BuddyPressI’ve been using BuddyPress for almost  five months now and I’ve been an active WordPress User for over 5 years.   I am very excited about the use of BuddyPress as an Educational Platform and have recently made public the Music Education Professional Learning Network based on the BuddyPress, bbPress, and WordPress engine(s).

While I don’t believe that BuddyPress is as easy to setup as they “let on”, I am convinced that of all the social media-style platforms available for end-use,  it has the most potential and functionality for use as an education site; but, much of the functionality that I’m using had to be added via code hacks or modifications, theme customizations, and plugins.

Fortunately, Buddypress is developing an ever larger user-base and plugin repository and they have a fairly good support system via BuddyPress.org (I’ve made over 202 forum posts and 80 updates on it in the last 3 months either seeking help or helping others with the platform).  I highly recommend looking at it if you are considering something for your educationally-based organization; however,  if you are looking for something that just “works” BUT have little-to-no Website skills (can’t use FTP, don’t understand CSS or HTML), code-familiarity (PHP),  or lack of understanding of the WordPress system then I don’t recommend BuddyPress as your first venture into starting a social-network -try something like Spruz, Grou.ps, or Ning.

“The following is a list of personally vetted plugins that I’m currently using, have tried, or have personally seen used on other sites or observed good conversation about on the BuddyPress.org site.   Because of this, this IS an important list for reference purposes:”

If you DO have some of the  skills just mentioned (or can find someone that does) and are looking for something to set your site apart from the blandness of many other Social Networking Sites that will also give you the unlimited abilities to expand or create with it any way you see fit -THEN BuddyPress IS your “ticket”.

Just a fair-warning before you decide to get on the BuddyPress bandwagon: Make sure you have a high-end server (VPS minimal) and plenty of RAM with it.  Discussions at BuddyPress.org with regard to memory are leaning toward 96 megabyte to 128 megabyte minimum of dedicated Server Ram (I’m using 256MB dedicated to my install).

The following is a list of personally vetted plugins that I’m currently using, have tried, or have personally seen used on other sites or observed good conversation about on the BuddyPress.org site.   Because of this, this IS an important list for reference purposes:

Useful Plugins for BuddyPress -The Definitive List:

* BP Plugins- I’m Currently Using

  1. BP Group Documents – This BuddyPress component creates a document storage area within each group
    By Peter Anselmo, Studio66 | Visit plugin site
  2. BP Group Managment – Allows site administrators to manage BuddyPress group membership
    By Boone GorgesVisit plugin site
  3. BP Xtra Signup – Adds extra signup options to the registration page (TOU/TOS)
    By  Boris GlumplerVisit plugin site
  4. BuddyPress Activity Stream Ajax Notifier – Adds a timed ajax notification when the activity stream has an update.
    By rich fuller – rich! @ etiviti | Visit plugin site
  5. BuddyPress Activity Stream Bump to Top – Bumps an activity record to the top of the stream on activity comment replies
    By rich fuller – rich! @ etiviti
  6. BuddyPress Announce Group – This plugin makes an announcement-only group where only admins or moderators can add content.
    By Deryk WenausVisit plugin site
  7. Buddy Press Badge (currently broken -but being worked on ver 1.3) – Create site Badges for BuddyPress.
    By Warut SudpoothongVisit plugin site
  8. BuddyPress Block Activity Stream Types – Blocks an activity record (based on types) from being saved to the database
    By rich fuller – rich! @ etiviti | Visit plugin site
  9. Buddypress Community Stats – Adds a few basic community stats (and widget)
    By rich fuller – rich! @ etiviti | Visit plugin site
  10. BuddyPress Edit Activity Stream – Allow user (set timeout) or admins to edit activity items
    By rich fuller – rich! @ etiviti | Visit plugin site
  11. BuddyPress Group Email Subscription – Allows group members to receive email notifications for group activity, especially forum posts, or weekly or daily digests.
    By boonebgorges, Deryk Wenaus, David Cartwright | Visit plugin site
  12. BuddyPress Group Forum Extras – A set of EXTREMELY useful and HIGHLY recommended forum enhancements for BP:
    –>Add CSS classes for Posts/Topics per user level
    –>Forums Index
    Add CSS classes for Posts/Topics per user level
    –>Tag Index
    –>Topic First Post Preview
    –>View Activity Comments on Forum Post
    rich fuller – etiviti (rich!) | Visit plugin site
  13. BuddyPress Group Tags – This plugin allow Groups to be organized by tags via a tag cloud
    By Deryk WenausVisit plugin site
  14. BuddyPress Like – Gives users of a BuddyPress site the ability to ‘like’ activities, and soon other social elements of the site
    By Alex Hempton-SmithVisit plugin site
  15. Buddypress Member Profile Stats – Adds a few basic count stats and per day avg under member’s profile
    By rich fuller – etiviti (rich!) | Visit plugin site
  16. BuddyPress Move Topics – Lets you move forum topics from one forum to another.
    By Normen HansenVisit plugin site
  17. BuddyPress Profile Privacy – Allows “permissions” to be set for xprofile fields.
    By Jeff Farthing | Visit plugin site
  18. BuddyPress Restrict Group Creation –  Restrict group creation and settings to certain WP Role/Capabilities.
    By rich fuller – etiviti (rich!) | Visit plugin site
  19. BuddyPress RSS Character Fixer – Fixes Buddypress’s RSS feed titles’ corrupted characters for all languages.
    By Ali Erkurt | Visit plugin site
  20. BuddyPress Sitemap Generator (Currently having some issues with this ver .0.4) – This plugin will generate a sitemapindex and various component sitemap xml files for search engines and indexing of BuddyPress.
    By rich fuller – etiviti (rich!) – based upon work by Arne Brachhold | Visit plugin site
  21. BuddyPress Wiki Component – Enables site and group wiki functionality within a Buddypress install.
    By David Cartwright | Visit plugin site
  22. CD BuddyPress Avatar Bubble – After moving your mouse pointer on a BuddyPress user avatar you will see a bubble with the defined by admin information about this user.
    By slaFFikVisit plugin site
  23. oEmbed for BuddyPress – The easiest way to share your favorite content from sites like YouTube, Flickr, Hulu and more on your BuddyPress network.
    By r-a-y | Visit plugin site
  24. SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam – Adds CAPTCHA anti-spam methods to WordPress on the comment form, registration form, login, or all. This prevents spam from automated bots
    By Mike ChallisVisit plugin site
  25. TDLC Birthdays – This simple Buddypress Widget uses a Birthday field from Buddypress extended profile to display a list of upcoming birthdays of the user’s friends
    By Tom GrangerVisit plugin site
  26. Tweetstream – Synchronises users tweets with activity stream and back.
    By Peter Hofman
  27. Welcome Pack – When a user registers on your site, Welcome Pack lets you automatically send them a friend or group invitation, a Welcome Message and can redirect them to a Start Page. You can also customise the default emails sent by BuddyPress to ensure that they match the brand and tone of your site.
    By Paul GibbsVisit plugin site
  28. WP Activate Users – For BuddyPress: Shows users who have not activated their account
    By Matthew PriceVisit plugin site

