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A new monthly update from Farez

Hello <<First Name>>!

How are you? I hope above all that you and your family are well and healthy.

This email is the first edition of my personal monthly email. I have 3 goals for doing this:

  1. To help you stay informed about what's going on with open source in web and digital, especially in the public sector, on topics that are relevant to your day-to-day decision making.

  2. To let you know what projects I've been working on, in case some of it could be relevant to you.

  3. And finally, to stay in touch, and be within easy reach, should you need my help. I'm just one email reply away.

If at any time this starts feeling like spam, please feel free to unsubscribe by just replying to this email with the word "NO THANKS". But I hope instead that you will find this email useful.

Do reply and let me know what you think of it, as any feedback helps! So on to the first issue!

INDUSTRY UPDATE

Drupal 9

So Drupal 9 has been out since June last year. "Really?!". Yes, I know. Any mention of "Drupal upgrade" will give any digital project manager a migraine, and most government bodies are only just moving to Drupal 8.

But unlike previous major versions like D7 to D8, D9 isn't that big a deal. It's basically "Drupal 8 with less cruft" some may say.

Should you migrate now? Not necessary. But, "Long Term Support" for Drupal 8 will end in November this year (2 Nov 2021, to be exact).

So, for peace of mind, and for longer term support till end of 2023, you may start looking into migrating from D8 to D9 sooner rather than later. And migrating from D8 to D9 is much much simpler than migrations for previous versions.

Drupal 7

Speaking of long term support, support for Drupal 7 has been extended to 28 November, 2022.

Due to the sheer number of sites still running on D7, and because of the impact of Covid19, the Drupal community has agreed to extend this support.

But if you have a D7 site, I say move it to D9 as soon as possible. Migrating from D7 could take a very very long time.

RECENT WORK

WCC

The pandemic has put pressure on almost every UK public service to move online. The Housing team at Westminster City Council is in the process of moving their housing application forms onto the web. My role in this project is to help them migrate their PDF-based application forms and process online.

The existing application process isn't trivial and the move online has also required specific user experience and data security considerations. It's not enough to just "copy and paste" a pre-existing PDF form onto a web page.

We are implementing this with Drupal 8 and the brilliant Webforms module, along with custom-built form handlers for business-specific logic.

🎉And congratulations to Westminster City Council for the launch of its new website! It was built on the LocalGov version of Drupal, a Drupal distribution aimed at standardising and sharing code between UK local government bodies.

LBHF

The London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham has been pushing ahead with standard accessibility practices. LBHF produces a lot of video content for their website, but there is a challenge around making these videos accessible.

In the last batch of work that I carried out for LBHF, we worked on replacing the standard YouTube embedded video player with the Able Player. The Able Player is an excellent open source player for audio and video which supports transcripts too.

I was actually surprised at how straightforward it was to offer video content with the Able Player. If you're considering offering video and audio content on your website in an accessible way, then I highly recommend it.

▶️See an example Able Player video from the LBHF website

London Film School

My relationship with The London Film School began when they hired me and my team to completely redesign and rebuild their website a few years ago. The website was built with Drupal 7, and has stood the test of time!

Last year I've been helping LFS upgrade their website to the latest version of Drupal 7. This mostly involved major security upgrades to the Drupal core.

There was a lot of manual testing involved, and thankfully, the upgrade did not break anything.

A lot of work went into creating a responsive and beautiful website for LFS so I'm glad support for Drupal 7 has been extended to November 2022!

🎬Watch films made by London Film School's highly talented students

Hope you enjoyed the updates above. Let me know what you would like to see in the next monthly update!

AVAILABILITY AND CONTACT

Currently available for short or long term Drupal and other open-source related projects. Simply reply to this email to get in touch, or you can contact me via:

Get in touch

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