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There are many open source CMS software available and in some situations you might want to try a few of them other than WordPress. There are Forums, message boards, multi-purpose CMS like joomla and drupal. I love open source because it offers you not only freedom to use but also the freedom to choose.

Choosing another CMS is not like you are betraying WordPress. It is true that WordPress is a very powerful software with lots of plugins and themes to extend it and create beautiful websites. However, there are other software too and sometimes these other software might be a better fit for your need.

The problem arises when people want to use these other software with their existing WordPress website. They want to seamlessly blend two different CMS into one. In this blog post we will look at how you can run another CMS alongside WordPress and integrate it into WordPress as simply as possible. The other CMS may not blend in perfectly but still.

Use RSS / XML Feeds to Include Content from another CMS into WordPress

WordPress comes with a handy but powerful tool called SimplePie, which allows you to fetch RSS, XML, Atom feeds and display them on your website. With the built in function fetch_feed simplepie and feed cache functionality can be used to fetch and display RSS feeds any where on your website. Most open source CMS such as phpbb, mybb, Joomla, Drupal, etc. come equipped with RSS feeds. In this example we are going to fetch an RSS feed and display its contents in WordPress. We will also create a shortcode so that we can display this content inside a widget, a post, or a page.

function fetch_forum_feed() { 

$rss = fetch_feed('http://www.example.com/forum/feed/rss/’);

// Figure out how many total items there are, but limit it to 5. 

$maxitems = $rss->get_item_quantity(5); 

// Build an array of all the items, starting with element 0 (first element).

$rss_items = $rss->get_items(0, $maxitems); 
?>

<ul>
    <?php if ($maxitems == 0) echo '<li>No items.</li>';
    else
    // Loop through each feed item and display each item as a hyperlink.
    foreach ( $rss_items as $item ) : ?>
    <li>
        <a href='<?php echo esc_url( $item->get_permalink() ); ?>'
        title='<?php echo 'Posted '.$item->get_date('j F Y | g:i a'); ?>'>
        <?php echo esc_html( $item->get_title() ); ?></a>
    </li>
    <?php endforeach; ?>
</ul>
<?php 

 } 
add_shortcode('display_forum_feed','fetch_forum_feed');

Now we can display feeds in posts, widgets and pages using [display_forum_feed] shortcode.

Tip: If the shortcode is not working in a text widget then you need to add this to your functions.php:

add_filter('widget_text', 'do_shortcode');

Most open source CMS offer many ways to syndicate content in RSS, XML or Atom formats. For example, if you are using MyBB then it allows you to generate RSS feeds for particular forums, threads, recent threads, recent posts, and so on. Using fetch_feed you can create a dynamic portal on your WordPress website that generates dynamic views, and updates itself as new content gets published with your other CMS.

Add Custom Links to Menu

In this tutorial we are assuming that your other CMS is probably a forum. However, this applies to any other kind of CMS you are trying to integrate with WordPress. WordPress Menu system allows you to add custom links to your Menus. Most WordPress themes come equipped with Menus and many of them have multiple menus. Using custom links you can create links to integrate any third party CMS into your WordPress site’s menu system. For example, on the top level menu you can add Login and Register links. In the main navigation you can add links to the main page of your other CMS.

Integrate Third Party CMS with Plugins

The real power to WordPress comes from the plugins and the community of developers who contribute their code to extend WordPress. I have found some plugins that allow you to integrate some other popular CMS software.

Magento WordPress Integration

Magento WordPress Integration plugin allows you to post any Magento product, item, or block, anywhere on your WordPress powered website. You can include specific products into posts which is useful if you are writing product overview or news on your website. The plugin also allows you to display products from a particular Magento category on WordPress category pages. The basic plugin is free but for shortcode and widget addons you will have to purchase those from MagentoWP website. The plugin comes with excellent documentation and the plugin author actively responds to support threads on WordPress forums.

Magento WordPress Integration »

phpBB Single Signon Plugin for WordPress

As the name suggests, this plugin allows users to use the same login credentials as their WordPress website on phpBB. Users registered on phpBB installation can also login on WordPress using the same username and passwords. This plugin is continuation of the WP2BB plugin which hasn’t been updated for a long time now. PHPbb single sign on plugin automatically registers a user on both platforms whenever someone signs up for either of them. It also posts your latest blog posts to the forum. Depending on how you are managing users on WordPress you can allow forum members to contribute posts to your WordPress website.

phpBB Single Sign on »

SMF2WP – SMF to WordPress Plugin

SMF2WP integrates SMF (Simple Machine Forums) into your WordPress website. It basically syncs users on both platforms, so when a user signs in on WordPress they also sign in on forums. It does not automatically posts to forums or WordPress.

SMF2WP »

MyBB Latest Posts Widget

MyBB Latest posts widget does what we tried to do above by fetching xml feed. This plugin allows you to do display latest posts and threads inside a widget. You can exclude specific forums, show user avatars, and recent forum activity.

MyBB Latest Posts Widget »

Conclusion

When it comes to integrating other CMS into WordPress there is a lot of room for development. I personally feel that there is a huge market for other open source CMS as well and using multiple open source as building blocks for web apps will bring innovation and improvement.


Disclosure: This page may contain affiliate links for which we will receive compensation if a purchase is made via the link.

Noumaan is a blogger and social media expert. He loves Quora, Facebook, Wordpress, OpenSource Software and The Sims.

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3 Comments

  1. blakeayers

    Great article! I was just looking for some forum integration for WordPress the other day. I still haven’t came across any great solutions for Vbulletin though.

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