2009 has been a very important year for BuddyPress, from its 1.0 release in April, reaching a critical mass of contributing users, helpers and developers on the forums, third-party plugin and theme development, professional use and acceptance of BuddyPress and appearances at many WordCamp events throughout the world. BuddyPress 1.2 is on course to be released early next year – you can test-drive it at http://testbp.org/.
Between my knowledge of BuddyPress, my contributions on the forums and my plugins, I have perhaps five or six plugin ideas or concepts at some stage of development. Some of these may see the light of day at some point and some will not.
As it nears Christmas and a new year full of promise and opportunity, I wanted to share my ideas for future improvements.
- Search is currently special-cased for each of the built-in components. There isn’t a central search page (like Google), though each component has its own appropriate search areas. BuddyPress needs a central, extensible search page to show matches on all content on a site; you shouldn’t have to go to a specific page or use a drop-down box to find matches across the entire site.
- BuddyPress needs OpenID like toast needs butter. I was lucky enough to meet Will Norris in the BuddyPress IRC chatroom last night and chat a little about this with him. Be sure to look at his OpenID on WordPress webpage.
- BuddyPress likewise needs to embrace the Social Web; I’m working on FOAF and SIOC profiles for BuddyPress; happy to work with someone(s) on this.
- BuddyPress needs better end-user documentation; by end-user, I mean site administrators. I feel there is an expertise barrier at the moment, and it’s too high. Screencasts would be a great way to “sell” the product to site administrators as well as showing how to use it.
- Following on from the last point, I’d like the admin backend and the default theme to have a little help button. When selected, you would get a modal window drop down over the page and it would concise instruction and guidance on how to use the current page; you could even tie in the screencasts so after you’ve read about it, you could watch it.
- A fortnightly podcast discussion recent developments and recapping/reviewing forum discussion would rock. Someone should do it. I’m not entirely sure my awesome singing voice (cough) would carry it off, but maybe I’d be happy to give it a try with someone?
- The BuddyPress homepage needs to make better use of BuddyPress Groups. At the minute, unless you go looking for the groups, they are invisible. Refreshing the theme on the homepage would do this.