This report presents the results of the 2015 bbPress Survey held from May 28 – July 10, 2014. Two hundred thirteen participants from forty-one countries completed the survey. Thank you all.
Guide the direction of bbPress plugin development in 2015.
1. Discover current and actual bbPress usage.
2. Gauge user interest in potential new features.
3. Identify key areas for improvement.
4. Prioritize areas of bbPress development.
5. Set benchmarks to streamline development processes.
6. Identify volunteers who are interested in contributing to bbPress development.
The questionnaire we posted this year was based on the survey questions in the 2014 bbPress Survey. We went over the the questions used, replaced, and improved others. The final twenty-five questions for the survey set up using Polldaddy.com were categorized in the same manner as the year before:
a) You and bbPress
b) Themes and Plugins
c) Components and Participation
d) Opinions and Requests
The online survey was created using Polldaddy.com, a great service that provides polling widgets for blogs, websites, and social networks. A variety of survey question types were employed to gather the data required: multiple choices, check boxes, free text, email address box, and open‐ended questions.
Prior to analyzing the data collected, empty forms were deleted and submissions marked as “incomplete responses” were reviewed individually. Submissions which had no responses in the second and third pages of the survey were excluded from this report.
1. Software Versions.
Ninety-seven percent of participants using bbPress 2.5+ in their production sites are on the latest WordPress version (WP 4.2 at the time of survey). Notably, 71% of participants using the legacy bbPress <=1.x.x are also on the latest WP version as well.
2. bbPress Users.
For the second year in a row, the majority of our respondents used bbPress for their own sites (51%). They were followed by those who create sites with bbPress forums for others (30%), Keymasters of bbPress forums (5%), advanced bbPress developers (5%), never used bbPress but considering it (5%), theme developers (3%), plugin developers (1%), and member of forum community (1%).
3. bbPress In Your Language.
The top three languages used are English (74%), German (7%), and French (6.5%) for the second year in a row.
4. bbPress Installations:
Seventy-five percent of bbPress forums are activated in regular WordPress installations in either the domain root, physical directory, or physical subdomain. The remaining 25% are on multisite installations where more than half have activated bbPress network-wide and the rest activated bbPress in multiple networks.
5. Volunteer Sign-ups.
Eighteen respondents from 9 countries signed up to learn how they can contribute to the project. 50% of those who signed up to volunteer are respondents who “use bbPress for own sites”, 30% are respondents who “create sites with bbPress forums for others”, 10% “have never used bbPress but considering it”, and 5% each for “advanced bbPress developers” and “Keymasters of bbPress forums.” Thank you. We will be contacting you soon.
6. bbPress Site Types.
The top five types remain the same as last year’s except for Academic/educational sites which increased by 5% this year to tie for 5th. The top placers are: Generic (40%), Technical (28%), Business (28%), Non-profit(25%), Gaming and Academic (14%).
7. How participants found out about the survey.
Fifty-one percent of respondents found out about this 2015 survey through bbPress blog post, Forum post, and Twitter update. Huge props to Jeff Chandler (@jeffr0) of WP Tavern for getting in 29% of the respondents through his blog post, Twitter update, and Tavern feed in the WP admin dashboard. Props as well to The Whip Newsletter WPMUDev (7%), make.wordpress.org/support (@jdembowski) and Google search results (2%), WP Greek Community, Better Planet, bpdevel.wordpress.com (1%), and Slack, Automattic, fastwp.de, Feed, Friend, managewp.com, WordPress Planet.
8. Theming bbPress forums.
The top three choices remain the same as that of last year’s survey: Free WP theme with default bbPress theme compatibility (32%), My custom theme/s with completely custom templates/CSS (32%), and My custom theme/s using bbPress theme compatibility (31.5%).
9. bbPress Theme Features Wanted.
For the second year in a row, the top three preferences are: Responsive (69.5%), Light and Fresh Design (52%), and Compatible with the latest bbPress version (49%). Preference for “Responsive, mobile-first themes” comes in fourth at 39%.
10. bbPress-Specific Plugins used.
