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The Web Experience Toolkit Drupal 8 Distribution: Why Use a Drupal Distribution and Why Precisely... Drupal WxT?

The Web Experience Toolkit Drupal 8 Distribution: Why Use a Drupal Distribution and Why Precisely... Drupal WxT?

by Adriana Cacoveanu on Dec 10 2019

Say you need to build a company website that's bilingual from the ground up, accessible, responsive, user-friendly for the team administrating it, easily maintainable and innovative. Oh, yes: and you need it built fast. What do you do then? You "unpack" the web experience toolkit Drupal 8 distribution, trigger its out of the box features and... adjust them to your organization's specific requirements.

 

  • But what exactly is the Wetkit Drupal distribution? Who's it for?
  • What powerful features/modules/reusable components/content management tools does it provide you with out of the box?
  • And how can you customize it so that everything, from content types to... the publishing workflow, should fit your needs perfectly?

     

Let's get you some answers, now:

 

1. What Is the Web Experience Toolkit Drupal 8 Distribution?

It's a version of Drupal, designed specifically for the Canadian Government, that streamlines the building and maintenance of bilingual, responsive and highly accessible websites.

Since it's open-source, it is free to use by all public organizations.

Take it as a powerful... bundle of carefully curated Drupal modules, a built-in responsive theme, and out-of-the-box tools for content authoring and publishing, that helps you set up a website that:

 

  • has built-in bilingual support
  • leverages Accessible Rich Internet Applications (WAI-ARIA) and complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG 2.0) by default
  • taps into a robust content management system
  • ships with the same theme used on the Government of Canada's official website

     

... in no time.

It comes as a 2-part tool, made of:

 

  • Wetkit (or WxT or WET): a set of files that define the front-end components of your future website (JS, CSS) and markup; a bundle of tools and best practices for reaching certain standards of bilingualism, accessibility, and responsiveness on your website
  • Drupal core: a robust and flexible content (and users) management system

     

Note: it's also a highly flexible "toolkit", that you can adjust to your specific requirements of accessibility, usability, and interoperability.

You might need specific content types, a specific custom-tailored publishing workflow, a particular page layout, etc. Luckily for you, Drupal-WxT is conveniently adjustable:

 

  • it grants you easy set up (and maintenance) of your bilingual and accessible Drupal website
  • it also grants the freedom you need for customizing it to your organization's particular needs

     

2. What Is a Drupal Distribution? Why Would You Want to Use One?

Now you know what the Web Experience Toolkit Drupal 8 distribution is:

"But what exactly is... a Drupal distribution?" you might ask yourself.

Let me try a short, yet comprehensive definition:

It's a package of components, modules and tools that you can trigger to build your Drupal website.

Or:

It's a version of Drupal that provides you with the extra configuration and carefully curated modules to set up a website that meets your specific requirements. 

In this context here you need your website to be:

 

  • accessible
  • bilingual
  • responsive
  • interoperable

     

3. 10 Powerful Features that You Get Right Out of the Box with Drupal-WxT

Till here, I've kept telling you about all the built-in functionality and robust content management tools that you get, out of the box, once you install the Web Experience Toolkit Drupal 8 distribution:

"But which are they?" you'll legitimately ask yourself.

Here are the 10 most powerful features that WxT-Drupal provides you with right from its... unboxing:

 

3.1. A Responsive Theme

It allows you to implement the same look and feel as the one on the Government of Canada's website.

 

3.2. Search API

 

3.3. Workbench for Drafting Your Content

 

3.4. A Menu System

 

3.5. A  WYSIWYG Editor

A CKEditor, to be more specific.

One that you can customize to fit your editorial team's specific needs and preferences, which they can use to add a markup to the content about to be published.

 

3.6. Bilingual Support

One of the most powerful components of the web experience toolkit Drupal 8 distribution.

Basically, you get bilingual support at every level of configuration:

 

  • multilingual UI and content (French version already installed): from menu items to taxonomy terms, to form elements, translating each element of your content is fairly easy with Drupal Wetkit
  • bilingual back-end (for those admins in your team who use either English or French)

     

3.7. Version Management

Your editorial team can "juggle with" several different versions of the same content to be reviewed before being published.

 

3.8. A Complex System for Managing Content Types

By default, it's 2 content types that you get: pages and documentation.

 

3.9. Panels & Panoply for Creating Landing Pages

Your content team can easily edit both the content and the layout of this page and turn it into your Drupal site's homepage or... a list-of-events page.

 

3.10. A Built-In Moderation Workflow

The entire process of creating a web page for your Drupal site might call for a specific ecosystem of:

 

  • authors, translators, editors
  • different content statuses
  • different content transitions 

     

Luckily, the web experience toolkit Drupal 8 distribution provides you with a robust and flexible workflow that you can customize to your needs. 

Feel free to add specific types of users, particular content transitions to suit your own content lifecycle, overall: to adjust the built-in workflow to your unique requirements.

 

4. Is the Drupal Web Experience Toolkit the Right Fit for Your Organization?

It is, if:

 

  • it's a bilingual and fully accessible website that you need to build
  • you need it built fast: the curated selection of modules and the built-in content management tools will help you save valuable time (and money)
  • it's low maintenance set up that you're looking for

     

Now, it goes without saying that customizing this Drupal distribution to fit your organization's specific workflow, team hierarchy and in-house operations does call for some configuration work from your side.

The END!

These are the what and the why of the Drupal WxT or Wetkit, if you wish.

Have you already had the chance to trigger the potential of a Drupal distribution? What do you think of the "load" of pre-built features that this particular package ships with? Are they tempting enough for you?

Is there any other type of functionality that you wish it would have provided you with out of the box?

Image by PublicDomainPictures from Pixabay 

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