AfterÂ many months (if not years) of neglect, it looks likeÂ bbPress fans will in the not so distant future be able to easily create a forum for their WordPress blog without having to muck around with FTP settings.
If you havenâ€™t been keeping up withÂ our progress over the past few months, youâ€™re in for a treat. bbPress 1.0.3 is due out any day, as is 1.1 Release Candidate 1 which includes new features like email notification on follow-up posts and anonymous posting.Â Thereâ€™s also a lot going on under the hood ofÂ the new WordPress plugin version of bbPress, and in an effort to get more people involved weâ€™re bringing back the bi-monthly development chats in #bbpress on the freenode network on IRC. (Official bbPress Blog)
Note: Emphasis mine.
Although sometimes considered a relic tool in the age of social networking, forums are still utilized by numerous blogs as a way to have more organized discussions around specific topics.
With the exception of a few plugins likeÂ Mingle Forum andÂ WP Forum Server, many “5 minute install” forum options are not only sorely outdated, but also incompatible with the latest version of WordPress.
With bbPress joining the plugin route, it should help give some much needed TLC to forums in general (at least within the WordPress community) and perhaps encourage bloggers to create their own communities instead of outsourcing everythingÂ to Facebook.
Matt Mullenweg dropped the bombshell yesterday in IRC: bbPress, the often forgotten forum option, could become a WordPress plugin in the near future.
Anyone who has ever looked at integrating forums with their WordPress blog knows that right at the moment bbPress an underpowered option is. Integrating other forums can be a real headache (Vanilla 2 Beta has a one way integration add-on, from WP to Vanilla) and bridges can break when changes to the database are made with new releases.
The first reaction of several people in IRC and on Twitter was that they prefer bbPress to be a standalone option but possible advantages of bbPress as a plugin largely outweigh here:
- User database integration;
- The possibility of an improved role management system to deal with the roles for integrated boards (extra admins, moderators)
- Site wide plugin interoperability;
- Site wide theme interoperability;
- Easy media upload and the new image editor in WP2.9;
Most of al I liked the possible [bbpress] shortcodes Matt hinted at:
[13:11] <Ryan_> There’s a lot of stuff in WordPress which would automatically become available with no effort if the two were combined.
[13:11] <photomatt_sf> that’s more along the lines of my [bbpress] shortcode idea
[13:11] <hajii> shortcodes for bbpress would be great
[13:11] <photomatt_sf> [bbpress tag="akismet-plugin"]
[13:11] <benhuson> @hajii – Yes, I think being able to benefit from existing wordpress theme would be a huge asset
[13:11] <photomatt_sf> [bbpress forum="newbies"]
The WordPress Shortcode API is very powerful and can be used to eliminate many plugins (related posts, Adsense in posts, send to Twitter, image galleries, image captions to mention only a few) and there is no doubt that this shortcode integration could lead to new possibilities, both for developers/designers and users. It would also be very nice to be able to post to your forum from the regular post page in the dashboard.
For those who prefer bbPress to be used as a standalone option, you could always set your forums as home page while still benefitting all the advantages which come with the WP integration.
One last thought: could it be that Matt’s motivation to convert bbPress to a plugin would make bbPress the first canonical plugin?