Training Video Transcripts

govCMS is an open-source content management system that runs on a managed, cloud-based hosting environment. Built by the Australian government and run by the Department of Finance, govCMS enables agencies to meet best practice service design standards in an affordable and timely manner. govCMS is powered by Drupal, the world’s leading open-source CMS, which is supported by a vibrant and highly active development community.

The govCMS Software as a Service offering removes the burden of managing your own software, licensing and infrastructure. Hosted in Australia, the infrastructure and content management system are security accredited, tested and maintained for agencies as part of the govCMS service. Agencies requiring greater customisation may opt for the govCMS Platform as a Service offering, which is a fully flexible model allowing multiple sites to be developed, within a dedicated environment. No matter what your requirements, govCMS has a range of responsive solutions to help you meet the needs of your customers.

govCMS is an open-source content management system that runs on a managed, cloud-based hosting environment. Built by the Australian government and run by the Department of Finance, govCMS enables agencies to meet best practice service design standards in an affordable and timely manner. govCMS is powered by Drupal, the world’s leading open-source CMS, which is supported by a vibrant and highly active development community. As part of this community, anyone using govCMS is asked to share the tools, functionality and themes they develop with the rest of the govCMS user-base.

This collaborative and truly open-source approach cuts development time frames, enabling Agencies to benefit from a wide variety of digital initiatives.

The govCMS Software as a Service offering removes the burden of managing your own software, licensing and infrastructure. Hosted in Australia, the infrastructure and content management system are security accredited, tested and maintained for agencies as part of the govCMS service. Agencies requiring greater customisation may opt for the govCMS Platform as a Service offering, which is a fully flexible model allowing multiple sites to be developed, within a dedicated environment. No matter what your requirements, govCMS has a range of responsive solutions to help you meet the needs of your customers.

Let’s dive under the hood of a standard govCMS installation and explore the system’s powerful features. Once you’ve logged in you’ll see a menu appear across the top of your govCMS site. This menu can be toggled between a horizontal or vertical layout, and features the key administrative areas for maintaining, editing and updating your site. The exact features available in the menu may vary according to your govCMS role. For this demonstration, we’ll be exploring the standard site builder features.

Let’s start with ‘My Workbench’. My Workbench presents a summary of your govCMS activity and provides a streamlined interface for creating, editing and publishing content. From here you can review the most recent content you’ve contributed to the site, as well as content submitted by other editors and approvers.

The My Workbench tabs provide a shortcut to the most common content creation processes. For example from the ‘create content’ tab I can select a template and begin writing in only a few clicks.

Work in progress can be accessed via the ‘my drafts’ tab, and any submitted content awaiting your approval can be reviewed and published via the ‘needs review’ tab.

The content section presents all of the site content, comments, files and webforms. From here you can create new content using standard or customised page templates.

All published and draft site content is presented in a list that can be searched or filtered according to type, author or published status. From here, existing content can be edited, or deleted. The Comments tab displays any comments that have been made on the site for example a comment to a blog, enabling you to administer or moderate comments if necessary.

The files tab presents a list of all documents, images and other file types embedded anywhere throughout the site. This list can be searched or filtered, enabling you to find commonly used files. If content has been scheduled for publication it will be listed in the ‘scheduled’ tab, which lists the article title, author and schedule details.

In the ‘webforms’ section you can create and edit forms, such as contact forms or more complex surveys featuring contextual logic. Beyond the content section, we start to branch off into the administration and configuration options. These sections would generally be the responsibility of site editors and site builders rather than content editors and approvers.

Let’s explore these sections now, beginning with ‘structure’. The structure section enables you to create new types of content, such as page templates and menus. Here you can also manage layouts, breadcrumbs and content tagging.

The appearance section displays the currently enabled theme for your site. If you chose to develop a customised theme for your govCMS installation, it would appear here. You can also browse other themes contributed by the govCMS and Drupal community, which can then be enabled for testing and review.

All agency themes developed for govCMS are open-source, and can be accessed via the govCMS GitHub repository. Go to the govCMS website to find out more.

The people section is where you can create, edit or cancel user accounts. Standard installations of govCMS feature four user account roles: Content editor, Content approver, Site editor, and Site builder. Additional roles can be created and customised to suit specific Agency needs.

The configuration section is where site builders can access and edit system and installation settings such as Google Analytics, site defaults, image styles, search settings and meta tagging. The reports section presents compiled reports for site builders to keep track of issues of such as broken links, user activity and events. Help presents a list of documentation for govCMS users who may require further information about any of the system’s features. For further help or advice we recommend visiting govcms.gov.au/support.

