Integrated Plugins: BuddyPress

This article was last updated on the January 2, 2017.

Occasionally we will receive questions from users about BuddyPress and how it is integrated with X. We’ve put this article together in hopes that it answers many of the most commonly asked questions by our users so that they can have a better understanding of how BuddyPress is supposed to work within the X ecosystem.

What is BuddyPress and How is it Used Within X?

As their site puts it, BuddyPress is “…a powerful (yet elegant) suite of social networking components, made the WordPress way, to help you build a flexible and robust community.” BuddyPress is quite flexible in that it allows users to enable or disable various components depending on their needs. Below is a brief summary of the main features included in the plugin:

  • Profiles – Add custom fields, adjust visibility levels, and setup common field types.
  • Settings – Manage account settings, email notifications, passwords, et cetera.
  • Groups – Extensible user groups allows your users to create micro-communities.
  • Activity Streams – For members and groups on a sitewide directory and single threads.
  • Notifications – Get notifications from other users and mark them as read or unread.
  • Friendships – Connect with other users across the network.
  • Private Messaging – Private conversations with one or several members at a time.

X features fully integrated styling and functionality for all native BuddyPress components. This styling is setup to be as flexible as possible so as to potentially accommodate any additional functionality added by third party plugins, but support for BuddyPress is strictly limited to native components as we cannot reasonably account for all possible scenarios or supplemental elements.

Supported Version: v2.3.3

BuddyPress is a very extensive plugin. To ensure that all content output and functionality is as streamlined as possible with X, numerous templates and files have been overwritten and/or integrated into the theme to be customized as we see fit. Because of this, users must ensure that they are using the supported version of BuddyPress with X. The current supported version of BuddyPress is v2.3.3, as noted in the title above. If a newer version of the plugin exists, it is strongly encouraged that users do not upgrade as they run the risk of elements not working. While this isn’t necessarily a likely outcome, it is certainly possible, which is why we strongly advise against updating until we have been able to ensure compatibility as we cannot provide support for an unsupported version of BuddyPress when used in conjunction with X.

Do keep in mind that while we have this version currently listed out as our supported version, we do our best to ensure that we keep BuddyPress as up to date as possible. That being said, the following is just a few of the reasons why we have a supported version of BuddyPress:

  • Stability – Newer versions of software do not always equal greater stability. Oftentimes there are undiscovered bugs that are introduced with certain versions and are unknown until the product has been released to the public for some time. The version of the plugin that we support is more or less guaranteed to work without any issues as we take a great deal of time to test all functionality thoroughly before releasing it along with the theme.
  • Template Files – As mentioned above, BuddyPress contains numerous templates, which are responsible for the output of content on various pages. When integrating a plugin into a theme, sometimes it is necessary to update and/or completely overhaul the markup of these templates so that they can more easily conform to the conventions of the theme. In the case of X, dozens of these overwritten templates reside within the buddypress directory in the root directory of the theme. While our overwritten templates should work fine with future updates of the plugin, the possibility of new templates that need adjustments or fine-tuning of current templates is certainly a possibility. Because of this, we ask that users only utilize the supported version so that we can ensure things are in order for your website.
  • JavaScript – One of the more difficult aspects of integrating BuddyPress into a theme is the fact that it comes packaged with some fairly invasive JavaScript that interacts with page elements to determine their appearance. This same file also includes all of the AJAX functionality, which allows for certain portions of the plugin to operate without needing to refresh a page to see a new activity stream update for example. Because of this, we have taken the entire core JavaScript file included with BuddyPress and moved it into the theme so that we can alter this code as needed to more seamlessly work with X. Because of this, if some new functionality is added in this file in a newer version of the plugin, it will not be reflected in X as we have deregistered the original script to replace it with our own. For this reason in particular, we strongly advise users to only utilize the supported version of BuddyPress referenced above.

Because of these reasons (among others), ensuring that you are utilizing the supported version of BuddyPress should allow you to utilize the plugin on your site without any issues. As always, there is the possibility of potential conflicts with other third party plugin developers, which as our support policy states we will not be able to handle if that turns out to be the case.

Documentation

Understanding certain features and how to utilize them is something that is very important if you hope to take full advantage of the BuddyPress plugin. While we have integrated the plugin with our theme and have used it in a selection of demos, it is recommended that you direct any questions you have about the plugin to the provided online documentation as it will more thoroughly address any matters you would like to know more about with the plugin.

Conclusion

Hopefully the information provided above has helped you to gain a better understanding of what to expect from utilizing BuddyPress within X. Ultimately, there are a few things to take away from this article:

  • The version of BuddyPress supported by the theme is a modified version of the plugin, and we have added some features of our own to the theme that work in conjunction with the plugin to enhance its functionality.
  • We do our best to ensure that the version of BuddyPress supported by X is as up-to-date as possible; however, this might not always be the case based on the reasons listed in the “Supported Version” section above, which includes stability, template files, and JavaScript modifications.
  • Any questions concerning the usage of a BuddyPress feature should be directed to the online documentation referenced in the “Documentation” section above.