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Thanks r-a-y for the compliments, and thanks chrishajer for resuscitating the post!
In terms of integration, I connected the databases between WP and bbPress during installation and made sure that the cookie information matched in both configuration files (bb-config and wp-config). Those two steps made it so when a user registered and logged in at my forum, they were logged in at my blog too.
I didn’t really need any of the WordPress functions in bbPress so I skipped the deep integration part (calling wp-load). The only bit of dynamic code in my header is checking to see if a user is logged in, and on WordPress you can do that with:
<?php } ?>
I use caching to load the sidebar and footer. When someone visits my main site, http://devgrow.com/, it creates a cache of the sidebar and footer if there is no existing cache or if it’s older than 6 hours. The cache is just a text file that contains the output of the dynamic bits in my sidebar in HTML format, which I just include in my bbPress sidebar and footer.
I also wrote some custom code to pull the recent and popular (most replies) topics and display them with their topic icons.
Hope that makes sense, let me know if you have any other questions.