Do you remember a little something called TalkPress? The idea was first mentioned in the public limelight back on January 1st, 2008 in a Houston Chronicle article where Dwight Silverman interviewed Matt Mullenweg. The bit about TalkPress went a little something like this:
Mullenweg says he’ll use the new cash to fund more projects, including a new forums product. Called TalkPress, he said it will be “smaller, lighter, with fewer features but a richer customization API.”
In other words, it will work a lot like WordPress, which is a basic framework upon which users add the features they really need. Mullenweg some time ago created a forum program, bbPress, and the TalkPress service will be built on that.
“I spend a lot of time on forums, and they drive me crazy,” he said. “They haven’t changed in 10 years.”
Yesterday, a new blog post on bbPress.org went into more detail regarding the project. The simplest way I can explain TalkPress is that it will be the WordPress.com of bbPress forums.
When TalkPress.com was launched with a phpBB forum, it was widely speculated that perhaps there would be some sort of joint partnership between the two open source projects but alas, it was only a joke. Once the forum started to become overrun with spam, they decided to take it down and replace the forum with a splash page which contains a few screenshots of a WordPress.com VIP client using the hosted service.
bbPress on the other hand which seems to be taking a good bit of time reaching a stable 1.0 release appears to have been delayed somewhat by the launch of TalkPress.
In the meantime we have been preparing bbPress to accommodate many of the needs that this new service would require, specific functionality has included preparing bbPress to handle the huge user tables of WordPress.com – some of this work is already available to bbPress users (even if it’s only really useful if you have millions of users).
Something to look forward to if you’re a bbPress user is a feature called bbPress channels. bbPress Channels does for bbPress what WordPress MU does for WordPress, except that it is a single file that is simply included in a standard bbPress install rather than being a complete fork of bbPress. Bits and pieces of this new feature can already be found in the software but the code is not ready for release just yet.
Last but not least, it’s comforting to know that TalkPress withstood a rigorous amount of security testing by one of their VIP clients before hosting their site on the service. The testing included comprehensive XSS and SQL injection tests. Sam Bauers then goes on to explain what the high priority list looks like for bbPress 1.0.
As for bbPress, some movement has occurred in the priorities leading up to a final 1.0 release. Some of the more fundamental changes that were planned are being put on the back-burner so that these aims can be achieved:
1. Full compatability with both WordPress 2.7 and 2.8
2. Easier integration steps for WordPress MU
3. Retaining compatibility with the existing catalogue of current plugins
This means that some things, like the planned re-factoring of the rewrite methods, are being postponed until some future version or even removed from the radar completely.
The next Alpha version of bbPress is imminent and will likely be the last bbPress 1.0 Alpha version. From there we will move into Beta and hopefully quite quickly through to Release Candidates for 1.0 in the next couple of months.
Talk About It In The Forum
We are currently discussing the launch of TalkPress here in the Tavern forums but it is exciting to see Automattic launch another service. As some people mention in the forum, I’m not sure how big of a business hosted forums are considering those who use the stand alone version of WordPress are probably savvy enough to install their own bulletin board system. However, as with WordPress.com, having the forum hosted for you without thinking about security, upgrades, and the rest of the baggage that comes with being a site administrator makes for a nice incentive to use a hosted solution. Also, I wonder if all users of WordPress.com will be allowed to create their own forum or if that will come at a price Or, I wonder if the forums will only be available to VIP clients?