Author Archives: Ian McBride

About Ian McBride

I'm a web developer at Middlebury.

Weekly Web Updates – April 9, 2018

Removed WordPress Themes

In our efforts to upgrade WordPress to run on PHP 7.1 we continue to identify and remove unworking or unused plugins and themes.  This week we removed the following themes:

  • aluminiumism
  • clipboard
  • dfblog
  • garland
  • grey
  • neonsential
  • rockinnewspaper
  • shapeshifter-2

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 5.2.3

Weekly Web Updates – April 2, 2018

Drupal 8.5.1 & 7.58

The Institute site has been upgraded to Drupal 8.5.1, addressing a security vulnerability.  For full documentation of changes, please see Drupal’s development log.  All systems utilizing Drupal 7 have been updated to 7.58, which addresses the same security concern.  More information is available here.

New WordPress Plugin

We have added the WordPress plugin WP Accessibility which adds a number of helpful accessibility features with a minimum amount of setup or expert knowledge. Some features include:

  • Add a toolbar toggling between high contrast, large print, and desaturated (grayscale) views of your theme.
  • Enable skip links with WebKit support by adding JavaScript support to move keyboard focus.
  • Add a long description to images. Use the image’s “Description” field to add long descriptions.

Removed WordPress Plugins

In continuing our upgrade of systems to PHP 7.1, we discovered several more WordPress plugins that are no longer in use or no longer working and removed them. These include:

  • WordPress Twitter Widget Pro
  • WordPress Status Updater
  • WordPress Middlebury Photo of the Week
  • WordPress Dipity Embedder
  • WordPress Delicious For WordPress
  • WordPress Custom Image Sizes
  • WordPress Audio Player

Removed Drupal Modules

As part of the upgrade to Drupal 8.5.1, the following plugins were deemed unneeded and removed.

  • Drupal Module Upgrader

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Searching the online directory by phone extension now produces more accurate results.

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

Drupal Security Update – Wednesday, March 28 Finished

Thank you for your patience as we applied this critical security update. Technical details are available on the Drupal project website. All sites now have this update applied and should be considered stable.

Update 3:54pm: There’s a missing dependency on the new Middlebury Institute website that we’re working to resolve, so the site may not be available, but should be secure.

Update 4:22pm: The Institute site should be available again.

Weekly Web Updates – March 26, 2018

Please see our recent post about the Drupal security release scheduled for Wednesday, March 28. We have updated the announcement to note that we do not anticipate any downtime for the service on Wednesday. We will be doing a non-security update Thursday morning which will make the Middlebury Institute site unavailable to editors for a few minutes.

New WordPress Plugin

We’ve added the FooGallery and FooBox Image Lightbox plugins. These add support for more advanced image galleries than are available in the regular WordPress and the Jetpack plugin. We’d like your feedback on this, particularly if you’re using the NextGEN Gallery plugin. FooGallery also includes a feature allowing you to migrate your existing NextGEN galleries.

Removed WordPress Plugins

In continuing our upgrade of systems to PHP 7.1, we discovered several more WordPress plugins that are no longer in use or no longer working and removed them. These include:

  • WordPress Mass Mailer
  • WordPress Storify
  • WordPress Tell-a-Friend
  • WordPress Twitter Shortcode
  • WordPress Visualkicks Core

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • GO is now hosted on two servers with a keep-alive system to ensure this critical service is available.
  • We’ve made many accessibility fixes to the new Middlebury Institute website. There’s more work to be done, but SiteImprove now reports over 90% compliance.
  • Many of the applications we maintain (Drupal, Course Catalog, Go, and sites.miis.edu) are now hosted on new server infrastructure. The rest will be migrated in the coming weeks.
  • GO & the Course Catalog have been upgraded to run on PHP 7.1.

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.

Drupal Security Update – Wednesday, March 28

UPDATE, Monday, March 26: We do not anticipate any downtime during this change. We will apply a separate, non-security, maintenance update to the Middlebury Institute website Thursday morning at 9am EDT, 6am PDT, which will make the site unavailable for editors for a few minutes.

Next Wednesday, March 28, we will apply a security update to all Drupal sites shortly after it is released. This will occur between 18:00 and 19:30 UTC, which is 2:00-3:30pm EDT or 11:00am-12:30pm PDT. The Drupal project has posted a pre-release announcement of this update.

We do not anticipate any service interruption for people who are not logged in to our sites. It is unlikely that there will be an interruption for people logged in to our Drupal 7 sites, but more likely there will be a short interruption for people logged in to the Middlebury Institute’s Drupal 8 site. We advise you to have saved work in the sites prior to the scheduled update. We will post an announcement here when the update has been successfully applied, which will contain more information about the issue.

