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  #1  
Old 22 Nov 2008, 00:26
donnacha donnacha is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Why BuddyPress is vBulletin's Big Opportunity

WordPress MU allows thousands of WordPress blogs to be centrally managed via one installation. At the moment, this is mainly of interest to institutions such as schools and universities because it allows them to give each of their students there own WordPress blog under one central domain. It is also used by general websites offering blogs to the public, such as WordPress.com, or special interest groups.

A major shift will occur next month, however, which will make WPMU a must-have for community websites and, consequently, create massive demand for a vBulletin/WPMU bridge: the first release of BuddyPress, an official WordPress/Automattic project, which will turn WPMU into a Facebook-like social network, while retaining all of it's multi-blog features.

I am pretty cynical/realistic about application development and the time-scales involved, and I'm even more cynical about the general rush towards turning everything, including vBulletin, into a social network, but I have to admit that, looking at the BuddyPress demo, it is clear that, along with the upcoming complete back-end UI redesign of WP 2.7, Automattic employee Andy Peatling has created something of real value.

WordPress/WPMU/BuddyPress will explode in the new year as many existing community websites, with an eye to encouraging more user-generated content, jump at the opportunity to transform themselves into fully-fledged social networks and blogging platforms. vBulletin's attempts to tackle this obvious convergence, with their integration of social networking features and their $60 blogging add-on, are too little, too late, too kludgy. Their core forum product, however, remains an excellent option, especially compared to the standard WP free forum options and that is why massive amounts of people will be washing up here, looking for a bridge between WPMU/BuddyPress and vBulletin. The key point is that people, driven by a free, market-leading Open Source product, will be looking for a way to integrate it with a $180 proprietary product but running up against a brick wall - as it stands, vBulletin is not even an option.

Personally, I think vBulletin should get over it's obsession with re-inventing the wheel, it's not-invented-here prejudice and focus on creating an official bridge that will allow them to benefit from the opportunities created by working well with other companies' products. If vBulletin had the humility to recognize that Automattic, and the Open Source community that has grown up around them, have created the right products at the right time, they could cash in on this huge opportunity to sell each of those sites a $180 forum and strengthen the position of vBulletin in the market generally.

Of course, being vBulletin, they will fail to recognize any of this until it's too late, so, the opportunity will be left on the table for some enterprising developer. Personally, I would be happy to pay for a competent, supported bridge and, if I'm right about the demand for this, that developer will make a pot of money, gain a lot of reputation and establish a long-term earner for himself.

Jafo232 has already created and, for the last two years, has been supporting and improving the Complete Wordpress/Vbulletin Bridge, which shares both users and posting details between vBulletin and the regular WordPress.

WPMU's code, though based upon the regular WordPress, has some differences that would take a certain amount of work to adapt the existing bridge code to it. Although Jafo232 has no plans to undertake this work because he himself has no need for such a bridge, it has been suggested that the work involved is relatively minor, given the work that Jafo232 has already done. Indeed, it would appear that several people have already created adaptions for their own personal use but, sadly, they have not released their code for sale.

If WPMU/BuddyPress + vBulletin is something that you, as a website owner, would be interested in, let the developers know that the demand is there by adding a post to this thread.

If, as a developer, this is something that interests you, either as a solo project, or in concert with other developers who make themselves known here, please post too, let's get a picture of what's possible here.
  #2  
Old 22 Nov 2008, 09:03
pspcrazy pspcrazy is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
I'm definitely interested in this as well for my gaming site's I run. Currently I'm forced to use the normal wordpress as I can't get vbbridge to work with WP MU. If this bridge get's completed that would be a great plus to the Mu community.
  #3  
Old 22 Nov 2008, 19:58
ArnyVee's Avatar
ArnyVee ArnyVee is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Count me in as an interested website owner!

I haven't had a chance to reply to some PMs about a WPMU/vBulletin 'bridge', but it looks like we're headed into a new direction and I'd be definitely interested in this WPMU/BuddyPress + vBulletin 'bridge'.
  #4  
Old 23 Nov 2008, 00:21
NorCal NorCal is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
This sounds pretty interesting. My two key questions are:

1) Does it require any core modifications?
2) Can you keep the vb as the master account/user database?

Answer no to the first and yes to the second and I'm interested.

My next question would be, If you did this Buddypress option how would you integrate the SN functions with the vB account/profiles so that they are unified?

Currently what I've done is bridge vBulletin with Joomla and I have a blogging component (Myblog pro by Azrul studios) No core hacks in either direction.

This integrates pretty nice but I definitely wanted to keep vB as the master because one of the reasons I invested in vB is its reputation for solid code. Joomla has gotten more solid but it is still a bit of minefield. I'm just getting into vb after using phpbb and some other forums for over 10 years. A little learning curve but I think it is a good choice. One of the things that got me really thinking about the switch was reading one of the lead phpbb3 developers saying how solid vB was. I was not impressed with the blogging option though. Maybe down the line it will be more elegant.

