DCSF joins WordPress trend

DCSFchildrenplanIt’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.

6 thoughts on “DCSF joins WordPress trend”

  1. Er… I’m now advised that the site is redirecting itself (at least temporarily) to its own wp-login page. Like I said, with uncharacteristic tact, there are things about the site which I’d have done differently….

  2. Some 19 hours after I spotted the site was redirecting to wp-login it’s still doing it. Note to DCSF: whilst I applaud your use of WordPress you must try harder…

  3. Funny, I looked at it last night, and it seemed to have been fixed. They’ve done something really very odd. Now, far be it from me to recommend hiring genuine WordPress expertise (ahem)…

  4. OK, I see what’s happened: they’ve moved the site, and changed the URL. No redirect on the original one, though… hence the confusion. I’ve updated the post accordingly.

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