WordPress is the undisputed king of blogging platforms in my opinion. So I was very interested to hear that its developer's Automattic had brought out a similar platform for creating forums.
As you'd expect, bbPress is plain and simple to use and yet creates elegant results in a matter of minutes. No more stressing about forum database admin either - bbPress makes administering a forum as easy as maintaining comments on a WordPress blog. And of course, like WordPress, it's highly customizable with plenty of scope for add-ons and plug-ins.
The good news is that keeping bbPress open source and free is Automattic's number one priority, so there's little fear of nasty charges creeping in once you've got your forum up and running.
bbPress works on a template system very similar to that of WordPress. You can switch between themes in a few clicks. Of course, if you have any CSS knowledge, you can change the code and styles to your liking. If you've got a WordPress blog, bbPress forums integrate instantly, meaning you can add a forum to your blog very easily.
Unfortunately, at the moment bbPress is still quite limited by the lack of plugins and themes available. It reminds me of the early versions of WordPress, although judging by how far that's come, it won't be long before bbPress has a thriving community of users creating plug-ins.
At the moment, there's no way to integrate bbPress templates with your default WordPress blogs, though this will be addressed in future releases. If you want to see a bbPress forum in action, check out the WordPress.org and Technorati support forums, which are based on it.
You'd expect nothing but a quality product from the makers of WordPress and bbPress certainly doesn't disappoint. Despite being limited, like early releases of the blogging platform, bbPress is only going to get better.
- Security fixes.