GeneratePress is a very popular and modern WordPress theme, that works great with bbPress, but the forums will not look their best, because of the old and very much outdated styling and layout coming from bbPress.
bbPress plugin includes default templates package that contains CSS stylesheet created 10 years ago, way back when the default WordPress theme TwentyTwelve was released. And, with many releases of bbPress since then, the styling was tweaked few times, but it is still the same styling as it was in the very first bbPress plugin version.
bbPress Default Templates and Styling
Here is the screenshot of the bbPress forum page using the TwentyTwelve theme:
Yeah, it is usable, but, the font size is small, the colors and design very much outdated, and it is not something you would like to have on your website today. Even if you use GeneratePress with bbPress, you will end up with something halfway there:
It looks better, but the bbPress styling has its own font sizes, a lot of the layout is based on the smaller fonts, and a lot of elements don’t look nice compared to what GeneratePress does. Here is another example showing a user profile edit form that looks just plain bad:
It is possible that bbPress default templates may be replaced in the future, but I have not seen much work done about that, or any plans for it. At this point, I doubt that we will see new styling in bbPress in the next few years at least.
What can be done to make forums look good?
If you want to make forums look better, you basically need to make a lot of styling changes to override default bbPress styling. But, you also might need to make changes to some of the default bbPress templates. While GeneratePress uses a modern flex-based grid layout and has full responsive styling, that will not work with bbPress templates that are still based on the old float-based grid model. To make matters worse, some of the default bbPress stylings may be hard to change or control.
All that makes the process of making forums look modern and nice very complicated. And, I know a lot of users end up using themes that may include completely own styling for bbPress. That makes it hard to later change the theme, or the issues may arise when the bbPress introduces some template changes, that theme breaks (because the theme had to override templates).
Enter Quantum Theme
GD Quantum Theme Pro for bbPress is not a theme, it is a plugin, and it is the unique plugin on the market – it includes 100% replacement of the bbPress templates system, and it includes its own templates, styling, and other parts of the code needed to render forums on the front end. It is fully compatible with the latest bbPress, and it is completely independent of existing bbPress styling and templates. Quantum Theme works with most of the WordPress themes (there are some limitations beyond Quantum plugin control). And, it even includes some additional styling targeting specific themes.
GD Quantum Theme Pro works exceptionally well with GeneratePress, and I always recommend GeneratePress as a good fit for any type of WordPress website, especially if the forums are involved.
Advantages of Quantum
GD Quantum Theme Pro for bbPress is regularly developed and up to date with bbPress latest releases, and, it has many advantages over default bbPress templates and styling.
- All the Quantum settings are available inside the WordPress Customizer, including styling, font size, control over different features, and tweaks.
- Modern design, with 3 distinct themes, including multiple color schemes, allows the creation of a custom color scheme via Customizer.
- Optionally, show new topic and new reply as popup dialogs (configurable via Customizer settings) with additional buttons in various locations.
- The new layout for the user profile focuses on a responsive design using top-based navigation and basic user information.
- Fully responsive, using flex model and icons to better show various options and information for topics and forums.
- All the bbPress default filters and actions work with the Quantum theme, and the Quantum templates are compatible with the bbPress (but they are not interchangeable).
- Full support for all the Dev4Press plugins for bbPress.
User Profile with Quantum
The user profile is a complete replacement and very much different from the default one. Form elements don’t suffer from the styling issues bbPress default styling has with GeneratePress (and other themes).
Winning combination: Quantum + GeneratePress
GeneratePress is one of the best themes right now for WordPress. It is the perfect combination of simple design, powerful customization options, and block support, with tons of prebuild designs to get started, many block patterns, and even the whole plugin to add powerful layout blocks called GenerateBlocks.
It fully supports bbPress, but it would require many styling changes to make bbPress forums look good. That’s where GD Quantum Theme Pro for bbPress comes in, adding new templates and styling to make forums look their best, with tons of customization and styling options inside the Customizer.
Let me know what you think about this combination, what suggestions you have when it comes to Quantum, and if you want to test it yourself, just request the demo.