I get Â prettyÂ ecstatic when I find a open source program that isÂ versatileÂ and user friendly.Â Â So I while exploring options for creating a membership based site I’ve come across BuddyPress. After playing with it for a few days and toying around with other options (Dolphin, Elgg, etc.. ), I have determined that BuddyPress is the best fit for me.
What is BuddyPress?
BuddyPress is: Â
- Â a free, open source Â Wordpress plugin,
- Â for creating a social network using through Worpdress,
- written mainly in PHP and MySQL,
Features of the BuddyPress Plugin
The following are just the basic featuresÂ BuddyPress, all of which can be disabled and modified.
- User Profiles
- Activity Streams
- Personal Sections
- Avatar Uploads
- Group Creation
- Group Page
- Friend System
- WordPress Blog Per User
UndisputedlyÂ FacebookÂ has becomeÂ the standard for a social network. However, this doesn’t mean that you cannot create your own unique social network online. I mean besides modifyingÂ BuddyPress to lookÂ like aÂ much earlierÂ version ofÂ Facebook you can also add plugins or modifyÂ this pluginÂ for a variety of other things:
- Shopping site,
- Online Course,
- Information gathering,
- Small Business,
- Sporting Competitions,
- Recipe site,
- paid memberships,
- Educational (for safe online student interaction),
So basically anyÂ community driven site…
You can make such sites without programming or prior experience with BuddyPress. How? Â The other great thing about an open source projects (a good open source project) is that there are always talented and generous people who make plugins to help you modify your WordPress experience. Not only is other WordPress plugins compatible with BuddyPress, but there is also 700+ plugins that are BuddyPress specific. A lot of them help you manage your groups, make your social network private, multi user account creation, mass email to your users, create levels of memberships, createÂ an hiearchy of privateÂ orÂ public groups,Â assign tasks and control over groups and forum, event planning,Â database collection etc… And if youÂ honestly, cannot find what you are looking for there is a Buddypress plugin that is aÂ skeletonÂ toÂ writing your own Buddypress plugin.
Why should you use BuddyPress?
Still not convinced? Well, to start off with, Â Wordpress is a solid foundation to build your site on, the user interface is direct and flexible to the point where non-programmers can use the site without resorting to a face-to-desk meltdown. Â Buddypress isÂ the nice house with solid framework built upon the solid foundation of WordPress. Buddypress, itself, has the very basic foundations of a good social network (activity stream, user profile, groups, private messaging, forums). Unless you intend on building the next “it” social network, then Buddypress is a good starting point for you to grow your business, community, or friends.
Showcase of sites using Buddypress: BPinspire
Plugins for BuddyPress: BuddyPress.org
Stay tuned for an upcoming article on a list of useful and powerful plugins for Buddypress!Â