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bbPress To Become Canonical WordPress Plugin?

bbpressMatt 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?