Decoupling Your Design System

A presentation at Decoupled Days in in New York, NY, USA by Brian Perry

Decoupling isn’t just for your data — decoupling your design through the use of a shared design system can provide flexibility and re-use that could otherwise be impossible. This session will explore the advantages and disadvantages of developing a design system that is an external dependency of a project — both from the context of a traditional CMS architecture and a decoupled Drupal architecture.

From the traditional CMS architecture perspective we’ll examine a rebranding project that shares a design system between a Drupal site and multiple WordPress sites. In reviewing this rebranding effort, we’ll take a closer look at an approach to a shared design system including:

  • The structure of our design system repository
  • Requiring the design system in your Drupal project as a composer dependency
  • Workflow and managing releases
  • Using Twig components in WordPress with the Timber Plugin
  • Challenges and areas for future improvement

From the decoupled Drupal perspective we’ll examine a progressively decoupled Drupal and React project. Through this project we’ll explore approaches to using a shared design system on decoupled Drupal projects, including:

  • The structure of a design system used by both Drupal and React.
  • Sharing styles between Drupal using CSS Modules.
  • The role of a shared design system in projects that use multiple templating engines.

By the end of this session you will have a better understanding of when using an external design system could benefit your project, along with a clearer understanding of how this approach could be implemented — both in projects using Twig and a projects using a mix of templating engines.


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