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bbPress News, Tips, and Plugins

Recently, has been fending off questions about , the popular open source, free forum platform. This past weekend at WordCamp Denver, and last month at WordCamp Las Vegas, audience members begged for an update on the status of bbPress. He joked in Denver that he felt he was being stalked by bbPress fans.

In a way, he is – from several directions.

was developed by Matt in the early days of WordPress, at a time when forums held their own and blogs were still new online publishing platforms. The assumption was that bbPress and would easily integrate since they were designed by the same person(s). Unfortunately, they didn’t play well together at first.

WordPress Support ForumAs the WordPress forums grew with bbPress under the hood, bbPress was tested to it’s full capacity, leading to a variety of customizations and tweaking to accommodate the growth and evolution of WordPress into a world-wide acclaimed blogging platform. With that growth out pacing bbPress development of the platform for the public, frustration within the WordPress Community also grew. This was highlighted recently by long time WordPress Support Forums volunteer, MichaelH, who reminded the WordPress Community, developers, and staff that the support forums need improvement to keep up with the demand upon the forums and the volunteers and staff who run them, requesting they improve the functionality of bbPress.

There is a lot to be said for a program technically not out of beta development that is capable of handling the sheer massive volume of traffic and forum posts every day for two of the most popular blogging platforms in the world, WordPress and WordPress.com, but more needs to be done to help it meet that demand.

From the user perspective, bbPress has been too silent too long in development. More and more bloggers want to add a forum to their blogs, and naturally turn to the sister product of WordPress, bbPress.

For those using WordPress and bbPress forums, the hassle of merging the two is frustrating and tedious. They want bbPress to recognize that WordPress is installed and automatically configure the two to work together seamlessly.

Those dependent upon bbPress for their forums long for a few feature improvements, more bbPress Plugins, and improvements in bbPress documentation.

With recent announcements from the bbPress blog and forums, it looks like all parties will begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel.

bbPress Development

Within the last few months, a lot of activity is going on around the popular forum program. Matt admitted that he’s ignored bbPress development over the past few years, but this year, with renewed energy from developers like Sam Bauer, bbPress is revitalized with two new bbPress releases and improvements for integrating WordPressMU and bbPress.

While there are instructions on integrating bbPress into WordPress in the bbPress documentation, Bauer recently produced a video how to on integrating a bbPress Forum with your self-installed WordPress for . He also worked with long time WordPress developer Michael Adams to produce the bbPress Integration WordPress Plugin which integrates bbPress into a WordPress blog for logins and user access, all controlled through the WordPress Administration Panels.

The close ties between the WordPress official sites and the bbPress forums for WordPress and WordPress.com users, and the demand by WordPress users for such integration, has brought about the development of a wide range of WordPress Plugins to make the process easier and improve functionality.

Some popular bbPress Plugins include the bbPress Live WordPress Plugin integrates bbPress forum live posts within WordPress blog, the Add bbPress Default Role WordPress Plugin which automatically adds WordPress users a bbPress role of member when registering with the WordPress blog, and the bbPress Admin WordPress Plugin adds administration features from bbPress admin to WordPress Administration Panels.

Last year, Justin Tadlock asked the bbPress community to help him bring some “sexy” to bbPress with a variety of bbPress Themes, opening up the design potential for bbPress users, just as WordPress Themes has done for WordPress blogs. Forums don’t have to be boring looking, so why not. However, currently, outside of the bbPress forums and searches, there isn’t a single repository for bbPress Themes nor announcements except for fan sites.

With this new invested interest in bbPress, expect to hear a lot more about various bbPress Plugins and Themes. I’ve highlighted some more interesting bbPress Plugins and bbPress forum usages below.

Who Uses bbPress?

bbPress Showcase keeps a list of bbPress users and forums around the world and have put together a Top 100 bbPress Forums showcase list based upon number of posts, users, and user votes as their favorites. It is an interesting collection and mishmash of different forum types and topics.

The top 5 bbPress Forums are:

When it comes to handling volumes of content, the Top 100 bbPress Forums list showcases Greedy or Needy Forum with 949,229 posts and WordPress Support Forums with 844,685. That’s a huge amount of data.

If you sort the list by number of users, though I’m not sure where the statistics come from, the top six bbPress forums are:

Forums listed in the WordPress Support ForumIt’s fairly likely that the number of users on the WordPress Support Forum and WordPressMU Forums are tied together, as are the India and Spanish WordPress.com forums, which accounts for the matching numbers, and with the age of the WordPress.org forum, you would expect to find a lot more users. Either way, the number of users for these is incredible, showing what bbPress is truly capable of.

Out of curiosity, I checked other WordPress related forums and their numbers were also impressive. They include:

The variety of topics covered by all the different forums on the list is impressive. One that especially caught my eye as a fan is the Floor42: Fans of Douglas Adams.

bbPress Plugins

There are a lot of people using bbPress to run forums on their blogs, though not many sites offering tips, tricks, and techniques for using bbPress. This hasn’t prevented bbPress fans from creating some fascinating forums and bbPress Plugins to help them manage and customize their forums.

bbPress Showcase is one such fan forum for bbPress users and features an extensive list of the bbPress Plugins used on the site such as the modular My Views which allows a variety of modules for customizing informational content like My Views module – Most/Least Views, My Views module – Started/Participated Topics, and My Views module – Polls.

