Advertisement
WordPress

Social Networking with BuddyPress

by

Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has recently acquired and will be releasing social networking software called BuddyPress. The software, built on top of WordPress, was created by Andy Peatling as way to start your very own social network similar to Facebook. Today, we will take a look at installing BuddyPress.

Step 1 - What is BuddyPress?

BuddyPress

BuddyPress is a social networking application built on top of WordPress Multi-User (MU) as a plugin. WordPress MU is the the software behind WordPress.com. It allows a user to host a network of blogs on a site. BuddyPress adds a large variety of new social interaction features to WordPress. The features can be added all at once or as individual components:

  • A WordPress blog
  • Individual profiles for members
  • Private Message (PM) functionality
  • Friend Networks
  • Groups, which include a blog, photos and other user generated content
  • "The Wire" (like the wall on Facebook)
  • Activity/Action streams of public actions on the site
  • Forums using bbPress
Features

A fully featured demo is available at the BuddyPress website.

Demo

Today, we will install a full installation of BuddyPress (all the bells and whistles), so we can start a social network from scratch.

The software is in its RC stage, but is nearing its final version. The current version will help you get started with social networking by providing an admin control panel and all the basic features outlined above. You will then be ready to upgrade to the final version when the time comes.

Step 2 - Requirements

Before you install the BuddyPress system, your server will require you have two components already in place:

  • a MySQL database to store all the BuddyPress information. If you do not have a database created, create one with a user who has all privileges (such as UPDATE, INSERT, DELETE, SELECT) on that database. Remember the username/password and database name for later steps.
  • a mod rewrite module so you can have clean URLS. If you have used WordPress or another piece of software that has clean URLs, then you should be ready to proceed without adding this component again.
phpMyAdmin

Step 3 - Download WordPress MU

Before you can start the BuddyPress installation you will need a copy of WordPress MU installed. Grab the latest version (ZIP) (TAR.GZ) and unzip it. You should see a folder with a name similar to "wordpress-mu".

Upload the files in this directory to the location where you want to access your site. This can be the main domain or a subfolder. Grab a cup of coffee or tea while you wait for the upload to finish.

FTP/Files

Step 4 - Install WordPress MU

Once the upload has completed you can go ahead and install WordPress MU.

Point your browser to the directory where you uploaded the files so that index.php is executed. You will be shown a screen to enter some details. The settings should be filled as given below:

  • Blog Addresses - For the purpose of this article we will select "sub-directories". If you happen to have Wildcard DNS records enabled, you can select the other option, but that is outside the scope of this article.
  • Database Name - The database name from Step 2
  • User Name - The username from Step 2
  • Password - The password from Step 2
  • Database Host - This is usually localhost if the MySQL server is on the same server as the web server. Only change this if the installation is returning errors about the server/host setting.
  • Server Address - The installer should be able to guess this setting, but double check that it is set to the server/domain you are installing to.
  • Site Title - This will be the name of the social network site, so name it whatever you want.
  • Email - Enter a valid email address to be used for the admin account.
Install

Once you have double-checked all the above settings, click Submit. If all goes well, you should be greeted with an "Installation Finished!" screen that includes your username and password. You have also been sent an email with the same details included.

Before you continue, follow the instructions for setting permissions on the Installation Finished page.

Install

Step 5 - Download BuddyPress

At this point, you can now install the BuddyPress system. Since we are installing the full system, you can download the "combo" archive here.

Unzip the combo file and upload all the contents of the extracted zip to the root mu-plugins folder located in wp-content. Upload ALL the folders and files located in the zip, and make sure these folders and files have been chmodded to 755.

Move the mu-plugins/bp-themes folder you just uploaded to wp-content. Make sure these folders have been chmodded to 755.

Files

Step 6 - Setup BuddyPress

Once the files are uploaded, log in to the WordPress MU admin control panel with the username and password you created earlier. The URL to log in (emailed to you when you installed WordPress MU) is in the form http://yourdomain.tld/folder/wp-login.php

Under the "Site Admin" menu find the "Themes" link and click it. You will be shown a list of installed WordPress MU themes, one of which is the BuddyPress theme. Select "Yes" for "BuddyPress Home Theme" and click "Update Themes".

