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bbPress: Installation and Deep Integration with WordPress


Hello friends. It’s been a long time since I have posted any new articles here. This is because I have been keeping very busy with my work life and find no time to research and explore blogger/wordpress code.

Recently I learnt about a forum software by name bbpress which can integrate well with wordpress blogs. I decided to squeeze time out of my schedule to try this software and write about it.

bbPress is a very easy to use forum or bulletin board software from the creators of wordpress. To quote their website:

“bbPress is focused on web standards, ease of use, ease of integration, and speed. We’re keeping things as small and light as possible while still allowing for great add-on features through our extensive plugin system.”

This article will cover installation of bbpress for a wordpress blog and its deep integration with wordpress blog such that the blog and the forum share common logins, cookies and user databases. Make a note of the versions used before you proceed to read the installation/integration tutorial:

bbPress version: 1.0.2
Wordpress version: 2.8.9

bbPress download and server setup

- As a first step you need to download bbpress from here. Unzip and rename the folder to what ever you like. Whatever name you choose will also become a part of your forum URL in the following format:

<wordpress blog URL>/<bbPress folder name>

- Now upload this folder under you main wordpress directory on the server where you are hosting your blog. For example, I had renamed my bbPress directory to “forum” and uploaded it under the folder techblog.viveksanghi.com on the webserver such that my forum url become:

http://www.techblog.viveksanghi.com/forum

WordPress Setup

bbPress Integration Plugin

- Now login into you wordpress admin panel, install the plugin bbpress integration into wordpress and activate the plugin. On the plugin’s configuration page enter the URL of your bbpress forum which will be in the following format as already explained earlier:

<yourblog URL>/<bbpress folder name>.

Do not change anything else and hit the save button. Scroll down on the same page and you will be shown some code that you need to enter into your wordpress config file. Make a note of this code as we will require it in the next step.

WordPress Config

- Apart from the above-mentioned piece of code from the previous step, there are some additional changes that you need to make to your wordpress config file. Let’s looks are what additions are to be made to the wordpress configuration file. Download and edit your wordpress config file. This will be located under your main wordpress folder by the name wp-config.php

You have to enter the following values in the wp-config.php file:

AUTH_KEY
SECURE_AUTH_KEY
LOGGED_IN_KEY

Go here to generate complex keys for the above mentioned items. Then paste these keys in the wp-config.php file as shown below:

Also paste the code we generated earlier from the bbpress integration plugin of wordpress as shown in the image above.

Now its time to start your bbPress installation. However make sure to have the following details about your wordpress database handy as we will use the same database for wordpress and bbpress.

- WordPress database name
- WordPress database hostname (Note that it will not be “localhost” if you are hosting on dreamhost or other such hosting site)
- WordPress database username
- WordPress database password
- WordPress table prefix

In case you are new to using databases and/or are not sure where to find the above mentioned details, then you might want to install the WP-DBManager plugin in wordpress and should be able to view all these above details from within wordpress.

Once these details are ready, you may start the installation by proceeding to the following link:

[your bbPress forum URL]/bb-admin/options-wordpress.php

Step 1 – Database configuration

First you will be presented with the following screen:

Now enter the database details you collated earlier, as shown in the image below. You may also use the question mark symbols to learn more about each of these fields.

And then proceed to step 2.

Step 2 – WordPress Integration Settings

To fill in the details required for step 2, load the options screen of your wordpress blog using the following link:

[wordpress link]/wp-admin/options.php

On the bbpress installation page check integration and cookie integration settings as shown in the image. Now add the auth cookie, secure auth cookie and logged in key values (we created these values earlier before starting installation of bbpress) from the wp-config.php file. The salt values will be available from the wordpress options screen we loaded a while ago.

If you do not find the secure auth cookie salt value, you may leave it blank and it should not be a problem. Then scroll down and also check user database integration settings. Fill in the values from the database values that you noted earlier. Most of you will only require the wordpress database table prefix. Now save the integration settings and you will be prompted to proceed to step three.

Step 3 – Site settings

Fill in a name for your forum and the site URL as shown below. Site URL will depend on the folder name you gave to the bbpress folder before uploading it under wordpress folder.

Select the wordpress admin name from the drop down as the bbpress keymaster unless you wish to alot this supreme role to anyone else. Give a name for your first forum, then hit the save site settings button and you should be ready to proceed to your forum page.

Now go to the admin panel of your forum and select wordpress integration under the settings tab as shown in the image below.  Here you have to map user roles between wordpress and bbPress users as the user list is now synchronized and/or common between the two.

Once you save these settings, your wordpress and bbPress will be integrated and you are ready to go.

I am also planning to research into a system/plugin such that the wordpress posts become topics and the comments on each wordpress post become forum posts under these topics. If I find out some thing on these lines, I will definitely update this post or create a second post on this topic.

References: I researched the bbPress forums extensively and did a lot of hands on tinkering to learn how to install bbPress and integrate it with wordpress. This link was particularly helpful in my learning process.


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  • http://deborahumphries.com/ Debora Humphries

    I don’t know how to tell you how very much I appreciate your taking the time out to research and post this valuable information.

    I recently purchased a forum and although I am very familiar with WordPress, the “bbpress.org” instructions knocked me for a loop. They say code is poetry and it may well be to those familiar with it. Your instructions are exactly what I needed. Step-by-step.

    You really need to turn this into a free report and collect email addresses for updates to people. Also, when you get the time contact me, I would like to contribute a donation to you for these instructions. You have saved me a great deal of time and helped me to learn something new that I can apply in the future.

    Thanks so much again.

  • http://deborahumphries.com Debora Humphries

    I don’t know how to tell you how very much I appreciate your taking the time out to research and post this valuable information.

    I recently purchased a forum and although I am very familiar with WordPress, the “bbpress.org” instructions knocked me for a loop. They say code is poetry and it may well be to those familiar with it. Your instructions are exactly what I needed. Step-by-step.

    You really need to turn this into a free report and collect email addresses for updates to people. Also, when you get the time contact me, I would like to contribute a donation to you for these instructions. You have saved me a great deal of time and helped me to learn something new that I can apply in the future.

    Thanks so much again.

  • http://rentalmobil911.webs.com rental elf

    Very nice, thanks for the information explained above.

  • http://www.a1webdesigner.com/ Website Design Atlanta

    Before reading this blog i didn’t knew about the bbPress software but after reading this blog i get to know about this new software. And i also appreciate your efforts. I am really happy thanx.