Accepted Sessions

Site Building and Using Drupal

In this session, we’ll give you an in-depth case study that guides you through the UX, visual design, and development process we followed to create a new digital home for Princeton University’s School of Public and International Affairs. Our goal was to migrate the school to Drupal 8, while…
It’s happened to you: You’re putting together requirements for a new website, but when it comes to your existing technology, you don’t know what you don’t know. Do your third-party software platforms integrate with each other? How much content needs to be migrated? Where does your DNS live? You…
As component-based design principles evolve, the actual implementation in Drupal can be performed in many ways. Most, if not all, component-based site building approaches rely on Entity Relationships. Adding multilingual support that is Correct and Predictable can be a challenge to configure. In…
Two requirements that come up constantly on projects are “How do we make it easier for non-technical users to update our website?” And “How can we give content editors more flexibility?" At the same time, responsive design, content portability, and accessibility concerns are increasingly important…
By combining design systems with Layout Builder and Drupal features such as blocks we can deliver a "Wix" like drag and drop experience to site builders tasked with managing Drupal 8/9 websites.  In this session attendees will learn: How to integrate design systems with Drupal How to combine…
This session will focus on integrating a custom Drupal sub-theme with the latest version of USWDS.  We will cover configuring USWDS settings, Drupal theme settings, and adding custom styling. We will also look at utilizing existing components, and creating custom components.  Attendees can expect…
Starting with Drupal 8, the Migrate API makes it possible to write and execute migrations without having to write PHP code. It is also possible to execute them from the Drupal administration interface if the command line is not available or you prefer not to use it. This session will explain the…
The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) is responsible for enforcing federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate against a job applicant or an employee because of the person's race, color, religion, sex (including pregnancy, gender identity, and sexual orientation), national…
Drupal is an extremely flexible system. To achieve this, various layers of abstractions were built into it. A lot of concepts were created to explain these abstractions. Unfortunately, they are not always intuitive. This session aims to explain the basic building blocks for assembling a Drupal site…

Project and Team Management

  COVID-19 has dramatically changed how most companies work and teams collaborate. Project manager and certified ScrumMaster Monica Flores will give managers some much-needed tips on how they can support their remote employees while keeping projects on track. Monica will share practical knowledge…
Building and deploying sites using traditional Drupal approaches require developers with a large amount of crossover knowledge and expertise. Full stack developers are hard to find and training junior developers into this role can take years. Deploying Drupal sites at scale requires system and…
While many government agencies have moved to incorporate Agile methods into their web development practices in recent years, there are still just as many who are reluctant to make the shift for a variety of reasons (i.e. from fears and misconceptions about what Agile means and looks like in…
Drupal allows for fast pace development of very complex systems: a QA nightmare. How will you be able to sleep at night? Plan Ahead! Don’t let it become a monster in the first place and you’ll realize it was a lovely kitty all along.  In this session, we'll discuss tactics of how to approach your…
Drupal technology consultants abound with great sales pitches and flashy websites. But, what happens after the contract is signed? Find out how to vet potential partners and get the most out of your relationship before and after the ink has dried. Find out how to avoid surprises, control your…
For years there’s been a lot of ink spilled about how the RFP process is broken, particularly when it comes to technology projects. This session isn’t going to litigate various viewpoints on that front, because RFPs are not going anywhere anytime soon — especially when it comes to government…
Disciplined Agile (DA) is the most comprehensive agile and lean body of knowledge in existence.  It can be a toolkit to help you to choose your way of working (WoW) for your projects, programs, and organization. DA is a toolkit of processes you and your team mix-and-match to build a unique workflow…

