BuddyPress A Few Simple Additions Needed for Great Growth Potential

Yes, I’m back working with BuddyPress. Now that it is a plugin, available since WP 2.9.2 I’m trying to use it for a non-profit organization membership directory.
How’s that going?
Like stepping back to the wild west of programming.   BuddyPress is only on version 1.2.5   Still very early in development.   However, it is time for it to make some changes in how it thinks about itself and how it functions.

Not a One Trick Pony

I don’t know what was initially on the minds of the BP development team.   I think it was along the lines of adding a social media component to WordPress.   Like building your own version of Ning.   Members can have their own blogs, groups, and forums are available.   As an admin I can enable and disable certain functions.   Which is helpful, but limited.

BuddyPress doesn’t need to be a one trick pony.   There are so many things it can be used for in a variety of settings.   If there were some additions to the admin functionality.   It is time for BuddyPress to evolve.   Time to think outside of just the Social Media Environment box and expand its user base in the process.   BuddyPress shouldn’t be just for the geeks.   ( I’ll admin I’m a brown belt geek ).

I have many suggestions in mind but for now I’m going to address one change/addition that would make BuddyPress a perfect fit for many businesses and organizations which will take a pass on it now.

BuddyPress Profile Management

About the only thing an admin can do with profiles in BP is to expand them and create new sub categories for profile groups.   This functionality is good, but lacking and there is one HUGE way it needs improvement.

Admin Edit Only Profile Fields

As an admin I need to have the ability to make some profile fields Admin Edit Only.   Why?   Many organizations, businesses and groups have memberships.   Those members have designations, categories, dues, renewal date, status, etc. .   It is necessary to have these fields in a profile so the member can “View” them but not “Change them”.   Right now there is not way for an admin to “lock” fields in a profile.

This single limitation eliminates Buddypress from consideration for a lot of businesses and organizations.

I know I’m not alone here are some of the posts and threads I’ve found while searching for an answer.

Possible to “Lock” Buddypress xprofile fields

Plugin for Admin interface to profiles

Restrict xProfile group to Administrator-only write access

How to manage users & their extended profiles?

There’s more, this is just a sampling, I hope someone at BuddyPress can focus on these Profile issues SOON.

User Profile Admin and Edit Lock Capabilities

This is one place where BuddyPress can do itself a huge favor.   Address these issues and the use of BuddyPress for Organizations and Business will grow exponentially.     Exponentially?   Really, or just hyperbole?

YES, really.   I know of a number of places I could use it for business solutions and customer interface and feedback with these additions.   Right Now, it is off the table as a solution for most of my clients that need this type of tool in their on-line marketing arsonal.

It is time for BP to expand its vision and how it views itself.   Time to go beyond the narrow community, forum, blogs and groups functions within a single vertical market and increase the user base.   Add these Admin capabilities mentioned above and you have a whole new BuddyPress.   Doors of opportunity are seldom this easy to open.   Anyone at BuddyPress listening?   I hope so.   I would love to use it more.

http://buddypress.org/community/groups/how-to-and-troubleshooting/forum/topic/how-to-manage-users-their-extended-profiles/

Comments

  1. Hi Dave
    Don’t worry, we’re listening. I’m one of the forum moderators over at the BuddyPress.org site, and a plugin developer in my spare time for BuddyPress, and I agree with most of your points through real-life experience with clients’ sites.

    Stay tuned to buddypress.org (the main blog, at least) over the next couple of weeks; I’m trying to get the appropriate wheels turning behind the scenes so that an updated roadmap is published, which we’ll then invite feedback on.
    .-= Paul Gibbs´s last blog ..Job – Career – Calling =-.

  2. Paul,

    Thanks for the information. I have a great project on hold waiting for this capability. I can hack the code but know that is always a temporary fix. I’m getting more and more involved with buddypress as a tool for small business and non-profit organizations.

    I look forward to the growth and expansion of the platform.

    Dave

  3. Great post, Dave. As a relatively newbie to WP, I was going through a list of plug-ins that I had interest in and BuddyPress was tops of that list. But based on your review, I really don’t think it’s what I’m looking for (not looking to be an Admin, more interested in an ‘out-of-the-box’ SM solution). Great information.