Have you heard about assets.cms.gov? Probably not, but if you work on or use CMS' websites, it is a tool you use every day.
The Web & New Media Group (WNMG) started building assets.cms.gov about 10 months ago and completed the full launch of the site as part of the Medicare.gov redesign on August 21, 2012.
assets.cms.gov represents a shared code library for all of CMS' public websites. As websites (ours and everyone else's!) have grown in complexity over the past decade, they have come to be built on many common code and image libraries. These include the following file types:
- Website headers & footers
- CSS (stylesheet) files
- Shared images
- HTML snippets
Many of these files are developed by CMS and/or contractors, but there are also many common code libraries used across almost all commercial and Federal websites these days. Common libraries used by CMS include:
- Twitter Bootstrap
- YUI (Yahoo! User Interface Library)
By placing all of these common code files onto assets.cms.gov, we can use the same code across all of CMS' websites. assets.cms.gov supports both a global directory of assets used across all websites as well as folders for site-specific code libraries (e.g., www.cms.gov, www.medicare.gov, etc.).
Some of the benefits of this approach include:
- The ability to cache files across all of CMS' websites, resulting in better website performance
- The ability to release new versions of code libraries across all websites at once
- A common set of code built & tested to Section 508 compliance and cross-browser performance
I've mentioned how WNMG is using assets.cms.gov to support development of the public websites, but any CMS web-based project can be built against the assets.cms.gov framework. Using assets.cms.gov for your web project gains you all of the benefits above and also saves you development time by leveraging the work that has already been done.
assets.cms.gov Documentation & Downloads are available online. We are continuing to iterate and grow the amount of documentation online, so please check back frequently.
If you are interested in using assets.cms.gov for a web development project you are working on, please let us know in the comments. We are happy to address any questions you have or to provide additional information. Your feedback will help make this project better!