BuddyPress has entered the world of blocks with the release of version 6.0, the latest major update that has been in development since November 2019. The release, code-named “Iovine’s” for a favorite pizza restaurant in Paris, introduces blocks for Groups and Members. It also marks the completion of the BP Rest API, adding the final remaining endpoints for Blogs, Blog avatar, Friends, Group Cover Image, Member Cover Image, and User Signups.
The first set of blocks allow community site owners to insert a specific Member or Group from the editor into any WordPress post or page. More advanced customizations are available to developers who want to make blocks available to (or restricted from) specific custom post types. Developers can also override block output using new filters, disable blocks, and specify a custom stylesheet for a block.
In a previous WP Tavern review of the 6.0 beta, Justin Tadlock noted that the block settings had each setting is placed within its own tabbed section, which increased the number of clicks required. This feedback was incorporated six weeks ago in a patch from BuddyPress core developer Mathieu Viet, which places all settings into one panel until such a time as more panels become necessary.
Next Up for BuddyPress: Block Versions of Existing Widgets and Community-Requested Blocks
The BuddyPress community has a unique opportunity to shape the future of block development for the plugin. The next blocks are not yet set in stone but Viet said contributors will probably start by adding block versions of the existing widgets, followed by block requests based on community feedback.
“The poll we made about BuddyPress blocks showed there were expectations about a block to share a post or a page into the Activity Stream, so l think we should include such a block,” Viet said. “But we’re are very open to new ideas or contributions to the GitHub repository we use to develop them.”
The poll results indicated that in addition to a block to share a post or a page via the Activity Stream, the community is also strongly interested a block to list the recently published posts from across a network, followed by a block to display Sitewide Notices posted by the site administrator.
Viet said core contributors have not yet set a roadmap but are working in small steps and carefully following the Gutenberg project to see how they can incorporate it more into community features. A block-based activity posting form is one feature they are considering.
Now is an important time for BuddyPress site owners to give input on the future of the project, whether through block recommendations or via the new 2020 BuddyPress Survey. It includes 17 questions, which take approximately 7-10 minutes to complete. Most of the questions are centered around how you are using BuddyPress on production sites, but one interesting question asks about the prospect of breaking up the plugin’s features to make it more modular:
BuddyPress is a large plugin with optional components (3MB zipped). There’s a proposal to reconstitute BuddyPress as core + members only and improved upon with new functionalities and API’s among others for new BP plugins to hook into. The current optional components like groups, friends, private messaging, etc. can be migrated into separate plugins which can be activated as needed. What do you think?
Survey respondents have the opportunity to choose between keeping BuddyPress as is with core + members and optional components, or break it down to put the components into BP plugins. Feedback on this proposal and other important survey questions will help the BP core team know how to prioritize features for the next release and long-term roadmap.