Kristen Pol

Kristen Pol

Quant Co-Founder

Santa Cruz, California, United States


Doing Drupal since 2004! I have over 25 years of experience in web technologies, including 19+ years with Drupal, and 20+ years of leadership experience as technical lead, architect, project manager, product manager, engineering manager, CTO, and co-founder.

Specialties: Open source, web development, Drupal, PHP, MySQL, SEO, internationalization, content strategy, application architecture, static/decoupled, marketing, analytics, public speaking, mentoring, product management, leadership, contribution

Area of Expertise

  • Information & Communications Technology

How a community-led open-source true design system was adopted by the Australian government.

Should governments build and maintain technical solutions, or should they contribute to and support community-led projects?

This potentially controversial statement highlights a choice the Australian government recently faced in their pursuit of improving the digital experience of its citizens.

Learn how they solved this by adopting an open-source design-system created and managed by the open-source community.

The CivicTheme is an open-source, atomic design-based, true design system developed by the community to help government agencies quickly and efficiently build websites.

The CivicTheme design system consists of three layers:
1. Design Layer: A Figma-based visual design system enabling rapid prototyping and high-fidelity designs.
2. Technical Layer: A fully functional set of parity-mapped companion components available in Storybook, designed for seamless collaboration with designers.
3. Theme Layer: Over 60 fully functional components initially developed as a Drupal theme.

This approach might sound familiar; however, it has some fundamental differences in delivering public sector digital projects.

CivicTheme distinguishes itself with a framework of three key governance and compliance pillars:

1. User Research Evidence-Based Framework: Used to assess new component contributions for project giveback.
2. Accessibility Framework: Ensuring compliance with WCAG standards.
3. Security Framework: Ensuring relevant security policies, conventions, and best practices are integrated into the design system.
4.Community led steering committee: with members of the open source community and key government organisations to grow and guide the project.

But first, let's really address the virtual elephant in the room: Is CivicTheme really that different from the USWDS? Well, yes and no.

We’ll discuss the differences between a community-led design system versus a government-led solution, their pros and cons, and how an alternative solution can be highly successful in delivering government websites.

Website failover and disaster recovery strategies to help you sleep better

Failure happens. We’ve all experienced failure, and it's not fun. But, it does give us the opportunity to learn and, ideally, to plan better for the next time disaster strikes.

The web technology stack is ripe for failure because there are often so many pieces at play. Web servers, database servers, content management systems, third-party plugins, caching layers, networks, DNS… not to mention all the people who can bring a website down with the touch of a finger.

Those of us in charge of keeping websites running need to mitigate against potential disasters as best we can so we don’t get a panicked call in the middle of the night.

So let’s talk about…

* Scenarios that bring websites down
* Disaster planning so you are as prepared as possible
* Best practices to lower risks and increase resilience
* Monitoring and testing your website for vulnerabilities
* Failover and disaster recovery options and strategies

With the right preparation, tools, and oversight, you can sleep better at night!

Secure, Performant, Scalable and Green: The big wins of a static Drupal website

Drupal is the swiss-army-knife of content management systems. It provides the flexibility to build pretty much any site you want. This is why so many of us choose Drupal for our backend technology.

**Jamstack vs Static**

You can find tons of resources on Drupal with React, Gatsby, Next, Vue and Nuxt, yet not so much static-focused non-Jamstack content beyond using the Drupal Tome module (which is a great tool!). Why are JavaScript frameworks such a hot Drupal topic yet simple static frontends not so much? I think static Drupal has a marketing problem!

**Benefits of Static**

Drupal provides the tools and workflows that content editors want. With Paragraphs and Layout Builder and Views, there is much to love. But for many sites, they would also reap the benefits of having a fully or mostly static frontend such as:

* Enhanced security
* Increased performance
* Better scalability
* Less CO2 emissions
* Higher Lighthouse scores
* Improved user engagement

It’s often more cost-effective too!

Although you can’t use static for everything, it’s not unusual to be able to leverage a static frontend for a good part of your website while routing dynamic pages back to the Drupal backend. This provides the best of both worlds:

1) Drupal with its flexibility and features, and

2) static with its speed, security, scalability, and better environmental footprint.

Let’s discuss how to leverage a fully or partially static frontend for your Drupal website for all the wins!

How to make big things happen in Drupal

Always wanted to start something new in Drupal or find a place for your coworkers to contribute with a big impact? Join this panel discussion where (former) initiative leads and funders of initiatives discuss success stories and areas to avoid for the benefit of all.

Drupal 10 Readiness Initiative Keynote Q&A

Drupal 9 is expected to have the shortest Drupal major release lifetime in recent history with Drupal 10 planned to be released in the middle of 2022 and Drupal 9 end of life by end of 2023.

In this keynote, we will review some of the highlights from the Drupal 10 initiative. We'll also cover what we learned from the Drupal 8 to 9 transition (so far) and how we plan to make it better for 10.

Drupal Community Events: Organize Locally, Contribute Globally

Gathering our friends, colleagues, and community members together for collaborative learning experiences has been one of the primary ways of growing the Drupal Community throughout our 20 years. Organizers have been working together more closely over the past few years to make it easier for us all to keep events of all sizes moving.

Now, you too can know what we know. We’ll discuss some key resources that can help you help the community grow:

- The Drupal Event Platform helps organizers build an event website out of the box, because a Drupal site shouldn’t be the hardest part of a Drupal event.

- The Drupal.org Community Events listing is the place to share your Drupal event with the world, and you can help us make it better!

- The Planning Drupal Events Contributor Guide is a treasure trove of playbooks and guidance to help at every stage of the event process.

- The Contribution Events Initiative supports promoting and organizing contribution events worldwide and crediting all involved.

Slides: https://docs.google.com/presentation/d/1P_NuMph4LvtcJKxgBdmEbDk4jyAR2wctw_84OXXd83c/edit?usp=sharing

Community Summit

The Community Summit is open to anyone at DrupalCon, and is designed to connect our amazing community with one another.

It will be a full-day, with morning Working Group/Initiative Keynote Sessions from many of our community leaders and an afternoon Unconference dedicated to exploring the issues that matter most to the Drupal community.

This Summit will be shaped by you - The Community.

For the full detailed schedule of the day, visit: https://events.drupal.org/pittsburgh2023/community-summit

Kristen Pol

Quant Co-Founder

Santa Cruz, California, United States


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