I have been a phpBB3 user for some time now and I always wanted to build a website that had the forum integrated into it. Well now I do and that is the basis for this article. I'll tell you how I integrated phpBB3 into my site wrapper.
If you're like me and write (code) your own website then you know how frustrating it is to have a forum and other add-ons that visitors have to register for separately. Now with this small tip you can stop the frustration.
Here is what I did to allow visitors to register only once and visit my entire website freely.
I really hate using a Content Management System (CMS) to build my site because it requires daily updates with pages added as needed. I just feel limited by using one. When I made the integration with phpBB3 I sat and decided what features I could make use of and not have to code a lot of features - that the forum software already provided. The main feature I wanted was giving visitors the ability to register and have a User Account area. I also wanted to set up a downloads area where I could offer my creations to anyone that wanted them. At the same time recording the amount of activity and download numbers. And offer those downloading my creations the ability to comment on them without having to go to another page on my site. Because phpBB3 already has these features, it was an easy decision.
The first thing I did after installing phpBB3 was to create a login form for my main homepage. I wasn't able to find the entire form at one place on the web so I had to piece it together while coding it to integrate with my website design. You can see it on the right side of the page just under the menu.
Here's the form I made in the downloads area with comments.
Now that I had the login/registration added and tested I decided to add WordPress to handle designers news. Well I just wanted to learn WordPress (basically) is the real reason.
I installed WordPress and found a free plugin that allows for login/registration integration with phpBB3. Get it HERE. Now I had my site wrapper, phpBB3, and Wordpress all connected giving me the User Account area I was looking for. I created the downloads area by setting up categories and forums and by doing that I am able to get the stats on visitor and download counts.
Now that I had my site integrated with all of these awesome products I had to build a theme to make all of these look the same. I didn't want to have visitors looking at three separate themes while browsing my site.