Introducing Prologue

Update: We’ve released a new and improved version of this Prologue theme with real-time notification, threaded conversations, and more — we are calling it P2.

We’re fans of Twitter around here, in fact many Automatticians have accounts, but while the format appealed to us it really just whetted our appetite for something more, like a way for each of us to share short messages about what we’re doing or working on internally, or private messages between groups of folks.

So last week Joseph Scott and Matt Thomas decided to tackle this problem and within a few days they had a new theme for us: Prologue. Imagine it like a group Twitter. It’s best demonstrated with a demo:

Prologue Screenshot

If you click on the screenshot above, you’ll see a live demo blog with some messages from different Automattic folks. Basically how it works is when someone has the ability to post to a blog they see a short form at the top of the home page with a post box and tags. There they can post short messages about what they’re doing.

Below the posting box is a list of everyone’s latest tweet or message, with their Gravatar next to it. You can click on an author to see all their messages, or a tag to see all of the messages in a given tag (which we use for projects). There are RSS feeds for everything: the entire prologue, each author, each tag, and even combination or searches can be subscribed to in your RSS reader.

You can have a custom header to personalize the Prologue for your group, and just like any WordPress.com blog you have advanced privacy options: the blog can be public, public but invisible to search engines, and password-protected (available only to members).

Just like a blog post, each message in the prologue can have comments, and of course each comments thread has its own RSS feed. (Just like in regular WP.)

As a completely virtual company with no two people in the same place every day, we often have trouble keeping up with each other, so we’re going to be using a password-protected Prologue that only Automattic employees can access as one of our methods of communication, much like some other companies use Basecamp.

Some folks have suggested that using WordPress, Prologue, and RSS you could create a pretty effective distributed version of Twitter. This isn’t something we’re personally interested in, but we’ve made the theme available as open source under the GPL so if you want to hack around it yourself you’re welcome to. For WordPress.com users the theme is available in your “Presentation” section.

The staff was in an undisclosed location outside of Oracle, Arizona last week. I obtained some exclusive paparazzi shots taken by Alex Shiels. Here’s Andy lounging:

Andy Lounging

Here’s me kicking people’s butts at Wii tennis. ;)

Joseph, Matt, Toni, Barry

Finally here was our training for spammer-wrangling.

Everyone on horses


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Matt

526 Comments

Comments are closed.

  1. Craig Hodgkins

    Amazing. I can’t keep up with you guys. But I have to say that my four year-old son can give you a run for your money at Wii tennis.

    Like

  2. یک فتحی

    It is nice theme matt.
    Thanks!

    Like

  3. Graser103

    lol awesome
    my brother got a wii for his bday and it is so fun
    Adam G

    Like

  4. anitz

    Has anyone said you guys are really mean? How are we simple bloggers supposed to keep up with all that you do for us?

    Man. Slow down!!!

    Thanks for the great work.

    Ich blogge auf deutsch, I blog in German with WordPress.

    Like

  5. MAV

    nice

    Like

  6. Julio Fragoso

    I’m a fan of twitter too.

    This will be great !

    Like

  7. Pingback: Photo Matt » Twitter Theme
  8. Jeffro2pt0

    WordPress developers on horseback. There is something strangely humorous about that.

    Like

  9. kishore

    Thanks ma.tt :-)

    Please clarify “a way for each of us to share short messages about what we’re doing or working on internally, or private messages between groups of folks.”

    Is “private messages between groups of folks” WIP ?

    Like

  10. Matt Mullenweg

    Kishore, you can make any blog on WordPress.com password protected or private, so that’s what I meant.

    Like

  11. Javits

    Awesome!

    Like

  12. whymommy

    Wow. I don’t know that you’ll replace Twitter, but this is a great addition for groups! Thank you!

    Like

  13. Graser 10

    Sweet! I love new themes, and I also have a WII. Try me ;)

    Like

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  16. rasgo

    You all must have lots of fun. When I grow up I want to be like you!!!!

    Like

  17. Moon

    OK

    Like

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  20. Ruhi

    Wow!! Could’ve never imagined something of this sort! I’m totally floored. :)

    Like

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  23. abarclay12

    I love a good prologue. Excellent development. Very sexy.

    Like

  24. Pingback: Prologue Theme for WordPress
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  26. max

    “Our deal to buy google” cracked me up.

    Like

  27. Pingback:   Usar WordPress para montar tu propio Twitter en Agamum.net
  28. expatdispatch

    This rocks. I smell the next big way that virtual teams are “managed” or rather, self-organize.

    Like

  29. slimball2007

    This is the greatest :D !
    I might try it out soon :)

    Like

  30. raptrex

    so the theme will work with wordpress without hacks?

    Like

  31. Matt Mullenweg

    raptrex, yes you install it by just dropping the themes in your theme directory. WordPress themes are really their own development platform, you can transform WP into a very different sort of application and interaction with just a theme, and it’s all bundled, like what Drupal calls profiles.

    Like

  32. gastu

    I’m a fan of WordPress Jobs too.

    Like

  33. Ryan

    So sweet!

    Like

  34. Aaron Brazell

    Care to GPL that bad boy and release it to the hounds? :-)

    Like

  35. Matt Mullenweg

    Aaron, check the end of the post, we already did!

    Like

  36. Hafiz Rahman

    This is one of the cleverest theme I’ve seen in a long time. Love the innovation!

    Like

  37. bethwellington

    Nice feature. LOL about the deal to buy Google. Maybe Yahoo, too?

