[Resolved] WordPress / phpBB theme integration
I’m in the process of revamping my website Alpha Company, which caters for LEGO Military modellers and role-playing enthusiasts. The website homepage, which previously was a phpBB-based forum, is now a WordPress blog. However, the forums is still accessible and both software are installed in the same folder (phpBB’s index renamed to forum_index.php).
My first crucial step has been successfully bridging the user authentication between WP and phpBB using e-Xntd.it’s WP phpBB Bridge, which now allows our users to use their phpBB login credentials to comment on blog entries (as evidenced by the various test posts and responses).
I’m now at the stage where I wish to reskin WordPress to use the same theme as my phpBB forum.
The theme I’m using is a private custom-authored one called alphacompany2, based on Daniel Exe’s Cerulean theme (which in turn was derived from ProSilver). The alphacompany2 theme can be seen in action here.
A two-pronged problem
- Needless to say, both WP and phpBB have their own syntax and coding standards, so it’s not a simple matter of telling WP to call phpBB’s template-building functions.
- Part of the integration also needs to go the other way, in that I would like my WordPress dropdown menu to also be available on phpBB pages.
Given how complicated this may sound, I’ve rolled out a diagram to explain what I’m aiming for. The blue and red boxes represent phpBB and WP components, respectively.
(And in retrospect, I accidentally gave the phpBB template files .php extensions instead of the correct .html ones – Derp! )
What I’m asking for
I’m would like to know who here has experience working with WP and phpBB theme integrations, and could possibly lend some pointers as I figure this whole thing out, especially with how to integrate those WordPress drop down menus into phpBB pages.
I’m afraid I’m not the expert you’re seeking, but maybe I can be of some help in any case. I would avoid any true integration in the sense of calling BB functions from WP or vice versa. Fraught with problems! Instead, strive for the appearance of integration. Make both sides look identical with CSS. Where needed, display content from the other side via iframes.
For example, I don’t think it’s possible to ever use a BB header in a WP template, there’s too many WP technical things initialized in the head section for this to be practical. But you could get a WP header to look a lot like the BB header, and maybe work like it as well if all the actions are initialized as links instead of function calls.
To integrate the WP menus, try creating a WP template that does nothing but require_once wp-load.php and then displays only the menu. Then call this template from within an iframe on your BB page.
As I said, I’m no expert, but hopefully I’ve given you some ideas for which way to proceed. Good luck!
if you don’t want to use iframes, JQuery/Ajax is always an option also
You guys just reminded me of another bridge plugin I was using prior to my current one. It did a fairly good job of making WordPress use my existing phpBB themes, although it handled the user authentication side quite poorly.
I have the source files for this unused plugin, so maybe I could reverse engineer how the author did the theme integration.
Wish me luck! 😀
As you guys had warned me, the process seems to be far more convoluted than it first appears.
“Cloning” the phpBB theme in WordPress instead of a proper integration does not meet my requirements because I need to have the phpBB login box / user control panel link up in the top box, and only phpBB can determine if the user is actually logged in.
iframes may be a quick and dirty way of adding the WP menu to the phpBB template, but based on what I’ve read elsewhere on the web, that is generally bad design practice (makes for dodgy page indexing, etc).
AJAX and jquery? Probably a bit much at this stage.
I did some searching and I found a plugin called wp-united which does what you are looking for.
When I go to wp-united.com the header menu has both wordpress and phpbb menus which is something you are looking for. It looks like the sidebar has widgets which include forum stats as well and the homepage has the posts loop.
I hope it does what you are looking for, please keep me updated about your progress. I want to include phpbb into my wordpress installation and I plan on using that plugin.
When I first started out I immediately thought of WP-United.
However, according to the phpBB forums, the mod author had abandoned the plugin – i.e. no longer updating code / supporting users. This is because WP-United was written for earlier versions of WP and phpBB, and does not work with the latest versions of either installation.
To save you from the grief, I strongly recommend you NOT use WP-United.
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