Common tasks and processes can be quickly accessed via the shortcuts feature, that enables you to build a customised list of links to suit your specific user or administrative needs. From your profile page, you can edit your profile information, change your password or update your contact information. That’s it! We’ve now covered all of the key features of the govCMS system. As you can see, it’s fairly straight-forward. Why not try it for yourself?

Creating and publishing content in govCMS uses a simple workflow based on user roles. Users with a ‘content editor’ role can create content, but can’t publish it directly to the site. Users with a ‘content approver’ role can create and publish their own content, or review and publish content that has been submitted by content editors.

This content creation and moderation workflow enables teams of writers to create and edit content while ensuring consistency and security for team leaders and managers.

Additional roles and permissions can be created to suit specific Agency needs.

In this demonstration we’ll be creating this standard page using the default content editor and content approver roles.

To get started, we’ll log in as our demo ‘content editor’. We navigate to our workbench, and select the ‘create content’ tab. Alternatively, we can navigate to the ‘content section and then select the ‘add content’ button that appears at the top of the screen. Here you have a number of page templates to choose from. For this example, we’ll be creating a new ‘standard page’ The standard page template is divided into sections such as title, feature image, summary, associated file and body. At the bottom of the template, content editors can review and edit the page’s meta tags and revision information and input scheduling options.

Let’s get started.

We begin by adding the page title and then uploading or selecting a feature image from the govCMS library. If you like you can add a short summary of the page content. This may appear in places such as search results, as short excerpts in lists of content like news items, or you may configure them to appear in other areas such as in a block as a teaser for an advertisement that a user will click through to access more information. If your page has an associated attachment, such as a downloadable PDF, you can attach it via the ‘File’ section. Select the ‘choose file’ button to navigate to the file, and then select ‘upload’.

The second summary field enables you to control how the page content appears whenever the ‘trimmed’ view is shown.

Trimmed articles and pages display in search results and article lists. The trimmed view shows the first few paragraphs of content, enabling the viewer to preview the page before navigating to the full text. You can add a custom summary here, or leave this field blank.

The body field is where the majority of your content creation and editing will take place. The rich-text view gives you a number of editor options for creating or pasting in content. For example, if you’re copying and pasting from Microsoft Word, you can use the ‘paste from word’ option to import document formatting and links while removing any non-compatible markup.

There are a number of formatting options available to style your content. To ensure your content displays correctly when published, always use these options to define headings, size and various style options.

To add an image, select the ‘add media’ button located on the far right of the toolbar. You can upload a new image from your computer, or select from a library of previously uploaded media. Let’s upload a new image. Navigate to your file and then select the ‘upload’ button to add it to the govCMS library. Complete the file information, ensuring you enter a description of the image into the alt text and title text fields. Select save to continue. Review your image information, then select the submit button to add it to your page content.

If you need to review the HTML markup of your page, select the ‘disable rich text’ link below the body field. You can edit the HTML directly using this view before returning to the rich text editor. Once you’ve finished editing your page content, you can review and edit the page meta tags, revision information and scheduling options. Meta tags are snippets of text that describe a page's content. govCMS generates these tags for you, however you can add additional tags and keywords if you wish.

In the publishing options tab, you can add notes on each version of the page. These notes are important for site administrators and editors to keep track of a page’s content history, and should be updated each time the page is edited. Here you may also set the moderation state from ‘draft’ to ‘needs review’, which would submit the saved page to a content approver for review. For now, let’s keep the moderation state set to draft.

The scheduling options tab enables content to be published and unpublished on specific dates at specific times. This is useful for time-sensitive or embargoed content.

The preview button enables content editors to review their content before it’s submitted. The preview presents both the trimmed view and the full version of the content. If you need to make further edits, you can do so via the fields below the preview. Once you’re happy with your content, you can return to the revision information tab and change the moderation state from ‘draft’ to ‘needs review’. This will signal to the site’s content approvers that the page is ready for review. To complete the process, select save. The unpublished content is displayed, along with the current revision state. This completes the content editor’s role in the content creation process.

Now let’s log in as a content approver, so we can review and publish the submitted page.

