An agenda item for this coming weeks BuddyPress…

An agenda item for this coming weeks BuddyPress core dev chat, is determining what components we’d like to have on by default. From #4671:

In Vancouver, the core team (minus Paul) discussed the idea of switching up the default components that BuddyPress comes activated with. I think the “all-on” approach is overwhelming for new users, can be confusing, and isn’t a very rewarding experience.

Since every component is pretty awesome, and they all rely on each other in some way, the idea of turning components off at all is a little weird at first. Each component has strengths, weaknesses, and potential to be extended into something more than it starts as.

I’m mostly agnostic about which components make the most sense as the default ones, but if I had to pick a favorite, I think having activity streams and profiles turned on, with everything else turned off, would make the best starter experience, and here’s why:

  • Profiles are completely missing from WordPress.
  • Friends don’t make sense without profiles.
  • Groups don’t make sense without users and profiles.
  • Settings doesn’t make sense without profiles.
  • Private messaging is useless without a profile to connect it to.
  • Forums come with bbPress now, and don’t need profiles to function at all.
  • Activity streams don’t make sense without profiles, but they can run pretty silently in the background and aggregate activity.

It’s true that even with the XProfile component off, BuddyPress still fakes the profile experience pretty well. I’m imagining an activation experience without a setup wizard. One where when BuddyPress is activated on a new installation, the admin is greeted with a message like:

Welcome to your new community! Check out your new profile to get started

With a tabbed What’s New/Credits page like WordPress core has, we could easily explain what the components are, and why they might want to roll them out over time. Opening this up for discussion here, with the intention of getting this decided shortly after this weeks dev chat, and into trunk soon after.

Join in on Wednesday (time/location in the sidebar) and help us shape the new user experience in BuddyPress 1.7.