BP Rewrites’ first beta

Hi BuddyPress contributors!

Do you remember when I’ve first introduced you to this feature as a plugin on August 2021? It’s now time we take a new step about it: prepare the plugin to be hosted on the WordPress.org plugin directory to encourage massive testing!

Why do we need massive testing?

If you haven’t read BP Rewrites’ Alpha announcement post, here’s the short version: using the WordPress Rewrite API means setting BuddyPress globals later than it happens today. It requires us to make sure BuddyPress plugins/themes using these globals too early can still get their values putting in place a backward compatibility mechanism. BP Rewrites 1.0.0-beta1 includes such a mechanism and informs the user about the too early call when the WP_DEBUG constant is set to true.

For instance, the following code:

function test_bp_current_component() {
    printf( '<p>The current component is: <strong>%s</strong></p>', bp_current_component() );
add_action( 'bp_init', 'test_bp_current_component' );

Would generate the following notice before returning the BP global’s value:

There’s no secret: the only way to have enough confidence into this backward compatibility mechanism to start thinking of merging BP Rewrites into BuddyPress Core is to test, test and test again. The more we are to test, the more specific WP/BP configurations we test and the best we update/improve the backward compatibility mechanism so that end users won’t suffer from the Legacy URL Parser to WP Rewrite URL parser switch: anticipating is less painful than healing!

Is testing the BP Rewrites feature as a plugin safe for users?

I think so 😅. Let’s explain what happens when you activate and deactivate the BP Rewrites plugin.

Once activated, The plugin is editing the post type of the existing BuddyPress pages in favor of the buddypress post type. That’s why you don’t see the BuddyPress pages anymore (as long as the BP Rewrites plugin is active) into the corresponding WordPress Administation edit screen. The BuddyPress Pages settings screen is replaced by a BuddyPress URLs settings screen. This last screen is where you define custom slugs which will be saved as a post meta of the corresponding BuddyPress post type/page item. Then the BP Rewrites plugin is taking benefit from BuddyPress hooks/APIs to change BP Core’s behavior.

When you deactivate the plugin, buddypress post type’s items are switched back to regular pages and you get them back into the corresponding WordPress Administation edit screen. Post metas are still there in case you want to activate BP Rewrites back (this can happen when you’re testing another BuddyPress plugin). If you absolutely want to get rid of these post metas, you can delete the BuddyPress pages, create new ones and redo the page mapping from the BuddyPress Pages settings screen.

What are the benefits of using the WP Rewrite API to parse BuddyPress URLs?

From a developer’s point of view

As @boonebgorges wrote into this ticket first lines:

BP’s custom URI parser (living mostly in bp_core_set_uri_globals()) is slow, error-prone, non-extensible, non-testable, and out of step with WP best practices.

Boone B. Gorges, 9 years ago 😱

As a result, using the WP Rewrite API should be faster, more reliable, extensible, testable and fully compliant with WP best practices 😉.

From a end user’s point of view

This would bring plain URLs compatibility. If you want to use BuddyPress today: using pretty permalinks is required. With BP Rewrites, this is no more the case, you can use BuddyPress with any type of permalinks.

Plain URL permalinks can be used when BP Rewrites is active!

For end users using pretty permalinks, they have full control of any BuddyPress URLs! Today regular users can only change the directory permalinks from the WordPress page editor and advanced users can use some specific constants to customize some other URLs. With BP Rewrites, you can customize ALL BuddyPress URLs including the Group creation steps. They can do it so that it’s more meaningful for their local members and I’ve heard doing so was best for SEO 😁. For instance a french user like me understands better this BP Rewrites generated URL:


than the current BuddyPress one:


The BuddyPress URLs settings screen

This the place where you control all BuddyPress URLs. All can be a lot! In the above screenshot we only have the Activity and Members component active. Since BP Rewrites’ alpha version we’ve improved this screen to use the “site-health” screen accordion UI.

The “Directory” panels are a bit specific compared to others. In this panels you can also customize the directory titles. This was needed because we are not using the WordPress Page Editor when BP Rewrites is active to edit directory permalink or title.

Let’s say I want the URL to reach the User’s Profile Image change screen to be site.url/membres/username/profil/modifier-avatar/ instead of site.url/members/imath/profile/change-avatar/. I first need to make sure the Members Directory slug is set to membres.

Components like Members or Groups can have “single item” screens or member and group screens. For the Members component, you’ll first be able to customize the main (or primary) screens using the “Single Member primary views slugs” panel.

To carry on the example we started about customizing the User’s Profile Image change screen URL: in this panel, I’ll be able to change the profile part for profil.

For each subnav (or secondary) items components add to their main (or primary), you’ll be able to customize their slugs using the corresponding “Single Member component_name secondary views slugs” panel.

To finish my example about customizing the User’s Profile Image change screen URL: in the “Single Member Profile secondary views slugs” panel, I can edit change-avatar in favor of modifier-avatar and click on the “Save Settings” blue button to validate these changes. And here’s what happens when I reach site.url/membres/username/profil/modifier-avatar/:

It succesfully loads the Change Avatar screen 😅.

If you activated Groups, you can customize the Creation step views, the views every Member of a group can reach and the Group Admins specific views from the corresponding panels of the User Groups accordion section.

Let’s contribute to BuddyPress’ next way of parsing URLs: test BP Rewrites 1.0.0-beta1

Please note BP Rewrites requires BuddyPress 10.0.0. Make sure to download the bp-rewrites.zip file from the Plugin’s GitHub repository release page. Use the “Add new” WordPress Administration Plugin screen to upload the zip file. Finally check BuddyPress is activated before activating BP Rewrites.

Happy testing 🏈 🐏 🐅

#10-0-0, #feature-as-a-plugin, #rewrites