Andy on WordPress

Keyboard tapping since '83.

“Cooking with BuddyPress” Video — July 2, 2009
BuddyPress Slides from WordCamp San Francisco 2009 — June 11, 2009
Wordpress 2.5 is Out! — March 29, 2008

Wordpress 2.5 is Out!

WordPress 2.5 was released today along with a completely new WordPress.org site design.

If you haven’t seen or tried 2.5 yet, I really recommend upgrading. It contains a huge number of updates as well as an excellent administration area overhaul.

I’m particularly happy with the new visual editor that now leaves your HTML untouched. This is going to make using WordPress as a CMS a whole lot better.

A lot of work has gone into this release, thank you to everyone who helped out, a fantastic job well done.

Another Andy at Automattic — March 3, 2008

Another Andy at Automattic

Today is my first day working for Automattic! For the past several weeks I’ve been talking with Matt and Toni about the direction of BuddyPress and what I did last year with the ChickSpeak project. They have given me the opportunity to come on board and concentrate on the development of BuddyPress under the Automattic umbrella.

The talent they have on board at Automattic is incredible, some of the brightest minds in the game. I’m really excited to have the opportunity to work with everyone on a daily basis and soak up some of the tremendous knowledge available.

I’ve been all consumed in WordPress for the past two years now, I think almost every single site I’ve built since working as a freelancer has used WordPress in some way. To get the opportunity to concentrate fully on WordPress everyday, and also the chance to help mould WordPress in new ways is a fantastic one not to be missed.

Also, the buddypress.com domain is in the process of being moved, so further updates on the project will be available there once the move has been completed.

A Wordpress MU Social Network Platform — September 7, 2007

A Wordpress MU Social Network Platform

When I wrote about turning WordPress MU into a social networking platform a little while back I never could have imagined the amount of interest it would generate.

I’ve heard from a lot of people. Some who are looking to build a new site, some running a site on old software, and others looking for extended WordPress MU functionality. It seems that people liked what they saw with ChickSpeak, and wondered if I would be offering the solution to the public.

BuddyPress is my offering, and although it is not close completion just yet, I wanted to let people into the development process with a dedicated blog.

Head on over and let me know your thoughts.

YikeSite CMS Launches! — August 28, 2007

YikeSite CMS Launches!

YikeSite offers the best of both worlds. It’s simple enough for the technically challenged to log in and edit their website, but also offers advanced customization functions and a theme API for the more technically astute.

Jeff Ward who is the president of Animikii, and the chief brain behind the YikeSite project was recently interviewed by The Web 2.0 Show. If you’re interested in listening to what Jeff had to say about the project and the development process, head on over and download the MP3.

I recently worked with Jeff and Animikii to design and code the public website and default template for YikeSite. It was really awesome to work with them, especially on such a new and cool project.

If you’re looking to start up an easy to maintain website, or want to get your clients using something they can understand, give YikeSite a shot.

ChickSpeak.com: A Wordpress MU Based Social Network — July 1, 2007

ChickSpeak.com: A Wordpress MU Based Social Network

WordPress MU (WPMU) is basically the multi-user version of WordPress, the popular blog/cms tool. The aim of WPMU is to allow for one installation to spawn multiple WordPress blog instances. Basically, you can install WPMU on your server and run as many individual WordPress instances as your box can handle.

WordPress MU has the basics of a social network right out of the box – individual member blogs, member profiles and the ability to scale well.

Don’t Hack – Just Plug

WordPress also has an excellent plugin API, as well as a whole host of quality pre-built plugins ready to download and activate. The key here is that I didn’t have to hack the core – I could just achieve the additional functionality needed by building dedicated plugins.

Plugins were built and used for private messaging, advanced profile management, online polls, photo management, multi-blog search and user credential management.

Not Blogs, But Member Home Pages

Member Home Page on ChickSpeak

The crucial part to the whole project was morphing WordPress MU to stop it from generating new blog instances and instead generating new member home pages.

A member home page includes a users own personal profile front and center, their own personal “journal” as a feature of their home page, as well as private messaging functionality.

To achieve the desired change it was down to making a new WordPress theme. The theme would have exactly the same look and feel as the core site – making it look like the new member home page was still part of the core site itself.

Within the theme, I removed the code that usually makes the blog posts front and center, and changed it to the code that outputs the users profile. The blog code was moved to the sidebar so it could still be accessed as the members “journal” feature.

Finally, the code to output the users new private messages was added to the sidebar, as well as some code to output polls, photos and other smaller bits and bobs.

A nice feature of WordPress MU is it places member pages on a subdomain, so any members home page can be found at http://membername.chickspeak.com. A nice touch, as it’s then easy to remember the to link to your profile.

Adding Some BBPress Magic

BBPress Forums on ChickSpeak

The project also called for a fully featured discussion forum. The forum needed to work seamlessly with the site, using the same login credentials and the same look and feel. Another project called BBPress fit the bill perfectly. BBPress is a no-frills forum/bulletin board application built by the same guys (Automattic) as WordPress. It has the same style, plugin architecture and most importantly can share the credentials data and cookie information. Perfect.

Limiting Credentials

The final step was to limit the administration functionality that a member has on their own blog. This stops them from signing up new users, deleting content they shouldn’t be, or changing the theme of their member page. I created a simple plugin that disabled the menus for these settings in the WordPress admin interface. The pages could only be accessed by site-wide administrators if needed.

I’ve only really glazed on what I did with WordPress MU to turn it into a fully fledged social network engine – but you get the overall idea. I’d be happy to answer anyones specific questions if you have them.

ChickSpeak is up and running over at ChickSpeak.com. Feel free to take a look when you get a chance, I’d welcome any feedback. You can also click the image thumbnails in the article to get full screenshots.

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