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My impressions so far


  • Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    I don’t know why, but for some reason I decided to punish myself on my latest project (ekatana.se if anyone wan to look) and I went ahead and installed BBPress along with Buddypress. Now I have done this a few times before in the last 3-4 years and it has always been a very painful experience.

    This time was not so bad and I actually got most things working pretty much instantly with just som minor CSS changes. BBPress however is not really a forum in my opinion yet and I had to go through a ton of posts and articles with half baked solutions and snippets just to get anywhere near what I think a forum should look like and behave.

    Now I admit that I am biased, having worked for many, many years with IPB which is the best forum out there and I have been working with forum software since 1996…

    However, BBPress have really taken a leap forward in the last few years and I look forward to see it go even further, in fact i hope to be able to lend som assistance in the UX and design department should it be needed. Since I am a systemtester as well, I hope to be able to break stuff on a regular basis as well :)

    I really look forward to the forum grouping I see is already pretty much done and which is working just fine on my forum as far as I can tell. When time permit I will give more input into what features I see as necessary, both in the frontend and the backend and util then I just want to say that I am far from impressed, but I see hope for BBPress.

    Keep up the good work!

Viewing 19 replies - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)

  • Robkk
    Participant

    @robkk

    BBPress however is not really a forum in my opinion yet

    you know i never get when people say that

    what is bbpress missing that really should be implemented to make it a guaranteed forum??

    if i would i suggest something , for looks i guess would be color coordination for forums and topics, if you switch to topic freshness instead of forum archive.

    so the layout would be

    title of topic
    started by: (user) in (color of forum) title of forum

    or just the title of the forum with the color of the forum as a background/

    imo thats the only suggestion i really want , but i mean there is also a plugin that already does this kind of thing.


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    Some of the things that are missing in the core:

    .WYSIWYG for input field. I know there is a plugin for it, but it should be in core and you should have the option to turn on and off in admin.

    .Organisation for forums. Forum grouping has been a standard since 1999.

    .Topic and forum indicators for new topics. Finding new topics should be at a glance.

    .Moderation should be available for all forums individually and on a board basis.

    .Permission masks per usergroup to control who can read, reply and post in different forums.

    .Content approval for new posts and to take individual posts offline for review.

    .Warning system for handling member mayhem.

    .Report center where moderators and admins can handle reported threads/posts/members.

    .Private messages should not require Buddypress. It should be in BBPress.

    .Custom Profile Fields should not requires Buddypress…

    .Notifications should not require Buddypress…

    .Buttons to take actions at the top of the thread and post is also standard since 2003.

    .Out of the box functionality so there is no need to create additional pages like bbpress.php to actually make things look the way you are.

    …and so on :)


    Robin W
    Moderator

    @robin-w

    Jimi,

    Nice to have you aboard, and I hope that you’ll help in improving bbpress. More UX help is welcome.

    I think bbpress users split into two groups.

    1. The users that just want a simple forum as part of their web.

    Those that visit the support forum usually only need a couple of changes. this is the vast majority of bbPress users

    Biggest issues for these are

    getting it working with their theme – usually because the theme has a highly complex page.php, and these users are not code savvy, and many don’t know FTP
    registration and logging on – really a wordpress issue, but it’s the first time they come across needing to do this, as before they were the only user
    Adding simple features – since each one varies these can only ever be bespoke, and again since these people are not code savvy you need to show them child themes and functions files first

    2. Users who typically want bbpress to look like someone else’s feature rich forum

    They want all the features, look and functionality of another bb, but on wordpress. Some then complain on the forum that they don’t like the software, and why doesn’t it look exactly like xx, which is much better, much easier and has better documentation. Which kinda grates, and surely it would be better to complain to xx’s forum as to why they don’t make a version of their fantastic software to work on wordpress, rather than complain that bbpress’s software doesn’t look like theirs. This to me is a bit like complaining to Ford that their cars don’t look like Nissan.

    The issue here is that bbpress is just a plugin, written by some guys to do forumy stuff. Like all software it could be better, the docs can always be better, but the philosophy of the somewhere is to keep it light.

