9 Comments


  1. Cool project Ryan, there is a real need for more quality bbPress themes!

    I’ve tweaked Kakumei to match a few WordPress themes so far, and I’m currently working on my first original bbPress theme.

    When it comes to including plugin functionality themes, I’m on the fence. I like to keep themes simple and not have important functionality dependent on the functionality.

    It seems like redundant code anyways, why redo the code for some feature, or roll it into the theme if it already exists as a plugin? Particularly for bbPress where there are not that many plugins, it seems like that effort would be better put into new plugins, or updating plugins that don’t work properly with 1.0 yet.

    I can understand how you’d want to be able to include more of these features in one package. But it seems like a bit of a hack to me. Some of these features should make it into core eventually no matter how lightweight they want to keep bbPress. I think rather than themes with plugin functionality, I’d rather see more comprehensive plugins that can replace 4 or 5 smaller plugins. Like Nightgunner5’s excellent bbPress Moderation Suite.

    Myself, I am trying to build my bbPress theme to work with existing plugins better. So that if you install the bbcode button plugin, or signatures, it styles them to fit into the theme, but without being dependent on them.

    You’ve started an ambitious project though! I’m definitely interested to see what you come up with, and if I can contribute anything that I learn from building my own theme, I’d be happy to pitch in.


  2. The problem for me with bbPress themes, is that they are totally different than WordPress themes. So, it’s not like you can just which from blogging software (WordPress) to forum software (bbPress) and create themes for each. I’ve looked into developing bbPress themes, and it doesn’t appear to be any more difficult, rather just different and less motivating (due to being less popular).

    While I think it’s a good idea to develop a bbPress in a theme community. I think having it as a replacement for theme competitiveness is misplaced, that is, if I didn’t misunderstand you. I think there a quite a few WordPress theme developers, that would like to develop bbPress themes, but haven’t found the time (myself included). This looks like the chicken or the egg problem. bbPress needs to be popular to attract developers, but people aren’t going to come if bbPress and bbPress theme aren’t developed. I think bbPress will pick up speed in several months. Hopefully your project gets a bbPress theme out the door, then bbPress will be that much more attractable.


  3. When it comes to including plugin functionality themes, I’m on the fence. I like to keep themes simple and not have important functionality dependent on the functionality.

    The problem with that approach, is that you often need to modify the theme to accomodate the plugin in a suitable manner. Many plugins add styling information to the site, and you really need that to be styled by the theme, not via the plugin, or else the plugin itself will require some sort of theming system which is likely to be a pain in the neck.

    There are also features which are required by pretty much every single forum but are not available by default within bbPress.

    And then there are features which are currently available as plugins, but IMO (and pretty much every other forum software out there) tend to include with the theme. Things like quick-quotes, forum stats and various bits of javascript spring to mind. I don’t know of any bbPress themes which include this sort of stuff, despite it being the sort of thing typically included in a forum theme.

    The other reasoning behind it is that people don’t want to risk uploading 15+ plugins just to get their forum running. Every plugin is a risk, and at least with a theme, you only need to rely on that theme being maintained. However if a plugin developer stops working on their plugin you are screwed.

    Having said all this, removing the functionality would be a piece of cake, it would juts be a matter of ripping out a bunch of folders and a single line of code in the theme. The functionality will sit on top of the theme as an added extra, it will still operate without it. Since the sort of people helping with the design side of things are likely to know nothing about PHP and vice versa, it shouldn’t result in our volunteers being spread too thing across the project.

    Here’s the launch post for the functionality side of the project:
    http://www.sitepoint.com/forums/showthread.php?p=4338063


  4. Darn, ran out of time to edit my comment above!

    I was going to mention that lots of very specific plugin-like functionality should not be included in the theme. I’ve mentioned Captcha’s a few times recently as some people have been complaining that bbPress does not provide them by default, but personally I see that as very much plugin material, not suitable for a theme.

    However, if some functionalities such as forum signatures are not included in the default bbPress installation then I wouldn’t mind that being included in the theme. It’s a little weird, but it is ‘sort of’ theme related in that it is something which is displayed on almost every page of the forum.

    When we were discussing it behind closed doors, we decided that adding certain ‘standard forum functionalities’ would be a good idea to make it as easy as possible for someone to get their forum up and running. Personally I’m not a big fan of having to install a whole suite of plugins on EVERY site I launch. With WordPress I rarely need to install any plugins, it has everything I require straight out of the box and many themes (particularly the ‘theme frameworks’ and commercial themes) include a certain amount of plugin-like functionality in them too which reduces the need for plugins.

    Also, there is a fine line between a plugin and a theme in both bbPress and WordPress. A theme is really just a specific type of plugin.


  5. I think rather than themes with plugin functionality, I’d rather see more comprehensive plugins that can replace 4 or 5 smaller plugins. Like Nightgunner5’s excellent bbPress Moderation Suite.

    We could do that instead I suppose. We could release a plugin which is provided as a complementary extension for the theme.


  6. The thing that annoys me about the default bbpress theme is that the whole header is an image. Talk about making it hard for people to customize etc


  7. I can’t see how the header being an image makes it difficult to customise. Should just be a matter of removing the background image to make it not an image anymore.


  8. @Ryan

    The problem with that approach, is that you often need to modify the theme to accomodate the plugin in a suitable manner. Many plugins add styling information to the site, and you really need that to be styled by the theme, not via the plugin, or else the plugin itself will require some sort of theming system which is likely to be a pain in the neck.

    Yeah, I have ran into this problem of trying to over-ride with some bbPress plugins. I wish that these plugins were left a little more open to the theme’s styles. I am going to try to support as many popular plugins as I can with my theme’s style, but I suppose you have to cut your losses somewhere.

    It is fine line, I agree that AJAX features would be a good candidate for inclusion in the theme. For functionality that actually adds content, like signatures, I could see some users being upset if they switched themes and “lost” that content. I guess they could keep the sigs by tweaking the new theme, but using a plugin seems more self-contained.

    We could release a plugin which is provided as a complementary extension for the theme.

    That would be cool, even just sharing the extra functionality that you add to the theme as a plugin suite for people that would like to use it on other themes would be well received I am sure!


  9. This sounds like a great project. I hope that what comes out of it is an excellent piece of work that can be considered for inclusion into bbPress core or, just become a really good foundation for bbPress theme building.

Comments are closed.