Content approvers can quickly access submitted content via the ‘needs review’ tab in the ‘My Workbench’ section. Submitted content will also be highlighted in the list that displays in the content section. To review content, select the title. To edit and approve content, select the ‘edit draft’ tab. The content approver may now review and edit any of the fields. If the content needs further work it can be sent back to the content editor for revision. Once the content has been reviewed and there are no additional changes to be made, the content approver navigates to the publishing options tab. Here they can update the Moderation notes, and change the moderation state from ‘needs review’ to ‘published’. When the content approver selects the ‘save’ button, the page is published. If the page has been scheduled for future publication, it won’t appear on the live site until the scheduled date. Unscheduled content will be published immediately to the live site. This completes the content creation process. To edit existing content, editors and approvers can navigate the site while logged in.

If a page needs updating, they can select the ‘new draft’ tab that appears above any editable section.

From here the process repeats – content editors need to submit their changes for review, while content approvers may edit and publish changes immediately.

As you can see, the content creation and moderation workflow in govCMS is simple, yet powerful, enabling large teams to create and submit content while maintaining control for team leaders, editors and senior management.

Standard installations of govCMS can be configured to suit the individual needs of Agencies and their customers.

Changes to the govCMS configuration will often affect the entire site, therefore the configuration settings are restricted to site editors or site builders. To access the configuration section, log in using your site editor or site builder account and select ‘configuration’ from the main menu. This will load the configuration interface, which is comprised of seven key areas:

  • People Content authoring
  • Media Search and metadata
  • System
  • User interface
  • Development

Let’s review each of these areas, beginning with people.

The ‘account settings’ option listed within the people area enables you to configure the default behaviour of users, including registration requirements, fields, and user pictures.

Within the email settings you can edit and update the messaging that is sent to a user’s account by the system. For example, you can update the welcome email that appears in a new user’s inbox upon registration. Within the email templates you will notice code-like references that appear in square brackets. These are called ‘tokens’ and call account and system-generated information such as user name, time-stamps and URLs. Select the ‘browse available tokens’ link to see a complete list of tokens that can be referenced within email templates. The ‘scheduler’ option listed within the content authoring area enables you to configure settings for scheduled content publishing and unpublishing. Here you can define the date format and change the appearance of the pop-up calendar.

The ‘extra info’ text field enables you to enter a customised message for your content editors that will appear whenever they schedule content for publication. For example, you may want to remind content editors to only schedule content to go live during business hours.

Once you’ve entered your message and updated the settings, the text will appear at the top of the publishing schedule interface.

Images uploaded to govCMS are automatically duplicated into a series of small, medium and large formats to suit a variety of page templates and devices. The media area enables site builders and site editors to access and update these image styles. Here you can configure the default sizes for thumbnails and other common image formats used throughout the site. Please note that these settings are global and may affect how your templates display within a browser, so proceed with caution.

The search and metadata area contains a number of configurable options. The search settings enable you to manually re-index the site, ensuring all content is accessible by the site’s search functionality. You can also influence the content ranking of the search feature, for example favouring more recent content that contains the highest keyword relevance.

The URL aliases area enables you to change your site's URL paths by aliasing them. If you have a long, complicated URL that you’d like to distribute you can create a shorter more memorable URL here. By default, govCMS will insert meta data into your content as it is published, meeting a high level of AGLS requirements without the need for further input.

If you wish to edit, override or disable the default meta data configuration, you can do so within the metatag section.

Within the search API area you can add additional indexes to your search configuration. This isn’t necessary for the majority of govCMS agencies, as the default search settings are very powerful.

URL redirects can be used to direct old URLs to updated sections of your site. For example, you may have a third party website linking to a page or article that is no longer relevant. Rather than asking the third party to update their site, you can take control and redirect the traffic here.

govCMS automatically creates and updates an XML sitemap to help search engines find and index pages on your site. The default XML sitemap has been designed to optimise your site indexing, however you can override this with your own map if you wish. If you’re noticing that some areas of your site are not showing up in 3rd party search results, you can rebuild the sitemap via the ‘rebuild links’ tab in the top right of screen.

The Google Analytics area is where you can input and configure your Google Analytics tracking code. Once you’ve entered your tracking code, you can configure exactly what you would like to be crawled via the ‘tracking scope’ interface. Here you can adjust the domains, pages, roles, and other tracking options. By default, govCMS elects to anonymise visitor IP addresses and enables opt-outs for users who do not want to be tracked. govCMS features an option called ‘shield’, which can be used to restrict access to part or all of your govCMS site.

Shield is commonly used during site development or maintenance. Once shield has been activated, a user name and password must be entered to view restricted areas of the site. Within the shield configuration settings you can select which areas of the site are to be restricted and define the site credentials. The govCMS menu can be configured and customised via the menu block settings. For the majority of agencies this will not be necessary, as the menu has been pre-configured to suit a wide variety of customer requirements.

