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 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 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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  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.


  2. یک فتحی

    It is nice theme matt.


  3. Graser103

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


  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.


  5. MAV



  6. Julio Fragoso

    I’m a fan of twitter too.

    This will be great !


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

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


  9. kishore

    Thanks 🙂

    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 ?


  10. Matt Mullenweg

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


  11. Javits



  12. whymommy

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


  13. Graser 10

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


  14. Pingback: Shamus Writes » Prologue Theme
  15. Pingback: Matt Thomas » Introducing Prologue
  16. rasgo

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


  17. Moon



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  20. Ruhi

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


  21. Pingback: Prologue, tu propio Twitter
  22. Pingback: Tecnologia » Blog Archiv » Prologue, tu propio Twitter
  23. abarclay12

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


  24. Pingback: Prologue Theme for WordPress
  25. Pingback: Neues WP Kollabo-Theme : Prologue « Worte,Zeichen,Bilder
  26. max

    “Our deal to buy google” cracked me up.


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

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


  29. slimball2007

    This is the greatest 😀 !
    I might try it out soon 🙂


  30. raptrex

    so the theme will work with wordpress without hacks?


  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.


  32. gastu

    I’m a fan of WordPress Jobs too.


  33. Ryan

    So sweet!


  34. Aaron Brazell

    Care to GPL that bad boy and release it to the hounds? 🙂


  35. Matt Mullenweg

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


  36. Hafiz Rahman

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


  37. bethwellington

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


  38. Woeful

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


  39. Pingback: Novo tema no Prologue « Info Bits
  40. anizyn

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


  41. Jody Mitoma

    This is rather interesting.


  42. curves79lady

    Oh, that’s hot.


  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 😀


  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!


  45. Cross

    Really great!
    Good work.


  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.


  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.


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  50. cowgalutah

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


  51. Pingback: Prologue Theme Mod with 128 Chars Limit | Play Work Play Studio
  52. aniqah321

    i love you


  53. Pingback: Prologue, A WordPress Theme - Joseph Scott’s Blog
  54. Keith Shepard

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


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  56. Benji

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


  57. Pingback: Monta un Twitter con WordPress | Mangas Verdes
  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 😉


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

    Twitter rox!


  61. Pingback: Automattic Launches Group Twitter-style Platform
  62. ultimatequiz

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


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  65. bentrem

    Mmmmmm … gotta email you about this on!

    Is VCMike in on this?


  66. dailypiglet

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


  67. Pingback: Raanan Bar-Cohen - New Feature: Prologue
  68. Pingback: One More Idea » Everybody loves Twitter, Everybody wants it distributed
  69. bentrem

    p.s. works good! *grin*


  70. Niyaz PK

    Exciting news.


  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…


  72. Pingback: Prologue: Twitter-Inspired WordPress Theme at bavatuesdays
  73. Chittaranjan

    Great Job you guys!

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



  74. Pingback: Prologue = Twitter for Groups : The Last Podcast
  75. Pingback: tecosystems » links for 2008-01-29
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  78. Kunal

    this is amazing 🙂


  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.


  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 ..


  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)



  84. Pingback: Automattic Launches Prologue, A Twitter-Like Product For Groups
  85. goldcoaster

    Spammer wrangling 🙂 🙂


  86. Pingback: Prologue - Group notification WP Theme- This ‘N That
  87. કાર્તિક મિસ્ત્રી

    Another feather in WordPress. Cheers!


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

    nice idea!


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  91. Pingback: WordPress Prologue Theme could brings what’s missing to Twitter-Groups
  92. Pingback: Prologue: Group Communication Using WordPress « WordPress Publisher Blog
  93. رضا عظیمی

    modern sickness


  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.


  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!


  96. MadMark

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


  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.


  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.


  99. Pingback: Prologue - OpenSocial for Twitter | Stay N' Alive
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