Author Archives: Ian McBride

About Ian McBride

I'm a web developer at Middlebury.

Weekly Web Updates – March 23, 2015

We’re starting this feature again to let you know about the changes that we’ve made recently to our web systems. This will appear each Monday in the Library & Information Technology Services blog.

New Features

  • Drupal Instagram: You can now add lists of images from one or more Instagram users to your pages. This works well as a sidebar widget.
  • Drupal Slideshow: Allows you to put a rotating image slideshow on a page.
  • The Language Schools and Schools Abroad sites have had their headers redesigned. Additionally, there is now a fullwidth page theme for the Language Schools.
  • We now support embedding content from ExpOsure in Drupal using the video shortcode, as you would with YouTube or Vimeo. Here’s an example of it in practice.

New Documentation

We’re working on improving our documentation and have cleaned up the content types section of the Editing in Drupal page. The Drupal File Upload documentation has been revised to incorporate the changes in that system with Drupal 7, and we’ve added a page about Drupal Email Newsletters, which are created differently in Drupal now, though the process for sending them through List Manager is the same.

The new Instagram and Slideshow content types are also documented and there is a page with the pixel dimensions of each region on our site, which is helpful when creating new Instagram and Slideshow content.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • Images in the Drupal File Upload content are now wrapped in a link to the full-sized image. Note that the “Clicking on this image shows it full-size” checkbox when embedding an image is still not working.
  • The comment form on Drupal News items on the Middlebury site now includes a comment policy and the unnecessary Subject field has been removed to improve the display of comments.
  • Drupal Promotional Calendars on pages with empty sidebars now take up the full width of the content region, rather than being confined to 450px.
  • The Middlebury 404 page is no longer showing extraneous navigation elements and has the correct margins on the text that is shown.
  • Related videos are no longer shown for any YouTube embeds in Drupal.
  • The Google Analytics code on the Middlebury Drupal site has been updated to allow links to “securelb.imodules.com” (the online giving form) to track as though they were hosted on our domain.
  • Google Analytics on the MIIS forms site will now track clicks on form page buttons as discrete events, showing “Page 1 of 3″, for example, when a user clicks on the first page button on a multi-page form.
  • WordPress video embeds from MiddMedia now support files containing sequential en-dash characters, ‘-‘. WordPress had been translating this into em-dash characters ‘–‘, breaking urls.
Screen Shot 2015-03-16 at 11.03.00 AM

Instagram Integration for Drupal

You can now create a piece of content on your Drupal site(s) to display a list of images from one or multiple Instagram accounts. You can set the number of images to show and the width at which the images will appear. Full documentation on this feature is available on the Library & ITS Wiki.

If you want to use Instagram on your WordPress sites, you can activate the Simple Instagram plugin, then configure the plugin (start with the “Registering and Activating” header on that page).

Google Analytics for Higher Education Workshop on March 25, 2015

I’ll be hosting a workshop to discuss how you can use Google Analytics to get information about and improve the Middlebury website. You can sign up for the workshop on Wednesday March 25 from 1:30-2:50pm in MBH 161. Registration is limited to 10 persons to ensure there will be adequate time to answer your individual questions.

If you want to attend either session and don’t already have access to Google Analytics, please submit a Helpdesk ticket for “Software & Web Tools – Goolge Analytics Question” so that I can make sure you’re set up prior to the session.

Description: We can give you access to our Google Analytics reports so that you can look at traffic patterns for your website, but in order to get the most from this tool, you’ll need to do a bit of set up work and understand the basics of the platform. If you do not yet have a Google Analytics account, please indicate this in your sign-up.

What we’ll cover: Google Analytics tips & tricks, what number you should care about, search engine optimization, and getting your account set up.

What we won’t cover: Goals, conversions, AdWords, and on page events.

Format: The workshop will last an hour with additional time for questions and discussion, as needed.

More information about LIS workshops is available at go/lisworkshops.

Sunday morning maintenance September 7, 2014

This Sunday morning between 8 and 10 am ET we will be upgrading the Monterey Institute of International Studies website (http://www.miis.edu) from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.

The upgrade will take approximately one hour during which the site will not be usable.

There will also be a short period of under one minute during the upgrade when file assets on the other Drupal 7 sites may not be available. These sites include:

  • Davis Fellows for Peace: http://www.davisfellowsforpeace.org
  • Davis Projects for Peace: http://www.davisprojectsforpeace.org
  • Davis United World Scholars Program: http://davisuwcscholars.org
  • Middlebury Museum of Art: http://museum.middlebury.edu
  • Secure Forms for Middlebury: https://forms.middlebury.edu
  • Secure Forms for MIIS: https://forms.miis.edu

We do not anticipate any impact on other services.

