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Sometimes Less Is Just Less

  • I’m sorry but sometimes less is just less. I looked forward to having a lite integrated forum, but it doesn’t look like bbPress is ready for that.

    Saying bbPress can be integrated with WordPress is like saying your seat can be used as a flotation device.

    The fact this site isn’t integrated should have been a tip off.

    If you are looking for anything beyond just cookie integration good night and good luck.

    Sure, theme integration can be done via some costly hacks, but its the simple stuff that has my head spinning. Something simple like a bbPress login box in WordPress is more complicated and less likely than Mideast peace.

    I just don’t get it….

    It seems like all the “social cms” resources and ideas are being put into Buddypress. Can’t we have some of those basic features in the single WP install?

    WP-United for phpbb has these features. Why is it so hard for bbPress?

    Don’t get me wrong, the people supporting BB here in this forum are great. Problem is there just are not enough of them to fill in the big gaps created at inception.

    Sorry for the rant. I still would love to use bbPress, I hope one day soon they will fulfill its promise. Until then:

    http://www.wp-united.com/features/

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 37 total)

  • chrishajer
    Participant

    @chrishajer

    Reminds me of this quote I read yesterday:

    @KathySierra The secret to real user-happiness magic is a balance between the promise-making department and the promise-keeping departments

    bbPress is not right for some people, but it’s just fine for a lot of others. I look forward to the day when Automattic puts a bunch of resources behind it. Until then, I just accept it for what it is.

    I used to get upset when I saw people ranting on bbPress in these forums, but I realize now that the ones who complain are the ones who really care. If you didn’t care, you’d just walk away. So it’s something about the promise of bbPress that’s not yet been realized that gets people frustrated.


    johnhiler
    Member

    @johnhiler

    They’re merging WordPress MU and WordPress (single user). Since Buddypress is WordPress MU + plugins… the social features should be integrated into WordPress single user when that’s done.

    I agree that bbPress lacks many social features… but that’s not really the scope of the project, which is more focused on forums? If there’s a specific feature you’d like to see, let us know in the forums!

    I like the simplicity of BBPress. My forum is pretty active and simplicity gives me better performance.

    And I am grateful to the volunteers working to improve BBPress.

    My main complaint would be that sifting through this site for solutions it is sometimes difficult to figure out version compatibility.

    @gardenfl: My main complaint would be that sifting through this site for solutions it is sometimes difficult to figure out version compatibility.

    Yes, searching for solutions is really frustrating. Like most people trying to decide if they should jump in I looked trough the plugins and other mods only to find out later many/most are out of date. Installing a older version of BB isn’t a real option when you want a forward looking cms. This is of course no ones fault (at least not the plugin developers), I am very thankful for what is there.

    @chrishajer: bbPress is not right for some people, but it’s just fine for a lot of others.

    But how do we define “a lot of others?” I think there are huge numbers of users out there looking for a truly integrated solution. I don’t see many people using bbPress as a stand alone community forum. There are other forum platforms that fulfill that need. I believe most of the adapters of BB will be users that want to integrate a forum into their current site. BB may be good for someone that just wants a support forum (or something along those lines), but the true market is site owners that want to add more community features…. and that means true integration.

    @johnhiler: I agree that bbPress lacks many social features… but that’s not really the scope of the project, which is more focused on forums? If there’s a specific feature you’d like to see, let us know in the forums!

    A forum is a “social feature.” Now that does mean it has to be Facebook, but it should have some basic features.

    These are some of the features I would love to see some day (I know some can be done with plugins and hacks, but I would like to see more “stable” solutions):

    bbPress “login box” in WP (with new private messages and profile link).

    Integrated bbPress in a WP page that strips out the bbPress header and footer (theme integration)

    Integrated Avatars

    Blog Comments listed in bbPress profile

    Current forum topics/replies in WP

    Integrated bbcode in WP comments

    Facebook Connect, Twitter, OpenID etc.

    I’m sure I can think of more, but those are the ones that come to mind.