Paul



Originally Posted by donnacha View Post
WordPress MU allows thousands of WordPress blogs to be centrally managed via one installation. At the moment, this is mainly of interest to institutions such as schools and universities because it allows them to give each of their students there own WordPress blog under one central domain. It is also used by general websites offering blogs to the public, such as WordPress.com, or special interest groups.

A major shift will occur next month, however, which will make WPMU a must-have for community websites and, consequently, create massive demand for a vBulletin/WPMU bridge: the first release of BuddyPress, an official WordPress/Automattic project, which will turn WPMU into a Facebook-like social network, while retaining all of it's multi-blog features.

I am pretty cynical/realistic about application development and the time-scales involved, and I'm even more cynical about the general rush towards turning everything, including vBulletin, into a social network, but I have to admit that, looking at the BuddyPress demo, it is clear that, along with the upcoming complete back-end UI redesign of WP 2.7, Automattic employee Andy Peatling has created something of real value.

WordPress/WPMU/BuddyPress will explode in the new year as many existing community websites, with an eye to encouraging more user-generated content, jump at the opportunity to transform themselves into fully-fledged social networks and blogging platforms. vBulletin's attempts to tackle this obvious convergence, with their integration of social networking features and their $60 blogging add-on, are too little, too late, too kludgy. Their core forum product, however, remains an excellent option, especially compared to the standard WP free forum options and that is why massive amounts of people will be washing up here, looking for a bridge between WPMU/BuddyPress and vBulletin. The key point is that people, driven by a free, market-leading Open Source product, will be looking for a way to integrate it with a $180 proprietary product but running up against a brick wall - as it stands, vBulletin is not even an option.

Personally, I think vBulletin should get over it's obsession with re-inventing the wheel, it's not-invented-here prejudice and focus on creating an official bridge that will allow them to benefit from the opportunities created by working well with other companies' products. If vBulletin had the humility to recognize that Automattic, and the Open Source community that has grown up around them, have created the right products at the right time, they could cash in on this huge opportunity to sell each of those sites a $180 forum and strengthen the position of vBulletin in the market generally.

Of course, being vBulletin, they will fail to recognize any of this until it's too late, so, the opportunity will be left on the table for some enterprising developer. Personally, I would be happy to pay for a competent, supported bridge and, if I'm right about the demand for this, that developer will make a pot of money, gain a lot of reputation and establish a long-term earner for himself.

Jafo232 has already created and, for the last two years, has been supporting and improving the Complete Wordpress/Vbulletin Bridge, which shares both users and posting details between vBulletin and the regular WordPress.

WPMU's code, though based upon the regular WordPress, has some differences that would take a certain amount of work to adapt the existing bridge code to it. Although Jafo232 has no plans to undertake this work because he himself has no need for such a bridge, it has been suggested that the work involved is relatively minor, given the work that Jafo232 has already done. Indeed, it would appear that several people have already created adaptions for their own personal use but, sadly, they have not released their code for sale.

If WPMU/BuddyPress + vBulletin is something that you, as a website owner, would be interested in, let the developers know that the demand is there by adding a post to this thread.

If, as a developer, this is something that interests you, either as a solo project, or in concert with other developers who make themselves known here, please post too, let's get a picture of what's possible here.
  #5  
Old 23 Nov 2008, 04:53
donnacha donnacha is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Originally Posted by ArnyVee View Post
Count me in as an interested website owner!

I haven't had a chance to reply to some PMs about a WPMU/vBulletin 'bridge', but it looks like we're headed into a new direction and I'd be definitely interested in this WPMU/BuddyPress + vBulletin 'bridge'.
Thanks for posting Arny.

Yeah, definitely some major changes on the way and it is exciting to see the 'Net become so much more integrated into people's lives, hopefully this bridge will enable all of our sites to take advantage of that.

Originally Posted by pspcrazy View Post
I'm definitely interested in this as well for my gaming site's I run. Currently I'm forced to use the normal wordpress as I can't get vbbridge to work with WP MU. If this bridge get's completed that would be a great plus to the Mu community.
Hi pspscrazy, thanks for posting.

Yeah, a bridge would initially be great for the MU community but, as I say, once BuddyPress is released that will get turned on it's head and it will be more something that the existing vB community will be clamouring for - it will be hard for the owners community sites in any niche to sit back and watch their competitors upgrade to full-blown social-networking + blogging platforms.

