Matt Mullenweg, the founder of WordPress and Automattic, announced the release of BuddyPress last week on the official WordPress site. The BuddyPress site is live, with free downloads and installation instructions for BuddyPress 1.0 – which expands a typical WordPress blog installation into a full social network with most of the features of mySpace, Facebook, Ning, and other popular sites. This looks like a very important move in the future evolution of the WordPress platform and something that will encourage many social network developers to build with the CMS. BuddyPress includes user profiles, private messaging, friends / buddylists, groups, activity streams, a wall / stream like section called “the wire” for status updates and tweet-like on-site micro-blogging, in addition to multi-user blogs and forums.
“What if there was software with the elegance and extensibility of WordPress but all the features you’ve come to expect from social networks like Facebook? Now there is: check out BuddyPress. BuddyPress is an official sister project of WordPress. The idea behind it was to see what would happen to the web if it was as easy for anyone to create a social network as it is to create a blog today. There’s been an explosion of social activity on the web, it’s probably the most important trend of the past few years, but there’s been a dearth of Open Source tools that enable the social web. In WordPress we have a robust and extensible base that can scale to many millions of users, and BuddyPress is essentially a set of plugins on top of WordPress that add private messaging, profiles, friends, groups, activity streams, and everything else you’ve come to expect from your favorite social network, like a Facebook-in-a-box.” ((http://wordpress.org/development/2009/04/make-friends-with-buddypress/))
Combined with WordPress themes and publishing ease, the addition of full social network functionality to the platform with the release of BuddyPress 1.0 is a slam dunk / home run for Automattic, bloggers, traditional WordPress users, and social network developers. Look to see this on even more websites than WordPress in the future, and to pull a lot of development away from Drupal, which still lacks a unified offering that builds a social network as simply and easily as BuddyPress.
Sites that have been built with BuddyPress:
WannaNetwork – Online Real Estate Community: http://wannanetwork.com/
Flokka – Women in Business: http://flokka.com/
GrungePress – Online Music Community: http://grungepress.com/