At a glance

Federal government
Whole of government, GovTech

The purpose

To help GovCMS lower the barrier to GovCMS adoption and improve the whole-of-government digital platform.

The players

The Department of Finance (DoF) and their contracted service provider Acquia manage the GovCMS platform, a content management system (CMS) for use across all levels of government in Australia. GovCMS is built on Drupal, an award-winning, enterprise-grade CMS that’s easy to use, stable, highly secure and open source (no license fees).

The problem

The DoF was exploring Drupal 8 for GovCMS, knowing that ultimately Drupal 7 will reach end-of-life. In addition, some government agencies were hesitant to sign up for GovCMS not knowing whether/how it would move to Drupal 8. This made it even more important for the DoF to investigate Drupal 8 and deliver a proof of concept for moving GovCMS sites across to the Drupal 8 GovCMS version in the future.

The project would also be an opportunity to look at the Digital Transformation Agency’s updated UIKit. The DTA had released the updated version earlier in the year and was eager to identify the gaps and see where improvements could be made.

The solution

Acquia approached Salsa Digital on behalf of the DoF, specifically requesting the services of our Drupal frontend theming expertise. Together with Acquia and the DoF we worked for four weeks to investigate Drupal 8 and version 2 of the UIkit. A UI (user interface) kit is an open-source compilation of cascading stylesheets (CSS) and JavaScript files that can be used and modified to create user interface elements such as buttons, navigation bars, etc.

DoF decided to use the GovCM S website as its proof-of-concept vehicle. The goal was to recreate the GovCMS website using Drupal 8 and the updated UIkit. The team wasn’t going for an exact replica, rather the brief was to work on each component (e.g. a navigation bar) and look for an equivalent in UIkit 2.0, and then apply colours, etc.

The team investigated how much customisation they could achieve from the UIkit and how close they could get the Drupal 8 GovCMS site to the original. Part of the process included creating new styles that could be added to the UIkit. For example, they created a sidebar style/module and then did a ‘pull request’ to add it back into the UIkit. There were quite a few components that the team created and added into the UIkit. These new styles can be used by anyone using the UIkit going forward, which is reflective of the way the open-source community works — sharing code.

The benefits

The DoF now knows that Drupal 8 and the updated UIkit can be used to recreate a GovCMS website. The Department is aware of the work that would be needed behind the scenes for this transition, and now has some of the themes/styles, because they were built during the four-week project.

The proof of concept was a success, and DoF now has one site in alpha version.