FEATURE Suggestion: BuddyPress Theme Framework

Hey Guys,

After going though a number of your BuddyPress themes trying to decide which one to use for the project I am working on it came to me that it would be really nice to have a BuddyPress Theme Framework geared towards developers.

The problem I am having with your themes is that there is just too much stuff and too many options included with them. This might be great for most users but for my needs I find myself going though each theme and trying follow the flow of files being included and functions being called and removing all the options and then trying to figure out which css is being used. For example in the Corporate BuddyPress theme there are thousands of lines of css being used along with all the inline styles that get added based on options.

I would love to see a framework used the main functions.php file to call a theme setup function that got added to the after_theme_setup init where I could choose which features to include by using the add_theme_support hook.

For CSS you could include a library of css files that could be added to the theme_setup using enqueue style and have some basic style sheets for layouts and BuddyPress styles.

I would also like to see more BuddyPress specific hooks that could be used to customize the meta associated with the activity stream and user updates.

I understand and appreciate how hard it us keeping up the ever changing BuddyPress codebase but hopefully when 1.3 comes out it will be easier to standardize some of this stuff.


  • Tammie

    We've made a lot of changes the last year in how we do our themes and totally into hearing feedback like this and what members want. I think the next thing in 'sight' for review is actually the admin area. We currently do have what we refer to as 'skeleton' we use on most new themes where possible. It's not a framework but it's a step there.

    Of the top of my head the ones that use skeleton are: Daily, Magazine, Holder, Holder BuddyPress, Gallery, Studio, Product.

    I think one of the biggest issues with a framework per say we have is the parent / child .. grandparent format. We like to enable our users to not just buy children or be stuck into a parent also. However, there is always more than one way to approach things and we're considering a few things from what I can gather around that - or at least there have been discussions.

    I think you will find a fair few use this skeleton and things are easier to follow as a result. It is not though a framework yet and should not be labelled one.

    Another factor is we try and cater to a wide range. Whilst a developer framework may suit some we'd want to make sure if we did go that route it worked for all user capabilities. We recently for instance have gone over Gallery (release coming in 3.1) making sure it in the admin section was easier for users to understand and get 'out of the box' so to speak. We are looking at using this method in future themes too.

    To that matter what you see here is quite a collection of various themes spanning often wider a time frame than some theme sites. Therefore there are differences in code as we don't just have one developer and only relatively recently began looking to standardisation in most aspects.

    The BuddyPress theme is still in flux a bit in 1.3 I think I'm optimistic that 1.4 will actually bring far more significant theme changes to BuddyPress - specifically a reworked default / potentially a different approach with default themes. There is a strong group already around themeing over at buddypress.org that personally I try and follow and would suggest is key following for anyone interested in BuddyPress themes.

    The good news that comes with 1.3 is theme review passing - whilst some may only care about this for the resell factor it's key in sense that there is a lot of code review that has happened and improvements. For instance just like we're doing now including the custom background, better header management and so on. There has been tons of code and lots of contributions into that code. I broke my own BuddyPress contributing virginity so to speak with a ticket or two :slight_smile:

    It's all good and to be honest I think it's a great time to be involved in themes. Do I think frameworks are always the best solution - no. Do I personally think frameworks can work? Sure but I'd like to think we'd not just aim them at developers and give something for all levels. A tall order perhaps but taking a slower approach up to it may just get there.

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