*Some WordPress Plugins that I’m currently using with BuddyPress:

  1. Cleverness To-Do List – Manage to-do list items on a individual or group basis with categories. Includes a dashboard widget and a sidebar widget.
    By C.M. KendrickVisit plugin site
  2. Collapsing Pages – Uses javascript to expand and collapse pages to show the posts that belong to the link category
    Version 0.6.1 | By Robert Felty | Visit plugin site
  3. Custom Login – A simple way to customize your WordPress login screen.
    A simple way to customize your WordPress login screen! Use the built in and easy to use settings page to do the work for you.
  4. Exclude Pages from Navigation – Provides a checkbox on the editing page which you can check to exclude pages from the primary navigation.
    By Simon WheatleyVisit plugin site
  5. External Links – Marks outbound links as such, with various effects that are configurable
    By Denis de BernardyVisit plugin site
  6. FAQ You – A simple FAQ plugin where you can create Categories and put Questions in them. You can easily insert them in a page with the WYSIWYG editor. Able to turn JavaScript on or off.
    By Ontwerpstudio Trendwerk | Visit plugin site
  7. Genki Announcement – Display an announcement on your blog
    By Genkisan – i18n patched by MasayanVisit plugin site
  8. GigPress – GigPress is a live performance listing and management plugin built for musicians and performers.
    By Derek HogueVisit plugin site
  9. Iframe Embedder – Lets you embed an iframe in a post
    By de77.comVisit plugin site
  10. Link Library – Display links on pages with a variety of options
    By Yannick LefebvreVisit plugin site
  11. Maintenance Mode – Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance. Logged in administrators get full access to the blog including the front-end
    By Michael WöhrerVisit plugin site
  12. Samsarin PHP Widget – A text widget with support for including PHP.
    By Chris PettittVisit plugin site
  13. Use Google Libraries – Allows your site to use common javascript libraries from Google’s AJAX Libraries CDN, rather than from WordPress’s own copies.
    By Jason PenneyVisit plugin site
  14. W3 Total Cache – The fastest and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site. Add browser, page, object and database caching as well as minify and content delivery network (CDN) to WordPress.
    By Frederick TownesVisit plugin site
    * Be careful with the setting on this with BP – See This Thread:
  15. Widget Context – Display widgets in context.
    By Kaspars DambisVisit plugin site
  16. WP-chgFontSize – Allows users to dynamically change the font size.
    By Ferran RodenasVisit plugin site
  17. WP-Memory-Usage – Show up the memory limit and current memory usage in the dashboard and admin footer
    By Alex RabeVisit plugin site
  18. WP-Sticky – Adds a sticky post feature to your WordPress’s blog. Modified from Adhesive by Owen Winkler.
    By Lester ‘GaMerZ’ ChanVisit plugin site
  19. WP AutoSuggest – This plugin adds Auto suggest support to your WordPress searchbox.
    By Elie El Khoury and Oskari Rauta | Visit plugin site