    Here is a good list of features I would like to see:

    http://www.wp-united.com/features/

    The reason i decided to post this is to help voice concerns that may one day lead to a better BB and that will in turn lead to more developers and users. Not yet being knowledgeable enough to create these add-ons myself my voice is all I can currently contribute. Although, I soon hope to share how I overcame some of these issues and provide some inspiration and tips for others. :)


    johnhiler
    Member

    @johnhiler

    A lot of those features do exist… although you’re not going to have much luck getting all those features/plugins to work on bbPress 1.0. bbPress 1.0 is a very new release, and most of the plugins won’t be upgraded until later this year.

    That said, I get the feeling that you would like WordPress and bbPress to interoperate more? I don’t just mean integrated signins – some of your points suggest that plugins would ideally work on both systems interchangably… I don’t think that’s on their product map. Even having more interoperability between the two themes systems seems pretty low on the bbPress priority list.

    It’s all good to have concerns about bbPress! I have many concerns myself. :-) I’m staying on bbPress for now, because it is the only option for a lightweight forum with a plugin model. I’m very concerned about the 1.0 path though, and am starting to think through whether or not I want to stay on the bbPress platform in the long term. So I especially appreciate hearing your concerns. :-)

    All I’m saying is it’s as if Apple built a ipod that wasn’t compatible with a Mac.

    I believe Automattic’s only concern is TalkPress and anything that doesn’t fit into that model they don’t care about.


    _ck_
    Participant

    @_ck_

    So are you using that phpbb3 integration?

    If it works so well, I am curious why you are here?

    @_ck_: So are you using that phpbb3 integration?

    If it works so well, I am curious why you are here?

    It does work well.

    There are several reasons I’m here.

    First, although it has been recently taken over and updated that mod was abandoned for over a year by its creator . During the period it was MIA we where locked in and it was very had to upgrade to new versions of WordPress. It wasn’t compatible with 2.6. All that has changed recently and upgrading and installing is much easier. But, even though it is “under new management” I didn’t want to be held hostage by one developer.

    Second, I wanted a lighter site. Phpbb is great but it can be overkill sometimes.

    Third, at some point in the future we want to move to Buddypress. I thought moving to bbpress would get us ready for that next step.

    Forth, we are adding about 500 new members each month so if we where unable to move those users and posts it was better to start over now rather than later.

    Fifth, Although phpbb was well integrated in terms of users and themes there was still a sense of 2 different sites. I was hoping that because bbpress was made by the same people as WP we could better integrate both style and function.

    I knew going into this that WP-United was currently a better option, but I was willing to overlook those smaller details in order to be with a platform that would grow with us. Now my fear is that bbpress will grow in the wrong direction (if at all).

    PS

    I want to thank you personally. Your contributions are a main reason we decided to give this a try… and continue to try.

    PSS

    The reason I bring up WP-Untied is not because I want people to drop bbpress for phpbb. I bring it up as and example of what bbpress could be or at least inspiration for new plugins.


    _ck_
    Participant

    @_ck_

    As far as I know, bbPress adds no special abilities or requirements to BuddyPress, it’s simply able to use the usertable directly, so you in theory should be able to use your phpbb solution with BuddyPress too.

    You have to understand bbPress was never designed originally to deeply integrate into WordPress, only use the user-table. Deep integration was an afterthought – years after it was originally released and a mish-mash of legacy was established. Matt had a 180 degree turnaround on that process with bbPress 1.0 being rewritten to use BackPress instead. If WordPress ever is redesigned to use BackPress itself (don’t hold your breath, it could be years) deep integration could be even easier and much lighter weight.

    I’m not saying this to be mean or unfair, but very simply, if you don’t like something you see in bbPress 1.0, don’t adopt it now thinking it will change sometime soon, it won’t and you’ll only be very disappointed. bbPress development is quite obviously NOT developed around user requests, it’s developed around Automattic requirements. It’s the exact same thing for WordPress and nothing new policy-wise. Everything else is left to plugin developers.

