One of the early questions I had about how BuddyPress and WordPress are integrated was: “How do the user profiles for site members correspond?” I’m not familiar with the history of the two products, but BuddyPress is implemented as a plugin component within a WordPress environment. To access BuddyPress you login to a WordPress site through a WordPress login. Creating a BuddyPress user requires that user’s profile to be set up as a WordPress user. On examination, some of the profile information established for a site member is the same and can be synchronized between the two facilities when changes are made; yet other information is different. In fact, the potential exists to have the same type of information about the same party defined by the same labels but containing different details in each area of the combined system. This didn’t seem ideal. My first thought was that I was doing something wrong in my site setup. When I asked for profile synchronization to occur as a feature on a BuddyPress administration panel, I expected full synchronization. As it turns out, my expectations were out-of-scope.
Before I go on, let me explain that (1) I’m a new user of WordPress and BuddyPress, and (2) as I started out writing this I was using WordPress v3.2.1 and BuddyPress v1.2.9 on my architectedfutures.net development site. I then became aware of active development on a new BuddyPress release (v1.5) that at least in part, according to the roadmap, should include changes related to user and profile features. As a consequence I’ve updated my development site to use the BuddyPress v1.5-beta-2-5029 code base. As I learn more about the details of the core systems and the new features of BP v1.5, I will try to adjust this post for accuracy and relevance.
Once I started doing some searching for what my problem was I ran across this discussion in a BuddyPress support forum and this enhancement request ticket in the BuddyPress Trac system. Basically other people were thinking along the same lines as me, and were assuming that the two profile facilities should operate as one. That being the case, I decided to see what I could discover about what was going on. I decided to use this as a path of investigation to get to learn both systems a little better in this core subject area.