We’re in the middle of a couple ongoing projects. First, we’re working with colleagues in CS&N to create “cookbooks” in Chef, a server management tool, that will allow us to define our production and development configuration and keep it in version control. We’re focusing on our cluster of servers that manage Drupal to begin.
Also this week and last, we’ve been working with Acquia on a pair of audits of our Drupal environment. Acquia is a professional services company, founded by the person who created Drupal. These audits should make our sites faster and more stable.
Tweaks and Fixes
- The global navigation on the MIIS webforms site now matches the regular site.
The New Library Items site is back, this time as a separate site which can be found at http://newlibstuff.middlebury.edu. Use this interface to browse the collection of library items by subject or type and see their covers.
We have added a WordPress plugin called The Events Calendar to support a site for the DLA.
Tweaks and Fixes
- The limit on the amount of time allowed when you save page settings in Drupal has been increased. This should prevent you from seeing the grey “503 error” page when adding permissions to a particularly large portion of the site, though we still recommend using the AD Group Manager when possible.
- We’ve optimized the query that fetches lists of donors for MiddSTART so that it returns only a few hundred rows from the database on each page load, rather than a hundred thousand.
- Missing page regions caused by a recent update to Monster Menus were restored to several themes, including the Museum and the interior “blue” MIIS theme.
- Extra white-space in Newsletter templates caused by a recent update to Monster Menus has been removed.
- A large number of pages that were showing up in the Google Webmaster Tools report for the MIIS site as 404s now redirect to appropriate content. There are now virtually no broken links on their site, or on other sites pointing at the MIIS site.
There is now a “Stats” link in the green Page section of the Edit Console on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal sites. Clicking this link will bring you to a report that displays data from Google Analytics for that page from the last 30 days, including pageviews, unique pageviews, bounce rate, exits, referrers, and search terms. Because Google has a limit to the number of API requests we send them, this data is cached for three days.
If someone returns to a webform and edits a previous submission to the form, the confirmation emails that the form sends out when it is normally submitted will be sent out again to all of the intended recipients with the updated information from the form. This change applies to all forms on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal webform sites.
We have prepared a guide to common web accessibility issues that our site editors can help us resolve, with links to videos explaining the issues and how to fix them.
Tweaks and Fixes
- The “Class Photo Roster (Faculty Only)” links on the Middlebury and MIIS Directory now take you to a page with links to the Middlebury and MIIS Course Hubs. The photo rosters available in the Course Hubs include several additional features, including each student’s commons affiliation and advisor. We will be supporting the photo rosters through the Course Hubs and removing them from the Directories.
- The way the data is structured for content in regions on the page was changed in Drupal Monster Menus version 7.x-1.23, causing some of our custom code to believe that page regions were empty for unauthenticated users part of Thursday morning until this was fixed.
The latest update to the Drupal Monster Menus module introduces some features to make managing your content simpler. When you click on the Reorder link in the Edit Console you can now drag content from the main “Content” region of the page into one of the other regions, like Right Sidebar or Carousel. Also, when you delete a node that appears on more than one page you now have the option to remove it from just the current page or from all of the pages.
We still need to do a bit of work to get this configured, but this update also allows us to clear the cache when you edit a node on the site, meaning that you’ll no longer need to wait five minutes to see your changes reflected on the live site. We expect to have this set up by next week.
Tweaks & Fixes
- The 2016 Online Donor Roll is now live.
- The dateline on MIIS news stories will now just include the date and not the time.
We have added the Featured Video Plus plugin to our WordPress sites. If you are using a theme which supports featured images for posts, you can enable this plugin to replace those featured images with videos.
The MIIS website homepage was updated to include new dynamic content from across the site. In addition to the MIIS Spotlight on the right, you can now page through an additional set of hand-picked stories on the left.
Additional messaging has been added when working with recycled items in Drupal. If an editor is on a page that has a link to an item in a recycle bin, a message will display above the content indicating that the file won’t be viewable by people who cannot edit it, and provides a link to the recycle bin so the editor can either permanently delete the file or restore the file.
Additionally, when trying to download a media item that has been recycled, an alert will display instead of the original item with the email address of the last editor to modify the item.
Fixes & Tweaks
- The old WordPress.com Stats plugin has been removed. You can still get site stats using Jetpack or Google Analytics.
- The Drupal Instagram content type stopped working because the IDs of the images were larger than the database expected. We have changed this to anticipate even larger photo ID numbers.
- A small fix to MiddSTART to account for the case when the column identifying the type of donor is empty, to ensure that they are given credit on the project page.
- All staff in the Library and in ITS should now be able to edit the Library & ITS Wiki. If you’re in one of those areas and can’t edit, please let us know.
- We have updated the code we use to create test WordPress sites on our development server to disable plugins like Jetpack and Subscribe2 so that you should no longer see Jetpack notices about your site URL changing or receive emails when posts are published on our development server.
The CCI Alumni Profiles site has been refreshed to once again include the rotating profile feature and we’ve added options to sort the profiles by major and class year.
