Putting the CTK to Use

Using the CTK, content teams are able to extend and customize the Community experience for users. All CTK components are designed to follow best-practices for security and compatibility with a broad range of WordPress themes, plugins, and widgets. All of the code that goes into making the themes and plugins of the CTK have been released under an open source license so all of the work the GeoPlatform Team have put into designing and building the CTK gives you a solid starting point to create your own customizations and to make your Community one of a kind.

These are the standard GeoPlatform Community themes available for use in WordPress:

  • GeoPlatform CCB – this is the main (default) theme packaged with out-of-the-box instances of Community Core Bundles (CCBs).
  • GeoPlatform NGDA – this theme is used exclusively by the NGDA Theme communities.

To customize the look&feel and features of your Community’s theme, you have three options:

  1. Apply minor changes to an out-of-the-box GeoPlatform theme using the WP Theme Editor: https://codex.wordpress.org/Editing_Files
  2. Make major changes to the look&feel and structure of a GeoPlatform Community theme by extending or cloning the latest theme(s) available in the GeoPlatform public GitHub repository. Make a new theme (a child theme or clone from original), edit it, and then upload it, like you would any other theme, into . Click here to learn more about child themes.
  3. Acquire and install a 3rd-party theme.

These are the standard GeoPlatform CTK plugins available for use in WordPress:

  • GeoPlatform Maps – used to create and manage customized and reusable instances of Open Map objects for embedding as interactive web map components within your pages and posts (https://wordpress.org/plugins/geoplatform-maps/).
  • GeoPlatform Community Search – used to filter, search, and list Community Portfolio assets as embedded content within pages and posts.
  • GeoPlatform Portfolio Search – used to browse, search, and access the portfolio of GeoPlatform assets (Datasets, Services, Layers, Maps, Galleries, Communities) by users throughout the GeoPlatform ecosystem (https://wordpress.org/plugins/geoplatform-search).

To customize the dynamic features and a capabilities made available through WordPress plugins, you have these options:

  1. Install a GeoPlatform CTK plugin and customize it by changing its configuration and shortcode parameters using the WordPress Dashboard/Settings panel.
  2. Make major changes to the features and capabilities of a CTK plugin by cloning and customizing the latest plugin(s) available in the GeoPlatform public GitHub repository. Clone from the original source to make a new plugin, edit it, and then upload it, like you would any other plugin, into WordPress.
  3. Acquire and install a 3rd-party plugin.
  4. Write your own plugin from scratch using the GeoPlatform Open API (https://www.geoplatform.gov/help/api/)

Each option for themes and plugins has pros and cons. Go here for more information and to get started with using the out-of-the-box GeoPlatform themes and plugins to create your own customized Community experience: https://github.com/GeoPlatform/CCB-Plugins

Please also refer to the GeoPlatform CCB “Getting Started” page for additional guidance on managing and customizing your Community Space and your roles and responsibilities: https://www.geoplatform.gov/help/community/getting-started/

GeoPlatform Plugins
GeoPlatform Maps
    Version: 1.0.10
    Last Updated: Yesterday
    Creator/Author: Kevin Schimdt & Lee Heazel
    Description: The GeoPlatform Maps plugin is used to create and manage customized and reusable instances of Open Map objects for embedding as interactive web map components within your pages and posts. With this plugin you have the ability to easily compile and manage a local collection of interactive maps.
    URL: N/A
GeoPlatform Community Search
    Version: 1.0.7
    Last Updated: Yesterday
    Creator/Author: Geoplatform
    Description: A GeoPlatform custom widget that enables an easy search of GeoPlatform Objects (e.g. datasets, maps, services, etc…). This can be customized to show only results of a specified community or object type, and can be ordered by modified date or label.
    URL: N/A
GeoPlatform Search
    Version: 1.0.3
    Last Updated: 2 months ago
    Creator/Author:Image Matters LLC: Patrick Neal, Lee Heazel
    Description: The GeoPlatform Search plugin is used to browse, search, and access the portfolio of GeoPlatform assets (Datasets, Services, Layers, Maps, Galleries, Communities) by users throughout the GeoPlatform ecosystem.
    URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/geoplatform-search/
Recommended 3rd Party Plugins
Email Subscribers & Newsletters
    Version: 3.5.17
    Last Updated: 1 week ago
    Creator/Author: Icegram
    Description: Email Subscribers is a complete newsletter plugin which lets you collect leads, send automated new blog post notification emails, create & send newsletters and also manage them all in one single place.
    URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/email-subscribers/

