To support our PHP script users we’ve used bbpress in the past. bbpress is a great peace of software and is based on WordPress, that will say if you’re able to write code for WordPress you can code the same way for bbpress. There are several WordPress plugins which work with bbpress out of the box!
Since version 1.2, the stand alone version of bbPress is no longer under active development! If you like to use bbpress for your forum, try the bbpress plugin for WordPress
Why a forum and not just email support and why bbpress?
As a software developer you get most common support questions more than once. Sharing information is useful for others and a forum is a great platform for user support. bbpress is a very basic forum without heavy stuff like personal messaging and is very fast even with lots of users / posts. We like the WordPress/bbpress API very much and it’s quite easy to add extra functionality. Sure there are still lot of features missing like merging topics or other important moderator stuff, but I’m sure the developers of bbress are on the right way. There is one more thing with bbpress, the system is able to work with the same user base as WordPress. That will say you can connect your blog with your forum site, a great feature for communities.
Optimizing bbpress using plugins
BBpress has no functions for search engine optimization at the moment. This plugin will optimize your forum on the most important places. The plugin will rewrite your page titles and will add meta descriptions and meta tags. Furthermore the SEO plugin will add no-index information to the forums index pages to minimize the content duplication. The plugin is based on the idea of the All in One SEO Pack for WordPress from Michael Torbert.
This BBpress plugin is designed to help admins and moderators monitor users by certain usergroups. Inspired by the Post Notification Plugin written by Thomas Klaiber this plugin will notify moderators by mail for each new post.
This plugin is an important function for every bbpress forum. At the moment there is no feature to let people “auto-subscribe” to their own topics or to topic they wrote and answer or comment. With plugin makes it possible to auto add each topic to the forum favorites list and with the “Post Notification” plugin it’s also possible to notify each member if a new post is written.
If you use the bbpress SEO Tools from our website, then is this sitemap plugin for you! This plugin generates XML nodes for exactly the same URLs which are getting marked as “Index” by the SEO tools. There is also some function to create different priorities and frequencies for topics which are older and/or have more replies and posts. The plugin is based on the XML sitemap plugin from Rich Boakes.
This plugin will highlight your code snippets using the PHP class GeSHi. With bbPress core version it’s possible to post code blocks using the html “code” tag, but the presentation is very basic and hard to read by the forum member. Using this plugin the user is able to highlight code in most popular coding of programming language. This plugin is a fork from the WordPress plugin WP-Syntax by Ryan McGeary.
More bbpress plugins (3rd party)
Update: Seems like the bbpress plugin section got some updates. I removed the broken links for the 3rd party plugins below, check the link at the end of this post if you’re looking for a plugin for your standalone bbpress forum.
Comment Quicktags for bbPress
The core version of bbpress has no extra options in their reply/post box, it’s just a textarea. A lot of html markup is allowed and this plugin will add some buttons to the form which helps users writing “nice” postings. This plugin is very old, but it works for the current version (1.02).
Human Test for bbPress
There are several plugins to limit registrations by bots and spammer. I like this one because it’s better integrated than others and it’s easier to handle by new members than ReCaptcha validation for example.
We know the related blog post plugins from WordPress, this one works the same way and for a forum it’s very useful. It is great for inter-linking (SEO) and it helps members to find related topics very fast. This plugin works much better if your forum has enough tags set for each topic.
EDIT: I disabled the related topics plugin yesterday for my forum because it stopped working. I will post an update if found a solution.
SMTP mailer for bbPress
The email function used by the core version is already based on phpmailer, but is still using PHP’s mail() function. It seems that many passwords send after registration, never reached the inbox from the new member. Many bbpress users solved this while using this plugin to send mail messages via SMTP.
These days social sites are a great way to share content with others. This plugin is also based on a WordPress plugin and is a great addition for your forum.
We use these plugins at finalwebsites.com together with the recent version of bbpress. They are compatible even with our custom template for bbpress. Some of them need tiny modifications in the template files. If you like to see more custom bbpress modifications check the comments below.