7 Exciting New Features In BuddyPress 1.7

BuddyPress 1.7 is due out any minute now. This is a very exciting and important release that we believe will greatly expand BuddyPress usage throughout the WordPress community. Here’s a quick breakdown of all of the major new features and changes that you’ll need to know about to be ready for 1.7.

Theme Compatibility

Theme compatibility is the most important change in BuddyPress 1.7 is that the plugin no longer requires a BuddyPress-compatible theme. BuddyPress can now be used with ANY WordPress theme. Its components will fit in nicely into your site like a natural part of your WordPress theme without having to use the BP Template pack or change any markup at all.

If you want to override the BuddyPress templates, you can do so just like you would in a WordPress child theme. To modify a BuddyPress template, simply create a /buddypress/ directory in your active WordPress theme. Copy any BP template file into this directory and make your changes there. Copy any BuddyPress CSS files you want to change to your theme’s CSS folder.

Fancy New Welcome Screen

The new BuddyPress wecome screen
The new BuddyPress wecome screen

The new BuddyPress welcome screen gives users an overview of what’s new in the latest release. It also gives credit to some of the devs who have helped to make BuddyPress the awesome plugin it is today.

At the bottom of the page you’ll find a link that takes you to the components page where you can select the features that you want enabled for your social network.

Default Active Components: Extended Profiles and Activity Streams

BuddyPress component screen
BuddyPress component screen

In the past when you first activated BuddyPress, all of its components would be automatically turned on. Not anymore! The BuddyPress core development team has elected to keep it simple and just have the basics enabled by default.

Not every site requires all that BuddyPress has to offer. BuddyPress site admins can choose to enable as many features as they wish or even disable extended profiles and activity streams. The only required components are Members and the BuddyPress core.

Group Forums are now retired

BuddyPress 1.7 retires the group forums component. It’s nothing to boo-hoo over. You can still use them but this is now a legacy component.

Group forums are now a retired component

If you want forums, use bbPress. It is the best WordPress forum plugin to use with BuddyPress and the two play nicely together – they’re practically brothers!

Improved Group Management

Managing groups as the site admin is much easier in BuddyPress 1.7 with the new Groups Management screen. Admins can search all groups, edit, mass delete, modify memberships and see when groups were last active. If you have a BuddyPress site with active group membership, you’re really going to appreciate this new tool in the dashboard.

The new Groups Management screen

New Visibility Level

Profile fields now have a new “Admins Only” visibility settings. Having fields that members fill out with information only available to admins has been a very popular request. You’ll be happy to know that this is built right into the core of BuddyPress 1.7. This new feature makes it possible to use BuddyPress extended profiles in more interesting ways.

Sortable Profile Options

When you create a profile field with multiple options, such as radio buttons and checkboxes, BuddyPress 1.7 allows you to drag-and-drop those options to reorder them. This will definitely make your life easier if you’re creating a profile field with a long list of possible options.

There are a lot more exciting improvements under the hood and you’ll be be glad to know that it’s much faster than ever before. Want a sneak preview of 1.7 in action? BuddyPress developer @modemlooper has created a quick installation video that tours the new install process and features.

Or better yet, install the trunk from the BuddyPress trac to start playing around with the latest version.

Comments (15)

  1. This is great and some improvements that have been lacking for a long time such as the admin only privacy options.

    Its great news for me as i was about to spend the next few days customising my theme for buddypress but looks like i dont need to now.

    How long till its actually released??

  2. Sarah, what does it mean that group forums are now a “retired” component. I’ve always found them to be a fundamental part of groups – does this mean they are going to be removed altogether in a future version – or does BBPress handle a group forum function. Not sure I (eventually) want to go without group forums at all. Am I misunderstanding that?

    • It means this is now going to be removed from buddypresss. However it will be a legacy feature meaning you can still activate it for those that want to still use it. So don’t worry it doesn’t make any difference.

      The only real implications are that some developers will probably stop building plugins for the group forums but those that still see groups as an important function would still carry on.

      If i was you i would just use standard forums as they are far better and cleaner. However if you want to stick to group function it wont be removed either.

  3. I’m just now researching forum solutions for a client. However, the group forums was one feature that was attractive for Buddypress. So, If I want the ability to create a forum for only people registered for a class to participate in, is there a better way to do it, or would I need to use the “retired component”?

    P.S. The register with Facebook component does not appear to be working.

    • I’m in the same boat as Kathleen. Need to create multiple forums, each one specifically for a particular group, and only visible to that group.
      Better way, or “retired component”?

  4. Awesome news, great improvements, that makes me wonder, is that a hint they will end up merging BuddyPress to the core of WordPress? Social features are becoming such a norm nowadays that I wouldn’t be surprised if they do, and to be honest, I would actually welcome that move.

  5. I am using the current beta and all i can say is its fantastic. Fits into my theme perfectly and now means i can use any theme on the market.

    However there will be a few unhappy people which are those that develop buddypress specific templates as they usually cost more and therefore make the developers more money

  6. What’s the transition path from Group Forums to bbpress? I already have Group Forums set up on a client’s site. What’s the process for putting bbpress in place instead and what happens to the content in the Group Forums?

  7. So the old Group Forum funtion is going to die.
    How to use the bbpress Forum like the Buddypress Group Forums?
    I wanna have private Forums for each Group.