    That said, I would stop using bbPress in heartbeat if they started throwing in many of the features that people are demanding be included as built in. I already have a big enough problem with many of the hardcoded “features” already.

    Buddypress group forums run on bbpress. Besides, wp-united hooks into more than the user table.

    I would hope that Automattic would at the very least see where there is user demand and make some effort to fulfill that demand. After all it’s their users a developers that are responsible for their huge success. I guess I can understand them feeling that we give you the software for free so you shouldn’t complain, but those users/developers create, extend, promote and for the most part supply customers service for them.

    Nevertheless, statements like this can lead to the wrong impression:

    Easy integration with your blog

    WordPress and bbPress are siblings, and they get along together a lot better than you and your brother did when you were kids!

    I don’t think I’m alone in this. Just look at your tags.

    We have been able to pull off much of what I described here. We have integrated bbpress into our theme. We have converted phpbb forums posts and users and have integrated them. We have been able to list new posts in WP. We have been able to do about 75% of what we need so far. Avatars are still a issue. And I can’t see why it’s so hard to put a bbpress login box in WP.

    So its not that much of this can’t be done. I just fear with so many hacks it could be trouble down the road.


    _ck_
    Participant

    @_ck_

    “Easy integration with your blog” <- if that’s the biggest problem you have with what bbpress promises, you are doing great. I actually have a problem with two of the three words in the upper right hand corner of every page on bbpress.org due to 1.0

    Why is it hard to put a bbpress login box in wp? Pull up the bbpress login page in your browser, view the source and copy everything between <form... </form> and paste it into WP wherever you’d like and add a little bit of PHP code to detect if the user is logged in or not to offer them the form. 10 minutes tops.

    What are you using now for avatars in WP?

    Plugins are not hacks. Hacks are when you hack the core.

    Is the phpbb solution a clean copy of phpbb with plugins or is it’s core heavily hacked, hence cannot keep up with upgrades/security fixes easily?

    At this point I’ll take 1 out of 3. :)

    I’m not talking about plugins. I’m talking about having to hack almost every bbpress php file to include the wp header and footer or having to hack the config files.

    The phpbb solution at the time (a year ago)was a HUGE F@#*ING HACK, but now that phpbb has a automod (or whatever they are calling it) it’s basically as easy as a plugin.

    I’m not looking for the login form (I’m building a lightbox for that), I’m talking about:

    “Welcome, _ck_ ! View your profile (Admin | Log Out) 5 New Private Messages”

    As far as Avatars I’m using the wp-united on the live site (phpbb avatars). For BB I have not found a solution yet that will work or integrate into both BB and WP.

    I’m talking about having to hack almost every bbpress php file to include the wp header and footer or having to hack the config files.

    Deep Integration worked nearly out of the box for me on BuddyPress. I don’t do it on WP because really I don’t need it when I can easily reproduce my theme for bbPress. But still, no hacks were needed, just a tweak of the bb-config.php and some jiggering of a theme. Took me all of an afternoon.

    As far as Avatars I’m using the wp-united on the live site (phpbb avatars). For BB I have not found a solution yet that will work or integrate into both BB and WP.

    Gravatar works fine.

    @Ipstenu: Deep Integration worked nearly out of the box for me on BuddyPress. I don’t do it on WP because really I don’t need it when I can easily reproduce my theme for bbPress. But still, no hacks were needed, just a tweak of the bb-config.php and some jiggering of a theme. Took me all of an afternoon.

    We have lots of glitter text and animated gifs of unicorns on our site so it may take more than a afternoon.

    @Ipstenu: Gravatar works fine.

    Gravatars are great for some sites, but I was looking for more of a custom solution. I think customizing their profile even if it’s just a avatar gives members a sense of belonging and therefor more likely to comeback.


    John James Jacoby
    Keymaster

    @johnjamesjacoby

    DennisH, it sounds to me like you want BuddyPress + bbPress + WordPress. If you’re not using all three, then you’re really not going to get what you want.