Other bbPress Plugins they list and use on their bbPress forum include:

Looking at the wide range of bbPress Plugins, I was surprised at all the possibilities, and at a loss as there isn’t much on the Plugin Development Center wiki to help bbPress Plugin developers, though it continues to be listed on main resource pages.

The bbPress Plugin Directory is active and does list a variety of Plugins. Some interesting bbPress Plugins I found there included:

  • Admin Can Post Anything allows administrators to include any markup in their forum posts.
  • Allow Images will allow image tags in forum posts for pngs, gifs, or jpgs.
  • Avatar Upload allows easy uploading of Avatars to user Profiles.
  • bb-Lightbox2 displays images on current page with lightbox effect.
  • bbRatings allows users to rate forum posts.
  • bbPress Smilies adds clickable smilies or emoticons to forum post textarea.
  • BBcode Buttons adds an easy button toolbar to the forum post textarea for allowing quicktags in BBcode such as links, lists, bold, italic, etc. BBcode must be enabled, such as the BBcode Lite for bbPress.
  • BBcode Lite for bbPress is a faster version of the BBcode feature that allows users to mix bbcode and HTML in the same post.
  • bbPress Latest Discussion generates lastest discussion list from bbPress Forum into your WordPress blog.
  • bbSocialize allows setting and displaying social media profiles in public forum profile.
  • bbVideo converts links to known video portals to matching embedded players and supports sharing options and downloading capabilities.
  • Google Analitycs for bbPress adds Google Analytics tracking to bbPress forums.
  • Hidden Forums hides forums within bbPress.
  • Post Edit Look Behind allows viewing of previous posts on the topic when editing the post.
  • Private Forums creates private forums within bbPress.
  • Private Messaging adds private messages within bbPress forums.
  • Simple Onlinelist This plugin displays all users which were online over the past 5 minutes. It can also display when a user was last online on his profile page.
  • Terms of Service helps add a policy Page to your bbPress forum.
  • Threaded posts creates threaded posts so users can reply to individual forum posts in a thread fashion.

Tips and Techniques for Using bbPress

bbPress Documentation is almost non-existent. Most of the information on installing, using, and customizing bbPress can be found in fan blog posts and on the bbPress Forums.

bbPress Showcase is packed with questions and answers and tips for using bbPress with WordPress and without. A few good tips and techniques listed on their forums include:

They also offer the bbPress and WordPress MySQL database table reference to help bbPress webmasters, administrators, and Plugin authors.

List of posts in the WordPress Support Forum

Some more articles on bbPress and WordPress integration, usage, and tips include:

It’s clear that has come a long way from its early rough days, and hopefully, it will continue to grow and evolve to become easier to use, especially alongside a WordPress blog.



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Copyright Lorelle VanFossen, the author of Blogging Tips, What Bloggers Won't Tell You About Blogging.

23 Comments

  1. Posted March 4, 2009 at 4:22 am | Permalink

    if i remember correctly, 9rules.com is powered by a seriously customized version of bbpress… 9Rules Community Site Powered by WordPress and bbPress.

    wow.

  2. Posted March 4, 2009 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    I’m surprised at the relatively low number of posts on the top bbPress forums. I would have thought it’d be much, much more.

  3. Posted March 4, 2009 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    I’m using BBPress for a very small forum and it’s so tricky and wobbly that I can’t wait for smarter people than I to improve on this excellent (but firmly beta and actually I’m using the latest unstable version because the beta doesn’t match up with WP as nicely) software. It’s got a lot of possibilities and WP developer types are SMART so it’s pretty dang exciting.

  4. Posted March 4, 2009 at 8:59 am | Permalink

    Hey Lorelle,

    Probably more relevant than the tutorial I created you list above for integrating WPMu and bbPress is WordPressMU – bbPress Integration, a more recent one I wrote integrating WPMu, bbPress, and BuddyPress here: Integrating WordPressMU, BuddyPress, and bbPress.

    And damn your posts are insanely comprehensive, wow!

    • Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:09 am | Permalink

      Thanks Jim for the kind words and the great articles for bbPress tips you offer. I’ll add them to the list!

  5. Posted March 4, 2009 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle, Wow. Your article is so comprehensive.

    I have avoided BBpress because I was afraid of its integration. I opted to use a Ning Forum as my forum hoping the social aspect idea would get people more talkative. I would love your thoughts on using a Ning with wordpress to add to your website.

  6. Posted March 4, 2009 at 12:22 pm | Permalink

    Hi Lorelle,

    Thanks for linking to my ‘How to: Install the Latest Version of bbPress Locally’ article. It’s a good reminder for me to update it. :)

    You can expect more bbPress articles and themes from me in the future.

    Take care.

