Group Announcements tab in BuddyPress

I had a request or two to explain how I built the Group Announcements feature on the CUNY Academic Commons. Here goes.

Brief background: When the Commons was upgraded to BuddyPress 1.2, we got the benefit of interactive activity streams everywhere, including groups. This caused some confusion, however, as users were uncertain where conversation best fit into the Commons’s architecture: in the Forums (where it had been traditionally), or in the activity stream. In some communities this kind of fracturing might be okay or even welcome, but in ours it was confusing. At the same time, we wanted a way for group admins and mods to send important notices to the members of their groups. By taking the group activity updates and repurposing it as a Group Announcements section, I was able to kill two birds with one stone: providing an announcement space for mods, while focusing extended discussion in the forums.

You can download the CAC Group Announcements plugin here.

I’m not putting this in the repo at the moment because I don’t want to build a proper admin UI and support it 🙂 For that reason, here is a primer on how the plugin works – if you want to customize or maintain it, you’re on your own, buster.

  1. The CAC_Group_Announcements class is an instance of the BuddyPress Group Extension API. It is responsible for creating the Announcements tab markup and adding it to the nav. You’ll notice that the majority of the markup is created by including bp-default’s activity-loop.php and post-form.php templates. You could customize this more if you wanted.
  2. bp_is_group_announcements() is a little template tag that can be used to test whether you’re looking at a group announcements page. This is needed for the activity filter, in step 3.
  3. cac_set_announcement_filter() adds a filter to the bp_has_activities query string when you are looking at an announcements page, so that it only displays activity items of the type activity_update. In other words, when you are looking at the regular activity stream for the group, you see all of the associated group activity items (new members, forum posts, etc) but when you’re on the announcements page you only see activity updates (which, remember, have been repurposed as announcements).

As I look at the code, I see that there are things I would definitely change if I were going to make this into a distributed plugin. If you want to make those changes, be my guest. You’re welcome to help each other in the comment section, but I won’t be formally supporting this, as it is a very basic hack that should happen at the theme level anyway. Good luck!

3 thoughts on “Group Announcements tab in BuddyPress”

  1. Boone, I know you said I am on my own, but maybe you have a pointer — if I wanted to have the announcement tab, but not replace the activity stream or the possibility to post it; basically to use the announcement tab to filter out the updates by mods and admins — how would I go best about that?

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