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LocalGov Drupal or Backdrop CMS? 

Typically, Local councils face similar challenges when it comes to creating a website, which often boils down to time and budget. LocalGov Drupal and Backdrop CMS are two viable options to resolve these issues and deliver a reliable site. Let’s look at which of the two is best.

What exactly is LocalGov Drupal?

Drupal 9 is the foundation for LocalGov Drupal. The publishing platform is designed by councils and for councils. LocalGov Drupal is a publicly owned asset that provides people with a better digital experience, improves service outcomes, and saves money. 

There are currently 24 councils in the United Kingdom adopting LocalGov Drupal, with more on the way.

Following the Local Digital Declaration, the councils engaged developed a shared pool of code, resources, research, and knowledge, offering exceptional digital experiences to residents at a lesser cost while generating a publicly owned asset.

It is created and managed by a community of developers, content designers, and digital leaders from local governments across the United Kingdom. Web teams appreciate independence, flexibility, and a sense of community.

For developers

Stop reinventing the wheel and start making your life easier.

Council digital executives, developers, and content designers from around the UK are collaborating to create a best practice web publishing platform that is both dependable and efficient to install, saving councils both time and money.

Websites and service delivery have been improved.

The CMS provides enough flexibility to create customised web pages that you and your team will be proud of without sacrificing usability.

It contains tried-and-true functionality and content types that can be swiftly deployed, yet it's versatile enough to develop one-of-a-kind websites.

Heads of digital can help their service owners achieve greater results.

Content designers and editors have more leeway in creating amazing sites that use best practices in information architecture and content patterns. They can also respond to the requirements of the public and service providers more swiftly.

Developers spend less time creating the fundamentals and more time creating complex new features.

Everything that's been created is based on user feedback and has been tried and tested in the public sector. Many of the content formats and patterns are based on standards established by the Government Digital Service. The base theme is light, WCAG AA compliant, and responsive.

The advantages of LocalGov Drupal

It is simple to deploy and use

The LGD platform code is available for you to grab and use as you see fit. Take a look at the demo site, contact us for a demo, or simply get the code and get started.

The distribution is adaptable enough that you can only use the modules and page kinds that best fit your needs.

Any developer who has composer, docker, and Lando installed can perform our quick start install, which is documented in the installation profile's file. LocalGov Drupal should be simple to install, adapt, and extend for Drupal developers. We strive to adhere to Drupal code standards as well as best practices in open source development.

While smaller governments may be able to use LocalGov Drupal without much modification, we regard the distribution as a starting point for extension. Many councils prefer to augment the default functionality of their sites with bespoke development, and we want to take this into account when delivering future upgrades.


We urge all councils and development teams to extend with re-use in mind, as well as to donate code and experience back to the project so that other councils can benefit. This collaborative attitude, shared functionality, and peer learning is what makes LocalGov Drupal so important to all municipalities and developers engaged.

The greatest gains, however, come from actively engaging in and shaping product development. Based on user research and service demands, participating councils collaborate to decide on and develop new features and capabilities.

Councils that join the initiative in this way pledge to devote some time to furthering the organization's goals and, when possible, to exchange skills and resources.

Professional and community development

Many of our members say that one of the unintended consequences is a faster growth of their professional skills. This results from collaborative knowledge and skill sharing, whether it's having access to best practice user research, writing code together, or figuring out how to best fix a service design problem.

And probably the most important thing: Because it’s open-source, it’s free.

LocalGov Drupal or Backdrop CMS? Isn't Backdrop easier to use?

The only constant is change. That is the lesson we must learn when accepting Drupal 8 and upgrading from Drupal 7. Many new issues have surfaced among developers after the release of Drupal 8 in 2015, one of them is forking Drupal.

Is Backdrop CMS, a Drupal 7 clone, a viable alternative to Drupal 8?

Backdrop is a Content Management System (CMS) that may be used to create a wide range of websites, from a single administrator's personal blog to a complex, multi-role company e-commerce site. It is ideal for large non-profit, educational, corporate, or government websites.

