I am still in the midst of building out a internal infrastructure and tools for a client that will utilize a virtual office with everyone telecommuting. I have been working to implement open source solutions for the company for one being that the company is very open source driven. But more importantly there is the cost issues involved in getting a company off the ground. So after much thought of unique ways to establish good information exchange when all the employees work from home I came up with a few ideas. The bonus for me is you have a clean sheet of paper to start the employees off on. Following this concept I wrote in my last post about using WordPress, Prologue Theme, and a few plugins to create an internal Twitter clone. So as my next step I have installed GetBoo to allow employees to bookmark internally. GetBoo has the ability much like Delicious to tag links and make links private. One additional thing GetBoo offers which is beneficial for internal use is Groups and Folders. This would allow people in a company division to separate pertinent bookmarks by internal areas of interest. In what this company does there is a lot of Internet research involved for many employees. Be it developers searching for information on libraries etc. to researching working to find new prospective clients or affiliates. GetBoo can benefit across the board and provides a Firefox Add-On to allow ease of bookmarking from browsers. This helps to encourage people to actually use it.
The only thing lacking as of now is an ability to have GetBoo authenticate to LDAP servers. I will update as I see how well this concept really works within the new company.
For the latest project I have been working on I have been building a “virtual office” intranet using Amazon Web Services. One thing I wanted to add was a simple way for people to update continuously on projects they are working on as well as having a good place to exchange ideas as a group. I came up with using WordPress with the micro-blog theme Prologue. The theme allows for people adding a post at top of main page. So this will allow us to avoid having users login to the back-end admin section. One thing I did to do this was add this hack to wp-login.php to allow people to login then be redirected back to main page of site to post micro-blogs.
To integrate the new internal micro-blog was to hook it into our LDAP infrastructure. I found the Simple LDAP Login plugin to allow users to authenticate to our Fedora Directory Servers. Another addition to make it more Twitter like was to add the Prologuer Bot being that users will be utilizing Jabber/XMPP for internal instant messaging. The bot allows people to post and read from the WP/Prologue site. Another thing to keep in mind once you setup the site is to edit the permalinks structure to be custom with /%author%/%post_id%/ structure. Another bonus to the Prologue theme is it has RSS links next to tags and authors to allow users to easily follow messages in their favorite RSS reader.
Using internal micro-blogging can be a very effective means of exchanging information and ideas. I look forward to seeing it in action and being of value to the company.
UPDATE: If any of you wish to use WordPress/Prologue for private group micro-blogging you can setup an account on WordPress.com then edit your themes to be the Prologue theme. To lock down access go to Settings > Privacy and select the “I would like my blog to be visible only to users I choose” option and add users who can access it. This may require people to also signup for a WordPress.com account of course. There is an option to signup for just a username for those who do not wish to have a blog in addition.