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What Is The Immediate Future Of bbPress?

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October 28th, 2009
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bbpresslogoThat’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.

Your Thoughts:

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.

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  1. Kyle Baker (3 comments.) says:

    I’ve been using bbPress for two years now and love it. I use other forum software on difference domains, but for my personal site bbPress is ideal. I don’t know what I could contribute, but I would love to see future releases of bbPress to keep my setup secure. bbPress would be running a poor shop if they stopped releasing security updates and my WordPress/bbPress setup got hacked, but that’s a hight possibility when bbPress is left without support. BuddyPress is great, but bbPress has followers so the very least you could do is offer an easy conversion from bbPress to BuddyPress so we troopers can follow nearly effortlessly.

  2. Tadd Mencer (9 comments.) says:

    I tried bbPress a few times – trying to build up a community site. Like you said, not my cup o’ tea.

    If bbPress could use the WP themes, integrate seamlessly and effortlessly, that would be awesome. I used t use ‘Subdreamer’ – a for $ CMS. Not as great as WP by far – but had it’s uses. One was that there was a one click integration with PHPBB – which made adding forums into the website easy. No crazy coding or re-developing of your theme.

  3. Konstantin (6 comments.) says:

    Tadd, WP themes in bbPress? That’s nonsense. It’s like drinking milk from a wine glass. People are better off to write three different versions of their theme – WordPress, bbPress & BuddyPress. And call them Trio Themes or smth ;)

    Jeff, I personally think that bbPress is good enough to live. I’ve worked with it a couple of times and the fact that it comes without a bunch of out-of-the-box features like vBulletin or phpBB means only that it’s more customizable than those. Modifying the theme is so easy, coding plugins is as fluent as in WordPress, I like to think about it as “the usual way”, hooks, filters, y’know what I mean.

    BuddyPress is definitely something worth looking at too. I worked with BuddyPress a few months ago and I’m sure it’s been improved since then. Linking BuddyPress to bbPress is a three-click step, really, you don’t have to be a php expert, and the outcome is great!

    So Matt is right, both bbPress and BuddyPress have a future. I’m not sure about WordPress MU though, that’s gotta merge into WordPress. We’ve been waiting for months ;)

    ~ @kovshenin

  4. Ben (5 comments.) says:

    I was thinking about this today when realising one of my blog posts’ comments were getting rather large, ie 150 on the same page, I don’t use paged comments as I don’t like the way it looks/works and up until now didn’t really need to split them up anyway.

    I imagine an integration with bbPress as being a way for it to import the comments of the blog into a forum, separated by threads named after the blog post, then taking over the management of the comments on the blog and displaying the thread’s comments in place with all the features etc of the forum, I’m not sure how well that would work/look though and I imagine it would require theming to be quite similar.

  5. Jesse (3 comments.) says:

    I tried bbPress as well, and some features were just great about it (a couple of plugins and a half hour of badly documented configuration later) with automatic synchronization of comments/posts, and seamless user integration. However, it did seem like I needed to write the rest of the forum from scratch. Permissions were limited, the default template’s navigation was just terrible, and individual users have virtually no control over their profile or how it’s displayed.

    I think that after wp3.0 hits trunk, we’ll see bbPress getting some attention. The problem isn’t with the software itself, it’s robust and well-written based on everything I saw. The problem is just with the level of polish and attention to little details that most software developers tend to overlook (bah, it’d only take me 10 minutes to write that, I’ll get to it later).

    I’ll definitely be watching its progress, however. It’s my forum software of choice, I just want to wait for it to mature a bit.

  6. Doug Smith (17 comments.) says:

    I use and love bbPress because of its simplicity and integration with WordPress. I appreciate that bbPress doesn’t have all of the bloat that other forum software has. That keeps it simple and clean for me, and more importantly, for my users.

    That said, there are a few features that would really be nice to have added enhanced:

    1. Private messaging should be built it. It’s a basic function that everyone seems to want. Yes, there are plugins but they are very rough around the edges.

    2. Integrated search between a bbPress and WordPress install.

    3. WYSIWYG editor for users when they post. I’ve managed to get a minimal TinyMCE working on mine and the users love it.

    4. Built-in plugins browser and installer like WordPress.

    5. More/easier integration between bbPress and WordPress. For example, make it dead simple to do things like show related posts combined between the two.

    6. An option to use bbPress for WordPress commenting.

  7. Steven Bradley (3 comments.) says:

    About a year ago I installed bbPress just to see what it was all about. At the time I didn’t have a particular use for it and it still seemed less than mature to me. I would like to see it developed further though with tighter integration with WordPress.

    Like Doug I think private messaging should be built in by default. There were other features (I can’t remember which at the moment) that I would have liked to see. I don’t mind if some or most were plugins, but plugin development for bbPress still has a long way to go. I suppose if it’s used more that will quickly change.

    The idea of mingling bbPress with comments is a good one. The idea behind comments is to generate discussion and forums will typically generate a better discussion than blog comments. I am looking to bbPress for a site I’ll be developing in the near future to do something like this.

  8. Carrie (12 comments.) says:

    I have used bbPress on one of my many sites and I think it is a great idea. But like someone else said I would like to be able to have the same look as my blog too. And a few other additions if it was easier to implement I am sure more people would hop on bbPress.

  9. Michael (2 comments.) says:

    I like bbPress more than other forum software I have come accross, primarily because I figured it is made for WordPress. Linking WordPress comments and bbPress in some way would be great.

  10. Christopher (18 comments.) says:

    The integration work done by Andy was incredible. Before it really was extreme torture to try to get the two to work together, but that really should be just a start.
    Since they are owned by the same company there should be better integration (without plugins) I’d like to see a menu added to the wordpress backend for managing forum threads and posts.

    There should be options in the admin for allowing uploads of attachments to forum posts and really you shouldn’t have to use buddypress to be able to get the forum software working right :-)

    Of course WordPress is still missing multilingual features! integration of qtranslate plugin (with a fix for buddypress compatibility is crucial)!

  11. Kilroy (1 comments.) says:

    I think in order to get widespread use it should be developed as a plugin like SimplePress. The “plug and play” compatibility along with the WordPress brand behind it would definitely spur use.

    I tried bbpress but it’s just to much trouble when you can get other solutions with more feature just as easy or even easier.

  12. Lefteris (1 comments.) says:

    I’ve tried to integrate bbPress in several WP installations, mainly trying to extend the commenting feature, but even latest version does not integrate well. I’d like to see bbPress tidy integrated with WP and just as the above commenter said, it could be developed as plugin. Many promises were made in the past but I think bbPress remains a disappointment.

  13. imran (4 comments.) says:

    I guess most bloggers don’t need a forum. Even when they do, they look for VB since it’s feature riched Software and highly customizable… BBpress on the other is lacking many features As @Kilroy said above the only way to get widespread use it should be developed as a plugin.

  14. Alin (4 comments.) says:

    Personally I think that blogs and forums are mutually exclusive concepts. Bloggers write about their own ideas and users discuss them via comments. The discussion (theoretically) should be about the ideas in the post. A forum gives _any user_ the possibility to start a discussion about whatever the user is interested in. I don’t see where you would need to mix those two.



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