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I downloaded BBPress. How do I get it to look like

  • I downloaded bbpress because the looked so nice. This is exactly the look I want in my forum. When I load the bbpress that I downloaded, it doesn’t look anything like this.

    I am so bummed. I’m not a great coder, so if it’s going to involve a lot of php work, I’m out of luck.

    My site is running WP 3.3.1, with the Twenty Eleven theme. Is there anything I can put my hands on to get a forum that looks like this one?


Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 25 total)
  • Good question and I’m struggling with this too. The site looks great but the default install is very different. I don’t mind doing the work to make the changes but having looked through the forum and what documentation there is I still don’t know where to start. Can anyone give any pointers as to the sort of things used on the site so implementers can use this on their sites?


    I am currently modding my own bbpress installation (and I all I know is CSS).

    My idea would be search Google for ‘free bbpress themes’, find the one with the functionality that you want – – in your case, something that looks like – – and then design it your way with custom css.

    You get my idea? Good luck! :)

    Thanks for that. I assumed a theme just covers the look and feel of a site but does it change the layout, etc, too?

    For example, on the page the layout is totally different to the default – there is a list of forums on the left, a search box and list of tags below that and on the right is a list of recent topics. The columns included in the topic and forums list are different to normal too and above the topics list there is a “start new” link. Those are the sort of changes I want to make. I know CSS but can’t see how I change all that through CSS or will a new theme do more than change CSS?

    Sorry for asking such basic questions but while BBPress seems great it is a bit impenetrable for the newbie!



    Yeah. Jon, I am a newbie too, but since I know my way through wordpress, I am confident that I can accomplish something with bbpress.

    That’s exactly what I am talking about. Search for bbpress themes. You might end up finding something with features closer to what you mentioned or better.

    Any theme that looks better than the default bbpress theme will make you happy for the time being, until you know your way around bbpress.

    That’s a starting point. Enable the new theme, start changing the look with CSS, make it look your way. That’s what I was suggesting. Sorry if I didnt catch your point still.

    Thanks, I’ll have a look at themes.

    I know my way around wordpress and was confident I could accomplish something with bbpress but am rapidly losing faith given the lack of documentation and examples for bbpress!!

    Given how good the bbpress site looks, if that is done with a theme then it would be a good idea to make that theme (or similar) available. Even better if bbpress used something impressive “out of the box”.

    I’m off to find some themes…

    Yeah, I hoped to so too. Good luck!

    They are two different versions of bbPress, which is primarily why they look so different.

    The lastest version of bbPress is 2.x while is running (I believe) 1.x.

    @jaredatch: Oh, I didn’t know that!

    @dorsetjon: There’s your answer (I guess).

    bbPress 2.x = WordPress plugin.

    bbPress 1.x and 0.9 = Stand alone installs. will eventually (hopefully sooner than later!) be upgraded to 2.x as well.

    jaredatch, thanks for that. However, I assume/hope that the look of the bbpress site is to do with the theme you are using, etc, and not because it is version 1.x because it looks so much better than 2.x. Hopefully the bbpress site won’t end up looking like what comes with 2.x when you upgrade!

    I still don’t get this though. I’m searching Google for ‘free bbpress themes’ as suggested above and all but one of them on the first page of results has been for bbpress 1.x and not 2. All I want to do is make some basic changes to the layout of the forum but I have spent more time trying to understand where to start with bbp than in setting up all the rest of my wp site.

    I know bbp relies on volunteers, but some documentation, examples and a better standard theme would really help us new users and perhaps it would be worth getting that right before further new features are added. Not a criticism but just a thought.


    Are you following this thread? I’d love to hear your spin on it. How can we get the 2.x BBP to look like this site?


    jjj will respond when he has a chance, but I’ll say he does 3 different jobs so he doesn’t always have time to respond right away.

    He is an Automattic employee where his full time role is head of “social”. bbPress and BuddyPress are his other projects that he does on the side.

    I encourage you, when you have time, to listen to a recent interview with jjj – you’ll get an idea of just how much work he has on his plate – frankly I don’t know how he does it.

    Both bbPress and BuddyPress are maintained by volunteers like jjj and myself. We contribute and help out as much as possible, but ultimately projects that “pay the bills” come first.

    I’ll let jjj give his point of view, but I can tell you with 99% certainty that there is no easy way to make bbPress 2.x look like – they are simply two completely different platforms. bbPress 2.x was a total rewrite of bbPress, from the ground up, so that bbPress could be a plugin instead of a stand alone install.

    And yes, when is upgraded – whenever that time comes – it will adopt the new bbPress 2.x look. I understand that some people like the 1.x look better however that all comes down to personal preference – personally I like the 2.x look but that’s my preference.

    Googling for bbPress themes and plugins is hit or miss but is going almost be a miss if you are using 2.x. It’s been out only a year, so the vast majority of what you find is going to be for 1.x. Recently there has been quite a few nice plugins popping up that are for 2.x – you can find these in the plugin repository

    bbPress is actually quite well documented, however right now most of the documentation is in the actual code. Writing up documentation takes a lot of time and effort – codex is a perfect example – it’s fantastic but it is also maintained by 100s of contributors.

    I’m sure jjj could spend some time writing documentation, but then none of the bugs that come in would be addressed in a timely manner, none of the features that people are constantly asking for would ever get written. Every comes down to volunteers – we just don’t have enough. Anyone with a user account can write and contribute documentation for bbPress so i think it’s unfair to expect jjj to do that on top of the dozens of other things he already does.

    I do know that when 2.1 is released, which should be fairly soon, we are going to add some stuff to the bbP codex, however it’s night going to be something that appears overnight.

