govCMS Camp guest post by Gavin Tapp

field_date)) { $d = strtotime($entity->field_date['und'][0]['value']); $interval = format_interval(time() - $d, 1); echo '

Posted '.$interval.' ago

'; } ?>

picture of govCMS Camp participants working in groups
govCMS Camp participants


Things have been pretty busy in govCMS land in the last few months - but I’m glad I was able to find the time to join the first ever govCMS camp on Jan 30/31 at the Department of Finance in Canberra.

I’ve attended a few hack days and unconferences over the last few years - so I had a reasonable idea of how the day would run (ie - I had pretty much no idea how things would turn out, but plenty of optimism). I know that the govCMS team was very keen to try this out - plenty of optimism that if they provided the opportunity people would come join in and contribute something to govCMS. And I think they were right - several chunks of interesting work were started and developed over the two days.

Importantly, it gave participants in the govCMS community a good opportunity to get to know the team that manages govCMS and who care for its maintenance. Chatting over pizza is a great way to learn more about the philosophy that steers the govCMS program and the Drupal distribution that sits at the centre.

For my part, the thing that I worked on was some documentation that I felt was missing from a new feature added to govCMS. I think the govCMS-CKAN module has a lot of potential for agencies using govCMS so I’d love to see more people using it. Its also close to my heart because of my participation in GovHack (open data yay!) over the last few years and because the module was developed as part of a project I’ve been involved with. The documentation we created is now available on the govCMS community and ready for use (and improvement) by others.

You can easily create a graph like this using govCMS-CKAN and data from

example graph that can be created using the CKAN module in govCMS

Example graph that can be created using the CKAN module in govCMS.


Other efforts at the camp were technical and produced new code that will go into govCMS, or looked at testing different user interface ideas to improve guidance for agencies that are looking to improve their websites. This is one of the great things about a ‘camp’ style event. There is room for people with a variety of skills to work collaboratively on a task.

There was all this, and pizza and caffeine too! I really hope another govCMS camp happens soon! There was enthusiastic talk about repeating the event (perhaps each quarter) so keep an eye on the community forum if you would like to come to the next one.

* note, healthy options were provided too :) 

Gavin Tapp, a Program Director for Acquia, wrote this article for govCMS.