Sunday morning maintenance May 18, 2014

This Sunday morning between 8 and 10 am we will be upgrading three of our sites from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7. The three sites are:

  • Davis Projects for Peace: http://www.davisprojectsforpeace.org
  • Davis United World Scholars: http://www.davisuwcscholars.org
  • Middlebury College Museum of Art: http://museum.middlebury.edu

Each of these sites will experience a period of 10-20 minutes during which it will not be usable.

There will also be a short period of under one minute during each upgrade when file assets on the other Drupal 7 sites may not be available. These sites include:

  • Davis Fellows for Peace: http://www.davisfellowsforpeace.org
  • Secure Forms for Middlebury: https://forms.middlebury.edu
  • Secure Forms for MIIS: https://forms.miis.edu

We do not anticipate any impact on other services.

Google Analytics for Higher Education Workshop on March 3, 2014

I’ll be hosting a workshop to discuss how you can use Google Analytics to get information about and improve the Middlebury website. You can sign up for the workshop on Monday March 3 from 1:30-2:50pm in LIB 105. Registration is limited to 10 persons to ensure there will be adequate time to answer your individual questions.

If you want to attend either session and don’t already have access to Google Analytics, please submit a Helpdesk ticket for “Other Software Issue” so that I can make sure you’re set up prior to the session.

Description: We can give you access to our Google Analytics reports so that you can look at traffic patterns for your website, but in order to get the most from this tool, you’ll need to do a bit of set up work and understand the basics of the platform. If you do not yet have a Google Analytics account, please indicate this in your sign-up.

What we’ll cover: Google Analytics tips & tricks, what number you should care about, search engine optimization, and getting your account set up.

What we won’t cover: Goals, conversions, AdWords, and on page events. If you need help with these, please send a note to helpdesk@middlebury.edu and ask for a one-on-one meeting to discuss Google Analytics.

Format: The workshop will last an hour with additional time for questions and discussion, as needed.

Materials: Available ahead of the workshop at http://go.middlebury.edu/analytics-workshop and hard copies will be made available at the session.

More information about LIS workshops is available at go/lisworkshops.

Friday Links – January 24, 2014

With a tagline like this: “A spectacular historical atlas refashioned for the 21st century” who can resist? Check out the Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States presented by the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond to view a digital version of Charles O. Paullin and John K. Wright’s atlas that was originally published in 1932.

 

Exciting! Students and staff at University College London serendipitously discovered a type 1a supernova in M82 on January 22. Read about it here!

Supernova in M82, before and after, by  E. Guido, N. Howes, M. Nicolini
Supernova in M82, before and after, by E. Guido, N. Howes, M. Nicolini, January 2014.

If you are very keen, check out the IAU Transient Object Followup Reports.

Research Desk Poetry (and more at the LIS Facebook page):

poem

Is your refrigerator running? Then it might be spamming people.

Google is pulling the plug on guest blogging for increased ranking.

If you put an email address in a Google Calendar event’s title, that person will get a reminder of the event, even if you don’t share it with them. This is “expected behavior” according to Google.

Friday Links – January 17, 2014

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine) becomes … STEAM?

Pew Internet & American Life Project reports on escalating use of e-books. “The proportion of Americans who read e-books is growing, but few have completely replaced print books for electronic versions.”

Yale Students made a better version of its Course Catalog. Then Yale shut it down.

The Wikimedia Foundation’s multimedia team seeks community guidance on whether or not to support the MP4 video file format on Wikimedia projects.

MapGive – Open Mapping from the US State Department.

The latest version of Chrome will tell you which browser tabs are playing sound or using your webcam.

Adobe Adds 3D Printing Tools to Photoshop – Before 3D printers crank out objects, a user needs digital model — either one they create or download from the Internet. Once you’ve got one, though, you’ll need software that supports 3D imagery if you want to edit it. As of today, Photoshop users can design, edit and customize those 3D models similar to how you might adjust a 2D picture within the app.

10 things I DON’T miss about old technology – The good old days of 1980s technology weren’t always good. Read about 10 things few (if any) people will miss about that era.

Watch/ Read: Governor Shumlin’s 2014 Governor’s Budget Address – Delivered by Governor Peter Shumlin to the Vermont Legislature on January 15, 2014