July 6, 2016 — Dev Chat. Project leads @johnjamesjacoby, @boonebgorges, and @djpaulgibbs presented a number of strategic priorities to help guide BuddyPress development in the upcoming year. These priorities are meant to reflect more accurately the arc of core development over the last few years, as well as the team’s understanding of how BuddyPress is actually used.
An Increased Focus on Site Builders and WordPress developers
One of these strategic priorities involves defining the primary intended audience for BuddyPress. Traditionally, BP has tried to balance the flexibility and power demanded by developers and site builders with the simplicity and out-of-the-box functionality desired by end users. In the upcoming releases, BuddyPress will be focusing increasingly on site builders and developers.
@djpaulgibbs: BuddyPress is used by many different kinds of people. We’ll improve BuddyPress by focusing on a narrower target audience: site builders and WordPress developers. This will cause many subtle but meaningful changes throughout the project. However, this is not a big change — it’s just an explicit recognition of what BuddyPress has become, and how people use it.
@boonebgorges: It will no longer be our #1 priority for BP to be 100% turnkey. We have often closed tickets and decided against certain features because we wanted to adhere closely to WP’s “decisions, not options” principle. This principle is designed to serve the non-technical owner who wants something as great as possible, immediately on activation. What the new ideas suggest is that we should embrace configurability a bit more. I think we can and should continue to strive to have a great out-of-the-box experience but we should be OK with deciding to emphasize the developer and site-assembler experience.
@djpaulgibbs The original tagline for BP was “a social network in a box”. It’s now become a set of tools or resources to let you build things with it. An example of more configurability/options that came up during discussion was https://wordpress.org/plugins/buddyextender In time I imagine all of those and more (like, the default option for select boxes for the filters on the Directory screens) would become contenders for inclusion in BuddyPress core.
@boonebgorges A general consequence of this reorientation is that we don’t have to say “plugin territory” as much because we are not tied to the idea of “no config screens”, “80% rule”, etc.
BP REST API and BP wp-admin screens
@djpaulgibbs: The two key strategic priorities for the project are the REST API and wp-admin management screens. These are the most important because, alongside the existing front-end templates, we’ll have 3 different “views” of BuddyPress data, empowering our audience to use as little or as much BuddyPress as they need, however they want.
Why there are two strategic priorities when front-end templates as a third view also mentioned: as @dcavins says, we already have those built, and we are building new templates now. It’s also the way BuddyPress has always been, which we’ll continue to support. But to attract new developers and new uses for BuddyPress, the REST API is pretty huge.
REST API is very important because it’ll expose BuddyPress data in a different way, and make it easy for developers to use that data to build anything. Like, mobile apps, JS-only React sites that don’t even use WordPress for templating (instead only as a data store), etc. In such cases where the front-end templates won’t be used, the REST API will provide a way to programatically update that data.
Also, the wp-admin management screens will let site owners manage that data, if they’re only using the REST API as a read-only data source. Providing shortcodes (#7159) will let people disable the front-end templating, yet still access BuddyPress data in their blog posts, or custom templates, etc.
BP REST API is being developed at Github – https://github.com/buddypress/BP-REST
bp-nouveau Template Pack
@djpaulgibbs: Our new template pack has momentum. Because the front-end templates will no longer have to be all things to all people, our template pack can be much bolder and more opinionated with our design choices.
- Meetings: Every Thursday at 19:00 UTC
- Github Repository: https://github.com/buddypress/next-template-packs
BP Trac Component Maintainers
In order to move to the direction we want to focus on, there will be a post calling for component maintainers with tasks similar to WP core’s maintainers. An upcoming post will include more information for anyone interested.
Slack log: https://wordpress.slack.com/archives/buddypress/p1467831687002740
(Slack account is required)