  7. Michael Torbert
    Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:41 pm | Permalink

    Great article. As always, this is very informative and interesting. Like Viper007Bond, I would have like to have seen more top forums. I really haven’t seen too many examples so far of exceptional uses out there.

    • Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

      @Michael: bbPress Showcase has a list of the top 1000 forums using bbPress that is available to registered users. I just covered the tip of the ice berg of what bbPress is capable of. I was delighted with all the different ways bbPress is being used as I went through the top 100 listing, so why don’t you explore it, too, and see what interesting setups you can find.

  8. Posted March 4, 2009 at 10:54 pm | Permalink

    I heard in a podcast of wordpress or was it phpbb weekly? anyways that there are talks around between people (not the officials of either side), to do a bridging of wordpress and phpbb. I am a fan of phpbb and I have used a few other.

    I have certain policy on plugins, styles/skins/themes that I use.

    If the author doesn’t support it….as in last update was 500+ days ago (I was searching for a plugin and it said something around 560 or so days since last update), or takes 3 months to reply… Then I will not use it.

    Do not neglect your plugin/style. If I am going to put something out there, then I am going to put something that is good quality.

    BBPress has been neglected for as long as I can remember. I lost faith in BBPress long LONG time ago. Nothing against you Matt (Mullenweg) but if you can’t do it, why not have a seperate team for bbpress? why not have the community help out as well. A LOT of phpbb3 is there because it’s members.

    For any function that I want, I can find so many plugins.
    For forums I can find phpbb, xmbforum, mercuryboard, and others.

    By the way, it would be nice if I could install a theme that is compatible for both Word and BB Press.

    From all the WordPress universe areas, this one I am seriously dissapointed with.

    Doesn’t BuddyPress really do what Facebook is doing? (I haven’t really read as much as I should about BuddyPress).

    • Posted March 4, 2009 at 11:22 pm | Permalink

      @Miroslav: Douglas Bell does a lot of work with phpbb and WordPress, so he would be the best person to ask for help on that. He does a weekly podcast called phpBB Weekly.

      There is a separate team for handling bbPress, they just haven’t been very vocal. Sam Bauer has been working on bbPress for quite a long time and the WordPress Support Forums have taken a lot of attention away from the strict development of the product, so hopefully he and others can concentrate more on improving it, since the demand is growing to have WordPress and forums mixed together.

      As for BuddyPress, it is social media tools on crack. :D It brings the social media back to your blog, where you control your social network, not another company.

  9. Robert
    Posted March 7, 2009 at 9:03 am | Permalink

    I heard Buddypress was coming out with a new version to be used on single wordpress installs. Is this true? And will it work with BBpress?

    • Posted March 7, 2009 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

      BuddyPress will eventually be available for full versions of WordPress. There is talk that it will also integrate with bbPress, but probably only with WordPress/bbPress integrations, since BuddyPress requires WordPress at present.

  10. Posted March 21, 2009 at 9:15 am | Permalink

    i’m using bbpress for my forum too…integrating with my wordpress blog..i thing bbpress is not to bad.good enough.

  11. Posted March 22, 2009 at 4:07 am | Permalink

    I just wanted to point out your link to the Top 100 list is broken in this article – it is actually:

    http://bbshowcase.org/forums/view/top100

    However I should note the list is completely unofficial and more importantly, half a year out of date. I will attempt to update it sometime in April as there has been a great deal of growth in the number of and size of sites using bbPress.

    • Posted March 23, 2009 at 9:21 pm | Permalink

      Thanks. The site kept going down while I was writing the article, so I’m not sure what might have happened in the process. I’ll update it.

      And keep up the incredible work. bbshowcase is a great example of the possible.

  12. Posted March 23, 2009 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

    I was thinking of using bbPress, but their development is so slow it really turned me off. I love how it looks and works, but what if a security breach is found out? How long would it take for them to fix it? I will rather wait until the forum software is a little bit more developed and I will definitely be inclined to use it.

    • Posted March 23, 2009 at 9:11 pm | Permalink

      Security issues get an immediate response, but it’s up to the webmaster to act upon the notice. bbPress has been around for five years, so how long are you going to wait. :D They are working on it, so I expect a lot of improvement in the next year. A lot!

  13. Posted July 3, 2009 at 5:03 am | Permalink

    That was a nice read

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    • Posted September 29, 2012 at 9:29 am | Permalink

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4 Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. […] bbPress News, Tips, and Plugins […]

  2. […] Improvements to WordPress Support Forums and bbPress: WordPress Tavern recently pointed out that MichaelH’s recent review and recommendations for the WordPress Support Forums and WordPress.com Forums and Sam Bauer responded with answers to upgrading BBPress project with those points in mind as a “thing to do” list. Hopefully, we will see improvements and changes in the forums, and those benefits passed on to the popular forum program. I recently covered bbPress news, tips, and Plugins. […]

  3. […] recently covered a lot of bbPress news, tips, and plugins, and I know bbPress is plenty powerful to handle such a task, but it will be interesting to see how […]

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