    So I s’pose the challenge is to help improve it so that it can work for both camps. So I really do hope you stay and add expertise, maybe go into the codex and improve the documentation – anyone can, but most don’t !


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    It’s the same issue with all forum software, and blogging software for that matter.

    In my experience most people do not want a minimalistic forum and that is why you will find thousands upon thousands of people asking which forum can integrate with WordPress. Check any forum and you will find hundreds of people looking for ways to integrate that forum software into their wordpress.

    The ones that use BBPress are the ones that are content with what comes out of the box and I would say we are a very large minority!

    With the decline in forum usage in the last 5-10 years I would say that functionality is what makes forums stay alive. If you look at IPB and VBulletin they are still the most used forum software despite the fact that they cost money.

    The reason for that is the features that can satisfy every need a user could possibly have. Its constantly being developed and has many large modifications from a core group of dedicated developers.

    I think that with some modifications to the core so that the basic functionality can easily be added, perhaps by adding a plugin storage with key plugins that can be added or removed as the user need it. I don’t think regular users will spend time looking for a BBPress plugin to give new post indicators and go through the hassle of installing Buddypress for more functionality. Instead I believe in the setup that Buddypress have with core modules you can turn on or off as you need them.

    I DO believe that BBPress have a great potential to be one of the largest and most used forum software in the world. It has a great integration with WordPress. It has lots of features and a strong community of plugin developers. And it’s very fast.

    I just think it need a lower learning curve and a more approachable attitude :)

    There’s some nice feedback up there, thanks :)

    .WYSIWYG for input field. I know there is a plugin for it, but it should be in core and you should have the option to turn on and off in admin.

    With the new TinyMCE added in WordPress 3.9 and further improvements coming in WordPress 4.0 I am keeping an eye on this and due to several incompatibilities we had when we previously had this as a bbPress option there is a bit of work to be done here to not make it a crappy experience if we do add it back as a bbPress option.

    .Organisation for forums. Forum grouping has been a standard since 1999.

    Yes ;)

    .Topic and forum indicators for new topics. Finding new topics should be at a glance.

    There are a couple of plugins that do this, you can see the list here http://codex.bbpress.org/feature-plugins-tracking/. One of the issues with this feature is for larger sites is WordPress’ database performance and is one of the reasons we haven’t gone down this road yet, once a plugin can do this without crippling larger sites we would definately take a closer look.

    .Moderation should be available for all forums individually and on a board basis.

    This will be in bbPress 2.6 https://bbpress.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/459

    .Permission masks per usergroup to control who can read, reply and post in different forums.

    Once the previous ‘Forum Moderation’ is shipped as part of bbPress 2.6 we can look to extend that functionality further to encompass this.

    .Content approval for new posts and to take individual posts offline for review.

    This is also coming in bbPress 2.6, see https://bbpress.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/2645

    .Warning system for handling member mayhem.

    Not sure what this would entail, I get what your saying, I suppose the current way to do things is block/ban the user though you are suggesting there should be a way to handle/have some way/form of communicating with said user. (See private messages below)

    .Report center where moderators and admins can handle reported threads/posts/members.

    This is mostly also handled as part of https://bbpress.trac.wordpress.org/ticket/2645

    .Private messages should not require Buddypress. It should be in BBPress.

    I’m not 100% sold on this idea that bbPress should include this, with that said though, as per above a way to ‘communicate’ in some form either with the moderators (or in this use case other users) I have an idea for this, how exactly it would implemented I’m not sure of just yet but the idea is there, just need to get some time to give it a try and see what happens ;)

    .Custom Profile Fields should not requires Buddypress…

    Custom profile fields do not require BuddyPress, bbPress 100% fully supports custom profile fields as part of WordPress ‘Custom Profile Fields’.

    http://codex.wordpress.org/Plugin_API/Filter_Reference/user_contactmethods

    https://gist.github.com/ntwb/c70caf5a0aa9d3062a6d

    .Notifications should not require Buddypress…

    I think I am with you here…

    .Buttons to take actions at the top of the thread and post is also standard since 2003.

