I hope you'll forgive the (somewhat) double-post. The original version of this post appears as a reply in another thread.
I have now completed what seems to be a successful import from Ning into the most current WordPress (v3.8) installation configured with both Buddypress (v1.9) and BBPress (v2.51) using this plugin, despite the general belief that it is broken. This may or may not work for you; perhaps it only worked for me because of some particular nature in my Ning forum that differs from yours. I have a forum that is a couple years old with fewer than 100 members.
There may be a much easier way to do this. I arrived at these steps through trial and error and stopped looking for an easier way whenever I found something that worked. If you vary from the steps below in any way and it doesn't work for you, well, you've been warned. :-)
However, I have now repeated these steps three times from scratch and gotten the same results.
Since I posted this the first time, I have also learned how to import blog posts and events. So, I have been able execute a complete, successful transfer (except photo, movie, and music galleries). The steps for transferring these two items are now included below.
My first attempt to use the Import From Ning plugin was very unsuccessful. I believe it was because I was on my server. This time I did a local install and I think somehow that made a difference.
So, here's what worked.
- I went back to the Ning Archiver and did a fresh download.
- I did a local install of WordPress 3.7.1 using XAMPP. If you haven't tried local WordPress development, you'll have to Google how to do that. I put the Ning files in wp-content/ning-files.
- I renamed the file "ning-blogs.json" to "ning-blogs-local.json". This was the only way I could get the blogs to import. The import plugin couldn't find them under their original name.
- I got on localhost and signed into my newly created site.
- I went to Install Plugins --> Add New -> Search --> The Events Calendar (latest version, v3.2). Installed and activated. The Ning import plugin needs this calendar to be installed to transfer events. I don't know why--perhaps it creates necessary fields in the database. If you don't have any events (or events you care about) in your Ning calendar you can ignore this and let the importer stall with a fatal error. This is the last step of the import process so it doesn't matter if the importer dies here.
- I went to Install Plugins --> Add New -> Search --> Import from Ning (latest version, v2.1). Installed and activated.
- I went to Plugins --> Add New -> Upload -> BuddyPress 1.6.1. That's right. I had previously downloaded an old version of BuddyPress and I installed and activated that.
- After BuddyPress was activated, a message about the BuddyPress Installation Wizard Link appeared at the top of the page. I clicked in.
- Walking through the Wizard page now...The first page is Components. No changes there, I clicked Save & Next.
- Pages. I made sure the "create automatically" buttons were selected. Save & Next.
- Permalinks. I like my Permalinks based on post name, but you won't see that here. I jumped out of the Wizard by going to Settings -> Permalinks and selected those, then I went back to the Wizard (the message was still at the top of the page, so I clicked that). The Wizard always starts from the beginning so I had to Save & Next through the first three pages of that again, ensuring again that my pages would be (or were) automatically created.
- Still in the Wizard--the fourth page is for selecting a theme. I used BuddyPress Default.
- I finished the Wizard and Activated BuddyPress.
- At this point I began getting "Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare()" messages. I ignored them.
- This error message also appeared. "The following active BuddyPress Components do not have associated WordPress Pages: Activity Streams, User Groups, Members". You have an option to click Repair, which I did.
- That took me to BuddyPress -> Pages, which actually shows a total of 6 components (including the three mentioned above) with no associated pages. I opened Pages in a separate tab and created the following pages for each component: Activity Streams, Discussion Forums, User Groups, Members, Register, and Activate. I refreshed BuddyPress -> Pages (to load the drop down menus), associated the appropriate pages, and hit Save All.
- Then I went to BuddyPress -> Forums. Under "Forums for Groups," I hit the Install Group Forums button and then hit Complete Installation. I ignored the other option, for site-wide forums.
- Now I was ready to start Ning Import. I hit Continue under "Ready for blastoff" and I let it do its thing, hitting Continue after each step and keeping any defaults that popped up. I got "Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare()" errors all the way through, sometimes a flood of them, especially during discussions. But I just didn't care. As long as there wasn't a fatal error, I kept hitting continue!
- The process went all the way to the end, when I was given the opportunity to email all my members about the new forum. I clicked out of that.
- Then I went back to Plugins and finally let BuddyPress update itself to the latest version (1.9). The "Warning: Missing argument 2 for wpdb::prepare()" errors disappeared for good! I could visit my site at that point and see the results. Things looked OK.
- It was only then that I installed BBPress and followed the codex for migrating BuddyPress forums to BBPress. The migration worked with no problem. BuddyPress installed. BBPress installed. Ning data imported. It's all good.
I'll keep playing with my site to see if there are any gotchas.
I sincerely hope others have success with this. It's messy but for me it was a big step in the right direction!