By: Bikash
April 12 2018

Drupal Distribution: govCMS. A CMS for Government Websites

The standard Drupal installation requires downloading a whole lot of modules, themes, and configurable items so as to set up a website. Following this path is suitable for websites that require a lot of customizations.

But on the downside, it does consume a lot of time because each item has to be individually installed and configured to suit the specific user needs and is not much of a use for generic websites which carry almost the same design language such as e-commerce websites, community sites etc.

Distributions are Drupal packages which consist of site-specific modules, themes, and pre-defined configurations. This speeds up the process of setting up complex and use-specific sites because the required ingredients are already present in the distribution itself which eliminates the need for individual downloads and configurations.

GovCMS is a Drupal distribution that was initiated by the Australian government and is managed by the Department of Finance, Australia. It was developed as a cost-effective option for building, hosting and designing digital communities so as to provide high-quality content and services to the people.

A perfect choice for governments, it meets the diverse needs of governments organizations, works parallel with web guidelines, and ensure it stands true to the goals of Open source applications.
Some of the websites built using GovCMS are:

  • Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency (ASEA)
  • Attorney General's Department
  • Australia and New Zealand Association of Clerks-at-the-Table
  • Australian Bureau of Statistics
  • Commonwealth Director of Public Prosecutions

Features of govCMS

GovCMS 8 is the latest version of the GovCMS distribution and is built on Drupal 8 core. Some of the features have been discussed below,

  1. Open Source: Drupal is an open source software and since govCMS is a Drupal distribution, therefore, it also shares the same.
  2. Security: It is used for building government websites, security of which needs to be top notch. Security includes security patches, support, and 24/7 monitoring. All sites hosted on SaaS (Software as a Service) environment must use SSL certificates for their public facing contents. GovCMS 8 provides the same level of security and stability as its predecessor. 
  3. Support: The support for GovCMS is largely community driven. Features are being developed rapidly and solutions for issues are also addressed fairly quickly.
  4. Google Analytics: Information about the number of visitors, source etc can be easily figured out by embedding the Google analytics code.
    google analytics dashboard with a piechart and graphs
    Google Analytics Dashboard
  5. Flexible: It provides a host of features which can be included or excluded during the site-building process. The ability to do so makes this distribution very flexible.
  6. Responsive and Adaptive: GovCMS provides for the creation of a website that adapts dynamically to various screen sizes and layouts.
an example of theme on the govCMS
Adaptive website of the Australia State of the Environment Report

GovCMS 8 uses DTOstrap to provide a better out of the box design language which improves the stock visual appeal of the websites and it's no secret that government websites are not usually pleasant to look at; maybe govCMS 8 will change that.

DTOstrap adaptive Menu styles; govCMS uses DTOstrap
DTOstrap adaptive Menu styles

It also eliminates the unnecessary variation of fonts, content, and styles on the same website by featuring a superior stock content and forms types which leads to a uniform design throughout the site.

GovCMS 8 is in its alpha stage and more features are likely to be added to its progression towards the final build. Nevertheless, the current version is also an improvement over older version in terms of visual and under the hood change and therefore, more upgrades can be expected from future stable releases. 

Opensense Labs has sound experience in building new pillars for organizations. Appropriate solutions for your organizational purposes can be found and we would love to hear your requirements at [email protected].