Introducing OpenPublic's App Strategy - Reimagining Content Management For Public Sector

Shawn Mole, VP, Experience
#Drupal | Posted

Since it was first developed, OpenPublic has redefined open source public sector content management. Packaging government-focused functionality into a secure Drupal distribution, once a radical notion, is now an established open source web solution. As the foundation of many of Phase2’s public sector site builds,

OpenPublic has demonstrated the importance of solutions that are replicable, that can prevent duplication of services, and provide examples of repeatable best practices. OpenPublic serves as accelerator for building good government web sites and it contains best practices and features around mobility, security and accessibility.

With the release of OpenPublic candidate 1, we’re simplifying  content management in the enterprise public sector space by appifying all functionality and content types in OpenPublic. What was once a wilderness of modules and configuration will be encapsulated in a clean collection of Apps, making all OpenPublic’s out-of-the-box functionality simple to configure by non-technical site administrators. This new App strategy will make it easier and cheaper for governments to implement the web functionality they need.

So, what is an App?

It can be confusing to pin down definitions for terms like: modules, features, distributions, and Apps. An App is simply a collection of code (modules, features or themes) that delivers a distinct piece of functionality upon installation. Like the “apps” on your smartphone or tablet, Drupal Apps provide functionality for a specific purpose - quickly, easily, and independently.

In 2011, Jeff Walpole introduced the concept of Apps for Drupal distributions and the new Apps module. Apps improve usability for site administrators, particularly as compared to the traditional Drupal Configuration dashboard. From the beginning, Apps added extensibility and interoperability to Drupal. Now, instead of adding Apps for extensibility, we’re appifying all distribution functionality for OpenPublic 1.0, finally giving the content administrators full configuration control.

Appification of OpenPublic For State and Local Government

One Code Base, Many Departments

OpenPublic  Apps provide city, county, and state government agencies the ability to turn on and off independent pieces of functionality without affecting any other functionality on their platform. Many public sector agencies require a unified CMS spanning all departments and agencies. OpenPublic provides this through standard Apps developed for government needs, including directory management, stringent security, and editorial workflow. However, the flexibility of OpenPublic 1.0’s Apps also allows for specific functionality by department. This means that trying out new functionality is as easy as turning an App on or off, giving governments the opportunity to test innovative approaches without heavy risk or cost of implementation. See how San Mateo County uses OpenPublic Apps.

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Simplified Configuration

Apps take Drupal development out of the equation, empowering site administrators to skip technical development when configuring individual department sites. Each App is self contained, so changing the configuration does not cause problems with other site features.

 Custom Functionality Made Easy

With OpenPublic, users can develop Apps specific to their objectives. San Mateo County, Calif., for instance, used OpenPublic to develop an App which adds custom location mapping to any page on the web platform. Once created, the San mateo County team was able test their new App in one department, then enable it for other departments when it was deemed successful. The sky’s the limit with OpenPublic’s new App structure with unique and flexible functionality for public sector platforms.

OpenPublic  is breaking new ground in web experience for public sector site administrators and visitors alike. With the Appification of all functionality in OpenPublic, we are knocking down traditional barriers to Drupal site maintenance and scalability with intuitive configuration. Stop by Experience Director Shawn Mole’s Capital Camp session with Greg Wilson, Director of Public Sector Practice, to learn more about how OpenPublic  is truly the next generation of open source government sites.

 

Shawn Mole

VP, Experience