Almost 25% of respondents voted BuddyPress as the top plugin used, a 150% increase from last year’s survey. This could bee because per results of the 2015 BuddyPress Survey, at least half of the BP sites have activated bbPress forums. The seamless integration of bbPress and BuddyPress is due to the fact that both official WordPress plugins are led by @johnjamesjacoby. In addition, members of the BP core team have contributed to bbPress dev and members of the bbPress core team have contributed to BP dev as well. Sweet 🙂
Following closely in the most mentioned plugins category are the popular GD bbPress Attachments plugin (21.82%), GD bbPress Tools (16.36%), and bbPress Enable TinyMCE Visual Tab & responses with “No bbPress-specific plugins used” (8.18%), the top 4 responses last year. You can find the list of all plugins mentioned in the survey along with ranking and links to repository pages in this Google spreadsheet.
11. Participation in bbPress development.
Twenty-nine percent of respondents have contributed towards the development of bbPress this year. The top three ways they have participated in the project remained the same as last year’s survey: helping out in the bbPress support forums (44%), reported bugs in bbPress Trac (32.5%), and submitted translations of bbPress (19%).
While there was a slight increase in the number of contributors, most of the respondents have limited their participation in one to two activities this year. Last year, the majority of respondents were active in three or more volunteer opportunities. This shift is shown in the decreases of participation levels across the board except for a very slight increases in two: submitting themes and plugins to the WP repository with bbPress support.
12. Devices used to access forums.
Desktops and Laptops were the top two devices used most often to navigate the forums, followed by Smartphones and Tablets. While the ranking was the same as last year’s survey, the increases in usage of smartphones and especially tablets to navigate through the forums is noticeable. Fortunately, bbPress provides responsive stylesheets which are relatively easy to customize.
13. Other Forum Software Evaluated.
Top five are repeats from last year’s survey: 1) phpBB forums = 66%, 2) vbulletin forums = 48%, 3) SimplePress plugin = 41.5%, 4) Vanilla forums = 35.5%, and 5) MyBB =27%.
Thanks to @netweb, you can import data from most of the forum software mentioned above. For the current list of available forum importers/converters plus instructions on how to use them, check out this bbPress Codex article.
14. Most Requested Features.
For the second year in a row, the top requested features are: Attachments (42.5%), Ajaxification of Topics and Replies (41.5%), and Moderation tools in the front end (39%).
Survey Participants: Thank you to the 213 survey participants who completed this survey.
Online Survey Solution: Polldaddy.com and Automattic.com for the corporate account
Survey Preparation: @mercime, @johnjamesjacoby, and @netweb
Survey Report: D3.js, tagxedo.com, Microsoft Excel, Google Documents & Spreadsheets, fontawesome, and Github.com (gh-pages).
For those concerned about the future of this project or about continued development, rest assured that bbPress will be around for a long long time. The bbPress core team has been involved in the process of migrating the WordPress Support Forums (English and all Rosetta sites) from bbPress 1.x.x to bbPress 2.5.8 starting with one European-language forums subsite which has been already ported and being tested on. While this migration has been discussed many times and often over the years, @johnjamesjacoby formally started the process when he posted the results of an audit to show the custom functionality required for a successful migration.
The other volunteer bbPress core team members are also involved with this migration. @jmdodd has migrated two plugins to bbPress 2.5.8. @netweb has been on hand during the migration process in the first site, setting up and improving unit tests, and very active in bbPress Trac and Forums, among other volunteer efforts. If you’re interested to help in migrating other 1.x.x plugins to 2.5.8, be sure to put your name in JJJ’s post and also join the #meta-i18n channel on Slack.
What does this all mean for you? More eyes on the bbPress codebase because along with the bbPress core team, volunteers from the WP Support team and WP Meta Team are involved in this project. Any/all lessons learned due to this migration which would serve more than 8.15 Million WordPress.org users, can only translate to improvements to the bbPress code and thereby benefiting the whole bbPress community. Your support and patience are greatly appreciated.
You can keep abreast of the latest bbPress developments by checking out https://bbpress.org/blog/ or following the project on Twitter at https://twitter.com/bbpress and/or the #bbPress channels on Slack.
Finally, check out the mobile-friendly bbPress 2015 Survey Results page for the complete tally of this survey including comparisons with the results from last year’s survey.