For years I used the vBulletin software for powering forums on webites I owned. When I launched WP Mods I decided to use bbPress. It is a very lightweight forum solution however as WP Mods is all about WordPress, I thought it was only fitting that it’s sister script bbPress was used for the forum as they work well together and share the same user database.
bbPress has unfortunately never been hugely popular within the WordPress community. There are a few reasons for this though it’s mostly to do with the lack of updates. Another reason is that although bbPress worked well with WordPress, it was essentially a stand alone script which meant that your forums had to be skinned separately from your main website. I have been considering changing the WP Mods forums from bbPress due to the lack of updates however I am going to hold off as John James Jacoby recently announced the release of the first beta version of bbPress 2.0.
The full bug-free version of bbPress 2.0 is not expected until the end of June 2011 but I’m sure this won’t be a major problem for most of you. Not only does this update add a host of new features, it allows bbPress to be installed as a WordPress plugin instead of a stand alone script. This is something that was rumoured for years but was never developed until now. The great thing about this is that you don’t need to try and customise your forum to match your blogs design as the forum will use your existing blog design.
This new version works with WordPress multi site and BuddyPress. Strangely, it comes with a child theme of Twenty Ten to get you started. I would have thought that Twenty Eleven would have been included given the upcoming release of WordPress 3.2.
- Seamless integration with your WordPress site and theme
- Integrated admin interface for forums, topics, and replies
- Split and merge topics within a single forum
- Shortcodes to help you customize where your forums appear
- Currently comes with a child theme of TwentyTen to get you started
- Keep track of changes with topic and reply revisions
- Dashboard widget shows you a shapshot of your forums at a glance
- Automatically creates a new ‘Moderator’ role for your forums
- Mark topics as favorites and view them within your new user profile
- Receive emails when new replies are posted to topics you subscribe to
- Anonymous posting lets you open your community up to the world
- Includes widgets to show latest forum activity
- Comes with an importer to move your existing integrated forums over
Once bbPress is installed you will see a new forums section in your WordPress admin area.
How To Upgrade bbPress From A Standalone Installation
Importing your existing bbPress installation is very straight forward. The plugin adds an importer to Tools/Import (at the bottom of the page called bbPress Standalone). I had bbPress installed in my test area and when I clicked on the import tool it informed me that I had a pre-existing installation of bbPress already.
I was then presented with the option of migrating users or importing forums, topics and posts.
That’s all there is to it. Your posts have been imported!
bbPress WordPress Plugin
This is a major turning point for the WordPress community. I have no doubt in my mind that we will start seeing thousands of blogs adding a forum due to how easy it is to install bbPress. The plugin still has a long way to go before it is stable enough for general release (as they are working with developers to ensure that the plugin works well with other popular plugins etc). Unfortunately I’ve not been able to install the plugin correctly at WP Mods as yet as it seems to be conflicting with another plugin I have installed. It is working fine in my test area though.
Will you be adding a forum to your blog now that bbPress can be added via a plugin? I’d love to hear your thoughts on all of this.