Easy Integration with Forum Software
Many people have expressed interest in integrating a forum with WordPress. There are many guides out there, but the process is difficult for people without much php or mysql experience, and there seems to be a high failure rate among people who attempt this. The degree to which different forums integrate with WordPress varies, but none are perfect fits.
From personal experience, bbPress isn't difficult, nor is Vanilla.
However, some of the "big ones" (SMF, phpBB, vBulletin) could be easier if one wanted to go that way.
But, is this a problem with WP or the forum in question?
From a WP perspective, this would be your main site software. It has capabilities already built into it through plugins that can merge/integrate all kinds of things. The problem, or so it seems, is a lack of plugins which are really good at tying them together.
Here's one that integrates real easy... not sure why that would be core...
why not add standard hardcoded support for BBpress? http://bbpress.org/ . I like how this forum is starting to look like especially if it would start using mo/po files for internationalization.
I'd love to see BBPress just drop straight into WP, use the layout and seamlessly integrate.
I'm in the process of tweaking the default theme to essentially display categories/posts like a message board (and relying on a heavily-tweaked version of the "Latest Post from each Category" plugin for the index template). It really is interesting how similar WP is to a message board...
vBulletin integration would be fine!
Don't even consider phpBB or vBulleting integration, because those forums are so badly coded and their design is so far away from WordPress' that it would mean a rediculous amount of work that eventually would just result in an unmaintanable mess.
Changing the styles of phpBB requires one to edit a gazillion .tpl files that all consists of at least as many nested tables, inline scripts and other horrid 1996-"best practice" web development methodologies. The last time I edited vBulletin templates, it consisted of going through a heap of template definitions in the administration, where the templates themselves were stored in the database for some obscure reason. vBulletin too was built with the help of a million nested tables.
So please don't even consider going there. Allowing bbPress to be some kind of plugin/drop-in to an existing WordPress installation would be awesome, though.
I can also recommend looking at PunBB, which has a similar "simple" design as WordPress, but with an a little different template system.
FYI asbjornu said:
...where the templates themselves were stored in the database for some obscure reason...
Only the default template is stored in the db, its written to files when used, makes initial editting from admin panel easier.
SMF is integrated now...
Still in "testing" phase, but stable for the majority of users.
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