Listener Poll: Do You Think bbPress Will Evolve Into A WordPress Plugin?

The poll this week deals with bbPress because that’s what this weeks episode of WordPress Weekly will be about (hopefully). I’m wondering whether or not you think bbPress will someday change from being dedicated software, to a feature packed WordPress plugin. I can see the day when the architecture of bbPress reaches the point that most of it’s functionality can be placed into a plugin which is administered through the WordPress backend. Perhaps such an extended integration would be able to replace the commenting system in WordPress with one powered by bbPress which I think would be pretty cool. Of course, I say this without knowing anything about the underlying infrastructure of the bbPress software. What do you think?

[poll id=”21″]

18 responses to “Listener Poll: Do You Think bbPress Will Evolve Into A WordPress Plugin?”

  1. I would love to see that. Installed a plugin is so much easier then setting up a separate software package and linking it to WordPress like bbPress. With a plugin just activate it and it automatically integrates with your users and website.

  2. @JD Hartley – I second that. Just look at P2, with the right theme, you could just about turn WordPress into a forum without even using any bbPress code. But I can’t see it happening.

  3. I say no, and I also say that I certainly hope that it doesn’t happen (at least not at the expense of the stand-alone app).

    By the way, linking bbPress and WordPress is dead easy. It is as simple as adding a few lines to bb-config.php. That will link user management for bbPress and WordPress, which should suffice for most integration needs.

    I’ve not tried so-called deep-linking (which would load WP along with bbPress), but it seems like it wouldn’t be that complicated, either. It is possible to do so even now, which would allow for, say, integration of comment threads and forum threads.

    But, even with all that integration, I don’t want to clutter up my WP admin back-end with bbPress forums/threads/posts/etc. admin – and vice versa.

    I see no harm in keeping them separate, and no real advantage in combining them by evolving bbPress into a WP plugin.

  4. I guess it would be nice to have it as a Plugin available. If WordPress mu is going to be the same as WordPress we might see BuddyPress and bbPress as Plugins and you get to build your social community site the easiest way out there.

  5. The difference between WordPress and bbPress is like the difference between Humans and Primates. Both manage content from an original author, then follow up authors. Both are designed to display web content and include a header, footer, content area, and sidebars… but every element is optional. Both have page templates for different types of pages. When you think about it from a development point of view, it can clearly be done and it wouldn’t be the hardest of things.

  6. @jack the man – Gave it a try when I was looking at forum solutions for WPTavern and although I liked having that functionality out of the box in a simple WordPress plugin, it was very hard for me to work with and style. So I choose not to go with it.

    @JD Hartley – I’m in the same boat.

    @Brad – While integrating the two through the database is pretty easy, I think bbPress in a plugin would make the entire process even easier.

    @Ryan McCue – I understands that. But look at the merger going on with WordPress MU and WordPress. I think it’s conceivable that somewhere down the road, bbPress can just turn into a plugin for WordPress.

    @Chip Bennett – I also see no harm in keeping them separate but if through a plugin, you could replace the commenting system in WordPress with bbPress, wouldn’t that be pretty cool for integration?

    @Nicolas – BuddyPress is a series of plugins that when combined together, form BuddyPress. It’s not stand alone software.

    @Dan Cole – That is where I was coming from with this poll. I think the possibilities are there for some sort of way for WordPress to take bbPress to the next level. Or the other way around.

  7. @Jeffro – The difference is that WordPress and WP MU are both almost the same. They’re both blogging software. bbPress, however, is forum software. Personally, I like having it separate.

    One must remember though, bbPress was designed for the WP support forums. It’s not designed to be everything to everyone, and it’s not designed to be a simple, plug-in solution.

