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July 30th, 2009

Expanding WordPress with BuddyPress: Tasty Kitchen

It was May 2008 when I first heard of the BuddyPress project. I was talking with a client about ways to expand user account profiles within their WordPress powered site. Fourteen months have passed since that first mention and we’ve finally launched our first project using BuddyPress. Sadly, it was not for this client.

For those unfamiliar or loosely familiar with BuddyPress, it’s a set of WordPress plugins developed by Andy Peatling (now with Automattic) used for adding social network capabilities to any WordPress site.

Not to over-simplify things, but think “Facebook in a Box.”

Groups, Wire posts (think Facebook Wall), activity streams, friend lists and forums are all a part of the platform. These all build from the user system native to WordPress and simply add functions to allow users to interact with each other. Use as many or as few of the capabilities as you like.

We were approached to help with a community project for The Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond. For some time now, Ree has wanted to create a nice little community within her site that allowed people to share their favorite recipes and make some friends along the way.

It happened that Ree’s site was built upon WordPress so BuddyPress seemed like a natural fit.

Luckily the 1.0 release of BuddyPress came out right as we were initiating this project.

The Tasty Kitchen

BuddyPress offered everything we needed in a community site. The beauty is that much like WordPress we could customize BuddyPress just to our liking. In the case of the Tasty Kitchen we set up:

  • Share Recipes — The point of the community is that anyone can share their favorite recipes. It’s WordPress, so for storing recipes the most logical thing was to save recipes as posts within the system. We extended what is stored with recipes to include things like ingredients, preparation instructions and servings, but in the end we’re just storing them as posts. Want the ability to have users review recipes? That was accomplished using the standard comments. Rate a recipe? Just add the post rating plugin. Nice.
  • Make Friends — As important as the recipe is the person who submitted the recipe. Extended profiles within BuddyPress allowed us to collect information about people such as their cooking experience (mine would be Fast Food Fetcher) and their favorite foods and allow people to find others based on similar interests.
  • Communicate — What good is a community without communication. Using the Wire function of BuddyPress people can share notes directly from a person’s profile page. Additionally, we’ll be tying in the direct message function very soon to allow one more method of communication.
  • Watch Community Activity — Users can see when their friends rate recipes, review recipes, submit recipes and make friends. It allows for a much more natural level of discovery across the site. Users don’t have to be specifically searching for something, but rather find things of common interest.

BuddyPress is new. It’s green, in fact. To look for large custom rollouts of BuddyPress you can find GigaOm Pro and the VW Tank Wars community sites, but we’re still at the very beginning of seeing how this platform will be used. It’s great really. It plugs directly into existing WordPress projects and gives you full control of your data.

We’re really excited to be one of the first to roll out a custom implementation like this.

Results in the first two weeks of this project have been outstanding. Go check out the site and join the nearly 10,000 members and check out some of the 2,500 recipes available for viewing. Say hello to Ree while you’re there.

Nick Gernert leads the Platform Services team that’s part of Voce Connect and oversees all web development efforts as well as making sure all those efforts are strategically sound. He contributes to the cnp_studios blog and is on Twitter as @NickGernert.

About the Author
Nick Gernert leads the Platform Services team that's part of Voce Connect and oversees all web development efforts as well as making sure all those efforts are strategically sound. He is on Twitter as @nickgernert.

Filed in Voce Platform Services

Add Your Comment18 Responses to “Expanding WordPress with BuddyPress: Tasty Kitchen”

Andrea_R on July 30th, 2009 at 2:32 pm

You guys did an awesoem job – Ree’s site is fabulous, and you made it even more so. Added bonus is that it doesn’t look like a stock BP install.

JoSe on July 30th, 2009 at 2:35 pm

One word to describe it: AMAZING !

Congratulations, please share how you did it 😉

Devin Reams on July 30th, 2009 at 3:04 pm

Congrats on the successful launch!

Mark Jaquith on July 30th, 2009 at 3:05 pm

Really nice work! And get ready for the wave of BuddyPress project requests. 🙂 BuddyPress is hot, hot, hot, and developers with BP experience are in short supply.

em/beagle on July 31st, 2009 at 12:20 am

AWESOME JOB on the site! Thanks for all the hard work!

Kunal on July 31st, 2009 at 1:02 am

You guys did a great job. Would love to know more about the custom modifications that you made.

Flick on July 31st, 2009 at 4:58 am

Saw this on the Automattic website and was very impressed! This was a great introduction to the project as well. I can only see myself using WordPress (rather than BP in the future) but the way you’ve tapped into the standard BuddyPress functions coupled with some plugins to make such an amazing website is very inspiring! It makes me want to go back to basics with WordPress. Thank you 🙂

Nick Gernert on July 31st, 2009 at 6:13 am

Thanks, @Andrea_R

@JoSe – We’ll be doing some follow-up posts here with more details around how we’re accomplishing some of these things on this and other sites, so stay tuned.

Nick Gernert on July 31st, 2009 at 10:48 am

@Mark Jaquith

Totally agree on the “hot, hot, hot.” It has been fun watching the interest pick up. I definitely want to see the number of shops doing solid dev in BP increase. We need lots of talented eyes looking under the hood so we can continue to better the existing feature set and add new ones.

Bronson on September 14th, 2009 at 6:35 pm

Nice work guys.

I have to admit that I have only just finished my 1 deployment of the WordPress MU, BuddyPress & bbPress integration.

The possibilities with a user engagement platfor like this is huge. – it’s an open source community building platform, and it rocks.

Sannie on February 16th, 2010 at 5:35 pm

Is this recipe plugin on tasty-kitchen also opensource?

Wiki Chaves on February 25th, 2010 at 6:52 pm


First of all great job. Excellent WPMU implementations and very compelling and sophisticated visuals 🙂

I have and answer maybie you can respond. I´m working in a similar BP proyect and want users to post their ideas to the comunity, very similar what you did with “Create a Recipe” section(http://thepioneerwoman.com/tasty-kitchen/edit-recipe/)

How did you do that ? I´ve checked your code and seems that you send this through a form. Do you need some plugin ? How did you created categries ? Is there any kind of moderation ?

Thanks in advance, Wiki

Nick Gernert on February 26th, 2010 at 9:46 am

@Sannie – The recipe plugin has not been open sourced.

@Wiki Chaves – Basically, recipes are stored as blog posts. We have added custom fields to store information such as Prep Time, Cook Time, Difficulty, Ingredients, etc, but at their core, recipes are posts. We then leverage the built in capabilities of WordPress for categories and tags.

We did have to do some custom work to expose the post creation form on the front end of the site, but that’s basically what you’re looking at when you view the submission form – a highly custom Post edit page. Users are set up as Contributors so as to be able to create content, but not publish it. Recipes are then stored as Drafts until approved by a site administrator.

Wiki Chaves on February 26th, 2010 at 5:57 pm

“We did have to do some custom work to expose the post creation form on the front end of the site…”

That´s what i´m looking for !!! Thanks

sus on March 13th, 2010 at 5:05 am

I guess that the site is based on wordpress and not wordpress mu.

Rachel Instyler on March 21st, 2010 at 5:30 am

That’s really cool. I hadn’t realized that you could basically create a 2.0 social site on a wordpress blog. I’ve wanted to include some of these functions on my blogs in the past but thought it would be too complicated. I’m going to have to go take a closer look at buddypress now.

BTW, thepioneerwoman.com looks great!

Sannie on April 9th, 2010 at 8:37 am

@Nick Gernert Can I get the plugin code for my own (dutch) site?