    Like

  38. Woeful

    You guys never rest… WordPress becomes more value-added every day!

    Like

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  40. anizyn

    awesome! i really like this Prologue thingy coz i’m a fan of Twitter too…great job!

    Like

  41. Jody Mitoma

    This is rather interesting.

    Like

  42. curves79lady

    Oh, that’s hot.

    Like

  43. Josh

    It’s a cool idea but I’d still love you if y’all made a widget so I could use Twitter on my blog :D

    Like

  44. fatfingur

    Really nice theme! You guys really are very generous in giving out the source code for everybody. Thank you Matt and the rest of the Automatticians!

    Like

  45. Cross

    Really great!
    Good work.

    Like

  46. Christian Burns

    Is there a way to get to the RSS, if its a private blog? I would love get this set up at work, a behind the firewall style watercooler.

    Like

  47. Matt Mullenweg

    Christian, right now there’s not a good way to get RSS out of a private blog, besides using a desktop aggregator which can send the proper login cookies. (Which is not ideal.)

    In the future though, I could see us doing SSL-only HTTP auth for feeds on password-protected blogs.

    Like

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  50. cowgalutah

    I’ll have to give this a try…as per the photos, nice helmets!

    Like

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  52. aniqah321

    i love you

    Like

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  54. Keith Shepard

    Very cool. I need one of these for my cat.

    Like

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  56. Benji

    In a strange way this can be used for my budget…

    Like

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  58. fowgre

    I’ve never gotten around to checking out Twitter, so I can’t image a group Twitter. I’ll try to find time to watch the demo though and hopefully it’ll be so amazingly instructive that I’ll be running with you big dogs in no time ;)

    Like

  59. Pingback: Víctor Fernández » En los archivos » Prologue
  60. MyScribbles: Write-ups of an Afghan

    Twitter rox!

    Like

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  62. ultimatequiz

    Congratulations, that’s a really nice and useful theme! :)

    Like

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  65. bentrem

    Mmmmmm … gotta email you about this on!

    Is VCMike in on this?

    Like

  66. dailypiglet

    i have no idea who you people are, but i love you. promise.

    Like

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  69. bentrem

    p.s. works good! *grin*

    Like

  70. Niyaz PK

    Matt,
    Exciting news.
    Thanks.

    Like

  71. storymode

    I chuckled a little when I saw this. I don’t use Twitter because I don’t have a circle of people I need to communicate myself to, but something like this is kinda cool. I say “kinda” because it sucks that it is a theme. I thought it may have been like a widget you could add or an optional setting you could turn on, but this theme is like really user-specific in that I would have no use for it unless the blog was generally going to be community-driven.

    So yeah. Unique idea that really shows off Automattic’s versatility as a digital company, but I just don’t see many people using this theme very much…

    Like

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  73. Chittaranjan

    Great Job you guys!

    You’ve just created yet-another-hangout-zone for us WPians :P

    Tx.

    Like

  74. Pingback: Prologue = Twitter for Groups : The Last Podcast
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  78. Kunal

    this is amazing :)

    Like

  79. Pingback: KOCHWERKSTATT » links for 2008-01-29
  80. Pingback: Prologue Theme For WordPress is it a Twitter Killer? : The Blog Herald
  81. madhubalan

    very nice work i like it.

    Like

  82. photographerno1

    Matt – We at Word Press are proud of all of you , you are the future of Cyberspace and in a short time you have horse powered yourself and us to a better photoblogging environment .
    Keep it Up…
    Congrats ..

    Like

  83. bentrem

    Ok … spoke a bit quickly, see 42words.
    What first caught my eye was: no sidebar. No reason to blow off the sidebar.
    Then I made a page as a work-around … no sign of that page.

    Then, when I posted a second time, the first post disappeared from view. (I just checked in Admin; it’s set up to display 10.)

    So …
    … I’d have it installed on my own sandbox (I grabbed the files from SVN) but the info here doesn’t really describe installation. (I’m not gonna apologize for being new to this … I gave up apologizing for no reason some years back. Irritating, aint’ it. heh)

    cheers

    Like

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  85. goldcoaster

    Spammer wrangling :) :)

    Like

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  87. કાર્તિક મિસ્ત્રી

    Another feather in WordPress. Cheers!

    Like

  88. Pingback: אנקדוטות » סוף סוף משהו טוב שיוצא מטוויטר
  89. Rowjie

    nice idea!

    Like

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  93. رضا عظیمی

    modern sickness

    Like

  94. Cassandra

    This is cool and all, but I’m not going to change my blog or start a new one just so I could do something I’m already capable of doing with the genuine Twitter. Is a WordPress-sanctioned Twitter widget that impossible to develop? This way I could keep my normal blog and just add a Twitter widget, just like the rest of the planet’s Web 2.0 population.

    Like

  95. | Balu |

    You guys been reading my mind. i joined twitter recently was wondering if u guys wud start a similar feature within wordpress. .ths s great!

    Like

  96. MadMark

    Nice try, but why don’t you improve the original Twitter support in widgets?

    Like

  97. Bill Humphries

    I’m trying this out on a spare domain. It will be interesting to play with the idea of private/public twitter-like interactions.

    Like

  98. Judy O'Connell

    Well, it’s nice, and probably quite useful in a company setting. But for the average blogger, sharing with a networked world…well, we still want twitter. It’s a shame that we still can’t embedd a twitter feed into our blogs – or for that matter quite a few other really useful things. I’d like to see you do some work in making more widgets available – that would be particularly cool.

    Anyway, thanks for this nice development.

    Like

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