To allow users to post certain types of content, which will be stored in a separate mysql database, is there a way to have the user login through wordpress/theme and then hook to the username, profile info, etc. or do I just create another process for the login?
I noticed that the forum here does not use the same username/password as the main part of the site as well....
That sort of thing would usually be handled by either a roles plugin or a membership plugin. I use Members by Justin Tadlock to manage which of my contributors can post new content live, and which ones can only create drafts that admins can approve and schedule.
What's the need for a separate database?
You can install WordPress separately in a different folder like example.com/submit/ and then use http://perishablepress.com/user-submitted-posts/ plugin. Using this plugin on http://www.designbuzzer.com works like charm.
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