(For more resources on WordPress, see here.)
After installing and activating BuddyPress, an alert will appear at the top of your screen to tell you that the functionality offered by BuddyPress isn't available on your website just yet. For these features to be made available to your members, you will need to install a BuddyPress-compatible theme.
Activating this theme is a two step process. First, navigate to Appearance | Themes and then click Activate for the BuddyPress Default theme. Next, click on SuperAdmin | Themes. Tick the radio button labeled Yes for the BuddyPress Default theme and then click Apply Changes. Now the BuddyPress Default theme will be in use on your site and available for usage by your users.
Setting up and configuring BuddyPress
After activating the plugin, you might have noticed that a new BuddyPress menu appeared. Click on BuddyPress | General Settings to access the BuddyPress Settings screen.
There are only two settings on this screen that you need to concern yourself with; the rest can be left at their defaults settings. The first option that you need to alter is located at the top of the screen and is labeled Base profile group name. As you can see, this is currently set to Base. This text appears in a couple of places. First, when your users go to My Account | Profile | Edit Profile, they will see Editing 'Base' Profile Group.
The second place that this text can be found is on the BuddyPress Profile Field Setup screen where it's used as the name of the default field group.
In both instances, something less enigmatic would be beneficial. Think of a descriptive label that would be useful in both situations and then enter it into the Base profile group name textbox.
You will find the other setting that you need to configure located at the bottom of your screen, so scroll down until you see the Default User Avatar. In this area, select the type of avatar that you would like to display for users without a custom avatar and then click Save Settings.
Now, click on BuddyPress | Component Setup to be taken to the BuddyPress Component Setup screen. By default, all of the components found on this screen are enabled. How you choose to configure the majority of these settings will depend upon your preferences and the features that you would like to make available on your website. It should be noted, however, that both the bbPress Forums and Groups components should remain enabled if you plan on integrating bbPress into your community portal. Also, the Extended Profiles component should be left set to Enabled, so that your members can have more detailed profiles attached to their accounts.
Profile Field Setup
Skip the Forums Setup screen for now, and instead click on Profile Field Setup. On this screen, there are three actions that you can take. You can add additional field groups, add new fields, and then choose the location for each of these fields within their group.
At present, your installation of BuddyPress has one default field placed within one default field group which now bears the name that it was given when you changed it from Base on the BuddyPress Settings screen. Any fields located in this default field group will appear on the signup screen under the heading of Profile Details.
This field group also appears on the screen that your users see when they go to edit their profile.
Any additional field groups that you add will only be visible to users when they wish to edit their profile. As things stand, your users will have a profile that consists of nothing more than their name. Since that doesn't make for much of a profile you need to add some additional field groups and fields. With the addition of these new groups and fields, it will be possible for your members to build a robust profile page.
(For more resources on WordPress, see here.)
Begin by adding fields to the default field group. This section should include the standard information that you might expect to see on any signup form. Suppose that you want to add a drop-down menu for registrants to select their gender. To do this, click on Add New Field. In the Field Title textbox, enter Gender. In the Field Description textbox you have the option of providing explanatory information about this field. In this case, the purpose of this field is pretty obvious, so no description is necessary. Next, you have the option of making this a required field. The last setting is a drop-down menu labeled Field Type. With this setting you can choose from many different field types. Drop Down Select Box seems to be the most obvious choice, so select that from the list.
Upon selecting that option, a new options area will appear. Here you can enter options for this field. First, select how you would like your drop-down selections to be ordered. Next, enter Female into the textbox labeled Option 1. Click Add Another Option and then enter Male into that textbox. Don't select either option as a default value. Click Save, and this fi eld will now be included in your default field group.
Continue adding any additional fields that you would like to include within this group before moving on to creating a new field group.
Now that you've customized your default field group, it's time to think about the information that you would like users to be able to provide on their profile pages. Think about the field groups and fields that are appropriate to the theme of your community portal. For example, if you're planning on creating a community portal geared toward sports fans, you might add a field group called Favorite Teams. Within this field group you could place textboxes for your members to enter their favorite baseball, football, basketball, or soccer teams.
Once you have a clear idea of the fields that you would like to include, you should next consider how those fields might be organized. You might find it helpful to construct an outline to depict the organizational layout of your field groups and fields. This will help you to decide how everything should appear onscreen, the field groups that will hold certain fields, and the type of entry method appropriate for each field.
Once again, suppose that you're creating a sports-related community portal. If that were the case, then your organizational outline might look similar to the following:
- Favorite Teams
- Favorite Sports to Play
With your outline handy, begin by adding the first of your new field groups. To do this, click the button labeled Add New Field Group. On this screen, enter the name of your first field group into the textbox labeled Field Group Name and then click Add New Field Group.
The Profile Field Setup screen will now contain both your default field group and the new one that you just created. There will also be an Add New Field link located within each of these field groups.
Click the Add New Field link located within the field group that you just created. Then, create the first of the new fields within this field group. Continue this process until all of the fields within this group have been created.
Continue creating a field group and adding fields to it until you've reached the end of your outline. Once this process is complete, you can then change the location of any fields within their group. This can be done quite easily by just dragging and dropping the field to a new location. Keep in mind that fields can't be dragged from one field group to another. If you decide that you would like a field to appear in a different group, then you will need to create the field within that group and then delete it from its original group.
In this article we learned about acitvating the BuddyPress Default theme. We then learned about setting up and configuring BuddyPress. From the available BuddyPress Settings, we went through the Component Setup and Profile Field Setup. We then learn how to customize the Profile Field Setup by adding additional field groups, adding new fields, and then choosing the location for each of these fields within their group.
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