Unfortunately, it will take a few months for that demand to become obvious and, at that stage, loads of developers will try to cash in by rushing in with bridges but, of course, what I'm hoping is that this thread will alert some enterprising developer to the advantages of positioning themselves for this wave before it hits and firmly establishing their product before the other developers even have a chance.

If enough people indicate their interest here, and possibly suggest how much they'd be willing to pay for such a bridge, that may be enough. At a rough guess, I'd say a lot of people would be willing to pay $50, which would be less than vBulletin charge for their blogging product but allow you to do so much more.

--------------- Added 23 Nov 2008 at 04:57 ---------------

Originally Posted by NorCal View Post
This sounds pretty interesting. My two key questions are:

1) Does it require any core modifications?
2) Can you keep the vb as the master account/user database?
Hi Paul, thanks for responding.

I'm not sure but, as we're talking about an adaption of the existing WP/vB bridge, it would operate in the same way and I'm sure that Jafo232 avoided core modifications unless it was absolutely necessary - and, actually, I don't see why they would be, all you're doing is pulling membership details and sharing a cookie.

Regarding the database, both apps use the same database and I guess Jafo232 would have favored the vB database although, again, I haven't yet read his mod's thread closely enough to know that for sure. Again, as the only shared bit is the membership data, I don't think it makes much difference - for the forum content, sure, the vB database will be optimized for that

Either way, given that it is a mod with a good developer, a large following and two years of development and support behind it, I would be pretty confident that the structural decisions have been pretty sound.

Originally Posted by NorCal View Post
My next question would be, If you did this Buddypress option how would you integrate the SN functions with the vB account/profiles so that they are unified?
Just to clarify, I don't have the skills necessary to do this myself, my goal is to get this conversation going and alert developers to both current demand and the likely much bigger future demand for this bridge.

As I understand it, linking to BuddyPress profile pages from within vB, rather than using vB's own profiles, would be a simple matter of changing a few variables - the bridge mod would, ideally, let you pick n' mix.

If it turns out that vB's take on social networking is actually usable and enticing enough, there will be no reason to use BuddyPress but, sadly, vBulletin have failed to show any vision beyond their excellent core forum product. The blogging product was an utter failure and a real slap in the face for website owners who hung in there, hoping that their trust in vBulletin would be rewarded with something that their users would actually be happy to use.

My own assessment of vB's upcoming SN features is that someone whipped up a pretty good list of buzzwords and handed them to someone with a permanent hangover who, at glacial speed and between extensive bouts of Internet porn, slowly tacked them all on as features, one by one.

Obviously, we've got to applaud the move in the right direction but we all know that it is way too little, too late. Users here and on the official vB board have been pleading for social features since before "social networking" even existed as a concept. Similarly, they been asking for really obvious stuff such as a simple, integrated homepage/CMS system but, as a company, vBulletin have carelessly blown the unique foothold their forum opened up to them. What a waste.

That is the whole problem: I've been a member here and on the official board for over 5yrs and learned, a long time ago, that, for whatever reason, vBulletin as a company simply don't have the vision or resources to move beyond forums and that is why we need a bridge out to other groups who do get it.


Originally Posted by NorCal View Post
Currently what I've done is bridge vBulletin with Joomla and I have a blogging component (Myblog pro by Azrul studios) No core hacks in either direction.


This integrates pretty nice but I definitely wanted to keep vB as the master because one of the reasons I invested in vB is its reputation for solid code. Joomla has gotten more solid but it is still a bit of minefield. I'm just getting into vb after using phpbb and some other forums for over 10 years. A little learning curve but I think it is a good choice. One of the things that got me really thinking about the switch was reading one of the lead phpbb3 developers saying how solid vB was. I was not impressed with the blogging option though. Maybe down the line it will be more elegant.
Well, this would probably be pretty much the same thing as your Joomla hack, just sharing data, no core hacks, only much easier because WordPress tends to be less of a mess than Joomla and, of course, Jafo232 has already done the lion's share of the work - again, the only reason he has not already adapted his work to WPMU is that he, personally, has personal use for it. For all we know, the changes needed might be fairly trivial, but that is something a developer needs to look at and estimate whether the reward will be greater than the effort needed to do it.

Last edited by donnacha; 23 Nov 2008 at 04:57. Reason: Auto-Merged DoublePost
  #6  
Old 23 Nov 2008, 18:36
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Caddyman Caddyman is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
i am 100% in need of a bridge for multiple sites I own, Arny, I, and a few others ahve been searching and scouring for a coder to make it happen.

Buddypress plugin looks great, I really would love to get integrated here, and would pay a pretty penny...within reason.
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  #7  
Old 24 Nov 2008, 00:37
donnacha donnacha is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Hi Caddyman,

Thanks for stating your interest - if just a few more people step forward and state their interest and willingness to pay, say, $50 each, that, combined with the much larger customer-base that BuddyPress will bring in the a month or so, should be enough to attract the interest of an enterprising coder and we could all be ready to roll by the time the WPMU 2.7 and BuddyPress 1.0 get released at the end of next month.
  #8  
Old 24 Nov 2008, 01:41
vividbreeze vividbreeze is offline
 
Join Date: Sep 2007
Very good information!!