Custom Sidebars
    Version: 3.1.6
    Last Updated: 1 month ago
    Creator/Author: Shaon
    Description: Make custom sidebar configurations and be able to choose what widgets display on each page or post of your site.
    URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/custom-sidebars/

Download Manager
    Version: 2.9.59
    Last Updated: 1 Week ago
    Creator/Author: Shaon
    Description: WordPress Download Manager is a Files / Documents Management Plugin to manage, track and control file downloads from your WordPress Site. Use Passwords, User Roles to control access to your files, control downloads by speed or by putting a limit on download count per user, block bots or unwanted users or spammers using Captcha Lock or IP Block feature, you may also ask users to agree with your terms and conditions before they download.
    URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/download-manager/

Media Library Folders for WordPress
    Version: 4.0.9
    Last Updated: 3 Weeks ago
    Creator/Author: Max Foundry
    Description: Media Library Folders for WordPress creates actual folders in your WordPress Media Library:
    • Actual folders make it easier to organize your WordPress media library while reducing server burden.
    • Add and build new WordPress Media library folders to label and organize as you wish instead of just month/date.
    • Move, copy, rename and delete files and folders with a nice drag and drop interface
    • Regenerate thumbnails.
    • SEO Images to specify ALT and TITLE attributes when uploading.
    • Sync folders/files when moving or uploading a folder via FTP.
    • Create a MaxGalleria gallery.

    MLF adds to and works with the functionality of WordPress Media Library. It does not replace it.

    URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/media-library-plus/

    Version: 2.2.3
    Last Updated: 1 Week ago
    Creator/Author: TMS-Plugins
    Description: wpDataTables Lite is a basic version of a popular best-selling premium table creator plugin. While some of premium features are reduced, wpDataTables Lite is still quite a handy tool which would allow you to quickly create tables in WordPress from different sources:
    • Excel
    • CSV
    • JSON
    • XML
    • Serialized PHP array
    URL: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wpdatatables/
Frequently Asked Questions
I want to customize by Community. Where should I begin?

I wish my site could….

Because the WordPress CMS is bundled with your Community Core Bundle (CCB) you have access to thousands of plugins that can be installed with just a click to integrate new features and dynamic experiences into your Community Space. Check out the WordPress Marketplace (https://wordpress.org/plugins/) when logged into your Community and get ready to make your site what you really want it to be.

Change the look and feel (page links, colors, etc)

If you are looking to make a small change to the colors you can likely do it right in the WordPress Theme Editor. We have gone to a lot trouble to make the GeoPlatform CTK themes highly customizable. Play around with the theme options to get your Community looking just right:

Not finding the right settings…

Didn’t find the options you wanted there in the theme options? No worries, you are able to edit the theme files directly right inside of WordPress. WordPress has a built in editor that allows you to change what you want (HTML, CSS, and PHP). Take a look here:

Changes made to GeoPlatform CTK theme and plugin files can BREAK YOUR COMMUNITY. Also, localized changes to themes or plugins will be lost when the theme or plugin is updated and cannot be recovered (unless you restore your customized versions from a backup). Please only make changes that you understand and know that they will be overwritten when you upgrade the CTK theme or plugin you have edited.

Take it to the next level:

Really want to get in there and add some novel functionality that does not already exist in the theme? You are in luck. All of the code that goes into making the GeoPlatform CTK have been released under an open source licence! Anyone is now able to extend and customized their Community experience. All the work we’ve put into the creating CTK themes and plugins give you a starting point to make your Community one of a kind. Feel free to peruse the code base, make a child theme (learn more), fork and contribute a feature or bug fix. Go here to get started on the next enhancement for your Community:

Modifying code is something that should be done by persons that are familiar with the WordPress environment and understand the underlying technologies being used. Please always follow WordPress guidance on best-practices for security and compatibility:


The GeoPlatform Team only supports contributions made by authorized GeoPlatform Contributors. We can not guarantee, support, or troubleshoot customizations of code created independently by Community Content Teams or 3rd-parties. The GeoPlatform Team does provide a hosting service for out-of-the-box CCB (GeoPlatform Community) instances. Any code added or modified in a GeoPlatform-hosted CCB instance may be removed or overwritten at any time as patches and updates to themes and plugins are applied over time. If you are making customizations of any kind, you are responsible for backing-up and keeping a record of your additions or modifications in your own git (or other source code management) repository.

Updated on January 15, 2019
Have Other Questions?
Please check out our FAQ page in case your question has already been addressed. If you still need help or want to report an issue, please send us an email at servicedesk@geoplatform.gov.
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