I’ve tried numerous times to build a BuddyPress theme from scratch and always run into some troubles. It’s fun learning about BuddyPress but there is always something I leave out from the workflow which leads to problems with code bloat and unmanageable files.
That said, I feel I have lots of good experience with BuddyPress (without the AJAX) that allows for a full featured BuddyPress theme to be built from scratch.
However I’d like to build something really cool, something I can pick up and go for any BuddyPress needs… Even only WordPress… Sorta one theme to rule them all.
I’ve gotten a little behind the times and responsive design isn’t where my skills are at, but would like to see a theme built that is written in such a way that should it be required it can be made responsive in the future.
I typically start a project using the bare minimum from getskeleton.com to help with making a grid based layout, but really it’s obsolete after writing a few <section class=”twelve columns”><aside class=”four columns”>.
That all said, I’m looking for someone who has a little time to work on this theme. Maybe 3 hours a day.
It’s maybe something that when complete can be used for clients, or gaining new clients… It could be an open source project or even a premium theme. It could be used for personal endeavour such a hobby group or a club.
I’m really excited about building a BuddyPress theme but not having anyone close who is like minded I feel contributes to the demise of any BuddyPress themes I start to build.
With all of that out the way, if anyone reads this and would like to work together on a project like this I’d love to hear from you. Hopefully we’d have something super awesome to use for the future.
I’m going to continue writing here as it seems to fit right now. I’m going to outline how I’ve approached BuddyPress theme development at my last iteration. Hopefully someone can see where they could jump in to help contribute to the creation of a new theme.
Concepts have always been tough, I usually miss out some important aspect of the design. Like if I was designing a concept for the activity streams, I’d leave of the threaded comments aspect of BuddyPress. However I’ve gotten good at outlining some of the features in the concept stage. Usually I take a BuddyPress install using the Twenty Twelve theme and copy all of the components into a Photoshop document and cross-reference design like that.
The concepts would be an iterative process, with the wealth of templates in BuddyPress designing them all in Photoshop first is very desirable but not very practical. I would love to have the time to really design all components in Photoshop first before moving into code.
Taking any Photoshop concepts and making them into templates usually is a static process for me, I’ve done the activity stream page design in Photoshop, I then use a boiler plate I have to rough out the html and css of this page. Again and iterative process. If I had 1 Photoshop file to work with, let’s say BuddyPress registration, I’d do the template of that in raw HTML and CSS.
Taking those templates previously coded has been a bit of a pain for me, I write markup differently to how the bp-default theme shipped, so it really is a case of building these files from scratch. Dropping in the loops, the BuddyPress function calls and actions at each template iteration. This leaves for problems, but I’ve got it down well now and know how BuddyPress works. So it’s like building a WordPress theme on steroids. I’ve even spent a while taking the bp-default theme and removing all the markup it shipped with. This makes building new BuddyPress themes a whole bunch easier to shape. Although I’m still not perfect at this.
The above workflow procedures have served me well in getting off the ground with BuddyPress theme development but they haven’t taken me the whole way. I end up failing to use the CASCADE that CSS offers and ultimately reside to the fact I have to repeat my self lots with CSS.
The repetition I don’t fear, but the labour involved really does effect the overall fun in development and really the theme that had so much potential when building the activity stream and registration pages becomes a hard slog to getting something that works. Photoshop concepts suffer in design and the code suffers from bloat (hence my whole piece about designing all the concepts first).
That’s it, in a nutshell. :)
http://pixelcoder.co.uk/members/alistair is my latest endeavour with BuddyPress. It’s nowhere near complete and I’m at that stage where I’d like someone else to work with and help with the theme. To do code reviews, refinement and design.
A collab build process would be ace.