When I explain the CUNY Academic Commons to someone for the first time, the words ‘connect’ and ‘collaborate’ usually loom large. We provide a number of tools to make it easier for people to find each other (that’s the connecting), and then we try to make it easy for those people to work together on projects that matter to them (that’s the collaborating). Today I am releasing the first public beta of a new BuddyPress plugin that will, I hope, be an important tool in the Commons (and BuddyPress) collaboration toolbox: BuddyPress Docs.
BuddyPress Docs adds a new tab to groups where members can collectively create and edit documents, using an easy-to-use rich text editor. Docs support tagging, hierarchy, oEmbed multimedia, and much more. I’ve written about the feature list in detail on the BuddyPress Docs homepage.
Today the project is being released in a near-stable public beta. That means a few things. First, for the moment you run the plugin on a production site at your own risk, as there are bound to be bugs and rough spots (which I hope you will report back to me!). Second, it means that it’s not up and running on the Commons quite yet. BuddyPress Docs is slated to be turned on here with the release of Commons 1.2, which should be sometime in the next few weeks. The intervening weeks should give folks in the general BuddyPress community some time to put Docs through its paces before it gets put to work here.
The official documentation states that BuddyPress Docs requires WordPress 3.1 and BuddyPress 1.3. The latter requirement is a bit of an overstatement; Docs has been tested with BuddyPress 1.2.8 and it works well. However, the former requirement is strict: though the plugin might appear to work with versions of WP prior to 3.1, certain key features will not work (in particular, taxonomies will not work correctly, so that all Docs will appear on every group, no matter which group created them). Perhaps for the 1.0 stable release I’ll forcibly prevent the plugin from being loaded on those earlier versions of WP.
You can follow the plugin’s development at http://github.com/boonebgorges/buddypress-docs.