The publishing platform created by councils, for councils.

LocalGov Drupal at DrupalCon Europe 2021

DrupalCon is an international educational event that brings together people who use, develop, design and support the Drupal platform.

We’re delighted to have LocalGov Drupal representation at DrupalCon Europe 4th-7th October.

We're lucky enough to be contributing to four sessions over the week.

Below we list the sessions we'll be contributing to. After the event we'll update with all the audio and video, so don't worry if you can't catch them this week.


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Drupal Distributions - common challenges and solutions (Panel)

Monday, 4 Oct 2021 - 12:00 to 12:45

This panel discussion will explore some of the common challenges that Drupal distributions face and how each Distribution addresses the same issue in different ways.

Since DrupalCon Europe 2020 we have had a number of meet-ups where distribution maintainers have been sharing their progress on various issues as well as highlighting common challenges.

We have all learnt plenty from each other already but never run short on topics to explore, from managing configuration updates, front end theme approaches, headless strategies to governance of the contributor community.

We will discuss some of the key learning from the year and look ahead to how Drupal core can better support Drupal distributions in the future.

The panel will comprise of:

  • Finn Lewis, Technical Director at Agile Collective, working on the LocalGov Drupal distribution.
  • Nick Veenhof, CTO at DropSolid, working on the DropSolid Rocketship distribution.
  • Daniel Bosen, Lead Developer at Burda Media, working on the Thunder distribution.
  • Mohammed Razem, CEO at Vardot, working on the Varbase distribution.

Find out more >


Why UK councils chose LocalGov Drupal (and didn't)

Wednesday, 6 Oct 2021 - 14:00 to 14:20 UTC

Two of our team (Will Callaghan and Alexandra Clark) present their latest finds on why councils have chosen to use Drupal, and specifically our distribution.

It's been really valuable to hear what's working, and what we need to iterate. We've heard about the challenges decision makers in councils face when picking a web publishing platform, and specific barriers to entry that we're beginning to overcome.

In a lightning quick talk of 20 mins, we will share interesting insights about Drupal, our distribution, open source and collaboration.

See the slide deck from the session >

Find out more >


Theming for Distributions: Sub-theming Like a Pro

Wednesday, 6 Oct 2021 - 13:00 to 13:45 UTC
Recently we rewrote the base theme for the LocalGov Drupal distribution.

Maria Young and Mark Conroy explain why...

The original sub-theme made lots of assumptions about the site that was going to be produced. As an example, a class like `pt-4` from Bootstrap in the breadcrumbs region assumes every site wants 4 units of padding at the top of that section. When this happens many times, the effect leads to a lot of technical debt.

We set about creating a new base theme, funded thanks to the MHCLG in the UK (thanks for sponsoring open source!!!). This new theme rewrote each template to better follow Drupal standards - put back in {{ attributes }} and default classes, etc. This also including writing our own grid system, based on the design system.

We then rewrote all of the JS and CSS to follow a more modern approach, based on BEM. The killer feature here was the use of CSS custom properties, which we then re-use in our sub-theme.

The finished product is a slick and fast base theme, and a sub-theme that is just one CSS file of custom properties. Want a new theme, with a new colour scheme/fonts/spacing/etc?

Just add the necessary variables to the sub-theme `variables.css` file. When we tried this approach for our first demo site, the sub-theme took us about 30 minutes to create, however we think we can make that time even shorter.

CSS custom properties? So you are not supporting IE11 then? Of course we support IE11 (it's our favourite browser!).

We'll show you how we are cleverly supporting this beast of a browser during our talk. If you can't wait until then, you can see a Poc of it on Youtube.

Sounds pretty cool, but what about if I just want to use the base theme's templates and not the CSS and JS? Oh, we figured that might happen, so we created some theme settings to switch the assets on and off, and then only load our libraries if the theme setting is switched on.

What's next? We are looking at the idea of allowing site builders add the variables for their theme via theme settings. Wait, doesn't that sound like the colour module? Yes, we believe colour module was before it's time, but our approach when it works out will be like colour module on steroids as it will also set margins and paddings and lots of other variables.

Here's a brief outline of the general approach >

Check out the slide deck >

Find out more >


Distributed governance in a distribution for local government

Wednesday, 6 Oct 2021 - 12:00 to 12:45

Maria Young and Aaron Hirtenstein ask: How will our project will continue to grow? And how can it scale from a handful of councils to 50 or 100?

Sociocracy is an organising framework based on principles of effectiveness, equivalence, transparency and autonomy. At Agile Collective we are a workers cooperative (where every employee has the right to ownership and control of the business) and have been gradually adopting sociocracy to run our business.

Moving to a decentralised circle structure and using consent to make decisions and focusing on continuous improvement have had a big impact. Our belief is that many of the patterns of Sociocracy will help LGD now and in the future as it grows and evolves. The aim is a sustainable governance model that enables people to contribute effectively without typical modes of leadership and management.

Over the next few months, as part of the Beta project, we will be running an experiment to see if Sociocracy is a good tool for an open source project such as LocalGov Drupal. So far the signs are promising, though there is much work to do.

In this session we will have a story to tell, though at the time of proposals we have no idea what it is yet!
In this session we will give a brief introduction to LocalGov Drupal and Sociocracy, before taking you on a journey to find out whether our experience was a success.

Check out the slide deck >

Find out more >