As a website structuring tool, the basic Backdrop CMS package attempts to contain many valuable capabilities, but only those that are required by the vast majority of sites that utilise it. Backdrop can be expanded with the addition of simple modules, themes, and layouts.

It allows non-technical individuals to manage a wide range of content in some ways. It is feature-compatible with Drupal 8 (including items like Configuration Management Initiative (CMI), WYSIWYG, and Views in core), but is built on APIs more akin to Drupal 7.

Backdrop CMS began as an outgrowth of Drupal. Although Backdrop and Drupal share a codebase, their philosophy and organisation are separate. Backdrop adheres to a policy of concentrated releases that take into account community feedback.

Backdrop CMS is simple to develop and extend for small to medium-sized businesses, non-profits, educational institutions, and other organisations in need of a comprehensive website on a budget.

Backdrop CMS Benefits

Both the Backdrop and Drupal projects have different end goals, but because they are based on the same original code base, there are areas where collaboration can benefit both.

Backdrop, in addition to being easier to update, is backward compatible. Backdrop tries to keep API changes to a minimum so that contributed code can be readily maintained and existing sites may be updated economically.

Because of its basic structure, background allows you to write code for the vast majority of cases. It intends to be simple to understand and build on, even for those with limited technical skills. Direct implementations are preferred above abstraction, and how things function should be immediately evident and well documented.

The emphasis is on including characteristics that will appeal to the majority of people. Backdrop core only offers features and capabilities that are useful to the vast majority of sites that use it. Backdrop also intends to integrate feedback from those who attend training, meetings, and camps, as well as real-world interactions with customers.

The backdrop can be expanded. Backdrop's goal is to create a robust core that can be easily extended by bespoke or publically available contributed modules. These supplementary modules provide desirable functionality that are not included in the core owing to their complexity or too particular use cases.

Backdrop offers modest system requirements while providing excellent performance. Backdrop runs on low-cost hosting with extremely little needs. This entails not following current technological fads, but rather implementing common, tested, and learnable solutions.
Backdrop allows you to plan and schedule release dates. Each release has a pre-planned set of features and is delivered on schedule. If a feature is not ready in time for a particular release, it is delayed, but the release is delivered on time.

It allows them to remain free and open source. Backdrop's code is distributed under an Open Source licence, which allows anyone to use it for free, regardless of their beliefs or intentions.

Why would you fork Drupal?

Backdrop was split from Drupal for a variety of reasons. The following are the most notable:

Technical deficit

Though many features in Drupal 8 are identical to those in Drupal 7, the code beneath bears little resemblance to the Drupal of old. Rather than deviating from a successful track record, developers prefer preserving code that has a demonstrated success rate.

Principles of coding

The Backdrop community may differ from the Drupal community on some problems that are more important to them, and vice versa. The code diverges as the principles do. Backdrop's existence is thus justified.

Backdrop for a Specific Audience CMS is specifically designed for small and medium-sized businesses, non-profits, and education. It is best suited for enterprises who require advanced capabilities but are on a tight budget.

Should a city council use Backdrop CMS or Drupal?

Backdrop CMS has some significant problems that may outweigh the benefits:

Drupal 7 modules do not work with the background CMS. Despite the fact that Backdrop claims that 90 percent of the most popular modules have been ported, the Backdrop community is still fairly small.

Backdrop, because it is based on Drupal 7, suffers from the same security concerns that Drupal 7 has/had.

Most Drupal developers are focused on Drupal 8 and are not interested in transferring their modules to Backdrop.

Composer is not officially supported by Backdrop. Although third-party forks incorporate composer into Backdrop, it is not included in the official package. This makes composer package management difficult. It might be claimed that composer is unnecessary while using Backdrop.

Conclusion - LocalGov Drupal or Backdrop CMS?

Councils, in particular, are still vastly better off using LocalGov Drupal. While Backdrop is a simple alternative for individuals who do not want to work on their coding skills, LocalGov Drupal is being created with the specificity of common features in mind, which surpasses the ease of use that Backdrop provides.

We're a known Drupal agency with niche experience hosting LocalGov Drupal sites. We can take care of the development and hosting for you. 

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