I would pay whatever ammount to get this up and rolling!!

Please contact me if you are a coder and can help me setup my site, so far its just wordpress+vbulletin but they are not integrated with each other. I would love to redesign the site a bit to make it more user friendly too.

Thanks!!
  #9  
Old 24 Nov 2008, 02:41
idared idared is offline
 
Join Date: Apr 2008
I would be interested in this bridge as well. I currently run a nonprofit community, so I am not sure about how much I can contribute financially to get this done (though I definitely do not rule it out, as long as it is a reasonable amount and a usable end-product), but wanted to post so you know there is at least one more board that would definitely use the product. Subbing to the thread so I am kept updated on this.
  #10  
Old 25 Nov 2008, 01:11
crash resistant crash resistant is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
I am very interested and would be willing to contribute
  #11  
Old 25 Nov 2008, 03:16
donnacha donnacha is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Thanks Vividbreeze, Idared and Crash Resistant.

We've now got 8 interested people, when we get 4 more I'll write up a request in the Paid Requests section, so, step on up folks and post your interest.

The request I right will refer to this thread, pointing out that this is a pretty solid indicator of demand, especially given that the vast majority of people won't even know BuddyPress until the end of next month. This is pretty sweet opportunity for a good developer with a few hours on his hands.

Idared - we're suggesting $50 as a possible price because it's a decent amount, reflecting the massive boost that BuddyPress will give our websites - effectively, it is a version of Facebook that actually works, looks wonderful and has one of the most active and well-led Open Source communities behind it - oh, and don't forget the advantage of being able to give thousands of your users their own WordPress blog, fully integrated with their forum membership!

$50 is a pretty small price to be able to integrate our favorite forum software with all that, but still less than the $60 vBulletin are charging for their rather kludgy blogging add-on, which has simply failed to appeal to most users of most forums.

Once it is clear how big BuddyPress is going to be, and that we're looking at several hundred or possibly even thousands of people willing to pay $50 each, simply for an adaption of an existing bridge, that should be enough to attract a competent developer to the project.

So, go ahead and post folks, we represent the early adopters, the minority who are ahead of the curve and can see the horizon!
  #12  
Old 25 Nov 2008, 08:52
petchat petchat is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
I still need to look further into this, but I could certainly be interested!
  #13  
Old 26 Nov 2008, 05:43
donnacha donnacha is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Andy Peatling, Automattic employee and Buddypress team lead, has announced that the beta will be released on Dec 15 and the full release is targeted around Christmas.

Check it out to see if it would suit your vB community, don't forget that it also has the full power of WordPress MU (give WordPress blogs to thousands of your users, all from one installation) under the hood:

BuddyPress Website

BuddyPress Demo
  #14  
Old 29 Nov 2008, 16:02
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ArnyVee ArnyVee is offline
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
I would be certainly willing to pay $50 towards getting this done. Any new members sending you PMs about their interest in it? Or, are we still at 8 people?
  #15  
Old 30 Nov 2008, 10:18
donnacha donnacha is offline
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
We have eight "definites" and one "maybe" here in this thread, and two off-thread definites but I would stress that posts are much better than PMs because our whole goal here is to demonstrate that there is real demand for this.

The demand will become obvious to everyone once BuddyPress is actually released next month, but what we are hoping is that some enterprising developer will spot that our early, forward-looking demand and realize that preparing the adaption early will allow him to release simultaneously with BuddyPress, when the buzz will be at it's highest.

It is in my personal interests that the developer, whoever he is, catches that early wave, allowing him to make several thousand dollars right from the beginning because that will make the long-term financial potential clear and ensure that it becomes a supported, continually improved bridge.

So, website owners, realize that developers don't always understand what things we will be willing to pay for, they are naturally reluctant to invest their time into a project unless WE make our need for it, and our willingness to pay, clear.

So, everyone, sit down and think about what this bridge will allow you do to, about how it will radically improve your community's ability to express itself and interact, think the competitive edge it will give you against other vB sites in your niche, think about how your site will be affected if your competitors evolve in this direction while you stay still.

Then think, seriously, about whether being able to use the BuddyPress and WPMU features is worth $50 to you because, nice though it is to get stuff for free, what we need on this thread are people who understand that, if you want to get things done, and you do not possess those skills to do it yourself, you have to find a way to make it worthwhile for someone who does have those skills.

We need a few more definites - say, four more - before we post this in the Paid Requests section.
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