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RokBridge – Non-invasive, bi-directional

RokBridge is a non-invasive, bi-directional bridge for Joomla and the forum platform phpBB3. By following a few simple sets, you can easily integrate the two platforms, providing registration, user syncing and syncing of login sessions.

Traditionally bridges for Joomla have been a variety of hack’s in both the Joomla and the forum code base, resulting in a precarious solution that was prone to break with updates on either side. This is not the case with RokBridge due to its non-invasive characteristics. RokBridge has been developed with the help of key members of the phpBB3 team to ensure that no hacks are required on the Joomla or phpBB3 side. Everything just works.


* Non-invasive Joomla 1.5 application
* Simple unified Joomla component based install & setup
* Powerful New Joomla modules: Login, Latest Posts, Latest Members, Top Members, Online Members
* Uses Joomla authenticator and user synchronization system, which will allow for authentication via plugins such as openID, ldap, gmail, etc…
* Bi-directional syncing of registrations in either Joomla or phpBB3
* Sychronization of profile data
* Very little performance overhead compared to traditional bridges
* No Joomla or phpBB3 hacks required
* Joomla SEF capabilities trickle down to bridged forum

New Modules!

We have provided a powerful set of Joomla modules that can leverage your bridged phpBB3 forum. We have created a new Login module that works similar to the RocketTheme login module, showing avatar, and key forum links. Also, we have a flexible Latest Posts module, and now a new Members module. The members module has 3 modes allowing you to show: Latest Members, Top Members, or Online Members. These work via the bridge so no configuration is required once you have the bridge up and running. Just install, and publish.

How Does the Bridge Work?

The bridge is a Joomla! 1.5 application and not a Joomla! component. This means that it does run standalone and not inside Joomla!. We have chosen this approach for performance reasons. Running phpBB3 inside Joomla! would almost double the server load as both the Joomla! CMS and phpBB3 applications would need to be booted up at the same time for each page request. For smaller forums this might not be a problem, but for large installations this would definitely be an issue. With the bridge running as a Joomla! application, there is no visual integration. You must use a matching phpBB3 theme to ensure visual integration. The RocketTheme phpBB3 Theme Club provides matching themes for many of our Joomla Templates.

Core Concepts

The user authentication and syncing architecture has been completely re-written for Joomla! 1.5. The system is now completely externalized through the plugin architecture. Out of the box Joomla! 1.5 offers different authentication plugins (joomla, openid, gmail, ldap, …) and one user plugin.

Authentication plugins deal with the authentication of user credentials against a dedicated user store. For example, when a user tries to log in, the system will check the users credentials againt all of the enabled authentication plugins, if one of them succeeds the system will declare the user as authentic and allow the system to continue with the login procedure.

User plugins on the other hand are responsible to log a user in into an application, being that either Joomla! itself or an external application like phpBB3. The user plugins also deal with syncing users between the different applications.

Lastly, the Joomla! user plugin has special feature we call ‘auto-registration’. This allows the system to auto-register (store in the database) and authenticated user who is log-in in into the system for the first time.


The bridge is making use of all these features to allow it to do it’s magic. The bridge contains the following 3 Joomla! extensions :

* A Joomla! 1.5 user plugin: This plugin takes care of the user synchronisation login/logout synchronisation from Joomla! to phpBB3.
* A Joomla! 1.5 authentication plugin: This plugin takes care of the user authentication against the phpBB3 user store (database)
* A Joomla! 1.5 application: The application acts as a wrapper and makes it possible to offer advanced features to the bridge such a SEF functionality and in a later phase we also hope to offer some sort of template wrapping functionality.

The bridge also contains 1 specific phpBB3 extensions, the phpBB3 Joomla! authentication plugin.


The bridge is designed to run into two different modes, bridged mode and synced mode. In synced mode the bridge will only perform user and log-in/out syncing, while in bridged mode the bridge will run as a Joomla! 1.5 application and offer extra features, firing of Joomla plugins, and Joomla-style SEF URL’s.

What does this mean in practice :

* Synced mode : when you install the phpBB3 user and authentication plugins in Joomla! and activated the phpBB3 authentication plugin in phpBB3 you are running in synced mode.
* Bridged mode : when you access your phpBB installation through the special Joomla! application you are running in bridged mode.



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