    The following ticket covers half of this, firstly for accessibility issue, most likely this will extend to include links.

    .Out of the box functionality so there is no need to create additional pages like bbpress.php to actually make things look the way you are.

    This is near impossible, with the ~2,000+ themes in WordPress’ theme repo we cannot support this many themes yet alone when we start counting the number of commercial themes available. We do our best to have template compatibility with as many themes as we can and think we work ‘out of the box’ on more themes than we don’t.


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    @netweb I appreciate the long list of answers and I like what you post :)

    For the warning system you can see it in action on IPB and it’s basically a system that allow for moderators to issue a warning for bad behavior. This can be accompanied by a temporary ban, forced into moderation or an outright permanent ban.

    User warning system allows custom sanctions

    When troublesome users make themselves a nuicance, IP.Board provides a range of tools to help staff deal with the situation. The user warning system enables sanctions to be issued, ranging from a simple message sent to the user, right up to an outright permanent ban. Other options include a temporary suspension, or putting the user in the moderation queue, requiring all of their topics & posts to be approved by staff before they’re shown.

    Is it really so difficult to make it so BBPress create pages for all areas of the forum? Rather than using a template each area have its own page and can take advantage of all the features of a page? That way it would never be a problem to setup pages to be full width, what sidebars to add on the forum index or inside a forum, or even a thread?

    I am not familiar with the code, but if such a thing could be done, then that problem would no longer exist?


    Custom fields should not be something you ask the users to go inet functions.php to fix, that is way to complicated for the majority of the users :)

    Post and topic indicators, have you talked to other forum developers like IPB and VBulletin about how they have solved this? I mean IPB have forums with tens of million topics and tens of thousands of users that are all working well even with this turned on?

    That ‘warning system’ will remain plugin territory for a while even though I have a specific use case that this is important for it, it will still remain that way for a while, just because the functionality CAN be performed does not explicitly mean that it should be included with bbPress core.

    As I mentioned above ‘Featured Plugins’ will most likely evolve to become a more refined list and the power and flexibility of bbPress allows us to do this without forcing/giving every user the ‘kitchen sink’ just because we can.

    “bbPress is forum software, made the WordPress way.” and just like WordPress’ philosophy we are making “Decisions, Not Options”. And for example this decision extends to user profile custom fields, if you want these for post authors in WordPress, you look to a custom function or plugin, bbPress is the same, a custom function or a plugin.

    bbPress utilizes WordPress Template Hierarchy to allow sites, theme authors and plugin developers to make amazing forum sites powered by bbPress and simply creating a set of pages that work with all the themes out there is not a one size fits all, some themes use tables, some divs, some unordered lists, responsive, non responsive, the combinations are endless and as said we try our best to ensure template compatability but removing the flexability just to limit designers and developers to no longer have these options available to them is something I doubt we will change for quite a while. We would like to include an additional set of default templates in bbPress, but that’s another project we just have not got to yet, bbPress already fully supports numerous templates though currently it only ships with one set.

    I come from a phpBB background and have spend many weeks in ‘other’ forums databases whilst supporting the ~25 importers included with bbPress, the current way the WordPress database schema is structured is partially a limitation on what options we have available to us and still keep bbPress light and compact without adding new tables to the database.


    pfswss
    Participant

    @pfswss

    Jimi, I was also disappointed when I installed BBPress and found it to be very unlike a forum I had known in the past. Out of the box it is too simplistic with several themes I tried it with. I just wanted a forum look but this does not seem possible unless you hire developers or are a really good coder with loads of time.

    I do appreciate the effort of the developers as an open source software. unfortunately I had the wrong impression from reading reviews of several wordpress solutions as they all pointed to this one as the best. To be blunt I would not like to try the worst ones.

    I have had a lot of issues, many plugins are not compatible and I still have nothing that looks remotely like a normal forum. I actually just searched to how to enable PM’s and that is when I found this post and another which says basically you need to install the Buddypress which is an overkill it seems.

