Author Archives: Ian McBride

About Ian McBride

I'm a web developer at Middlebury.

Weekly Web Updates – June 18, 2018

WordPress Update

We have updated the servers hosting sites.middlebury.edu and sites.miis.edu to use PHP 7.1. In addition, we have added a caching server in front of these WordPress sites, like we have for the Drupal sites and the Course Catalog. This should dramatically improve page load time for unauthenticated users and will also speed things up for people who are logged in, since the cache server, rather than WordPress, will now be responsible for handling most unauthenticated traffic.

As with our Drupal sites, there may be a slight delay of a few minutes before a change you make to your WordPress site is reflected in the cached copy. This delay will not exceed five minutes.

CAS Upgrade

On Thursday June 14th we upgraded the CAS Central Authentication Service to version 5.29 and moved it to a new high-availability (HA) pair of virtual machines. This new structure is anticipated to enhance the stability of the CAS system and remove a database dependency that has made it unavailable several times over the past few years. This version also supports the new CAS 3.0 protocol with enhanced attribute release, providing the potential for easier integrations with 3rd-party applications.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • We’ve continued the consolidation of components on the Institute site by merging the Campus Spotlight, Center Spotlight, and Program Spotlight components into a single component named Spotlight with all the features of the three different options.
  • The Institute site’s Profile List component has been renamed Profile to indicate that it is for adding a single profile to the list of profiles in the Profile List content type.
  • Profile List headings in the institute site are now always an h2.

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Creating an online Services Catalog for ITS.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Creating a photo sharing platform for the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference

Weekly Web Updates – June 11, 2018

CAS Upgrade this week
The CAS authentication service at login.middlebury.edu is currently scheduled to be upgraded on Thursday morning, June 14th. We plan to upgrade our CAS server to the latest release and new high-availability clustered hardware. During the transition and DNS switch-over period, authentication to applications authenticating via CAS will be impacted.  Affected applications include: Canvas, Course Catalog, CRFAccess, Course Hub (courses.middlebury.edu), Drupal sites (www.middlebury.edu, forms.middlebury.edu, etc), online Directory, GO, Lynda, MediaWiki, Omeka, MiddLink, Project Dashboard, SANSSpace, StudioAbroad, and WordPress (sites.middlebury.edu, etc). A likely cause if issues on the user-end will be cached DNS entries pointing at the old CAS servers. While it maybe be possible for users to flush their computer’s DNS cache, misconfigured DNS caching in home routers and ISPs may cause lingering problems for off-campus users for much of the day.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Upgrading CAS to 5.2.9
  • Creating a photo sharing platform for the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference

Weekly Web Updates – June 4, 2018

We have added a new plugin to WordPress, Middlebury REST API Whitelist, that is now network active.  It addresses issues accessing the WordPress API that allows us to now upgrade some other plugins to their most current version.

CAS Upgrade this week
The CAS authentication service at login.middlebury.edu is currently scheduled to be upgraded on Thursday morning, June 7th. We plan to upgrade our CAS server to the latest release and new high-availability clustered hardware. During the transition and DNS switch-over period, authentication to applications authenticating via CAS will be impacted.  Affected applications include: Canvas, Course Catalog, CRFAccess, Course Hub (courses.middlebury.edu), Drupal sites (www.middlebury.edu, forms.middlebury.edu, etc), online Directory, GO, Lynda, MediaWiki, Omeka, MiddLink, Project Dashboard, SANSSpace, StudioAbroad, and WordPress (sites.middlebury.edu, etc). A likely cause if issues on the user-end will be cached DNS entries pointing at the old CAS servers. While it maybe be possible for users to flush their computer’s DNS cache, misconfigured DNS caching in home routers and ISPs may cause lingering problems for off-campus users for much of the day.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Upgrading CAS to 5.2.9
  • Creating a photo sharing platform for the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference

Weekly Web Updates – May 28, 2018

We have set the data retention policy in Google Analytics for the 58 properties we manage to “Do Not Automatically Expire“.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • We’ve removed some of the redundancies in the Institute site’s use of events and now have only one (down from four) component to list related events and one fewer display mode for events.
  • The “List of Programs” and “List of Centers” components on the Institute site can now only be added by the admin user. These components are only needed on a single page and have already been added to the site, so this de-clutters the editing UI slightly.
  • Users with the Web Editors role can now edit Newsroom content on the Institute site.

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Upgrading CAS to 5.2.9
  • Creating a photo sharing platform for the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference

Weekly Web Updates – May 21, 2018

The WordPress project has just provided a new release focused on Privacy and GDPR compliance. Read all about it.

GDPR

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Fixed content-caching for the Institute site that broke last week and was preventing edits from being visible to anonymous users.

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Upgrading CAS to 5.2.9
  • Creating a photo sharing platform for the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference

Weekly Web Updates – May 14, 2018

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Reorganized the Institute site’s file structure for easier updates and improved security.

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Upgrading CAS to 5.2.3
  • Creating a photo sharing platform for the Breadloaf Writer’s Conference

Weekly Web Updates – May 7, 2018

Changes to the Google Maps API Licensing

Google has announced that after June 11 they will require additional verification and possibly cost for using the Google Maps API. If you signed up for an API key you should have received an email with information about this change. We recommend moving to the OpenStreetMap (OSM) plugin in our WordPress environment.

If you are using the Google Maps API and will need it to continue working after June 11, please contact us with the URL of the site where you’re using it.

Uploading Large Images to WordPress

We’ve recently received reports from several people having trouble uploading large images to our WordPress sites. If your image is larger than 4500×4500 pixels in dimension, our WordPress sites may not be able to generate a thumbnail of it with the resource limits we allow. The image will still appear in your media library and can be used in posts, but some features may not work without a thumbnail, like image gallery plugins.

After the end of the current semester, we’ll be working on some performance improvements to WordPress that may allow us to increase the resources available. Until then, we recommend resizing your image to less than 4500×4500 pixels in dimension before uploading it to WordPress.

Updates

These updates were applied in development, put are waiting until Thursday, May 10 for a database update to be applied to production.

Fixes and Tweaks

  • MediaWiki was moved to a new server with PHP 7.1 installed.
  • SiteImprove had trouble crawling our site on Tuesday, April 17 and has had intermittent crawling since then. We’ve worked with them to increase their crawl rate and fix issues. SiteImprove reports should be going out as normal now.
  • We’ve fixed a glitch that was preventing course groups in the Course Hubs from updating from Banner so add/drops should be flowing through to the Hubs again.
  • Added CAS support for PeopleGrove.

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Upgrading CAS to 5.2.3

Weekly Web Updates – April 30, 2018

This week we applied another round of critical security updates to both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8.  There is more information about the upgrades here.

This week we experienced issues with the printable course catalog going offline.  A temporary fix has been issued but we are waiting for the end of class registration to tamper with the live version.

Updates

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Upgrading applications to run on PHP 7.1.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.
  • Upgrading CAS to 5.2.3