My first experiences with BuddyPress (open source social platform)

Editor’s Note: The author of this blog entry, Nathan Bomshteyn, is an SEO and internet marketing expert, who works for Lichtman Consulting. Please welcome his first article with a round of applause!

If you use WordPress then you might of heard about their sister project BuddyPress. BuddyPress is the open source social platform that promises to be the WordPress of social platforms. To be scalable and the same time light, to have a variety of features and be user friendly… Just as WordPress made it possible for anyone to have a nice professional looking blog without even touching the code, now you could have your own social network too with very minimal interaction with code.

Now that the version 1.0 is officially out I decided to test. So I downloaded the file only to find out that its not a program by itself but a plug-in for Wordpress.

I installed Wordpress on my Linux machine on localhost. When tried installing BuddyPress I was notified by the program that I have to run WordPress-mu (multi user version) to be able to install BuddyPress. I tried installing the mu version, but guess what, WordPress-mu can’t be installed on localhost.

At that point I just decided to buy a domain name and get a proper hosting for it. I installed WordPress-mu, activated the BuddyPress plugin that I inserted into plugin folder. Hooray! Looks like its working, I found few nice web 2.0 themes installed them, it looked really nice, until my friend who uses Internet Explorer tried to signup and for some “unknown reason” got a 404 error, page doesn’t exist. I have got a new challenge why does it show this error when I know that the page is there…

One day later the problem is solved: you can’t use a regular WordPress theme for the main blog, what you need is two themes one specially designed for BuddyPress “home” and the second one for the  BuddyPress “member” page. So I put them in the appropriate folders and I have finally got it working.

Or did I?

Wait! What about the forums capability? Why don’t I see it?

Oh! In order to have forums you have to install BBpress which is a stand alone application but has the built-in options for WordPress integration.

So I download the latest stable version, install it, integrate the user info with WordPress, but for some “strange” reason even with the key master account I can’t start a new forum…

I almost gave up for now on forum capability, when I by mere coincidence found a folder in the BuddyPress installation that had the BBpress integration files; there I saw a readme document with detailed instruction of how to integrate them. I found what I did wrong – the latest stable release is too old, what I need is the latest Alpha release. So I uninstalled the stable release and installed the unstable one. Got through the installation by following every line in the readme. And guess what – its finally working.

Moral of the story: I am part of generation that doesn’t like reading the manuals and readme files, but sometimes reading them could save you a lot of time.

Some resources:

WordPress MU – http://mu.wordpress.org
BuddyPress – http://buddypress.org
BBpress – http://bbpress.org
Working Example: http://postnonstop.com

One response on “My first experiences with BuddyPress (open source social platform)

  1. Elie

    Based on your experiences with BuddyPress, another moral of the story would be that the system needs more work. However, you did catch the note that one of the first responses to any technical difficulty is RTFM for a reason – someone’s already managed to use the program, so make sure you’ve followed the instructions.