Design, UX, and Accessibility

Dashboards and data displays—features often presented with the “wow factor” in mind—can be deficient in providing end users with critical information. To effectively serve as an information resource—proper architecture is critical, and requires a ground-up approach. I’ll show you how—through…
Do you feel distracted by a suite of automated tools, pages of report data, and feedback on work that was designed and developed weeks and weeks ago? If your antidote is achieving WCAG 2.1 AA conformance, you may be leaving more people behind than you think. Accessibility and digital inclusion can…
Accessibility is a critical component of any modern website (and double so for government sites). This session is all about building a safety net for your site / platform to ensure that you do not regress the accessibility of your site as you continue to make improvements, fix bugs, develop new…
You're in it. Development has begun. You're building out content types, sorting out view modes. But wait. You have a LOT of questions for your designer. Do we really need these two components that are nearly identical? From where does this component pull data? Is this populated manually or…
This session will investigate how MetroStar’s Lean/Agile approach has enabled the iterative development of a popular USDA web tool that matches farmers with potential disaster assistance programs. More specifically, we will discuss how we went from a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) to a more mature…
Unfortunately, when developing WCAG2, the Working Group did not envision the current world where mobile is almost ubiquitous. For example, on a mobile device there is no continual access to a keyboard (unless someone is using it as an add-on to the device – or using a Blackberry Classic). WCAG2…
The key to delivering an impactful new website is listening. There is a popular slogan right now, “nothing about us without us,” that asserts that no policy or product should be decided on without representation from the end user group(s). No truer words were spoken.  A serious risk of not…
“Regarding accessibility, how do you determine situations in which a data visualization is not feasible?” This question came to us from a client. It reflects a widely held belief: you can't make cool data visualization products AND make them accessible; or if you do create one, all of your…
Canada, the European Union and the United Kingdom have all developed legislation on web accessibility since the Section 508 Refresh process was enacted in 2017. It is most likely that enforcement will likely continue to be done through lawsuits in the USA, but what can be learned from other…

Devops, Performance, Security, and Privacy

Ever heard of infrastructure-as-code? The idea is basically to use tools like Terraform and Ansible to manage the composition and operation of your cloud systems. This allows infrastructure to be treated just like any other software system. The code can be committed into Git which allows…
Data breaches and abuses of our personal data keep making the news. But what can we do about it? Are you protecting user privacy?  It's been over 2 years since the GDPR went into effect in Europe, a landmark law that promised to protect and change the way personal data gets used online. But did it…
Covid-19 for some sites has meant a massive surge in traffic. Some of the health related sites that we look after at amazee.io have experienced a 80x traffic increase over the last couple months. This talk is about dealing with this scale of traffic, and what things you can do to help here. Some of…
Run Drupal and other workloads such as SOLR, Elastic, Redis or Memcache in Kubernetes. In-depth analysis of which services are much more suited for Kubernetes. This session will focus on concepts and real-world use-case scenarios to move your Drupal installation away from traditional Virtual…
Open source is free... so why does it cost me so much to keep my websites running?  Why am I spending so much time updating my websites and not enough time using them? How do I consolidate my various websites across technologies and vendors into a single streamlined platform?  Imagine a world where…

Coding and Development

Behavior-driven development is the art of establishing a common language, improving communication, create automatable tests and providing living, always-accurate documentation at the same time. Especially in large scale projects with complex workflows and many individual needs, it is an…
In this session we will discuss a bit about why and how we implemented the VA.gov CMS (Drupal 8) as a backend Content API to feed a decoupled, Metalsmith static HTML build and deployment system for the frontend. We will also reveal some notable challenges that we faced in implementing this piece of…
Now that the whole world has discovered decoupled CMS, the default and most common approach to Decoupled Drupal seems to be a completely independent static HTML+JS UI that uses Drupal only to get JSON data from it. While this is a start, it is throws baby out with the bathwater. It discards all the…
Component-driven theming is gaining popularity in the Drupal and in the greater front-end development worlds. Taking a component based approach offers greater consistency, flexibility, re-usability and velocity for front-end development. This session explores component-driven theming using the…
Views is an indispensable tool for Drupal site builders - allowing them to create complex queries and displays without writing a single line of code. But too often developers like myself avoid these interfaces. We feel constrained by the GUI and want to reinvent the wheel for the sake of efficiency…
I would like to do a quick show-and-tell of a neat feature we're using on about 5 government sites I help maintain. This is a tool I built for Drupal 7 using the feeds importer and a handful of additional modules. We are currently in the process of upgrading it to Drupal 9. The Granicus meeting…
Unit tests are a critical tool for development, ensuring that classes and functions aren't inadvertently broken by new code. While Drupal has moved toward modern PHP conventions and made unit testing more feasible for module developers, it remains difficult in many cases to run tests without…
IDEs are an incredibly powerful tool. They are also an incredibly complex and intimidating tool if you've never used one (or are new to them). However as you tread more into Drupal 8 and 9, an IDE is a critical tool that will drastically impact your ability to write functional code. The difference…
The EPA started using the U.S. Web Design System in 2016 to guide the look and feel of EPA.gov. During the migration to Drupal 8, we rebuilt the theme from scratch. One major goal was to make it easier to keep up with the latest changes to USWDS. Learn how we incorporated the latest version of…
The Recurring Events module is a Drupal 8 and 9 plug-and-play recurring events and registration system designed to be site agnostic and extensible.  The module allows site editors to create and manage events that recur in a variety of ways - including consecutively, daily, weekly, monthly, and…
This session will discuss two open source web components for visualizing and interacting with 3D objects, Google's <model-viewer> and the Smithsonian Institution's Voyager, and how the Smithsonian leverages these technologies along with Drupal and open-access content to create engaging…
If you're looking to build a modern Drupal 8 or 9 site, then you're probably going to want to use the Drupal core Composer "recommended-project" template. Debuting with Drupal 8.8, this modern, (officially) community-supported Composer template gets your project off on the right foot. This session…
Drupal MultiSites are great, at least they initially sound great: Managing hundreds or even thousands of Drupal sites from one single repository, with the capability to upgrade all sites at once to new Core or Module versions sounds like a security and management heaven. Unfortunately anybody that…
This session focuses on how we rolled out large amounts of content using a Drupal post update script. This method was used for several tools on Farmers.gov, most recently The Disaster Assistance Tool. A post update script can build pages, create paragraph types or blocks, and can fill in the…

