April 2009

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As promised, former Elgg developer Ben Werdmuller, has announced a new social networking project. He is working on a social mapping project called OutMap. In addition, he is beginning a web consulting service. He alluded to a third project that he is keeping under wraps.

OutMap appears to be a social geographic information system in which a user can create a map space and invite others to contribute. Initial release is slated for June. Meanwhile, you can leave your email address on the OutMap site if you are interested in participating in beta testing.

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WPMu was just updated to a long awaited Version 2.7.1 which has, in turn, triggered events in the BuddyPress realm. The new WPMu version offers a number of important improvements making it a significant improvement. As a consequence, BuddyPress has finally been able to release Version 1.o.

Upgrading from WPMu 2.7 to 2.7.1 was a cinch. First make up your files and database , then simply click the upgrade notification and the new files load. Upon upgrading , the first thing you will notice that the horizontal on the top of the admin page has disappeared. The controversial feature is now an optional plugin.

This upgrade goes yet further in polishing and un-cluttering the administrative interface. Plugin management is much improved and can be handled through the backend rather than the prior ftp for mu plugins and the backend for the wp plugins.

I’m going to start from scratch on my WPMu/BuddyPress installation soon and look forward to renewing my BuddyPress and Elgg comparisons.

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Elgg co-founder Ben Werdmuller has left Curverider as of April 15.  On his blog he refers to Team Elgg positively calling them, “…a first-class team of brilliantly intelligent, creative peope.” When asked why he left Elgg, he replied, “I’ve got some other ideas I’d like to persue. Nothing sinister.”

Ben intimates that he has some exciting new projects and will have announcements later in the year. In fact Ben sent an interesting Tweet implying that he will have he has much to say when he is back from his travels. Hopefully it will be a hint of things to come.

I wish Ben well and look forward to hearing about his new projects. Additionally, I want to thank him for all the work and inspiration he has provided developing Elgg.

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WordPressMu version 2.7.1 beta1 is now available. Released on April 2, this marks an important landmark for its companion BuddyPress.

BuddyPress has rested on RC1 waiting for changes to the core WordPress Mu application. According to core developer Andy Peatling’s blog post of February 11, the release of BuddyPress stable has been predicated upon the release of a new version of WPMu that includes integrated site-wide plugin support.

Whether this version includes such a feature is not entirely clear, but a survey of the changes from trunk at r1648 to branches/2.7 at r1715 reveals six plug-in related files that have been created or changed. The inclusion of wp-admin/wpmu-sitewide-plugins.php makes me optimistic.

WPMu developer Donncha indicated that the current beta version is pretty stable. My experience with WPMu is that the time between beta and release is typically on the order of days or a couple weeks.

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While visiting the BuddyPress site for fresh news, I encountered a blog post entitled BuddyPress in K12 Education. It appears that BuddyPress is being piloted by the Dearborn, Michigan school district. It’s always great to hear about Open Source adoptions by public K12 ! I could see deploying components of BuddyPress in our school’s existing WPMu installation.

I was disappointed, however, to see that two of the key plugins for making this possible are for pay: Site-wide Privacy Settings and Content Monitoring. It seems to me that privacy settings for blogs should be a basic functionality for Social Networking platforms. I hope that BuddyPress will integrate some form of access/privacy settings that will make it appropriate for K12 in the near term!

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