten of which were congratulatory and/or positive in nature. BuddyPress user Nitesh replied that he has been waiting for the new version to come out for a long time, while Brajesh Singh acknowledged the hard work put in by the core development team that has shaped the software over the years.
David Dashifen Kees wanted to know if there is any update on the “integration with the existing WordPress theme? That has, for me, been the primary reason not to use buddypress and has been why, when I needed my own forum, I built one with custom post types.” Jacoby quickly commented that he should consult the forums and use bbPress. User unsalkorkmaz requested that BuddyPress Support Ticket #4835 (see screenshot below) be addressed before the official release of Version 1.7.
If you would like to find out more about how the BuddyPress download works and can add functionality to your WordPress website, check out the About Page at BuddyPress.org.