Themes

Finally, you will need to enable registrations if you want users to be able to sign up for your site. Under the "Site Admin" menu go to "Options" and make sure the Enabled option is selected for "Allow new registrations".

Allow New Registration Settings

Congratulations! Your social network is now ready for use. When logged into the admin control panel, you can manage a few settings from the "BuddyPress" link under "Site Admin". To view your new network and profile click "My Account" from the admin bar at the top of the screen and select "Activity" or "Profile".

Step 7 - Additonal Plugins and Themes

The plugin space for BuddyPress is small right now, but it will probably explode with new activity like WordPress once did. However, there are a few cool plugins available for BuddyPress right now:

  • bpGroups which includes improvements to the group system.
  • Invite Friends which adds some functionality to allow you to add friends from other social networking applications like Twitter, Facebook and GMail.
  • Twitter To Wire which adds your tweets to your wire (the BuddyPress version of Facebook's Wall) automatically.

There is also a page for themes, but no themes have yet been made available for download. If you are curious about the power of the theming system, you can view a few examples at WannaNetwork, GrungePress, and Flokka.

Extend Screen Shot

Closing

I hope this tutorial has been successful in introducing you to BuddyPress and has opened up an opportunity for you to start your own social network site. The Wordpress MU / BuddyPress configuration provides more social functionality than can be provided by a simple forum or blog network setup.

Remember, this tutorial is meant to familiarize you with the software and its installation before its final release. If you want to continue with your BuddyPress installation on the programming side of things, the BuddyPress Codex has some developer documentation.

  • Subscribe to the NETTUTS RSS Feed for more daily web development tuts and articles.


Related Posts
  • Code
    Tips
    New wp-config Tweaks You Probably Don't Know8 new wp config tweaks you probably didnt know about 400
    The wp-config.php file: One of the most loved WordPress feature for some, one of the worst nightmares for others. There are countless tips and tricks in a plethora of articles, and you can't get enough of them; however, this article is aiming to be different. In this article, we're going to get familiar with eight new wp-config tricks that are less known than functionality such as turning off post revisions, increasing the memory limit, or other similar features.Read More…
  • Code
    Plugins
    Choosing the Right Plugin for Your Next WordPress ProjectPlugin icon 400
    Ever needed a plugin for your WordPress-based website? Of course! After all, that's how WordPress is extended, isn't it? If you're a beginner to WordPress, or even a power user, then you're likely familiar with the WordPress plugin repository, premium plugins, and so on. The thing is, there are so many plugins available that do many of the same things, it can be difficult to determine which is best suited for your particular needs. This raises the question: What do you do to find the perfect plugin for a particular need? In this post, we're going to see how to find the best plugin for exactly that.Read More…
  • Code
    Web Development
    Securely Handling User's Login CredentialsSecure wide retina preview
    Consider the following tips on how to properly secure your user's login credentials.Read More…
  • Code
    WordPress
    An Introduction To Deploying WordPress with MinaImage400
    As a PHP application, WordPress is usually deployed by a very old method: uploading files via FTP. We have some deployment tools, but they often requires some type of Ruby skill. For example, one popular, powerful tool is Capistrano, but it's also very heavy with many Ruby/Rails related features. I also think that it's little bit tricky to install Capistrano for a PHP developer without any Ruby knowledge. So what options do we have as WordPress developers? In this tutorial, I will introduce you Mina: A small, light tool aims to fast deployment and server automation.Read More…
  • Code
    Theme Development
    Creating a WordPress Theme From Static HTML: Uploading Your Theme to WordPressCreating wordpress theme from html 400
    In the first two parts of this series, you learned how to prepare static HTML for WordPress and to split your HTML file into a set of template files. You now have the beginnings of a theme, but unfortunately your files won't work as a theme just yet. For any theme to work, you need to tell WordPress about the theme, and you do this in the stylesheet. In this tutorial, you'll do that. Next, you'll upload your new theme to a WordPress installation and test it. Additionally, you'll create a screenshot of your theme so it's easier to work with in the WordPress admin.Read More…
  • Code
    Theme Development
    Making the Perfect WordPress Theme: Maintenance, Compatibility, and Customer CareWp white 400
    In the previous part of this series, we reviewed what to avoid when making a WordPress theme. It is an important article because it's really easy to make those mistakes. And in this article, we're going to go through the things we need to do after making our theme.Read More…