These are the sites affected:

  • http://www.middlebury.edu
  • https://www.middlebury.edu/institute (Drupal 8)
  • http://courses.middlebury.edu
  • http://courses.miis.edu
  • https://forms.middlebury.edu
  • https://forms.miis.edu
  • http://menus.middlebury.edu
  • http://museum.middlebury.edu
  • http://nchousing.middlebury.edu
  • http://25threunion.middlebury.edu
  • http://newlibstuff.middlebury.edu
  • http://drupaltraining.middlebury.edu
  • http://www.davisprojectsforpeace.org
  • http://www.davisfellowsforpeace.org
  • http://www.davisuwcscholars.org

Weekly Web Updates – March 19, 2018

In continuing our upgrade of systems to PHP 7.1, we discovered several more WordPress plugins that are no longer in use or no longer working and removed them. These include:

  • WordPress Simple Instagram
  • WordPress Simple Facebook Connect
  • WordPress Random Featured Post Plugin
  • WordPress Proper Pagination
  • WordPress Postcasa
  • WordPress Movable Type
  • WordPress Simple Mingle Forum
  • WordPress IX Show Latest Youtube
  • WordPress Meograph Embedder

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Fixed an issue where news and events pages on the Institute site were missing page headers.
  • Added new WordPress plugin to allow whitelisting iframe sources.
  • Fixed an issue where clicking “edit” on a particular Drupal 8 page resulted in a 404.
  • Fixed scrolling issue on Institute website.
  • Removed a problematic Drupal 8 module inhibiting upgrade to Drupal 8.5.
  • Fixed an issue where nightly course catalog exports were not pulling in new course requirements.
  • Fixed issue with catalog export UI css classes conflicting with Firefox plugins.
  • Performed security review for new WordPress plugin: FooGallery

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Building out the configuration of our CAS servers in Chef, which is a configuration management system. We have already completed this work for our Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, GO, Omeka, and the Course Catalog services.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.

Weekly Web Updates – March 12, 2018

We are working on upgrading our systems to PHP 7.1 and, as part of this work cleaning up older plugins and modules which are no longer being used, no longer maintained, or otherwise broken. The Facebook plugin for WordPress has not been supported by Facebook for several years and we recommend that people use the Jetpack plugin to integrate their WordPress site with Facebook.

Other plugins which were not active on any sites and were removed this week include Facebook Like Box and GeoPress.

We’ve now completed work on a system that generates automated exports of the Course Catalog that match the contents of the current manually-edited print catalog. Look for further announcements about this project in coming weeks.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Users logging into Omeka sites will no longer be dumped immediately into the dashboard. Instead, they remain on the site and can browse items before clicking through to the dashboard.
  • Adjusted styles on the Language Schools website so that FAQs use the same colors as course listings.
  • The copyright line in the Drupal 7 responsive design will now always display the current year.
  • Meta tags on the homepage on the Middlebury Institute site adjusted to ensure that only the name of the Institute appears in search results.
  • We now have an application for automatically creating recurring project cards in GitHub’s Kanban-style board system.

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Building out the configuration of our CAS servers in Chef, which is a configuration management system. We have already completed this work for our Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, GO, Omeka, and the Course Catalog services.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.

Weekly Web Updates – March 5, 2018

This week we applied bi-annual updates to the omeka.middlebury.edu exhibition system used for both academic and library projects. While every effort has been made to test existing sites, this is a significant release and many plugins have been updated. If you maintain an Omeka site, please review it and report any in inconsistencies.

New WordPress plugins:

We’ve reviewed and added a new WordPress plugin requested by users:

  • MetaSlider“With MetaSlider, you can create your own unique, SEO-optimized slideshow in a matter of seconds! With WordPress’ most popular slider plugin, enhancing your blog or website couldn’t be easier: simply select images from your WordPress Media Library, drag and drop them into place, and then set the slide captions, links and SEO fields all from one page. Choose one of 4 different slideshow types, and use our provided short-code or template to embed the slideshows.”

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Course Catalog: Fixed issues that were preventing users from emailing or printing course-schedules.
  • MIIS Site: Added support for removing deleted events. Also added support for fetching more future events than can be requested in a single batch.
  • Assisted with the move of http://critical-conversations.middlebury.edu/ to WordPress.

Ongoing Work

  • Fixes and tweaks for the new Institute site https://www.middlebury.edu/institute/
  • Creating a new automatically generated course catalog.
  • Building out the configuration of our CAS servers in Chef, which is a configuration management system. We have already completed this work for our Drupal, WordPress, MediaWiki, GO, Omeka, and the Course Catalog services.
  • Upgrading the Drupal sites for the Davis programs, Dining Menus, and Museum of Art to Drupal 8.