Let me start out by saying I am not sure that this is a PHP problem, but my website is coded with it so I will ask here. Please feel free to direct me elsewhere if need be.
I have a website set up using PHP/MySQL. The site has a fixed database (that I add items to frequently) of a specific item type and displays those items on the main page, in different sections, along with some sorting options. That's all the site is.
But I also want people to be able to register an account and have their own user page at www.mydomain.com/user/ that displays item choices (that they have picked from my database listings on a separate user settings page). Then other people can visit a user's page to see a their choices. I also want this to tie in with the main page sorting options to have a sorting option for sorting by 'items with most users to least users' etc.
That's all well and easy. I can do that, but here's the tricky part as I've never dealt with it before...
I also want to add a forum to the site, and I want there to be a 'combined' single login for the whole page, ie: you log in on the main site, allowing you to set up your personal user page etc...but I also want that user to be logged into the forum automatically at the same time.
So my question is, is that type of login system a pure PHP coding task for me, or is it something forum software can handle? I guess I'm asking, which end do I tackle this from. If forum software can do this that'd be great, even if I have to fiddle with it a bit. It would be far less stress for me. I should also mention, I do not mind paying for the forum software at all, if need be. Just want to get this set up as quick as I can.
I also want the forum to be able to be customized so that it is styled like my main page.
Any direction in this matter would be greatly appreciated!