GovCMS Mega Meetup November 2018

Monday was the second Mega Meetup for GovCMS, and it was an absolute success.

After the formal opening of the event, we were shown a case study of a recent SaaS development for the NABERS website which despite being on the usually limited SaaS platform, was able to leverage the Vue.js library to create some truly interesting functionality such as a Ratings Estimator and Building Locator (Using Google maps).

I was personally quite impressed with the Ratings Calculator that could have so easily been a basic webform with a custom template, but with the use of the Vue.js library, it was transformed into something much more usable and functional.

It was also interesting to hear how they had to adopt a kind of incremental waterfall methodology in order to keep all the cogs turning. You can read more about my thoughts on project management in another blog post.

Sharyn Clarkson gave some remarks on the current and future states of GovCMS, and it was great to hear that GovCMS is going from strength to strength, and that the higher ups in the Department are seeing the work done by the GovCMS team as a valuable cornerstone of the Governments digital strategy.

After that, everyone broke up into three segments, and I went off to the technical discussion led by Toby Bellwood (Toby 1), who discussed a few future options that the team will focus on next year after the D8 version of GovCMS is released and all the SaaS clients are migrated across.

And Toby 1, if you are reading this, I saw the two NABERS speakers nod enthusiastically during your recap when you mentioned A/B Testing as a possible future feature.

I’m personally looking forward to seeing how the Headless system might work, as well as the much-anticipated SaaS+ model.  Quite often when we have discovery meetings with clients, we have to tell them that as far as their choice between SaaS and PaaS goes, it might come down to one functional requirement that tips them over from SaaS to PaaS.  But the promise of SaaS+ is being able to keep the benefits of the SaaS platform, while keeping that one out of scope requirement that would never have been possible before.

After a short break and recap we were given an interesting presentation about the use of a Chatbot to help reduce the number of calls to the service desk for the Defence web team.  I found this very interesting for two main reasons.  First, it was running on SaaS, and secondly, it was the second time that a Javascript framework (In this case NodeJS) was being used to leverage previously inaccessible functionality in a SaaS environment.

I think this really signals the future of the web, and possibly even GovCMS.  Where you continue to use Drupal’s robust content management system, but the display layer is increasingly shipped out to a Javascript Framework such as Vue, Node or Angular.

We were then given a demonstration of GovTEAMS by Marcel from Finance.  And I was a bit surprised to see the choice being Microsoft and Sharepoint, after there being such a pivot away from them in the recent years.  But at this point, anything is an upgrade to GovDex, which I personally didn’t think was even still running.

With that in mind however, I think the use of Communities and Teams will be a great help to collaboration around all levels of Government.  I just hope they can sort out the licencing side of things.  With a lot of Departments (especially smaller ones) going to Office365, having to pay Microsoft twice for overlapping product suites will make a lot of Tax payers unhappy in the long run.

Overall I had a great time at the Mega Meetup, and a huge thanks to the GovCMS team for putting it on while being 19 days away from a major switch over in technology.

And shout out to the caterers, because those little eclairs and mini-croissants were amazing.

Date posted:
05 November 2018
Authored by :
Toby Wild