    Also, if phpBB just has too MANY features, you could trim some of phpBB’s code out, no different than you can add code to any *Press product.

    It also is a relatively new concept (Within 1 year) of having all of these platforms working in unison together. BuddyPress has taken giant strides towards providing a personality to the users on your site, to give your bbPress users profiles and information beyond the basics.

    Regarding the “promise” of integration, it’s possible to do within a few minutes, with integrated logins, profile info, etc… The major difference is that you can’t expect it to look like a typical forum is going to look, at least not at its current stage of development.

    When you consider that phpBB is 3.0.5, and it stayed in the 2.0 branch for over 7 years, apply that logic to bbPress that JUST turned 1.0 a month ago… There’s still LOTS that can be done, but for now bbPress is a stable and powerful product that is a developers dream platform for forum software to start with. You can mold and shape it to handle just about any task (wait until you see what BuddyPress is going to do with it ;) )

    Long story short, I’m sorry you’re disappointed at the moment, but I’m willing to bet you won’t always be. If you need something besides bbPress right now, no one’s feelings are hurt, but my suggestion to you would be to make friendly with it now so you can be better prepared to use it later, when it better meets your expectations. :)

    @DennisH – It’s not the glitter and unicorns that make a site hard to convert, but best practices :) If you designed your website with good XHTML etc, it’s a simple matter (a weekend at most) to convert it to WordPress or bbPress or BuddyPress.

    And I do get what you mean about Gravatars. I rather like them because it gives people a sense of conformity in that Ipstenu everywhere has this icon and I am, thus, recognizable. Internet anonymity wishes aside, it grants me a level of credibility. I am me as you are we as I clearly need more coffee!

    @Ipstenu – It’s not the glitter and unicorns that make a site hard to convert, but best practices :) If you designed your website with good XHTML etc, it’s a simple matter (a weekend at most) to convert it to WordPress or bbPress or BuddyPress.

    That was just my attempt at humor. :)

    We where able to integrate BB into our WP theme is about 30min. Although restyling everything is still ongoing, but that’s not a issue with BB (although more themes would be great). With the WP header/footer there is some issues with BB plugins that require javascript, but we are working around that.

    The issue I have with “integration” is that WP should be able to call info BB and vice versa. That’s it.

    The other issue I have is that v1.0 more or less killed all the developments that came before it.

    I think BB is great and I wouldn’t be spending my time here if I didn’t. After solving a major issue with converting our old phpbb forum we have decided to push forward with bbPress.

    So now I’m off to figure out how to call up Bavatars in the post.php file. If I have time after that I will try and get that BB welcome/login message in the header working.

    I’ve seen soooo many people ask that seriously…

    The issue I have with “integration” is that WP should be able to call info BB and vice versa. That’s it.

    Well, yes. That is a frustration. It’s ‘user integration’ vs ‘application integration’ though. You could try deep integration, but I’ve only done it with BuddyPress and it worked well.

    As for plugins, a lot of them actually work, you just have to test them out.

    Deep integration is what I meant when I said we intergrated our theme. Outside of a few minor adjustments we used this method:

    http://tinsology.net/2009/05/seamless-wordpress-bbpress-integration/

    It worked very well in terms of using WP within BB. The issue now is getting BB within WP.

    Yeah, you’re gonna have to wait for WP to start using backpress as well for that to work :/ That kind of integration works fairly well with BuddyPress (due in part to how BuddyPress wraps around BOTH WP and bb) but for just WPMU or WP and BB? Not so much.


    johnhiler
    Member

    @johnhiler

    Here’s the current state of deep integration – along with hints at the future path.

