During the BuddyPress Dev Chat this week, the team discussed the scope for the upcoming BuddyPress 1.7 release. The biggest and most exciting change announced is that this next version will include compatibility for all WordPress themes. This will be accomplished by using the same method as the bbPress plugin. BP 1.7 will introduce a theme template compatibility layer that injects the necessary BuddyPress templates into your current WordPress theme when the page is loaded.
Removing the requirement for having a BuddyPress-enabled theme will surely make the social networking plugin even more accessible to all WordPress users. It also offers an opportunity for the community to review the existing BP-Default theme. Tammie Lister has fired up this discussion on the BP Development blog. You’re invited to jump in and review the existing BP-Default theme in terms of what works well and what needs improvement. The new theme template compatibility layer has been in the works since earlier this year when John James Jacoby hinted at it on the BuddyPress blog:
In an undetermined future version of BuddyPress, we’re going to start bundling template parts along with features. These template parts are intended to be the canonical set of skeletal styling that BuddyPress provides out of the box. It has the benefit of being a turn-key installation for everyone, and allows us to push out updates more quickly and evolve the platform without worrying about how themes that are outside of our control might break. These templates will work with *any* existing standard WordPress theme without any modifications.
Goodbye BP Template Pack!
What will this change mean for the BP Template Pack? As much as we have all greatly appreciated being able to use the BuddyPress Template Pack to integrate BuddyPress with regular WordPress themes, it would be a huge relief to never have to use the template pack again. The amount of work that goes into changing markup and CSS to get themes to be compatible can be overwhelming to new BuddyPress users. The 1.7 release is going to change everything.
Other large changes included in the scope of 1.7 include:
- Admin UI for Groups management
- Finish the Group Forum integration with bbPress 2
- Improve DB performance when querying users
If all of this sounds exciting to you and you’d like to get more involved with building the next version of BuddyPress, the invitation is out there. The BuddyPress core developers would like to start getting more people involved. Given the scope of the proposed changes for 1.7, anyone can contribute. Designers, developers, documentation specialists, etc. – all are welcome! Don’t miss your chance to make a contribution to the 1.7 release. You can get on board by contacting the team via the BP Dev blog or IRC, BuddyPress.org, or Trac.