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BuddyPress can change the ways we work

May 3rd, 2010 by Graham Attwell

Interview with WordPress founder, Matt Mullenweg

I am in Bremen all week for the annual review meeting for the European Commission funded Mature project. More about the review in the next day or so.

Today, another quick post about WordPress and Buddypress. As I guess most of you realise this web site is powered by WordPress. However, when we first developed the web site only the Single User version was available. And although there were websites using WordPress as a Content management System, WordPress was seen primarily as a blogging system. Dirk Stieglitz, who runs the site, originally based the site on an exiting theme but quickly customised it to suit our needs. And, in general it works very well. the only problem is that with 110 categories or so, some controlling the CMS and some the tagging of posts, it is easy to make mistakes! Of course later versions of WordPress introduced a distinction between categories and tags but we are now faced with converting legacy posts to a new system.

More recently we have been excited the development of BuddyPress and have two sites underdevelopment. BuddyPress extends WordPress into a fully fledged social networking application. Matt Mullenweg’s interview is interesting in that he focuses on Buddypress and the use of WordPress as a CMS. But -at least to a non coder – there seems to be some interesting changes in the way that BuddyPress is evolving. Whilst there have always been many plug-ins to extend WordPress and also multiple themes, many of which were available for free, there is now a growing market for premium BuddyPress themes. Perhaps, that is a reflection of the idea of the app store and the growing willingness of users to pay modest fees for applications which extend Open Source Software. But it may also reflect changes in the WordPress architecture (not sure that is the right word).  Themes now do much.much more than just change the appearance of a blog. New BuddyPress themes come complete with CSS and AJAX which can change the functionality and design of a web site. Ultimately this may put considerable capacity in the hands of local developers and increase the ability for co-design of sites between users and developers. And that can be no bad thing.

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