Content Strategy and Analytics

Google search results often include snippets that answer key user questions before other search listings. That means, if you want your site to appear, there are steps you must take to be featured and featured and benefit from additional brand exposure in search results. We tackled this issue from…
Drupal offers many powerful features out of the box—as well as  a world of possibilities via contributed and custom options. While this may be tantalizing from a technological standpoint, it may not be from the user’s perspective. This can lead to decreased user satisfaction—and thus not meeting…
After four years of auditing (and fixing) clients’ disorganized Google Analytics set-ups, convoluted Google Tag Manager implementation and other web data messes, I’ve learned a lot about how NOT to set up your organization’s website data. This presentation contains the top four common mistakes I…
What attendees will gain: From this session, attendees will walk away with a set of key learnings and guidance for shipping value to customers of the government even at the highest visibility, largest scale products.They will bring back to their organization the learnings from a real Government MVP…
The Veterans Health Administration provides health care to 9 million medical patients, 14 million veterans across through its 1200 facilities, including 150 hospitals and over 1000 community clinics.  This vast scale represents a challenge for creating content for veterans that is reliable,…
In today's world, data powers everything from the ads you see in your instagram feed to the suggestions on your Netflix subscription. You probably use data to measure how your site is performing, report on your conversions and inform your decision making on what is and is not working. But why stop…
Metrics has become one of the most popular terms when talking about team introspection, especially in the software industry. So much so that a new term "Vanity metrics" has appeared to refer to metrics that stand for... well nothing really!  In this session, we'll go over what they are supposed to…

Keynote

Sara is a Dayton, Ohio based software engineer, and program manager for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA) where she works on open innovations. Her passion for tech was ignited as a young girl when she and her siblings would piece together computers in order to play Sierra games on DOS…
Since 2009, he has organized BetaNYC to be a driving force to improve New York City’s use of technology and share its data. BetaNYC has advocated for a suite of government transparency laws, including the city’s transformative open data law and city record online law. BetaNYC runs the New York City…
The Code.gov team completed and published a three year study pertaining to the implementation of the Federal Source Code Policy. Findings show organizational characteristics of organizational cultural beliefs, public engagement practices, structural dimensions, and structural location aid or hinder…
Harish Rao is the founder and CEO of Interpersonal Frequency (I.F.). I.F. empowers government and civic organizations to be relevant, accountable, responsive, and engaging to their communities through the use of data-driven technology and award winning websites.   COVID-19 is affecting the usage…

Community and Being Human

Many times, team members feel like they can't mentor others unless they are a manager or a team lead. However, mentoring allows for growth of both senior team members and junior team members. Mentors and mentees help each other see how the other can improve, mentors can help generate ideas, and…
Across roles, specialities, and companies job stress is increasing. The daily deluge of emails, Slack messages, and urgent tasks can be overwhelming and it may seem like there’s no solution. It’s easy to feel overwhelmed and just want to give up. Believe me, I’ve been there too. As CTO of Amazee, I…
The year 2020 came in with a bang. Our plans were put on hold, our lives were changed. We all ended up with zoom fatigue trying to satisfy our human need for social contact and social change. As a tech leader, what are you doing for yourself and your team to build resiliency and compassion in times…
What do the books Essentialism (McKeown), The Year of Less (Flanders), and Girl, Stop Apologizing (Hollis) have in common? What about The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up (Kondo) or The Total Money Makeover (Ramsey)? They’re all books read by those, like me, in pursuit of a more meaningful, less…
Open Data drives evidence based policy and decisionmaking, supports transparency and accountability, and is the language through which our institutions speak to each other and to the public. And though we’ve come a long way sharing government data with the public, open data programs at all levels…