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!
A Report from the 3.0 Development Cycle
There’s been a flurry of blog posts about the integration of the WooThemes Custom Navigation into WordPress core, so I thought it was time we posted the official word. For 3.0, the main user-facing feature we wanted to include was a better site menu management system. Currently, dealing with menus is clunky, using Page IDs or in some cases categories, if a theme uses categories instead of pages for the menu. We wanted a menu system that had the drag and drop ease of the widget management screen, could combine Pages, Categories, and Links, was able to be re-ordered, allowed submenus, and enabled hiding specific Pages or Categories from the menu altogether. We were in the process of building this when WooThemes introduced their Custom Navigation system. Watching their introductory video, it seemed that their system did pretty much everything we wanted to do for core, so we reached out to them about contributing to core.
As you’ve probably heard, it worked out, and the first patch has been submitted. It does require some code modification, which is happening now. The decision to incorporate the Woo menus happened right before our planned feature freeze for the 3.0 development cycle, so we pushed our freeze date back by two weeks to allow the addition. We’re now targeting the 3.0 release for early May, and we think it will be worth the extra two-week wait.
I’m personally really happy that it worked out this way, because I think it will show commercial theme and plugin authors that contributing to core is a win-win proposition. More people can contribute to and improve the basic functional code now, while WooThemes can continue to innovate on top of it for their customers. They get massive bragging rights (which I have no doubt will lead to even more customers), core gets a nice menu system without having to reinvent the wheel, and WordPress users all over the world will benefit. I’m hoping other plugin and theme developers will take a cue from Woo and look at core as a place for collaboration, rather than competition.
It was announced at WordCamp San Francisco last year that WordPress and WordPress MU would be merging codebases. This has now happened in 3.0-alpha, and we’re working on smashing bugs and tidying up a few screens. If you’re currently using a single install of WordPress, when you upgrade to 3.0 you won’t see any of the extra screens associated with running a network of sites. If you’re currently running MU, when you upgrade you’ll notice a few labels changing, but upgrading should be as painless as usual. If you’re going to set up a new WordPress installation, you’ll be asked as part of the setup if you want one site or multiple sites, so that’s pretty simple. If you want to turn your single install into one that supports multiple sites, we’ll have a tool for you to use to do that, too. So if you’ve been worried about the merge, have a cup of chamomile tea and relax; it will all be fine. 🙂
Okay, so where are we now? The new feature freeze date is on Monday, March 1, 2010. That means that after that date, no more enhancements or features will be added, and we’ll switch gears to focus solely on crushing bugs and fixing up the features that have already made it in. That means we only have a week to try and finish up the many Trac tickets on the 3.0 milestone that either need a patch or have a patch that needs testing. You can help! From now until noon eastern time on March 1 (that’s 17:00 UTC on March 1), head on over to Trac and pitch in. If you hit a wall, hop into the core development channel at #wordpress-dev on irc.freenode.net and hopefully one of the friendly core contributors can give you a push.
I like to moderate comments when I’m waiting for something: a checkout clerk to help me, the dentist to call me back to the office, a soy chai to be made. I don’t lug my laptop everywhere I go,* so I love it that we have mobile apps that make this possible. I don’t know of any other blogging platform that has mobile apps for iPhone, Android and Blackberry. Do you?
The iPhone app is up to version 2.2 (note that iPhone app version numbers do not correlate to WordPress core versions, due to separate dev cycles), while the Android and Blackberry apps are brand new. You can write posts (save drafts or publish right away), moderate comments, blog photos from your phone (and video on Blackberry!**), and more. Check out the glory that is mobile WordPress in the image below:
“But what about my Nokia,” you ask? Raanan Bar-Cohen, who oversees the mobile projects, recently announced:
“We are very excited to share with all of you that in the coming weeks we’ll be opening up a beta test for the official Open Source WordPress for Nokia app. For developers who are interested in getting involved, we just opened up a dev blog with details, links to the source code and trac tickets, and an early alpha build. We’ll be leveraging the Qt framework which means will be able to support both the S60 and Maemo platforms.”
All of these mobile WordPress apps are free and open source. They are developed in the same manner as WordPress core, which means anyone can contribute! If you’ve got some mad mobile development skills and want to get involved, a) you’re awesome, and b) here are a bunch of useful links.
Development Blogs: Android | BlackBerry | iPhone
Development Tracs: Android | Blackberry | iPhone
Feedback Forums: Android | BlackBerry | iPhone
Language Support: WordPress users come from all over the world. The mobile apps here are available in multiple languages but need volunteers to enable even more people to use them. If you’re interested in helping localize these mobile apps, you can get involved by visiting translate.wordpress.org.
Getting the Apps
So go for it — download the app for your platform of choice and soon you, too, can be live posting about how slow the cashier is while you wait for him to ring you up!
* Okay, yes, I do bring my laptop everywhere, but I leave it in the bag on these occasions.
** Video support should be coming soon to the iPhone and Android apps.
Thomas Mackenzie alerted us to a problem where logged in users can peek at trashed posts belonging to other authors. If you have untrusted users signed up on your blog and sensitive posts in the trash, you should upgrade to 2.9.2. As always, you can visit the Tools->Upgrade menu to upgrade.