    There’s no known way to access bbPress functions inside of WordPress:

    http://bbpress.org/forums/topic/first-pass-at-a-fix-for-deep-integration-in-trunk#post-21621

    Sam has said he’s willing to support WordPress function calls from inside of bbPress

    http://bbpress.org/forums/topic/what-is-the-opposite-of-deep-integration#post-36853

    But WordPress isn’t returning the favor:

    http://bbpress.org/forums/topic/wordpress-access-to-bbpress-functions#post-37451

    http://bbpress.org/forums/topic/wordpress-access-to-bbpress-functions#post-37460

    So essentially, we’re looking at one-way integration being the probable future. bbPress is working hard to make sure it itnegrates deeply with WordPress, but WordPress isn’t making the same effort. :-(

    But- keep in mind that there’s a performance hit for “deep integration”! I personally use simple integration on my sites. _ck_ highlights the advances of simple integration here:

    http://bbpress.org/forums/topic/display-bbpress-on-wordpress-page-inside-the-blog#post-25353

    It’s pretty disappointing that WordPress isn’t using BackPress… especially since Sam made such a huge effort to integrate BackPress into bbPress. Also, bbPress took quite a performance hit from integrating BackPress.

    I’m hoping for a miracle somehow to redeem bbPress! In the meantime, I’m preparing contingency plans…

    It is probably unwise to make this very premature announcement, but I’m working on integrating BB as a plugin of WP, with seamless installation, integrated users, login, search, themes (header, sidebar, footer and as much styling as possible), XML-RPC, Tags, RSS, compatibility with relevant WP plugins like goggle analytics and tinymce comments, and new widgets to show bbpress info. Right now the installation, user integration and login are working.

    This is a spare time project, so there is no ETA…. (and if you think that I’m looking for a sponsor for this project, you are at least partly right ;) )

    Since it is a challenging project, I sometimes wonder if it worth it. More specifically, does someone in Automatic currently making an high level design for a similar feature and I’m practically wasting my time?

    Sam, can you comment about this?

    @johnhiler Thanks for the links. I’ve decided it only makes sense for us to use BB if it was deeply integrated. I’m willing to take the server hit, it can’t be any worse than what phpbb is doing.

    @mark-k I think you would be everyones hero if you pulled it off. Instead of one big plugin, maybe you could do several smaller ones.

    The one thing I can’t wrap my head around is login pages and profile pages. Having 2 different pages (integrated or not) is not only confusing to users it’s confusing to administrators. In a perfect world BB would handle all of this, but we know that’s not the case. So what to do? You can’t have a BB “login box” in WP, but BB should be their only profile page (that’s where they will be uploading avatars, checking PMs, etc.). So could you redirect WP login page to BB? If so how would you automatically redirect them back to the last visited blog page? I’m so confused I don’t even know how to write these questions intelligently. How do you have just one login page and just one profile page?

    PS

    I got the avatars working. :)


    eclipsenow
    Member

    @eclipsenow

    Some above have mentioned “less is just less”… and for a non-hacker like myself, I agree. I’d like to see bbpress come “fully loaded”, at LEAST with all the basic features one sees in SMF and phpbb3 all ready to rock and roll “out of the box”.

    FULL integration / merging with WP would be my pick. Then themers would have to work harder developing the bb into their themes for each WP “community portal” (What I’m calling the FULL WP / bbpress / buddypress / bbsync package).

    I’ve also expressed my ‘wish list’ here.

    http://wordpress.org/support/topic/299017?replies=9#post-1175959

    However, having said that I totally agree with the moderator above who said “So it’s something about the promise of bbPress that’s not yet been realized that gets people frustrated.” WordPress is way cool, and with a *truly* integrated bbpress portal system, it would rock the world and give Drupal and Joomla and SMF and phpbb3 a good run for their money! Imagine a Fantastico install of WP, and then just ticking some boxes and all the bbpress stuff was already there, “fully loaded” with all the options and ready to rock & roll?

    Ahhhh, I’m a suckie Myer’s Briggs ENJF idealist… can’t help myself….


    chrishajer
    Participant

    @chrishajer

    DennisH and mark-k – I think your discussion is worthy of another topic, so it doesn’t get lost here.

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