    I’m not sure what you mean by “better standard theme” – the theme that ships with bbPress 2.x works well – the one that ships with the upcoming 2.1 is even better. Logistically it’s impossible to ship with a bbPress theme that fits everyones needs and works with all WordPress theme, but we try to make it as compatible as possible.

    bbPress does a lot of great things “out of the box”. However it comes to a point that when certain customizations are needed you are either going to have to get your hands dirty with code or hire a developer to assist you – and that’s just the nature of the beast – for any open source project.

    If you are looking for a forum application that has 100s of contributors, many of which focus on the project full time, then unfortunately bbPress may not be the best fit for you. Vanilla, phpBB, along with others are some great alternatives.

    John James Jacoby


    I don’t really understand the question. If you want to make a theme that looks like another theme, you make it. If you don’t know how to, you either learn how and hopefully contribute what you learn back to the community via the codex or forums, or you hire someone that already knows how to do what you do not know how to do. :)

    Maybe I’m missing the point. I get that the documentation isn’t great right now, but it’s exactly the same as making a WordPress theme. The template files and their locations are already in the bbp-twentyten theme as an example.

    Making an entirely custom theme is *not* a step-by-step paint-by-numbers thing. It’s not something anyone can teach you how to do, you have to learn it yourself.

    Thanks guys, really appreciate you taking the time to reply. That answered the question…I wanted to know how I could make some changes to the layout to achieve things I have seen on other sites and it appears a theme is the answer.

    I am more than happy to learn and get my hands dirty as suggested, but really need documentation for that because I don’t have time to work out how this all works by looking through the code. However, that’s absolutely no criticism and I am well aware of how long it takes to create documentation.

    Thanks again for your replies and for creating this plugin.

    My original question was this: I have BBP 2.x. When my users click on “Forum” on my menu, I would like it to look like THIS forum that I am on right now.

    I’m not a php coder and I haven’t figuered out how to make a theme just yet. I’ve only been at this for a little while.

    I’m working on it, but I’m not there yet.

    I’m running twenty-eleven with my WordPress right now. Does anyone know a painless way to get my BBPress to look like when my users click on it?



    Jim – Unfortunately without constructing a custom theme or going actually using bbPress 1.x there is no way to make your forum to look like bbPress 2.x is 100% different than what is running here on .org.

    Yeah, I’m getting that impression.

    Can I make a theme for just bbPress without effecting my WordPress theme?

    I’m still hacking around and have just discovered shortcodes…they do some of what I wanted and, for example, can give a similar *layout* to the .org page. Still want to change some of the way the content looks, e.g. remove the navigation path above the forums and topics lists (is that possible without a theme or code change?), and I guess that may require a theme or code change but I’ll keep investigating.


    Can you elaborate on what you did?


    What I mainly wanted was a web page where the layout was similar to the forum and I wasn’t looking for the colours, etc, to look the same. I have found that a new theme isn’t required and instead I did the following:

    1. Create a new page in wordpress

    2. Create a layout using <DIV> tags and use bbPress shortcodes to specify where the forum components should sit

    3. I then added CSS to the style.css of my WordPress child theme to control how the forum looked. For example, I didn’t want the forum navigation text or the text saying how many posts there are, etc, so I turned them off via CSS.

    I’m not sure if that’s the best way to do what I wanted but once I “discovered” shortcodes this was all very simple and didn’t require a new theme or PHP changes, etc, so was fairly easy.

    Let me know if you want any more details about what I did and I post them here.


    I’m working on what you said.

    I’m a little stuck on the shortcodes. To display a single topic, the short code needs an ID code, but I’m not sure what the ID code or name is for each of my topics.

    I’ve played with a few obvious choices, but nothing is working yet.

    hey Jon & Jim & JJJ & Jaredatch

    did u manage to get something like ?

    what was shortcode or php code I can use to create it? My problem is that I can use it in the new page, but on custom homepage of my site – so I need php code (or wrapup php code with shortcode) that will display something like

    your help is greatly appreciated!

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    otherwise bbPress looks great and i’m looking forward to learn more about it and build some big website. previously i build websites with 750,000 visitors in drupal. but now trying to figure out myself how to use wordpress :)

    I didn’t change the whole forum to look like, but instead wanted the first page users see to look like .org. That is, with a forum list on the left, tag cloud below that and on the right a list of recent topic updates. I achieved that with the following page code:

    <div style="display: inline; float: left; position: relative; width: 400px;">
    <div style="margin: 0; padding: 0; border: 0; outline: 0; font-size: 100%; vertical-align: baseline; background: transparent;">
    <div style="margin: 0; padding: 0; border: 0; outline: 0; font-size: 100%; vertical-align: baseline; background: transparent;">
    <h2>Hot Tags</h2>
    <div style="display: inline; float: left; position: relative; width: 400px; margin-left: 25px;">
    <h2>Topics<span><a title="New Forum Topic" href="http://your-url-here/?page_id=232" style="font-weight: normal;"> — Start New</a></span></h2>[bbp-topic-index]</div>

    I also made some CSS changes to change formatting and remove some text.


    Thanks a lot, Jon. Very nice that you post the whole code.

    My problem is – as I can’t use WP page, as I need to display this on custom homepage (index.php), not on the separate WP page.

    so I try to use

    <?php echo do_shortcode(‘[bbp-topic-index]‘); ?>

    As it is outside loop, but it doesn’t work. Not sure what I am doing wrong.

    Not sure what I doing wrong.

    Hmm, actually I think this works for my case

    <?php echo do_shortcode(‘[bbp-topic-index]‘); ?>

    Still if someone have another code let me know. Thanks :)

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