    I do hope that BBPress will eventually cater to everyone’s needs but sadly I think I have to look at another solution and revert back to my PHPBB forum form 2 weeks ago. Then I will consider going with IP board or Vbulletin.

    Jimi, can you tell me why you stopped using IPB?


    Robin W
    Moderator

    @robin-w

    I do hope that BBPress will eventually cater to everyone’s needs

    I do hope it won’t :-)

    bbpress suits many many thousands of forum providers, by being simple and easy, which is what many want.

    Complex forums with loads of features that I’ll never use is not what I’m after. There are lots of bb’s out there for those that want all signing all dancing, and just as wordpress is not for all, so is bbpress.


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    I did not stop using IPB, I still have it on some sites. The problem with IPB is the opposite of BBPress actually and that is that is just a forum (sure they have blog and IP.Content, but they are still pretty bad).

    I also do not want to work with half measures so I have to bridge two systems, I want it to be one system all tied together.


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    That’s a pretty selfish way to look at the situation Robin. Just because you and many others like you want a scaled down system does not mean that BBPress should head in that direction. I am confident that the majority out there want something more than what BBPress currently represent and as far as I can see the development IS going toward a more forum-like entity rather than BBPress currently is.

    I still think that you and everyone else like you should still be able to have a simple bulletin board kind of experience, but the idea that that’s all the BBPress will offer is not a path I see will go anywhere in the long run.

    I understand the concept of keeping the core simple and then have modules to expand it, in fact I think that’s the correct way to move forward as that is the only way we can make everyone happy. It should be easy to find the modules needed to expand the forum from a list of topics looking like it just came from 1999 to anything from a high tech forum catering tens of thousands with all the bells and whistles to anything in between.


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    @pfswss are looking for something like http://ekatana.se/forums/ ?
    If so I plan on making a blogpost on the steps needed to make that happen. Perhaps that will help you get closer to the layout that you want from BBPress?

    Also, I have Buddypress on there as well and while I am not very happy about the additional css and JS that it add I think it’s worth it if you want a community and not just a bulletin board.


    Robin W
    Moderator

    @robin-w

    That’s a pretty selfish way to look at the situation Robin

    Nah, just get a bit tired of people coming on here and whinging that the product is not what they want, and how bad everyone who is involved must be to not have written for free an all signing all dancing forum :-)


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    I understand that, but that just show that there are a lot of people out there that expect more from BBPress and as things progress and the options are available (and easy to find), there will be less and less whining :)

    For me it was very strange to install something referred to as forum only to get a bulletin board and then it got annoying not finding the quick answers on how to make the bulletin board look and behave as a forum. Once BBPress get more like a forum and there are options to expand it, then you’ll see more feature requests instead of confusion and nagging :)

    Just hang in there!


    Robkk
    Participant

    @robkk

    as im reading this all i can think is that bbpress better not turn into the jetpack of forum software.

    it could have a bunch of features but all im going to do is just deactivate more than half of them.

    and then later ILL be thinking will this slow down my site.

    i think some features should really be considered if it should go into plugin territory or be part of the core.


    Jimi Wikman
    Participant

    @mortfiles

    @robkk no one want a bloated software.

    It’s important to separate function from form in these discussions. A function like forum grouping with drag and drop has no impact on loading time in the front end yet it is a very powerful function that make it possible to expand BBP to a forum without having to sacrifice the Bulletin board feeling. If you want things just the way things are you just place all forums in one category.

    Same thing with moderation or usergroups. It does not impact anything in the frontend, yet it will make a world of difference for managing the forum. If you don’t want to use it you just ignore it. No bloating, but a world of difference.

    Then when we come to form we should put things like group icons and topic ratings as plugins. these are hardly used by all and as such they should be optional for those that want/need them.

    I however see an issue with plugins the way both WordPress and BBPress plugins are setup a lot now and that is that each plugin have their own set of CSS and JS. If I add 20+ plugins that usually mean that I will have 20+ CSS and JS files clogging up the browser stack. the total sum of the files are usually very small, but the sheer number will slow the site down considerably.

