That’s the question Matt Mullenweg is asking on the official bbPress.org support forums. The post highlights the fact that bbPress is not going away and that it is an important project for the WordPress community. After all, it powers the WordPress.org plugin repository, the support forums, and TalkPress, Automattics hosted forum service.
Strategically the most important thing we need to figure out is how to integrate bbPress better with WP more for people who want that — right now it’s easier to use one of the WP plugins for forums than bbPress.
I’ve only installed bbPress locally once to check it out but it’s not my cup of tea. I think the bbPress forum software is aimed at developers since it comes with all the basics to build on or around but doesn’t contain the feature set of modern forum software out of the box. For example, the SimplePress plugin for WordPress Matt mentions is packed with more features than the dedicated forum software. One idea I’ve heard Matt discuss with Sam that I think has a ton of potential is to replace or add onto the WordPress comment system with bbPress. This type of tight integration between the two is what I believe Matt wants to figure out. It would be awesome to have such an easy way to not only have a forum where visitors can start their own conversations, but also leave comments on articles on the blog side of things. I hesitate to mention Vbulletin but it’s the software that comes to mind that takes this to the next level by offering their own CMS with the forum software built into it.
One of the best things bbPress has going for it right now is the work of Andy Peatling. In BuddyPress 1.1 Andy rewrote the forums component from the ground up to provide one click internal bbPress forum integration enabling users to setup forums in a fraction of the time. BuddyPress is gaining traction and as Matt says, has all the ingredients to become as large and successful as WordPress. I think the more people that use BuddyPress, the more that will use bbPress building that community simultaneously with BuddyPress.
You tell me, or Matt. What is the future of bbPress you would like to see turn into a reality? Also, if you use bbPress, tell me why and how.