Back in April of last year, Matt posted here on the dev blog about the release of BuddyPress 1.0, a plugin that adds a social networking layer to an installation of WordPress MU. Many people were excited about the idea, but were unable to experiment with BuddyPress because they ran single installations of WordPress rather than the multi-site WordPress MU. To those people, good news! A little over a week ago Andy Peatling, founder and lead developer of BuddyPress, announced the release of BuddyPress 1.2, which can be used on single installations of WordPress. Congratulations, BuddyPress! And congratulations to all the people who’ve been waiting with bated breath for this to happen.
The first thing I thought when I heard the news was, “Awesome! Now everyone can put BuddyPress on their site if they want it.” The second thought I had was, “Shoot! Average WordPress users won’t want to try BuddyPress if they have to switch their site themes over to the BuddyPress default theme just to try it out.” The third thought I had was, “That can’t be right. I’ll ask Andy.”
As it turned out, you could keep your current theme with BuddyPress if you added a couple of files and made a few file edits. There was even a link on the BuddyPress site to download the necessary files. That still seemed a little clunky, though, so Andy, super awesome guy that he is, went ahead and made a plugin to get you started. The BuddyPress Template Pack can be installed directly from your WordPress admin (Plugins > Add New), and will walk you through the theme additions step by step.*
Now you can use BuddyPress with your single site installation of WordPress, and you can keep your existing theme. Seriously, could BuddyPress have made it any easier for you to add social networking to your site? I know I can’t wait to try it out this weekend, how about you?
* Don’t forget to install BuddyPress itself, or the template pack plugin won’t do anything!