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The concept of what makes a “BuddyPress Theme” can be a bit confusing. Since BuddyPress 1.7, your WordPress site is no longer required to have a theme that explicitly supports BuddyPress. Instead, BuddyPress comes with support for just about any modern and standard WordPress theme (especially the default ones.)

Back in 2010, bbPress popularized the concept of “Theme Compatibility.” This is a way of saying that even if your theme doesn’t directly support a specific feature, that feature will still function, look, and feel as it was originally intended to.

It’s a way to shift responsibility of code interoperability off of individual themes and onto feature developers to consider a wider audience.

Fun fact: WordPress has come with theme compatibility for comments for years — if your theme doesn’t directly support comments, WordPress fills in that gap and your visitors would never notice the difference. Neat, eh?

Savvy theme authors can still build beautiful and amazing WordPress themes that exclusively target BuddyPress and bbPress; theme compatibility just simplifies the process for them by giving them a set of conventions to work within.

We’ll be adding some screenshots of popular themes with BuddyPress integration soon. In the meantime check out some WordPress themes that include BuddyPress support in the WordPress theme repository.

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