Finally, the maintenance mode settings enable you to place the entire govCMS site into a restricted setting that prevents general public access to the site. Here you can also edit the default maintenance message that displays in the browser while maintenance mode is enabled.

Throughout the life of a website there are often occasions when it’s necessary to create URL Redirects, which send traffic from old or incorrect addresses to their intended destination. The govCMS system features a number of pathways for creating URL redirects. In this video we’ll examine three typical scenarios you may encounter while administering a site. Our first scenario covers the manual creation of URL Redirects. These are useful if you need to update an old URL that has been referenced by a large number of 3rd party websites.

To manually create a URL redirect, log in as a site editor or site builder and navigate to the ‘configuration’ section. Under the ‘search and metadata’ area, select the ‘URL Redirects’ link. Here you will see a complete list of redirects currently active on your site. To create a new one, select the ‘add redirect’ button at the top of the screen. Enter the old URL into the ‘from’ field at the top of the screen. In the ‘to’ field, enter the path you want the old URL to now link to. Alternatively you can type the word ‘front’ in angled brackets to redirect all traffic to the front page of the site.

Under the advanced options, you may select a redirect status code to assist with site indexing by external search engines. Once all of the fields are completed, select ‘save’ and it will be added to your list of URL redirects. Here you can also review how often the redirect is being used via the count column. The higher the number, the more the redirect is being used by site visitors. A second common scenario you may encounter when administering a site is bad links. External pages may link to your site using old or incorrect URL addresses. Your analytics software will detect these bad links and report them to you. This traffic is important and often it isn’t possible or practical to wait for third party sites to correct their mistakes.

To correct a bad link, log into your govCMS site using your site editor or site builder role and then enter the bad link address into your browser. A ‘page not found’ message will be generated by the system. Select the ‘add URL redirect’ link that appears under this heading. You’ll be taken directly to the URL redirects area within the configuration section of govCMS. As you can see, the bad link has already been entered into the ‘from’ field. All you need to do is update the ‘to’ field with the correct URL and select save. Your new URL Redirect will be added to the site and the bad link will no longer affect visitors.

Finally, another common problem faced by site administrators is updating existing page URLs. Often this causes problems for visitors who have bookmarked the old URL. Thankfully, if you do need to edit an existing page URL, govCMS has an automated feature to assist you. In your list of site content, select the ‘edit’ option and then update the URL alias in the ‘URL Path Settings’ section. Select save and view your new URL. Then, as a test, go to the old address. You’ll see that govCMS has already created a URL redirect for the old address. Visitors who have saved the old address will be automatically redirected to the updated URL.

As you can see, the govCMS system features a number of powerful URL Redirect options. When it comes to ensuring your visitors reach their intended destination, the system has you covered.

govCMS features powerful user administration functionality, enabling Agencies to create large cohorts of users with a wide variety of roles and permissions.

Within the govCMS environment, user accounts may only be created, edited or deleted by site editors or site builders.

To access the user administration features, log into govCMS as a site editor or builder and navigate to the ‘people’ section in the main menu. Here you will see a complete list of user accounts for your govCMS site.

The user account table may be searched or filtered according to user name, email, active status or role. Each user account entry lists the user’s name, email address, active status, role, membership history and access log. The operations column to the right presents options to edit or cancel accounts.

To modify or update a user account, select the ‘edit’ link in the operations column. This loads the account information for the selected user. Site builders may update the username, email address and reset the user’s password. If necessary, the user account can be blocked, preventing access to the govCMS site via the account in question.

To change the assigned role for an account, site editor permissions are required. Select save to update the account once you’ve completed your changes. Be sure to inform the account holder of any changes you’ve made to their account. To create a new user, return to the ‘people’ section and select the ‘add user’ button.

Enter the user name and email address for the new account. Please note that email addresses must be unique for each govCMS account – you cannot create multiple accounts for the same email address. Create a temporary password for the new account. The user will be prompted to change this when they first log into the govCMS system. Ensure the status is set to ‘active’, and select the ‘notify user of new account’ checkbox. This will ensure the account name and password is emailed to the user once the account has been created.

Finally, select a role for the new user. When you’ve finished, select the ‘create new account’ button. The new user will receive a notification email prompting them to log into govCMS and change their password. The new user account will now appear in the user account list. To cancel an account, select ‘cancel account’ from the operations column. From here you can disable the account temporarily, or delete all of the account information from the site. To confirm this action, select the ‘cancel account’ button, otherwise you can cancel the action and return to the user accounts list.

govCMS features powerful web form functionality, enabling site builders and site editors to create contact forms, surveys and customer feedback pages with ease.

