bbPress 2.1 is officially out and available for download! You know you want to get it now. bbPress 2.0 was released back in September 2011, and this new update comes with lots of neat improvements and new features.
What is bbPress?
bbPress is a super simple, fast, and FREE, PHP-powered forum WordPress plugin – often integrated along side BuddyPress within free and premium themes.
According to the bbPress Blog, here is a handful of the new features from the update:
- WordPress 3.4 compatible
- Registered users can view private forums
- Topics/replies utilizing Akismet (free plugin for personal use) to minimize spam
- Theme compatibility improvements, and an updated forum converter
- Fixes to user-edits and Akismet edit bugs
- Improved admin settings, bbPress 1.1 conversion, breadcrumbs, and BuddyPress integration
- Added HiDPI menu icons, a fallback theme selector, and more
A while back bbPress was it’s own platform that had to be installed seperate from WordPress, but since version 2.0 it actually became a WordPress plugin, making it even easier to use and integrate with your website. So all you need to do is get the plugin from the codex and install it. To install a fresh copy of bbPress on your site, simply follow these five steps:
- Drop the ‘bbpress’ folder into the ‘/wp-content/plugins/’ directory
- Activate the bbPress plugin
- Use ‘Settings > Forums’ to tweak the configuration
- Create your forums
- Customize your CSS (or activate bbPress compatible theme)
If you already have bbPress 2.0 then you should receive a notice in your dashboard telling you there is an update available.
bbPress Compatible Themes
Now that you’ve got an amazing (and up-to-date) forum using bbPress, you might want to find a theme that includes styles built-in for the plugin (bbPress can run on any theme with the default look, but some themes include extra styling to match the forum to the overall theme design).
I’ve put together two lists – one of free and the other of premium themes all of which have added styles and are compatible with the bbPress forum plugin.
Free bbPress Themes
Elbee Elgee – a simple theme with 30 layouts , plenty of widgets, and support for custom sidebars, headers, backgrounds and of course bbPress integration.
Graphene – a minimal theme with bbPress support, custom backgrounds and colors, deeply threaded comments, built in Ad-sense and social media, 25 language options, and more.
Premium bbPress Themes
CheerApp - This clean and functional theme was designed with developers in mind, but would be great for anyone wanting to showcase a portfolio of works. CheerApp comes with a long list of awesome features such as a knowledgebase, bbPress Support Forum (even has the ability to mark the status of a post – such as “resolved,” “general,” etc), unlimited color options, pricing tables, Ajax contact form, and tabbed user profiles (within bbPress).
Tersus - This minimal, responsive theme is a fantastic option for professional or personal sites. Tersus comes equipped with great options – unlimited colors, shortcode generator, jQuery accordions and tabs, custom widgets, a filterable portfolio, and more. The theme also comes with bbPress, BuddyPress, and Woocommerce integration – super plugins with a variety of practical applications for forums, social networking, and e-commerce.
Propulsion - This is a responsive business portfolio theme. A huge variety of options for fonts, colors, slideshows, backgrounds, and layouts make this a very flexible theme suited for many industries and purposes. Woocommerce and bbPress integration add to the value of this theme, and make support forums and e-commerce possible. Propulsion also includes a custom contact form builder and shortcode editor.
Salutation - This organized theme is designed for social sites. Created to work with BuddyPress and bbPress, Salutation allows users to create profiles, groups and forums. The theme comes with many options – just a few are unlimited colors and layouts, a drag & drop layout manager, popup login form, contact form generator, and localization files.
Angular - This responsive creative theme is great for displaying and building portfolios. The theme includes multiple slideshow options (all responsive), 4 post types, a grayscale option for portfolio items, unlimited skins (28 pre-set), a page builder, many shortcodes, custom widgets, and built in bbPress support. Angular is a great option to professionally showcase your body of work.
bbPress Enhancing Plugins
Below are some great free plugins that work together with bbPress to make it even better.
- bbRatings – give posts 5 stars… or none at all…
- Allow Images – like that picture of the cat with the melon hat
- bbPM - to send super secret messages to your forum friends
- bbPress Signatures – for those who need to say something, after they’ve already said something
- bbPress Smilies – because who can live without smiles? ;-)
Hopefully you have a complete forum by now (or at lease have the knowledge to do so in the future). Thanks for reading!