The Parliamentary Digital Service has a new blog

Over the last couple of weeks we’ve been working with the newly formed Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS) to create a new blogging platform. PDS has formed to improve digital services and will use the platform to update service users on the work they are doing, with other departments and groups within Parliament.

We were asked to set up a blogging platform to meet the needs of a wide range of Parliament bloggers. To make sure we met these needs and delivered quickly – at minimal cost – we suggested building on the blogging platform we developed with GOV.UK.

The blogging platform has a multitude of features for both users and bloggers. It has an easy to navigate and informative front page to allow visitors to get a quick overview of featured and latest posts, as well as a searchable list of the blogs on the site.

Each blog has a responsive and clear layout with easy to navigate comments, archives and category sections.

Behind the scenes there is a multisite WordPress installation. This gives blog owners an intuitive and easy way to scale up the blogs on the site, manage users and most importantly: make blog posts!

Because we are starting from our open source theme we were able to deliver a lightning quick service using something we have already developed for the public sector. This allowed us to start from a well tested and developed platform that has already proven effective for public sector blogging needs.

Why don’t you go to the Parliamentary Digital Service blog and check out the first post on the new platform from the new head of the Service: Rob Greig.
We like putting our code out in the open, so you can check out our github repo to see the theme for yourself.

4 comments

  1. Comment by Dave Briggs posted

    could you share the plugins the site uses? We are just setting up a multi site blogging environment for our council and it would be great to see what add ons Parliament and others are using.

    • Replies to Dave Briggs>

      dxw staff member Comment by Harry Metcalfe posted

      Hi Dave! Sure thing:

      post-indexer
      A WPMUDev premium plugin we use to generate the main list of blog posts on the root site. It’s easier to see what this is doing on blog.gov.uk, as they have more blogs.

      acf-options-page
      Another premium plugin, used to set theme options like the URL for GovDelivery subscriptions.

      xml-sitemap-feed
      Used to create sitemaps for Google.

      relevanssi-premium
      Relevanssi makes search better.

      jm-twitter-cards
      Adds Twitter card support for improved display of links shared on Twitter.

      co-authors-plus
      An important one – allows posts to be published with correct attribution to guest authors, without those authors having WordPress accounts.

      akismet
      Anti-spam, obvs.

      acf-repeater
      I’m not sure where we’re using this, without checking – probably the root site again. But it makes it easier for admins to publish repeated chunks of content with a standard layout.

      advanced-custom-fields
      ACF is a premium plugin that makes WordPress’s custom field functionality very, very much more useful. We use it almost everywhere.

      twitter-widget-pro
      To accommodate the inevitably requested tweets-in-my-sidebar-please requests.

      storify
      Adds support for embedded Storify pages.

      syntaxhighlighter
      Allows WordPress to add syntax highlighting to source code published in posts.

  2. Comment by Dave Briggs posted

    could you share the plugins the site uses? We are just setting up a multi site blogging environment for our council and it would be great to see what add ons Parliament and others are using.

    • Replies to Dave Briggs>

      dxw staff member Comment by Harry Metcalfe posted

      Hi Dave! Sure thing:

      post-indexer
      A WPMUDev premium plugin we use to generate the main list of blog posts on the root site. It’s easier to see what this is doing on blog.gov.uk, as they have more blogs.

      acf-options-page
      Another premium plugin, used to set theme options like the URL for GovDelivery subscriptions.

      xml-sitemap-feed
      Used to create sitemaps for Google.

      relevanssi-premium
      Relevanssi makes search better.

      jm-twitter-cards
      Adds Twitter card support for improved display of links shared on Twitter.

      co-authors-plus
      An important one – allows posts to be published with correct attribution to guest authors, without those authors having WordPress accounts.

      akismet
      Anti-spam, obvs.

      acf-repeater
      I’m not sure where we’re using this, without checking – probably the root site again. But it makes it easier for admins to publish repeated chunks of content with a standard layout.

      advanced-custom-fields
      ACF is a premium plugin that makes WordPress’s custom field functionality very, very much more useful. We use it almost everywhere.

      twitter-widget-pro
      To accommodate the inevitably requested tweets-in-my-sidebar-please requests.

      storify
      Adds support for embedded Storify pages.

      syntaxhighlighter
      Allows WordPress to add syntax highlighting to source code published in posts.

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