Using BuddyPress for Social Networks

This article attempts to show what type of modification can be made to BuddyPress in order to allow the novice to begin to customise the look and feel of a BuddyPress installation. It is intended that by working this way beginners to BuddyPress can quickly get to grips with the basics of customisation as well as implementing some pretty cool features.

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BuddyPress Poke aims to provide a Facebook – like “Poke” feature to your BuddyPress Social Network, allowing site members to give each other a prod from time to time.

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This article is going to take you through setting up BuddyPress for the first time. It is geared towards people trying to set up Social Networking sites with features similar to those available with Ning or other hosted Social Network providers, as such it assumes that you will want all of the features of BuddyPress, plus a few more (well, a whole bunch more!).

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Before installing BuddyPress it’s best to get your basic WordPress installation configured correctly, this in itself can be quite a complex task and there are going to be many aspects of this that I will not have space here to go into in detail but what I hope to achieve in this post is to give you a basic idea of what is needed and to get yourself in a position to run and install BuddyPress on a firm platform.

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BuddyPress Xprofile Custom Fields Type is a BuddyPress plugin that adds a variety of field types to the BuddyPress Extended Profile.

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bbp Toolkit is a plugin that allows the site admin to make various styling changes to a sites bbPress forum pages plus more besides.

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BP Profile Search is a plugin that can integrate an advanced profile search feature into your Members Directory page that searches through all or selected profile fields.

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BuddyPress Group Email Subscription does what it says. It gives your group members the option to be sent emails based on group activity. It allows group admin to set a default subscription level, which is applied to all new members and it also allows group members to set their own choice. This plugin provides a full range of options both to members and managers alike.

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bbp Style Pack is a huge styling plugin for bbPress and more besides. Using bbp Style Pack you can change the look and feel of just about any element of your bbPress forums, for example you can control the colours and font sizes of all elements of your forums listing page, you can do the same with each individual forum topics list page and you can control the same elements for the individual topic and reply page.

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The main BuddyPress Forum component is bbPress. This is a core piece of software created by the creators of WordPress and it is pretty much fully integrated into WordPress and BuddyPress. With bbPress you can create two types of forum in a BuddyPress context – Site-wide forums and Group Forums. Site-wide forums have to be setup by the site admin whilst group forums are optional aspects of groups that are enabled by the group creator.

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