To create a new web form, navigate to the content section and select the ‘add content’ button, then select ‘web form’ from list of options. Enter a title for your new form, and complete the meta data tabs. Most of these options can be left in their default state, however you may like to give your form a URL alias and review the publishing options before you proceed. When you’re ready, select ‘save’. You’ve now created a new webform, however at this point it’s only an empty shell. You need to populate the form with some components. The form components are created and arranged in the ‘form components’ tab.

Let’s create our first component now. Enter a label for your first component and select a component type from the drop-down list. Select the ‘required’ checkbox if you want this to be a mandatory component, and then select the ‘add’ button. govCMS will now ask you to enter additional information about the form component. You can give the component a default value, which pre-populates the field, and add a description if the field requires instructions or explanatory text.

Under the ‘validation’ heading you can make the field unique, meaning the same value is not allowed to be used twice. You can also set a maximum length for the field to prevent invalid data from being entered. Under the display heading you can customise the presentation of the field such as editing the width and changing where the label appears. You can also enter placeholder text that pre-populates the field with indicative text that disappears when the user starts entering a value. Once you’ve finished editing your component, select the ‘save component’ button at the bottom of the screen.

Great – you’ve created your first form component.

Now let’s add a few more. First we’ll create a phone number field that only accepts numerical data and is pre-populated with Australia’s country-code. Then we can add an email field that automatically validates email addresses.

To re-order your form components, drag them up and down the list using the toggle on the right. Components will display in descending order.

Finally, we’ll complete the form components by adding a text field for customer feedback and general comments. Let’s include a description for this field, letting customers know when they can expect a reply to their feedback submission.

Now that we have our form components we’re ready to review the other form creation options.

The second tab is ‘conditionals’. Here you can set conditional rules for your webform. Conditionals may be used to hide or show certain components or entire pages based on the value of other components. We’re creating a simple feedback form, so this feature isn’t necessary for our example. However conditionals can be very powerful when creating surveys or more complex data entry components for your site.

By default, govCMS webforms will email form submissions to the site configuration email address, which is typically owned and administered by the site builder or site editor. Under the ‘email’ tab you can change this default to a custom email address. Finally, the form settings tab enables you to enter a confirmation message that displays once a customer has submitted the form. If you don’t want to display a confirmation message, you can change the redirection location of the form to send customers to a specific page, or reload a blank webform. Here you can also set submission limits, review the form status, or restrict access to the form based on user role.

Under the ‘progress bar’ heading you can edit how the progress bar displays, or remove it entirely. If you’ve created a long or complex form, you can enable a preview page to let customers review their entries before submitting. Finally under the ‘advanced settings’ heading you can add a ‘save draft’ button, enable confidentiality settings or edit the submit button label. When you’ve completed your form settings, select the ‘save configuration’ button.

Your form is now complete.

Select the ‘view’ tab to review the form layout and functionality. If you need to make further changes, select the ‘webform’ tab to return to the form components section.

govCMS enables users to schedule content to be published or unpublished on specific dates and times.

This feature is particularly useful for time sensitive publications or embargoed media releases.

To schedule content, log into govCMS and create a new piece of content. For this example, let’s create a media release. Complete the content fields such as title, summary and body. The ‘date of publication’ field should not be confused with the content scheduling. This field simply stamps a publication date below the title of the media release.

Once you’ve completed the media release content fields and completed the meta tag and revision information, select the ‘scheduling options’ tab.

As you can see, this option is fairly straightforward.

Use the drop-down calendar to select a date and then enter a time for publication. If you would like the content to be removed from the site at a later date, complete the fields under the ‘unpublish’ heading. When you’ve completed editing the content and scheduling information, select save.

The media release would then follow the standard content authoring and approval processes in govCMS. If created by a content editor, the release would be submitted for approval. If created by a content approver or site builder, the release may be published immediately.

Published content that has been scheduled for future release will display as ‘unpublished’ until the scheduled publication date and time. The content will not be available on the site or accessible through search. To change the scheduling options for a published piece of content, site editor or site builder privileges are required. Log into govCMS and navigate to the content in question. Select the content heading and then select the ‘unpublish this revision’ action item. Change the moderation state back to draft, and then select the ‘unpublish’ button. Once the content has been unpublished, the scheduling information may be edited or removed by content editors or content approvers.

As we’ve seen, govCMS features powerful content scheduling options. These options give Agencies control of exactly when and how content is released on their sites, making the publication timing of media releases, news items and embargoed content a breeze.