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I took a brief look into Buddypress yesterday and was just overwhelmed by the massive amount of template files that got added (during installation) to my theme.

After looking over the template files, I couldn't get rid of the feeling that BuddyPress is - maybe only in parts? - written pretty crappy.

If I'm planning on going with BuddyPress:

  • What are the minetraps I will be facing?
  • What are the weak points?
  • (alt.) Are there any alternative (messaging, grouping, friend requests) plugins?
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3 Answers 3

I think the question is: What do want to accomplish?

For a subset of features e.g. an activity stream for your Wordpress Network it works fine in my experience.

If you want a full-blown social network, with messaging, events, groups, blogs, forums all working neatly together better invest a good amount of time.

Some caveats I've encountered:

  • Lack of good developer documentation.. but it is getting better and there is support.
  • Some if not most external Plugins are full of subtle bugs and of dubious quality. So be careful and check functionality before relying on external plugins. But this is also true for Wordpress
  • Updates (either Buddypress or Wordpress) will break things in subtle and strange ways.

Some tips:

  • Build the system in baby-steps, always check what impacts a change could make and test if everything is still working.
  • Use memcache object-cache for speed and also apc! (but beware of object-caching bugs, take a look at the trac) once set up, buddypress is reasonable fast, without these rather not so.
  • xdebug (tracing, profiling) & a php-ide are your friends for debugging
  • have fun :)

I think it is great as an social addon for a wordpress network install, for a complete social network with lots of functionality i'd look somehwere else.

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WOW. Thanks for the detailed answer. +1. When you say "Updates will break in subtle ways" do you mean a plain vanilla install WP + BP happens to break on updates sometimes? About plugins: I'm aware of that as I develop close to all of my used plugins myself - I learned not trusting 3rd WP-parties the hard way. Ad debugging & IDE: I use Eclipse, version control & my own debugging stuff on top on my dev framework. As I wrote: I only need: "messaging, events, groups & friendship/user-relationsships. Could you please expend the A into that direction a little more? Thanks! –  kaiser Nov 18 '11 at 15:57
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Actually, I'm not involved in Buddypress that much. So I guess other poeple or even devs reading here can give you a cleaner picture. My experience is administrating a small site in university and trying to build something with plugins and IIRC Buddypress 1.1. So take it with a grain of salt :) As for messaging, events, groups & friendships: I think you will be fine - except there is no good event solution last time I checked (>12 month ago). We use the same features. As for ide&co: xdebug is handy because gives you decent a backtrace so that it is easy to locate the file causing the error. –  mt_ Nov 19 '11 at 2:13
    
Thanks for the follow up comment. I appreciate. Ad backtrace) So does my debugging set. If I don't use that, I use krumo. –  kaiser Nov 19 '11 at 15:30
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i've been working with buddypress for more than year and half.

i'll start with the most significant weakness i had to deal with - spammers and splogs. this is a problem you'll have to face as long as your registration form is open for everyone. i haven't found any working free plugin that can actually help you with it. you can, if you wish, pay for anti-splog plugin. i'm working with one, it's better but i still don't have a 100% solution for the problem. you can also embed google's recpatcha to the registeration form but so far i've avoided it as it's not the best solution in terms of UX.

besides of that, everything you do on buddypress - do it step by step and always remember to backup your root directory and database as things can easily go wrong. if you wish to use it on wordpress network, i suggest to install it as follows:

  1. install wordpress
  2. set it to wordpress network
  3. install buddypress

oh, and avoid modifing the bp-core.php as any upgrade will remove your changes (this is also true for wordpress).

feel free to ask me more specific questions if you like.

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Hi. Thanks for your insights! +1 And no: I won't ever modify core. We got hooks and filters :) Aside from spammers: What limitations and hard-to-do tasks have you so far run into? What have been hitting-the-wall tasks when it comes to templates or user related stuff? –  kaiser Nov 23 '11 at 9:15
    
from my experience, buddypress lacks good UX. personally, i didn't find the available templates good enough, so if you're planning on creating your own theme, i think that you'll have to pay some attention to it's UX. i also didn't like it's plugins. some of them had bugs and generally speaking, they felt half baked. but that was year and half ago so maybe things changed. in any case, as long as you can work your way with php, you can do almost everything with it. –  yonile Nov 23 '11 at 19:34
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As far as I know BuddyPress is really good for kind of social website, however if you are looking any forums kind of functionality than you also can try out some of below.

  1. Gravity forums
  2. bbPress Forum
  3. Server Simple:
  4. Press Forum
  5. Wp2BB

Check details and might works for you..

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I'm not going to downvote as you've just 1rep-point, but my Q clearly states that I'm searching "messaging, grouping, friend requests" functionality. Forums is nothing I'm interested in. If you know more about the issue, please modify your A to fit the Q. Thanks. –  kaiser Nov 18 '11 at 15:54
    
Btw: "Gravity" does offer forms, not forums :) –  kaiser Nov 19 '11 at 15:31
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