It’s now two years since DCSF published their Children’s Plan – I know – and Ed Balls wants to know what impact it has had on you. They’ve published a progress report, and launched a commentable website… based on, guess what, WordPress. Not the first time they’ve gone down the open source route: a year ago they launched their National Strategies website on Drupal. But I think this is their first WordPress-based site.
Hold on a second though. What’s going on with that URL: gscdevelopment.com/wpsample? Well, gscdevelopment.com is simply an account at Bluehost – a very low-cost shared hosting provider. Nothing wrong with that at all; I use them myself for experimental hosting space, although I’m not sure I’d host a government site there. Google has literally nothing about a web development agency called GSC Development. And that’s a bit of a problem. It may look like a DCSF website: but without a gov.uk address, and no way to trace who exactly is its source, how would you know it isn’t some kind of elaborate phishing scam?
Update, 16/12/09: It looks like they’ve now moved it to a .dcsf.gov.uk address, and to a different hosting provider (Every City, by the look of it); which makes me wonder why they jumped the gun?
Ironically, it was a period consulting at DfES that convinced me it was time to escape the Whitehall machine, and embrace the WordPress community. So it’s great to see them coming on board; and I’m all in favour of departments experimenting with WordPress, whether inside or outside the firewall. There are things I’d certainly have done (very) differently: I wouldn’t have used a directory name ‘wpsample’ for a start, and I’d have tried to fix some of the
112 153 validation errors. It also looks as if they’ve overwritten the ‘default’ WordPress theme, which isn’t wise. And it’s always advisable to use pretty permalinks if you possibly can, rather than number-based query strings. But it’s another step in the right direction, and is therefore to be welcomed.