  8. There isn’t really any need for it to be a plugin. It’s fairly straightforward to deep integrate the two already. It’s not particularly hard to create a bbPress theme grabs your WordPress theme header, footer and overall design either. My bbPress template generator is already able to do that with themes form my WordPress theme generator and there is no reason why WordPress theme developers couldn’t add support for it within their own themes. It does require both the WordPress theme and bbPress theme to be coded to match up correctly, but if a few different bbPress core themes were developed, then WordPress themers could pick the bbPress theme which matched up with their own theme their own template files the best and recommend their users use that.

    Adding bbPress support as a plugin would still be handy for some people though and I’d be surprised if it doesn’t happen eventually.

  9. It’s not so black and white :)

    We’ve had some ideas around this, like making a WordPress plugin that installs bbPress for you. That way, the installer can automatically gather all the integration details it needs without user input.

    So yes and no is a possible answer, but strictly speaking, there are no plans to make bbPress a plugin for WordPress. We would loose a lot of the softwares speed and malleability if we did that.

  10. To understand why bbPress will never be a plugin, you have to understand bbPress history.

    bbPress was written out of parts of WordPress code by Matt (in just a few days) to replace minibb on It was released a couple years later as 0.7 under GPL so it could benefit from the free labor of community contributions, just like WordPress.

    bbPress 0.8 and 0.9 actually corrected several of the “mistakes” in WordPress that have become a burden of legacy and backwards compatibility. But with 0.7-0.8 integration was not a main focus and no attempt was made to make it particularly easy, though it was possible. By 0.9, integration had become quite a bit easier (that is until WP 2.6 then 2.7 then 2.8 kept changing the @$%!@$ cookies and breaking compatibility).

    Matt then decided to have TalkPress created, which is like a forums version of WordPress VIP – Automattic hosted forums for premium customers. However he wanted an easier to maintain code base between the projects and object based caching like WordPress, so he directed that a subset of WordPress code be created (backPress) and replace the existing code in bbPress.

    So bbPress 1.0 as it stands now is a rather different creature internally than 0.9 – it maintains most of the 0.9 compatibility thanks to a massive effort by Sam (but still breaks enough to be a pain in the @#$ to plugin developers). However because of the backPress bloat from WordPress, it’s now 50% bigger than the relatively lightweight 0.9 and takes 50% longer to generate most pages due to it’s increased complexity to interface with backPress.

    Until WordPress itself is changed to also use backPress therefore sharing code during integration, and to the best of my knowledge there is no such intent stated on even the far future timeline, deep integration of bbPress into WordPress requires a massive amount of code to be loaded and executed for every page (nearly 1 MB per instance) and at least 30 queries per page BEFORE plugins do their thing. Such a load would get a user kicked off most shared hosts without caching on a busy site and forums don’t lend themselves to page caching as well as a blog because members typically get non-cached pages.

    So no, bbPress will never be a plugin for WordPress.
    (but there will be a plugin for WordPress to automatically INSTALL bbPress, which I think is a different animal entirely than what you are asking)

    ps. all of this is simply my opinion based on observation and experience

  11. ck: You are the man for bbpress! Thanks for clearing that up and sharing how bbpress evolved, I didn’t know that lol

  12. So no, bbPress will never be a plugin for WordPress.
    (but there will be a plugin for WordPress to automatically INSTALL bbPress, which I think is a different animal entirely than what you are asking)

    I assumed it would be a lot more sensible to create a plugin which integrated an existing bbPress install into your WordPress installation. I guess if you can install bbPress with the wp-content/plugins/ folder then that would make a lot of sense though (I’m assuming that’s what you have in mind).

    I’m guessing getting it to work within an existing WP theme will be quite complex though. Sounds exciting :)

  13. @Ryan

    I assumed it would be a lot more sensible to create a plugin which integrated an existing bbPress install into your WordPress installation.

    Ryan, what sort of integration are you looking for? WordPress and bbPress are already fairly integrated, pretty much out of the box.

  14. with the uncertainity there is about the future of bbPress I thinks it’s going to collapse into nothing after all.

    (btw nice site design… even the form buttons have been taken care of)


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