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Drupal GovCon: Day 2 Recap

Jul 21 '16

Day two of Drupal GovCon brought with it more tales of Drupal success, lessons learned, and exciting new ideas.

The morning began with a case study on NIH.gov's move to Drupal. As a large federal agency, the NIH team was unused to open source software, but needed a highly flexible system. With Drupal, they created a custom solution using content types, entities, and taxonomy, all while maintaining a strict separation of content from presentation to allow for multi-channel publishing. They were also able to set up specific user roles and workflows for the numerous government stakeholders who use the system every day, and meet all FedRAMP and all FISMA requirements.

Next followed an in-depth discussion of how to improve accessibility in dynamic interface elements such as accordions, tabs, or slideshows. Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 provide extensive documentation on how to ensure that websites are accessible to the broadest audience, accounting for a wide range of limitations and abilities. While these standards are legally required for government sites, they are best practice for all sites across the web, both as the right thing to do and to help a site's SEO. In addition to common measures such as making sure that a site is keyboard navigable and all images have alt text, this talk specifically dug into the role (pun intended) ARIA attributes play when modifying content visibility using JavaScript.

In the afternoon, I went to talks on new features in Drupal 8 such as Twig and configuration export, as well as a detailed discussion of Paragraphs, a Drupal contrib module that we've used on several projects here at Third & Grove. The paragraph module allows the site architect to create fielded entities for custom chunks of content - for example, a photo gallery, an accordion, or anything else that can be built out of fields - and let the user insert them in any order they want within a content node. This lets content editors create far more interesting and dynamic pages than they would be able to in an plain WYSIWYG field, and future-proofs content by keeping it sorted in the database rather than a single field of HTML.

If you missed it, check out yesterday's Drupal GovCon Day 1 Recap, and stay tuned for day 3!