How Simple:Press Works
The Simple:Press Page
When Simple:Press is installed it creates a WordPress ‘page’. By default it gives that page a title of Forum and WordPress goes on to give it a slug of forum for use by the permalink system. This page is going to contain all of the forum display – no matter what view.
You can safely rename this page and optionally change the slug to whatever you prefer. Just remember that if you do so then you will need to update the forum permalink (under FORUMS -> WP Integration).
Simple:Press is able to use just the one page because of the magic of the WordPress Rewrite Rules Engine which allows for every forum, topic and post to have it’s own, unique url but to be dynamically displayed on request.
The Theme Page Template
As Simple:Press has no information regarding the WordPress theme in use, the new page will be assigned to the theme’s default page template. If your theme offers a variety of templates for pages, then there is no reason not to change it to one you may find more appropriate. A common support question is how to make the forum full width with no sidebar. The first thing to do is look at what templates your theme offers as many good themes come with a full width option.
Interaction with your Theme
There are three basic and mandatory elements that any WordPress theme must possess and all three are vital for Simple:Press to display correctly. Sadly, we have come across many themes in the past where these have not been included by the theme author. These are:
A call to the function wp_head()
WordPress mandates that this function call should appear somewhere in the html tag. It is used to declare stylesheets and scripts that should not be declared in the body of a web page.
A call to the function wp_footer()
WordPress mandates that this function call should appear before the closing tag in the footer of the web page. This too is used for scripts and is vital for Simple:Press and many other plugins to function correctly. This one is, sadly, often missed out.
A call to the function the_content()
This function will be called somewhere in the main body of the template and is the function responsible for displaying your blog posts, your pages and, indeed, the Simple:Press forum.
Constrained by the Theme
Simple:Press will display in whatever area the template being used allows. If that area is narrow then the forum will be narrow. We can not override that. It is the WordPress theme that dictates width and placement. So, choose your WordPress theme wisely!
The Influence of the Theme CSS Styling
CSS is a standard – its full name being “Cascading Style Sheets”. All themes, plugins and WordPress itself makes liberal use of this standard to control the look-and-feel of your site. It is virtually impossible to prevent the theme having an influence on the way the forum looks. On the whole, this is desirable to keep the overall site looking the same.
Sometimes, though, the CSS styling for a theme is written in, shall we say, a dictatorial way and minor adjustments are necessary to get things just right. Fortunately, in most instances, you do not have to be stuck with the CSS you’re given.
Every modern browser includes a powerful CSS inspection tool that will allow you to easily view the CSS being applied to a forum element. Check the documentation for your browser for instructions on viewing the CSS for an element. (Most browsers allow you to point to an element, right click on it and select “Inspect” or uses a similar process).
With the browser CSS inspection tools you can even change the CSS on the fly to temporarily see what effect any alterations will have. It is a ‘must use’ tool for troubleshooting any CSS problems and WP theme ‘leakage’ into the Simple:Press display.
Once you know what CSS you would like to change, you can apply those changes using the FORUM->THEMES->CUSTOM CSS window or you can apply them in the WordPress customizer or, for more advanced users, create a plugin to apply the changes.