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bbPress 2.0 Basics

bbPress 2.0 is out and I’m excited.  While there is still room to grow (and JTrip will be the first to tell you this), it is a great improvement over previous versions of the plugin. Thanks John James Jacoby and the bbPress team for all your hard word; it’s greatly appreciated.

It’s easy to get up and running.  Just down the plugin and activate (http://bbpress.org).  It’s easy and works well.  However, if you want to start customizing the layout and styles, that’s where it’s get a bit more technical and less plug-and-play.  But here’s a few tips for the less obvious mechanics:

Add Forums to Navigation (2 options):

  • Use Custom Links to add “/forums” to a menu (this link may differ if you change the base for forums in the forum settings)
  • Create a page and use shortcode [bbp-forum-index]; add that page to a menu

Custom Theming

  • Use the default (easiest option)
  • Replace Styles
    • Remove the bbPress styles.css
      remove_action( ‘bbp_enqueue_scripts’, ‘bbp_theme_compat_enqueue_css’ );
    • Copy default styles to your theme’s stylesheet
    • Adjust styles to your whimsy
  • Replace template files
    • Copy files from “/bbpress/bbp-themes/bbp-twentyten” folder into the folder of your theme, and make your own edits from there. The files to copy include the single-*, archive-*, page-*, and anything in the subfolders
    • Replace all files, there is no defaulting
    • Add add_theme_support( ‘bbpress’ ); to functions.php


* Forums
[bbp-forum-index] – Show the forum index/archive
[bbp-single-forum id=$forum_id] – Show a single forums topics

* Topics
[bbp-topic-index] – Show the topics index/archive
[bbp-topic-form] – Show the new topic form
[bbp-single-topic id=$topic_id] – Show a single topic

* Topic Tags
[bbp-topic-tags] – Show a tag cloud of all topic tags
[bbp-single-topic-tag] – Show the topics within a specific tag

* Replies
[bbp-reply-form] – Show the topic reply form

* Views
[bbp-single-view] – Show topics associated with a specific view

* Account
[bbp-login] – Show the login screen
[bbp-register] – Show the register screen
[bbp-lost-pass] – Show the lost password screen

If you have any other questions, check out the bbPress forums.  It’s a great resource and John is particularly diligent about answering questions.  I don’t know how it does it.

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  1. shawn says:

    Yeah, the new bbpress is stunning and the code is so easy to work with. Huge props to JJ and the team behind it. I have learned more reading through this plugin than just about anything else out there. Talk about coding standards.. WOW, this is nice!

  2. emmiscient says:

    hey man, i’m using wordpress 3.2.1, and using the latest bbpress (2.0) as plugin. however the /forums page shows empty page, just header, sidebar and footer, no content. i created a page using the shortcodes also didnt resolve the problem

  3. Jeff says:

    It’s tough to diagnose the issue from that point. Is there a URL to view? Regarding the forum view, going with the basic questions, are there active forums? Do those forums have posts?

  4. Joern says:

    I am just trying to switch from bbpress on http://forum.go41.de/ to bbpress 2.0

    as the converter (importer) only accepts bbpress 1.1 I had to upgrade to this latest standalone first. I did this on a test setup here: http://forum2.blogdot.de/ This Upgrade worked easy and flawless even with my custom theme.

    Finally the same ‘forum-db’ imported into a newly setup WordPress 3.2.1 with the bbpress 2.0 plugin to see here: http://forum.blogdot.de/

    That result is still not satisfying, even with some imports into a fresh WordPress it calculates the freshness wrong and shows all spam and deleted topics which I didn’t want to see ever again.

    And coming to permalinks I would like to keep – there is still some work to do before I will switch my original go41 forum

    Adding a totally new forum to an existing site might work well, but switching a running forum takes a lot of thinking and no documentation.

  5. Jonathon says:

    Thanks for the great write up. Looking forward to trying out the custom styling tonight and I was having trouble tracking down the specifics.

  6. I’ve replaced my standalone bbPress 1.1 forum with the integrated bbPress 2.0 plugin which fits well with the rest of site content, but for my users it’s a bit confusing and less informative, since some features that the old forum had are now missing:

    1) There is no easy way to identify forums with unread topics/messages (in 1.1 they had a different color).
    2) There is no list of recent replies on screen complementing the forum list at the root level.
    3) There are no icons associated with topics (such as “hot topic” etc.)
    4) There is no simple way to add private messaging to the forum (for example, adding a PM icon next to the avatar where you just click and message the user).

    Any suggestions how to resolve at least some of these shortcomings would be greatly appreciated.

  7. Richard says:

    Nice post-thanks.
    I have been trying to add BuddyPress/bbPress forum to my WordPress blog for nearly a year now & still haven’t got it right. It is confusing trying to add these to WordPress theme to run a forum with. First it is important to understand the difference between BuddyPress & bbPress! The BuddyPress & bbPress plugins are easy to install but harder to use. There are many plugins around but a lot are no longer maintained & some just do not work. Then there is a need to style your WP theme for BuddyPress (if it is not a dedicated BP theme) and I am having issues with bbPress styling! Next it is hard to set up to control site registrations (more plugins needed) & control private forums etc.

    I wish I had seen (& understood & tried) your advice on navigation, custom theming & shortcodes months earlier! Anyway I will keep playing with all this & more & one day my WP theme/ site will get a satisfactory forum.
    Goodluck & best wishes to you & to all BuddyPress/bbPress forum installers 🙂

  8. Roni Cohen says:

    Wow, great post.
    I hope more people will use your way of “theming” instead of destroying the original template, this way they can even update their BBPress.

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