BuddyPress Installation for the Masses

I recently created another BuddyPress test site and I am pleased with how much the procedure has been simplified. I blogged about the difficulty in the past, so it is only fair that I note vast improvements.

I never fully succeeded installing BP the first time I tried. It involved a long process of manually uploading a variety of files and opening them to edit the code in numerous places, then testing and adjusting. I was able to install BP itself, but I never quite got the forum component bbPress (then in Alpha) to work as it should. Trying again several months later (about a year ago), I succeeded and noted that it had been simplified to to a 13 step process still involving moving files and editing code.

Now BP can be installed entirely from WordPressMu and even plain WordPress entirely through the backend. There is no longer a need to use ftp at all or edit a single line of code. Simply install WP or WPMu then install BP through the plugin installer. One no longer must use ftp to manually move themes to the appropriate folder. Next activate one of the BP themes installed with the package through the Appearance menu. All that is left is activating bbPress by going to BuddyPress–>Forum Set up and basically turn it on.

BuddyPress is now installable to even those with few tech skills. Most shared hosting services with control panels have point and click WordPress installers. Now that WP and WPMu have merged, one could convert a standard installation to WPMu, but that still requires some mucking with code. If one needed the multi-blog functionality, it is probably easier to manually install WPMu than make the conversion. I’m sure that will change with time.

BuddyPress has joined Elgg as a viable replacement for proprietary solutions such as NING. I look forward to revisiting both and reporting my experiences.

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  1. Kevin Jardine’s avatar

    I’d wait until Elgg 1.8 (due out in October) if you can before doing a comparison. Among other things, Elgg 1.8 will make the application much more configurable by non-coders, including a point-and-click navigation setup and (hurray) an optional non-PHP keyword templating system that brings back some of the best ideas from the classic Elgg (pre 1.0) templates.

    1. Steve’s avatar

      Hi Kevin–

      It’s always hard to decide at which juncture to make comparisons as one or the other always seems to be on the cusp of a big change. It looks like 1.8 will go a long way toward making Elgg more friendly to the non-technically oriented.

      I installed 1.7.1 a few weeks ago and I like the progress I saw.

      As a person involved with K12 education granular access control is always of great interest. Any progress on that front?

      I’ll keep your recommendations in mind. There is a real demand for software such as Elgg after the NING change of terms.

      Great to hear from you again!

    2. Kevin Jardine’s avatar

      On access control: no, I’m afraid Elgg still has no roles and permissions system comparable to what say Drupal has.

      To be fair to Curverider, this could be done in a plugin. I’ve been pitching such the idea to my clients, hoping that one of them would fund the development of such a system. However, as they all have different needs, they have all opted for quick hard-coded fixes rather for something more general.

    3. Kevin Jardine’s avatar

      Sorry, that should have been “such an idea”.

      1. Steve’s avatar

        I thought a school district in New York State was funding such, but apparently not. I think in the end they too went for a non-general approach.

        Curverider has done well by giving us Elgg in the first place. To my knowledge, this is something that WP/BP lack as well. There are roles, but they are not real customizable. There have been plugins, but I haven’t had a lot of luck with them. I have been able to cobble something that works for our school in WPMu. It would seem that BP would make issues of access control yet more complex.

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