Styling and working with bbPress forums can prove to be a challenge. If you’re anything like me, chances are you have tried a handful of different solutions for your WordPress forum software. I have finally begun to really enjoy and utilize bbPress for our forum needs and I feel that I finally have a grasp on the method to the madness. Below I will outline some methods we use here at Mojoness Inc. to utilize bbPress for our network support forum.

I am going to assume that you have installed the bbPress plugin and you are using the basic settings with installation. I want to discuss more about how the Mojoness team organized and setup our forum. I am not going to attempt to say this is the only way to setup your forum, this is just what we did to get off the ground.

Understanding the basics – The Home Page Shortcodes

Without going into too much detail about the programming structure, I am going to quickly highlight the basics of how the bbPress forum is powered. bbPress currently offers multiple options for displaying your forum. You can use custom page templates or shortcodes to define how your forum will display. For the Mojoness support forums, we decided to use a combination of both. We wanted a custom homepage where we call the shortcodes to show forums and topics. To begin with, we created a custom homepage template which had a right sidebar and displayed the_content() 2/3′s left. Below are the shortcodes we added to the Home page.

[bbp-forum-index]– This shortcode displays an index/archive of all forums.

[bbp-topic-index]– This shortcode displays an index/archive of all topics.

After we added those shortcodes in the editor, we had our Home page all setup.

Custom bbPress Page Template

Now that we have defined our Home page to display an overview of our forums, we used a custom page ( bbpress.php ) template previously mentioned to display everything else. The page template looks very similar to what a general custom page template would look like. Don’t be intimidated by the term “custom” in this context. Below is a look at what we did:

001 <?php get_header(); ?>
003 <div class="support-forum-mid clearfix">
005 <div class="support-left">
007     <p class="support-intro">If you have an issue with Eventr our support team is standing by will to answer your questions as soon as humanly possible. Please be patient during busy periods and be aware of any difference in timezone. Unfortanutely we cannot provide support for modifications beyond a few lines of code. Any more and you should enlist the help of a our customization team. Read the full support policy.</p>