*Some Hacks/Mods that I’m currently using with BuddyPress:

  1. Registered Users Only – Redirects all non-logged in users to your login form. HIGHLY MODIFIED
    By Viper007BondVisit plugin site
    * Highly Modified -See This Thread:  http://buddypress.org/community/groups/how-to-and-troubleshooting/forum/topic/how-to-make-a-private-community/
  2. Unified Search – A BP mod that cleans up the search function on BuddyPress
    By Brakesh Singh:  http://buddydev.com/buddypress/creating-the-sitewide-globalunified-search-page-for-your-buddypress-theme/
    * See This Thread: http://buddypress.org/community/groups/how-to-and-troubleshooting/forum/topic/buddypress-orgs-unified-search-how-can-i-get-it/
  3. Forum Topic Tags in Forum Pages and as Rows – This is not built-in to the theme function or easy to do… yet.
    * See This Trhread: http://buddypress.org/community/groups/how-to-and-troubleshooting/forum/topic/forum-topic-tags/?topic_page=1&num=15

*Some BuddyPress Plug-ins I see as being useful but am not using:

  1. g-Press – Adds new geo-relevant layers to WordPress, allowing you to create your own location-based services or to keep track of your own personal geo-tagged journies.
  2. Import from Ning -This plugin imports the contents of your Ning Network Archive into BuddyPress.
  3. BuddyPress Humanity – This plugin adds a customizable security question to the sign up form. You can choose your own question and answers
    * Waiting to I have more Splog/Spam Registrations to implement this -hopefully won’t need it!!!
  4. BP Code Snippets – Adds the ability to share safely code snippets.
  5. Secure Invites – This plugin stops access to your signup page, except where the visitor has been invited and clicked the link in their invitation email.
  6. Buddypress -Ajax Chat – This plugin will extend Buddypress to have an Ajax Chat client that works with Buddypress groups,
    as well as all WordPress users.
    *I’ve tried this a number of times, but I am waiting for it to become more clean, before trying again. (Currently use Wibya Chat on our site)
  7. Visitor Maps and Who’s Online – Displays Visitor Maps with location pins, city, and country. Includes a Who’s Online Sidebar to show how many users are online. Includes a Who’s Online admin dashboard to view visitor details.
  8. Limit Blogs Per User – This is a plugin for wpmu/wpmu+byddypress powered websites,where site administrators can limit the number of blogs a user can signup.
    * Will consider this WHEN we move to MU enabled version of our site.
  9. BP Group Categories/Types – This plugin allows you to create an unlimited hierarchy of groups.
    This plugin currently allows you to create two different types of groups. Category and User groups, category groups are what allow you
    to create the hierarchy of groups.
    * This is a must have plugin when it releases from Alpha state.  The ability to have Categories for groups is sorely needed.
  10. BP Profile Search – Adds a customizable search form to your BuddyPress Members page, so visitors can find site members searching their public profiles.
  11. Sitewide Newsletters – This plugin for WordPress MU is really simple. It allows site administrators to send a (plain text) to all users. You can type in the subject and text for the email, and it will try to send it to all user email addresses in the database.
    * Would love to see this for non-MU integrations as well.
  12. BP Foursqaure API -This plugin is a library to connect your BuddyPress powered website to the XML or JSON Foursquare API.
  13. FaceStream – Facestream a Buddypress facebook intergration plugin.
    * Currently incredibly buggy -but a “must-have” “once it’s working” plugin… BP main line developers needs to help maintain these types of plugins (Twitter, Buzz, Facebook, FourSquare, etc) ALONG with the plugin developers in order for the platform to succeed in the larger markets =IMHO
  14. BP External Activity – Allows admins to import data from an arbitrary RSS feed into their BuddyPress sitewide activity stream.
  15. BP Rate Forum Posts – Users can rate forum posts in BuddyPress. Good posts are highlighted and poor posts diminished. Highlighted karma points shown for each user.
  16. Achievements – Achievements for BP users.
  17. BuddyPress Sliding Login Panel – Adds a sliding login panel with account center and user menu to BuddyPress.
    *Love This!  Waiting for the next stable release to incorporate.
  18. BuddyPress Media – This plugin adds full photo album capabilities to BuddyPress, mimicking Facebook’s photo app!
    *Will be incorporating this in our next major release.
  19. Transposh – Transposh translation filter for WordPress offers a unique approach to blog translation. It allows your blog to combine automatic translation with human translation aided by your users with an easy to use in-context interface.
  20. Twitter Goodies – Twitter style Twitter Goodies Profile Widget + Twitter Goodies Search Widget + Twitter Integration (wp to twitter) plugin. All in One plugin for Twitter Goodies.This plugin shows your twitter profile/search tweets under Sidebar Area (Widget), Post and/or Pages. Tweets will REFRESH AUTOMATICALLY.
  21. SEO for Buddypress – It gives you the possibility to enter title, description and keywords for the main blog, the user blogs and the buddypress pages.

Enjoy and fill free to comment below!

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