One of the most noticeable changes for site administrators with BuddyPress 1.6 will be the location of BuddyPress’ settings screen in the WordPress admin. Since 1.0, BuddyPress has occupied a top-level, front-of-list menu position, alongside the Posts, Media, and Pages menus (and so on). In 1.5, the BuddyPress menu was unstuck from the front of the list, and for most users, it dropped to the very bottom of the list. Most plugin authors, myself included, added their plugin’s settings screen as an item inside this top-level BuddyPress menu.
In 1.6, we’re removing the top-level BuddyPress menu.
Our settings screens will be inside WordPress’ Settings menu (as one item, with our existing tabs), and the Profile Fields screen will be inside the Users menu.
The WordPress Codex has good documentation to help plugins decide where to locate settings:
Adding a top-level menu should only be considered if you really need multiple, related screens to make WordPress do something it was not originally designed to accomplish. Examples of new top-level menus might include job management or conference management.
It seemed appropriate that Profile Fields should go into the Users menu, as there is a logical relationship between a user and user profile fields. BuddyPress’ other settings screens allow people to change configuration; they don’t manage content.
If you’re thinking that BuddyPress does let users create new types of content (activities, groups, private messages, forums, and so on), but there’s no truly convenient way for site administrators to manage these, we totally agree.
In 1.6, we’ve created a brand-new top-level Activity admin screen, giving you full management and moderation over your site’s activity items. We’ll be blogging more about this soon, but early adopters can get a copy of “trunk”, our development build of BuddyPress, and take an early look. (Don’t run it on a live site!)
For Site Administrators
Don’t panic! To manage your site’s Profile Fields, you’ll find that under the Users menu. For everything else, you’ll just need to navigate to Settings > BuddyPress, and you’ll find the same set of BuddyPress settings screens that you’re used to.
If you’re using plugins that added items underneath the old top-level menu, you’ll continue to access those in exactly the same place that you do now. We’ll auto-detect and add the top-level menu back, just for those plugins’ screens.
Don’t panic! If you’ve written a plugin that added an item underneath the old-top level item, everything will continue to work as it does today — just fine.
To provide that compatibility, we’re auto-detecting and adding the top-level menu back, just for your plugin. We hope that you will consider re-locating your plugin’s settings screens to under WordPress’ Settings menu (or other more appropriate location).