BuddyPress 1.2 Brings Social Features to WordPress Sites

by Ostatic Staff - Feb. 16, 2010

WordPress users rejoice! The latest release of BuddyPress finally brings all that social media goodness to standard WordPress installs. With BuddyPress 1.2, it should only take three steps to get BuddyPress working with a standard WordPress install.

BuddyPress was initially developed to add social networking features to a site based on WordPress MU (multiuser), and a stable release followed in 2009, but only for that platform. Installing BuddyPress in the early days was not trivial.

BuddyPress boosts the WordPress personal publishing platform (say that four times fast) with a number of social features. In addition to blogging, BuddyPress allows users to have extended profiles, display "activity" streams showing users' comments and group activity, discussion forums, private messaging, and groups to allow discussions by topic. If you've been running a topic blog, BuddyPress is a good tool to extend the platform for discussions and reader interaction beyond post comments.

Features can be turned off, so if there are features like private messaging or group discussions that you don't want, they can be shut off.

Though integration with standard WordPress blogs is made simple with this release, it may still require some customization — in particular, standard WordPress themes may require some tweaking to make BuddyPress happy. However, the steps required aren't particularly difficult for anyone with a reasonable amount of experience working with WordPress sites. Or you could use a stock BuddyPress theme or create your own custom theme.

On top of the integration with standard WordPress, this release also brings improvements to the "activity streams" to include permalinks for each action and users can now "favorite" activity items and send @replies to other users.

BuddyPress 1.2 requires an install of WordPress or WordPress MU 2.9.1 or later. WordPress 2.9.2 was released on Monday to fix a problem that allows logged in users to see posts in the "trash" that belong to other users. You'll also need newer versions of PHP, MySQL (but you already had those to run WordPress) and the mod_rewrite Apache module.

Joe 'Zonker' Brockmeier is a freelance writer and editor with more than 10 years covering IT. Formerly the openSUSE Community Manager for Novell, Brockmeier has written for Linux Magazine, Sys Admin, Linux Pro Magazine, IBM developerWorks, Linux.com, CIO.com, Linux Weekly News, ZDNet, and many other publications.