GovIntranet 4.0 in beta

GovIntranet 4.0 in beta

2 Jan 2015

Work is under way to rewrite the existing GovIntranet theme. The main changes are a move away from the Pods plugin, coding custom post types into the theme, and introducing Advanced Custom Fields to handle post metadata in the CMS backend.

Since the theme was initially created as a custom installation for DCMS, the open version has been updated from feedback, bug reports and client enhancement requests. The next version of the theme will be more in line with WordPress core, with support for installations in sub-folders and renamed folder and database prefixes, and core templates for categories and tags.

Here are some of the changes that I’ve been working on, some in beta with clients.

Homepage layout changes

There will be a new widget area on the top, right-hand side of the homepage, created for wider widgets and promotions. This area has been specifically designed for the “Intraverts” widget, detailed below.

New homepage layout

New and updated widgets

Need to know

This widget will use cookies so that news stories that have already been viewed will not show up on subsequent visits to the homepage.

Hot topics

A new widget that integrates with Google Analytics to highlight tags used in the most viewed pages across the intranet. The widget uses similar settings to the “Most active” widget. Results are split into quartiles and tags are coloured from red to yellow.

Hot topics

A to Z

A new widget to give direct access to the A to Z pages.

A to Z

Vacancies listing

A new widget to display closing vacancies within a specified number of days.

Vacancies listing widget

Events listing

Updated with choices to show a featured image or calendar date, with or without excerpts.

Events listing widget

Document finder

Now with dropdown menus for category and document type, and a spinner while waiting.

Document finder


News stories now have their own taxonomy and do not share categories with tasks and guides.

How do I?

Several changes to the How do I? section are designed to help narrow down navigation choices and help staff to quickly reach content.

The tag cloud will be simplified to only show tags applicable to tasks and guides.

The theme will support hierarchical categories, so you can break down categories into sub-categories if required. Individual category pages will use the core WordPress templates which will improve the breadcrumb navigation bar, allowing for taxonomies in the breadcrumb. They’ll show contextual tags, more prominently, narrowing navigation choices. In the example below, we’re looking at tasks tagged “gym” within the building and office facilities category. This approach will hopefully give greater focus to the results set.

How do I? category page

Search results

A new filter will allow staff to narrow down search results by content type.

Search results filter

Staff directory

Although grades are still used in the theme, the new staff directory won’t group people by grade. This required a massive amount of processing to find staff by their first or last name and then group them into grades, allowing for people without grades. Moving to Advanced Custom Fields and ditching grades has improved the speed of the staff directory in initial tests.

Improved settings and configuration

Advanced custom fields will give an improved configuration interface and allow you to switch modules on and off.

Intranet options


In development, a new widget designed as a promotional and targeted messaging tool, optionally integrated with the staff directory. The widget will display content to staff when a number of predefined rules are triggered, allowing administrators to target specific groups based on grade, role and team, optionally for a specific time period. The intranet promotions and messages can be placed independently in widget areas around the intranet and will register clicks by staff. Adverts won’t be displayed again if already viewed elsewhere on the intranet.

Intravert edit screen


A bunch of new shortcodes will allow editors to easily insert automated lists of content by tag, document type, category or people from teams.

Database update

The move to Advanced Custom Fields will require a database update to convert Pods elements to new formats. I’m busy working on a plugin to upgrade older versions of GovIntranet to version 4.

In the backlog

And there are several ideas bubbling away in the background.

Service update widget, for facilities and IT departments to highlight important service information.

Login widget, allowing staff to login from the homepage, perhaps with some personalisation options.

And I hope to get some support for languages into the theme, and eventually make a theme that will self-install and won’t require complex instructions and downloads from github.

8 replies on “GovIntranet 4.0 in beta”

  • Having only just stumbled on the GovIntranet theme a few days ago, I’m really impressed with it, it took a little while to get used to how to create certain content i.e. Tasks and Guides but I think its brilliant, reading about Version 4.0 I’m really looking forward to upgrading. Will it be a simple upgrade or will it be a fresh install and move over data?

    Also wondering if it would it be possible to include something similar to the ‘Restricted Site Access’ plugin, I’ve found that the plugin doesn’t work and would be a useful tool, as I would like office based staff to be able to view the intranet without logging in (restriction by IP address) but still allow mobile users to access the intranet by logging in.

    Keep up the excellent work 🙂

    • Thanks Will – I’m pretty sure some people are using the Restricted Site Access plugin – try Peter
      I’m working on an upgrade plugin to convert existing data to the format required for the new version. I’ll test this with existing clients before putting on general release. However, while custom post types will be handled directly within the new theme, the groovy backend CMS interface will rely on the Advanced Custom Fields Pro plugin, which is a premium plugin and so we have some licensing decisions to make before releasing the theme.

  • Hi Luke,

    Happy new year!

    Great to hear of the new changes. The introduction of the promotion widget and the filtering would be a fantastic step forward. Also looking forward to seeing how the taxonomy changes will work.

    One suggestion that would be useful from some of the feedback we have had from our editors would be a nested guides functionality allowing smaller sections of information to exist within another guide.

    • Happy New Year!

      I’ve changed tasks and guides to work as core WordPress hierarchical posts, so in theory, the structure will be in place for you to have nested guides. It would be good to see some of your example cases for this to get an idea of how it could work.

  • adMJUsays:

    Luke, this sounds great. Looking forward to the rolling out of the new theme. I would suggest to keep it licence-free. Hopefully it would be an easy upgrade, not a migration for the existing govintranets.

  • The theme is great, but not mobile efficient.
    Could you integrate a mobile view where the topmenu is replace by a left side sidebar – see desktop and mobile view from where the menu is mobile ready.

  • I have just setup word press for our school to create a new intranet site. I love the govintranet site template you created. I have just noticed that you are working on the new version4 intranet site again looks fantastic. I wondered what the possibility was of being able to utilise your latest template even though its in beta stages rather than setting up the old template and pod plugins?

  • adMJUsays:


    i’d like to beta test too.

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