Usability, content, search and analytics on the corporate intranet

Intranet WordPress theme now on GitHub

14 May, 2013 – Luke Oatham
As promised, we’ve published the code for the WordPress theme based on the DCMS intranet.

You can get the theme code from the Helpful Technology GitHub under the ‘govintranet’ repository.

To accompany the code, we’ve also released an intranet showcase site where you can have a look at a working version of the intranet theme based on content from the DCMS intranet.

You can’t post in the forums. We’ve removed all downloadable documents linked from content, and recent news is made of dummy text. The remaining content is typical of any government intranet.

GovIntranet WordPress theme

The GovIntranet WordPress theme is a modified version of the DCMS intranet theme. It supports news stories, tasks, guides, projects, vacancies and blog posts. You can extend it with other plugins and widgets. The theme offers a little extra functionality and flexibility to the original DCMS theme and includes the latest iterations from DCMS.

Recently updated widget

Included widgets

The basic theme comes with a bunch of custom-made widgets for the intranet homepage, based on the original DCMS options. These include:

  • need to know news
  • feature news
  • most active pages
  • most recent pages
  • about this page
  • feedback

The showcase site demonstrates an extra WordPress plugin for polls – to show what’s possible. There are also a few additional custom templates, not included in the basic theme, for a document finder and a jargon buster – again, as a teaser of what’s possible.

What does Open Source mean?

I have been guilty of confusing the meaning of open source in the past and equating it with freeware. Open source means that you get the code to use as you wish, as long as code remains open. Some code is free, with or without support, paid or unpaid, and some code you pay for, with or without support. But whether code is sold or given away, it’s the source code and not the compiled executable. And as a small business, it’s what we do with the code, where we store the code and the associated databases, how we train people to use the interfaces generated by the code and the ongoing support and maintenance of the systems using the code that isn’t free. As long as the code remains open.

In terms of open source, the code is available and we’d love to work with other departments who are thinking of updating their intranets, both in terms of developing and customising this WordPress theme for the benefit of a gov.uk intranet community, and in terms of providing installation, training, hosting and support. We’re a small business so we can’t offer unpaid support or consultancy for this WordPress theme. But we will publish any enhancements to the theme that we develop during the course of paid work. If you want to work with us to use and develop the theme, we’re on the G-Cloud or happy to take a purchase order. And of course, you’re free to take the theme to any other WordPress agency to use and adapt openly.

Some WordPress plugins aren’t free. We have used paid plugins on the DCMS theme for the search engine and forms entry, which we believe perform better than the default or free alternatives.

And just as you can’t just plugin Google Search Appliance and get a better intranet search experience, this WordPress theme won’t give you a better intranet overnight, because both rely on paying attention to the content. Information on the showcase site demonstrates the type of content used for the DCMS intranet and it is this well-written and well-organised content that makes for a great user experience. We’re happy to provide advice on this too.

For more details contact Helpful Technology.

For a live tour of the DCMS intranet, Andrew Simpson and I will be online at the tail end of the 24 hour, round-the-world intranet tour, Digital Workplace 24 on 15th May.

For more details on the project and how it was managed you can email Andrew at andrew.simpson@culture.gsi.gov.uk

4 responses to “Intranet WordPress theme now on GitHub”

  1. Hi Luke, I’m working on an intranet project at the moment and have found the showcase site hugely helpful. I can’t seem to access it anymore though. Is the authentication process now permanent? Thanks, Nathalie

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