The LocalGov StarterKit is an Umbraco-based starter package. It is completely open source, so you can go grab the code whenever you feel like it. The kit helps you get going with the basics of building a large service driven website on Umbraco, which itself is an open source .Net-based CMS.
The LocalGov StarterKit has a been about now for around 3 years, and in that time it’s gone through a few iterations. The latest LocalGov StarterKit 5.1 is an all-singing-all-dancing, MVC-based affair, working with the latest 7.3 release of Umbraco.
One of the great things about open source is that anyone can pick up the code and start using it. This is great but it does make it hard to work out exactly how many people are using an open source project at any one time. This is a bit of a pain when you’re the developer – you have no idea if it’s any use to anyone, so you just sort of publish and hope. Equally, if you are looking to build upon the StarterKit, you don’t know if the basic product is going to give you the starting point you need – maybe loads of people have used and liked it, and maybe no-one has. It could all just be a nice theory!
In an effort to help with those fears, and to make ourselves feel better, we’ve been doing some digging to see if we can work out just how well used the kit is.
The LocalGov StarterKit has been downloaded over 7,100 times – which is quite amazing, especially when it started life, it was aimed at a little over 400 organisations. It’s probably boosted a little by the kit featuring in the Keynote for the last two annual Umbraco Codegarden events.
Part of the role of a StarterKit is to give people an idea of how something might work, a leg up in getting going with something. Of those 7,100+ downloads of the kit, many will be people just trying the kit out seeing how it does things, and hopefully using the kit as a learning aid as they pick up Umbraco.
How many people go on to use the kit as a basis for their website is much harder to find out. Code changes, people take bits out they don’t need, and when the site is done there can be very little publicly to show that the StarterKit is in the site.
Using some of the data we gather from LocalGov PageSpeedy, we know that the LocalGov StarterKit is currently being used by at least 8 local councils on their main website. That means around 23% of the 34 councils using Umbraco have based it on the StarterKit.
We have worked with a few of these councils but by no means all of them. Most of the people using the StarterKit today have picked it up themselves and just developed their site.
We’re quite proud that the StarterKit has helped people to get going on their website, hopefully removing some of the initial pain of building a site, and saving some money along the way.
The quickest way to get going is to add the StarterKit to a local Umbraco install. You will get all the code and you can see how things work.
If you would like to contribute to the StarterKit, the source is available on GitHub and we welcome all issues, features and pull requests.