Real world intranets (Joel Burton)

A talk about issues specific to intranet sites.

An intranet site is a different beast than a publicly available internet site. Differences are

  • High percentage logged in users
  • Large(r) number of contributors
  • Simpler, more trusting, workflows
  • Re-use of content (e.g. for print)

When creating an intranet site, one should have a different mindset than when creating a internet site.

Tips related to content creation:

  • Use the presentation mode to create “powerpoint” type content.
  • Plone can generate a table of contents for you and previous/next links, which will make large documents easier to navigate.
  • You can prepare ‘template’ collections which other contributors can re-use. By adding specialized views for the collection, the client can use collections more often and have the result they need with minimal, one-off solutions. Collections can also be used to populate a portlet.
  • Since the ‘default page’ construct can be quite confusing, it may be beneficial to add a folderish type which also allows for a chunk of text. By having this content type, most of the default page problems can be avoided.
  • Use content rules! (You can e.g. abuse the content rules to send an email when an object is added to remind the user to actually submit a page. Or use the notification action to help user when they have created their first item.) See collective.contentrules.mail that provides sophisticated features for sending mail in a content rule.

Content management

  • Images and files do not have their own workflow, but inherit the workflow of the folder they are in.
  • Intranets are probably served best by another workflow than an internet site. (Allowing owners to edit published pages for instance.)
  • You can even ask yourself the question whether you even need different workflow states… You can, for instance, use a single state workflow.
  • Another approach is using a “pending” state signalling the owner asks for help on a content item.
  • The owner of the item is probably the best person to decide whether content should be published just internally or world wide.
  • The product DCWorkflowGraph can be used to visualize the workflow in a help section.
  • By using Placeful Workflow you can e.g. limit a strict workflow to a certain part of the site.

Add-on products that are often used:


  • When theming, keep in mind that add-on products can leverage e.g. the document actions.
  • The body HTML tag has a class name with the id of the item.
  • CSSManager


  • Single sign on can be very useful for intranets.