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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526 Comments

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  1. Pingback: Prologue: Twitter for WordPress for Groups - Rev2.org
  2. munggur

    Great! Rushing to try this at seconds…

    Like

  3. Kate

    Great theme and great idea

    Like

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  8. Chittaranjan

    One Question Though: I don’t see all the individual ‘Twits’ on the homepage! Only the latest one. Is there any setting I need to change?

    Like

  9. Matt Mullenweg

    Chittaranjan, the original behaviour was to show one post from each author, the new version now shows a stream by default, and you can show the 1-per-author on a different page.

    Like

  10. Amit

    Nice addition….but can you add some colours to it. It looks a little…errr…bland. :)

    Like

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  17. rumours

    :) !

    Like

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  20. compassioninpolitics

    Very cool. So is it a Twitter-killer?

    Like

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  22. inspirat0r

    nice! keep on guys!

    Like

  23. cronies

    Ty Joseph Scott, Matt Thomas n’ WP! Cool theme n’ the photos look great!

    Like

  24. uemai

    Another good tool from you to us.
    Thanks!

    Like

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  27. ian in hamburg

    Hi,
    Great idea. The Blog Herald article links to this thread as a place to download it. I looked under the Presentation and see it as a theme, but I don’t want to convert my blog to it.

    Stupid question coming up: is this a service which is separate from your blog, ie a new blog, or offered as a link in the sidebar? Please bear with the technically clueless.

    Like

  28. Matt Mullenweg

    Ian, you could start a new blog with a click, or apply the theme to your current blog.

    Like

  29. Natalia

    hahaha! Love the mustache!

    Like

  30. Biblioteca

    Great!

    Like

  31. Guineapig119

    Sweet! That is an awesome update! P.S. Did you win the wii tennis game? I always do on mine :razz:

    Like

  32. Pingback: Un Twitter con WordPress
  33. ali786

    hi
    thank you matt

    Like

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  37. maxkaizen

    WOW this is utterly brilliant, excited to play with this for our team :-D
    LOVE LOVE LOVE WordPress
    thanks 4sharing

    Like

  38. EscRiBiTioNiSt®

    hmm.. would be nice if i can have my twitter timeline widget..

    Like

  39. Gray

    cool theme, yeah a distributed microblog sounds interesting; but isn’t that what “asides” are for? sounds more like “stratified blogging”.

    Like

  40. bsdguru

    Matt Thomas theme is clean and simple. The way themes should be! :)

    Like

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  47. Netty

    I will try it as well. See if I can do it! :) Thank you!

    Like

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  49. jessie08

    That sounds great, Coolness.

    Like

  50. Phy

    Wow! Love it! I was thinkin of gettin my friends to sign up and keep each other updated with what everyone is up to. Thanks, WordPress!

    Like

  51. bopuc

    microblogging. makes a huge amount of sense for distributed teams working on projects (like wordpress, or globalvoicesonline.org)
    now we just need to dig up that xmpp->wordpress bot+plugin and voila.
    thank you gents. :)

    Like

  52. કુણાલ

    Fantastic job buddies … gr8 going … !!! :)

    Like

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  55. Ward

    So, right now it looks like posts are added with no title. Is that something that can be customized?

    Like

  56. Matt Mullenweg

    Ward, you can post entries from the regular write interface instead of the front-page interface, in which case you could include titles just like anything else.

    Like

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  61. vindictiveimmunity

    This is pretty awesome. We had previously created our “twitter-like” hack on wordpress-mu on our internal network. What you’ve done will probably enhance it. I gotta go blog about this now.

    Like

  62. rhuantavan

    Nice idea! Thumbs up!

    Like

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  67. Los Havros

    Whilst this theme would not work on my main blog (hosted on WordPress.com) due to it’s style and purpose, I am inspired to utilise some of the code to create some kind of hybrid implementation on my WordPress.org blog which I may share later down the line. Keep up the excellent work! I’m astounded at the number, and quality of innovations being released.

    Like

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  69. Kia Taheri

    I want try it early. :d Thanks so much!

    Like

  70. dontbesadblog

    Peace be on you, Matt,

    I’m new to wordpress and to blogging. I have to say I feel at home at wordpress- because the admin team are so friendly and always developing new ways to improve the blogging experience. Its great to know behind the scenes someone is working on ways to improve the blogs and you can see the results!

    I really wanted to say thank you and keep up what you are doing! I would recommend wordpress to everyone thinking of getting into blogging.

    Take it easy,

    Dont be sad

    Like

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  74. glitchnyc

    Brilliant :) This could definitely come in handy when planning barcamps and such

    Like

  75. OPENGIGA TECH

    cooool

    i like this features

    Like

  76. Pingback: Twitter en Wordpress « tejiendo redes
  77. Resonate

    Excellent! I’m surprised someone never thought of it sooner.

    Like

  78. rmucha

    ZOOMIN!

    Like

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  86. Geiar

    You solved a problem for me. Thank you!

    Like

  87. Pingback: “Micro-Managing Out, Micro-Blogging In: A WordPress Prologue Review” « socialTNT
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  90. Sonja Kasten

    you’re great! there’ll be nothing betta …

    Like

  91. Muffin

    coolio!
    ~Adam

    Like

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  93. emelec

    I like it very much
    I´m gonna try it in one of my blogs

    Hello from Guayaquil (Ecuador)

    Like

  94. Sachin Balagopalan

    Great potential for this to be a mainstay at the work place

    http://republicofinternets.com/2008/01/29/prologue-group-twittering/

    Like

  95. deneenwhite

    Are you hiring? :)

    Like

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