GDS to retire four ‘mainstream’ formats

The Government Digital Service has said it will retire four formats, including video and programmes, as part of work to migrate its disparate publishing applications to its new single publishing platform.

GDS, which is moving to a new home in the summer, is migrating its publishing applications to one platform – Photo credit: Derwent London

The migration – which has been carried out in stages since the end of 2015 – will eventually consolidate around 70 existing publishing applications that are used to publish on GOV.UK.

The applications were built in isolation to serve different needs – for instance the Travel Advice Publisher was solely for foreign travel alerts – but GDS has said previously that this approach also created a lot of product and technical debt.

The new Publishing Platform aims to create more commonality and make sure that GOV.UK is scalable, secure and easy to use.

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There are 141 formats, such as news stories, information guides or types of services, within the applications. Migration has already begun on some of these, including the 16 Whitehall formats for government departments’ content, which is due to complete by April.

GDS has now begun migrating the 13 ‘mainstream’ formats, which are those that meet the most common user needs for citizens – such as passports or driving licences.

As a result of the discovery for this migration, GDS has decided to retire four of the formats, including videos, which it said was not meeting user need and had very little traffic.

It will also retire programmes, which it said were too similar to the guide format and could easily be converted into guides without affecting users.

The campaigns format will be retired because GDS last year built a new campaigns platform, and the business support finder format will be retired as it needs to be more consistent with other finders that have been rebuilt on the new platform.

GDS also said that it had simplified the old publishing architecture within the Mainstream Publisher – one of the oldest on applications – which will make migrating individual formats quicker and less risky.

The team said it had started migrating the help pages because there aren’t many and they generally have low traffic, and was now working on seven of the remaining nine formats. It expects the work to be finished by the end of the month.


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