One of the most common Drupal issues we’ve seen is that files in Recycle Bins work normally if you’re an editor who is logged into the site and has permission to edit the file. This sometimes causes an editor to forward a link to that file, which others can’t access. Now, when viewing a file in a Recycle Bin there will be an extra message after you’ve logged in. The “recycle bin” link will take you to the bin with the file so you can Restore it, if you’re the editor, and the contact link will allow others to send an email to the editor letting them know they can’t access the file. We also recommend reviewing our documentation on working with files in Drupal.
We’ll be working with College Communications to feature search promotions on our Google Custom Search Engine. This will ensure that when, for example, you search for “inauguration” you receive the appropriate page at the top of the list. We had originally thought about doing this automatically using the list of “searchable” GO shortcuts that appear when you start typing in the search box, but decided to start with a few manual entries. ITS will be adding some for internal audiences and welcome your suggestions. Also, if you are an admin of one of the CSEs like the custom one for the Helpdesk, you can add these yourself through the CSE dashboard.
Tweaks and Fixes
- We believe we have resolved the issue with editing Drupal sites in Internet Explorer. If you continue to encounter issues with this, please let us know. We did discover a minor issue that occasionally occurs while editing Drupal sites in Microsoft Edge while testing this. You can review our Browser Support documentation for the latest information.
- The “SITES DOT MIDDLEBURY” and “SITES DOT MIIS” bars on our WordPress instances are now responsive and won’t cause themes to appear extraordinarily small on mobile devices.
- The FlatOn WordPress theme now supports the Co-Authors Plus plugin.
- We’ve fixed a bug in the WordPress Sign-Up Sheets plugin that stopped the event date from being included in confirmation emails.
- We’ve fixed a big in the Course Hub Moodle Resource that was causing the “visibility” setting of the Moodle site to not be reflected correctly when editing the resource.
- Expose.co content embedded in Drupal can now have a custom title and author set via the shortcode.
- We’ve added a[n admin-only] system for cleaning up deleted files (that are no longer referenced in content) from our Drupal file-upload directories to save space.
Last week we launched a “new” website for Sustainability. New is in quotes because, while much of the content was updated and it features a new, responsive design, it’s still in the same Drupal site that it used to be. We are very happy that we were able to do this “in-place” update of the site. Among its new features are a content type for events (which we’ll be rolling out to other areas of the site) and a custom tagging vocabulary with themed tag pages. The Sustainability tags can be added to any “Basic Content”, “News”, or “Event” node in the site, but only by one of the editors of the Sustainability site or the Communications department.
The Middlebury Drupal site’s WYSIWYG editor now has a button for the abbr element. Use this to add explanations for abbreviations you put in your text.
You can now enable the “Pinterest Board Shortcode” plugin on any WordPress site to embed Pinterest boards. Here are a few examples.
Fixes and Tweaks
- The “equalizer” or “waveform” bars will no longer open automatically on interior pages of the site when there is only one featured story.
- The “wp.me shortlinks” feature of the Jetpack plugin is no longer available on our WordPress sites. This created an external dependency on getting to our sites and caused problems when site URLs were changed. All existing shortlinks will continue to work. If you need a shortlink for a particular post, consider creating a GO shortcut.
- The “print” button has been removed from the WYSIWYG editor on the Middlebury Drupal site to make space for the “abbr” button.
- Fixed an issue where the Drupal user-sync process in the Course Hub was not properly importing additional data about users (FirstName, LastName, etc) and in turn was preventing the Hub from properly creating new user-accounts.
- Fixed an name-collision issue in Drupal where users who accidentally get a new identifier in Banner were not able to have accounts created in Drupal sites associated with their new ID.
The New England Review website was updated last Thursday with a new design, developed by College Communications. This is a child theme based on the Genesis Theme Framework, which we’ve done an extensive security review on. It will be used to produce other custom WordPress themes including (eventually) a refreshed set of Middlebury-branded themes for use on your sites.
We have set up an application we’re calling “BannerSelect” that creates a nightly cache of Banner data that is used in our Drupal and WordPress sites. For example, lists of donors for the Online Donor Roll or course descriptions shown in the Course Catalog. This removes Banner as a dependency for these applications (though the Course Catalog was already creating its own cache) and will speed them up as well as make managing the web servers a little easier as they will no longer need to know how to connect to Oracle. We’ll be working with areas that rely on these applications to ensure they’re tested and working with the new system.
Fixes and Tweaks
- When a piece of content on any of our Drupal sites appears on multiple pages, links to it will always go to the current page if you’re already on the current page. This mostly applied to pages with lists of profiles and lists of news stories. If you are viewing a list of faculty profiles on a department site and click on one of them, you should now always stay on that department site, rather than sometimes jumping to a different department in which that person also teaches.
- We have disabled a redundant scheduled task that was causing slowness in the Course Hub application. This should slightly improve performance of all of our Drupal-based websites.
- Information about commons association and advisors for students displayed in Course Hub Rosters is now stored in a local database (using the BannerSelect application mentioned above) and refreshed nightly from Banner, rather than being read directly from Banner.
- The Study Abroad and Language Schools navigation elements will now appear properly as 36px high in all browsers.