When and how did you first discover BuddyPress?

iMath: As far as I can remember, the first time I activated BuddyPress was in October 2009. BuddyPress version was 1.1 and we still needed to have a WMPU config to be able to use it. At that time I was freshly promoted as the Innovations & Web Tools “Chief” of my company. I had accomplished the first challenge my company gave me : Build an employee-driven innovation tool on the Intranet to get all the good practices and ideas that could lead to great innovations.

Our tool was built using WordPress and I was looking for a way to go a step further into employees interactions. So far, great discussions were happening in the comments of the posts describing the ideas, but I was feeling we could improve this. An Enterprise Social Network was tempting, so I played with BuddyPress and said to myself I need to use this plugin inside my tool! But this tool wasn’t using the WPMU config so I delayed it for a little while. And as soon as we could use BuddyPress no matter the WordPress config, it became the plugin my website (and I!!) couldn’t live without. BuddyPress version was 1.2.4.

What motivated you to start contributing back to BuddyPress core?

iMath: Love at first sight 🙂
I think there are many rational reasons to be motivated by contributing to an open source project. And at the beginning i must admit these kind of reasons made me start. So the very first reason was: the future of the Social Intranet i had built for my company was very linked to the future of BuddyPress. In other words, if for some reasons the BuddyPress project was no longer supported, it could put the investment i had made so far to build the first Soical Intranet of my company at danger.

I humbly started to write tickets on the BuddyPress Trac. People should know it’s very intimidating for a french guy who is not a PHP developer (At school I learned to sell things, not to develop software!) to start reporting bugs. First, you must write in a language you’re not feeling comfortable with (English), Second you fear to share naïve contributions or worst to make mistakes.

And there’s something very important about the BuddyPress core Team: people welcome you the best way and they make you improve your knowledge very quickly.

I remember I was amazed by one of Boone’s comments where he suggested I learn how to write patches and gave me a lot of advice for achieving this. I mean, it’s always simpler and faster when you know how to fix bugs to do it yourself. I must say I admire Boone because he took the time to give me the motivation to carry on contributing, learning, and improving my skills. As I said during the Brighton BuddyCamp this summer, I’ve learned more contributing to BuddyPress Core than building my own plugins. So it’s always been very obvious to me I had to give back to the BuddyPress community, because I got a lot from it.

Were you surprised when you were asked to join the BuddyPress core team? How do you hope to influence the project?

iMath: I remember thinking that “being part of the BuddyPress Core Team” was not something a “not naturally born coder” could ever reach ! But I also remember I was secretly hoping this would happen. Then Boone skyped me just after Christmas in 2013. I‘m not completely sure but I think it was the 31st of December 2013. He started to talk, and I was like “is it to offer me an opportunity to join the BuddyPress project? Nah you’re dreaming Mathieu!” And he actually asked me to join the team!!! I was so excited and at the same time so afraid that words in English were very hard to find to say how happy I was. So I think I just said “oh Yesss” 🙂

The first thing I hope, before influencing the project, is to avoid breaking anything on other people’s websites.

When you’re part of the team of a plugin that is active on more than 100,000 WordPress installs: it’s a huge responsibility.

Of course we are all very concerned about it and we do have tools to help us to prevent this from happening (eg: Unit Tests), but I’m always very stressed about this responsibility which can explain why I triple check each one of my commits!
Then, there’s a good chance my “Intranet” origins will lead me to suggest features that were always difficult to have using Internet Services behind a gateway. For instance: Sharing files and organizing collaboration around them is easy when you’re on the Internet, there’s a lot of services you can use like DropBox, Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive, Apple iCloud, CloudUp etc.. Inside an Intranet, that’s not so easy. I‘m personaly convinced BuddyPress can really be a great tool to help WordPress to be used more inside companys Intranets.

What BuddyPress experiments are you currently working on?

imath: Recently I’ve started to build a BuddyPress Template Pack and some developer tools around this kind of projects. It’s a huge work so I’ve started focusing on the Javascript parts to suggests improvements on some Legacy UIs (eg: the activity post form, the group invites and the Private Messages screens). I‘d be very happy to share my work about it the soonest so that I can get a hand with CSS and Templating.
I always try to find the time to also work on the BP Attachments plugin. I had the opportunity to discuss with the BuddyPress community while attending to the Brighton BuddyCamp and i haven’t forgotten how awaited is a more generic BuddyPress Attachments feature (today we are only using the BP Attachments API for the Avatars & the Cover Images).

How is your development environment set up?

As my nickname is “imath” i guess i won’t surprise you if i say i‘m using a MacBook Air. (the real reason i‘ve chosen “imath” was to stand for “Internet Mathieu”).

So on this MacBook Air:
– I use the Sublime Text v3 Software to code,
– I use the “El Capitan” built-in Apache-MySQL-PHP stack (Well we have to download MySQL actually, as it’s not natively installed) to simulate a server
– I use phpunit (it’s becoming more and more something I can’t live without) to test my code isn’t breaking anything when I need to.
– I use Node.js and Grunt to run the BuddyPress automatted tasks and to build custom ones
– I use the WordPress git Mirrors to get WordPress (the one including the tools and test suites) and BuddyPress. The great thing with these git repos is I can easily check out old WordPress or BuddyPress branches to test I’m not breaking something on an older WordPress version (BuddyPress is compatible from 3.8 to trunk).
– I have a specific folder where I put all my plugins and BuddyPress, and I’m symlinking them inside 2 WordPress configs (regular and multisite).
– I use the Google Chrome browser because it’s the one I’m feeling the more comfortable with the included dev tools.
– When i need to test a huge amount of data I’m using WP Cli.
– Finally when i need to pack a release or commit about BuddyPress i use the SVN repository.

What cool things would you like to see developers do with the BuddyPress Attachments API?

imath: I think the coolest thing that could happen about the BuddyPress Attachments API would be :
If all (or the majority of) plugin developers playing around files management inside WordPress could contribute to the BP Attachments Plugin or to the BP Attachments API to help us build/improve a very generic BuddyPress Attachments library to build “killer” features upon, that would be awesome!

What do you hope to see in BuddyPress 2.5?

imath: A new API that could help us manage/generate BuddyPress single objects navigation (Members/ Groups and why not Blogs!) > https://buddypress.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/6534
I think it’s time we bring comments inside the Post Type Activities.
And I must say I’m eagger to test and use DJPaul’s work about a new BuddyPress email API.

Do you have any personal BuddyPress projects that you are currently working on?

The biggest one is BuddyPress itself! I‘m always thinking about it first and I spend most of my free time on it.
Then for my company I’m working on an Internal Control Framework Intranet we need to host on the Internet soon. That will be a major change allowing us to be available on our members mobile devices. So far they needed to be at office to use this tool.
Then for my personal pleasure, I’m building the template pack I was talking about a bit earlier.

WeFoster:What is the most important thing you would want to tell someone about BuddyPress who has never heard of it?

You just installed WordPress, fine. Now Activate BuddyPress because it’s really a must use plugin and i‘m pretty sure once you’ve tasted it you won’t be able to live without it. Of course you can build a social network with it, but first BuddyPress will bring you powerful tools to manage your users. With BuddyPress you have the control. You choose what optional components you need to activate according to your needs. You can even choose to only use the Core components: they contain treasures to help you succeed with your projects involving advanced user management.

BuddyPress is a great community, you are very welcome to join and contribute to the software on the areas of your choice (Beta Testing, Documentation, Translation, Support, etc..)

Who is Marion Gooding View all posts by Marion Gooding

Marion is CEO and co-founder of WeFoster. He's a people person and works on the nitty gritty details of the business and strategy side of things.

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