    If you have worked with WordPress installations with a lot of plugins you know that it’s a serious pain in the butt to try to get minification and combining JS/CSS to work properly. It’s either that the order of things are wrong or the minification mess something up in one or more files and you get stuck spending hours trying to find what is causing the mess. And even chained and minified the number of items in the browser stack still cause delays in the DOM rendering.

    This is why I think as much as possible should be added into as few plugins as possible and that is why I think that Buddypress and BBPress should merge and some basic functionality should be included in the core. I know that this is not what the bulletin board users may want to hear, but if BBPress are to reach a wider audience and become a forum plugin that will appeal the great userbase of WordPress, then I say this is something that need to be done.

    With around 70 million installations of WordPress we can assume that 1% at least have need of a good forum. Thats 700.000 BBPress installations that should be out there right now and I am not sure if that is the case or not? In my opinion BBPress should have at least 2.5 million installations by now as I know that the demand for forums are very high and people are searching high and low for any forum that will merge with WordPress.

    I know that alot of people here want a watered down and minimalistic bulletin board and I would say you are in majority since that is what BBPress is today. However I have a feeling that sooner or later someone will realize that the majority of users out there don’t want that and they will fork BBPress and go towards a more forum oriented software. When that happens I fear that that fork will boom in a major way and that will eventually reduce BBPress as developers will go where the userbase is and there is just so much you can optimize (of course you can ALWAYS optimize and refactor things, but it might now be very fun or productive for the users) in a minimalistic bulletin board.

    I think that BBPress is at a good place right now and before the end of the year with forum grouping in place and perhaps a little better organization of this website we should see more users starting to enjoy BBPress and not just bulletin board lovers ;)


    pfswss
    Participant

    @pfswss

    Jimi, yeah that is looking promising. I think you are a great asset for this project and you speak a lot of sense and know your stuff. I hope people listen to you and take your thoughts seriously and onboard.

    I reverted my main forum back to phpbb unfortunately last night. it’s a bit of a mess right now as I also have no internet working properly and I still have files to upload. I wasted quite a few days on that but I have no one to blame but myself for not researching enough. I wanted to move forward but I went backwards. I like wordpress so I feel a bit disappointed with all this.

    We only progress when we can listen and learn! Constructive criticism should be welcomed not shut out or taken personally. There is great potential here but a little lack of acceptance of what people really want.

    thanks and all the best!


    peter-hamilton
    Participant

    @peter-hamilton

    I have read a few of the previous posts and saw lots of interesting topics come by.

    First I have to make a statement and a thank you.

    Statement: BBPress is exactly what I need in a forum, yes I think it is forum software and forum software only.

    Also it is a wordpress plugin, not a standalone CMS so I can not expect it to have all functions I wish for, but then there are plugins for most of them.

    As a non-professional developer I had my share of problems after the first install, and coming from phpBB (only for 5 months there) I missed a lot of funtions mentioned in earlier posts that come standard in stand-alone forum CMS like IPBoard and VBulletin.

    Those two (IPB VBull) have been my inspiration and I wanted a forum with similar functions, after trying phpBB for a few months, which I really enjoyed as a learning curve, I decided to give wordpress/bbpress/buddypress a try.

    I have now been experimenting and learning the wordpress syntax for about 1 year, and have only one thing to say:

    BBPress is the better forum software for me.

    I can now make a perfect profile page.
    BBFacelook

    I can have forums with the right hierarchy.
    BBFacelook

    I can have all the extras that make other forum CMS cool thanks to some lightweight plugins, even attachments/images in posts can be made to look better then many other forums I visit.

    Of course all is not perfect, I am not alone in hoping to see better image management, private albums, better TinyMCE editor, moderator functions/pages and the all important “like” function, but all in all BBP is just as functional as many high profile forums.

    being a wordpress plugin makes BBPress modular, user friendly enough and highly functional not to forget absolutely FREE, besides a few hundered hours of brain pain.

    Anyway, back to my theme (BBFacelook) development.
    Peter Hamilton


    Robin W
    Moderator

    @robin-w

    Peter – thanks fro posting that feedback

Viewing 19 replies - 1 through 19 (of 19 total)

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