Author Archives: Ian McBride

About Ian McBride

I'm a web developer at Middlebury.

Weekly Web Updates – August 24, 2015

We reached a significant milestone this week. With the upgrade of the Middlebury Course Hub and the MIIS Course Hub to Drupal 7, we are no longer running any Drupal 6 sites. We started work on the Drupal 7 migration project on October 31, 2011 on Drupal version 7.9 and finished on August 20, 2015 on Drupal version 7.39. In that time we made over 3,000 changes to the code.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped out in this effort, especially those who helped test the site upgrades and our site editors for their patience during this process.

New Features

We have upgraded both of our WordPress servers to version 4.3, which allows you to set a custom site icon, provides markdown support in the editor, adds a way to customize your menus in the theme customizer interface, and turns comments off by default for new pages.

On the MIIS Drupal site, editors can now add social media sharing icons to Basic Content nodes by checking a box in the editing interface. The same icons and service links are used on all News nodes on the site.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

We made many accessibility improvements to our Drupal sites this week, including:

  • The Quick Access content type now includes a submit button. Additionally, the selector for the Quick Access node on the Middlebury Office & Services page was updated so that the search will work again.
  • The Google Custom Search content type now has a proper field label for the search input.
  • In the Google Calendar content type you can list multiple calendars. If you choose not to overlay the calendars, a select box will appear above the first calendar allowing you to switch to other calendars. This select box now has an appropriate label.
  • If you set a page in Drupal to have an “Archive” a set of select boxes will appear at the bottom of the page allowing you to filter to a particular year, month, week, or day. We have updated these select boxes to have appropriate labels.
  • We have updated the four forms that let you search for Library resources from the Drupal site to have appropriate labels for their select and input elements.

Other fixes this week:

  • Profiles on the Middlebury Drupal site were not listing the office location. We have updated these so that the full mailing address will appear when viewing the full profile and the office building and number will appear when viewing a “teaser card” listing of profiles.
  • The WordPress NextGEN gallery will no longer overlap other page elements in Chrome.
  • Four forms that allow you to search Library resources were updated to use Drupal’s block system, rather than being embedded in content. This allowed us to remove the “Extended HTML” input filter that provided some editors with an extended set of allowed HTML tags, including form elements.
  • The WordPress WPML Translation Analytics and XLIFF plugins are now included in WPML Translation Management and were removed.
  • When embedding .mp3 audio files from MiddMedia, Firefox now uses the HTML5 <audio> tag for output.

Weekly Web Updates – August 17, 2015

New Features

We are working with the Office of Communications & Marketing to roll out new styles related to the identity system, including font and color changes. We applied the first iteration of these changes to the Office of the President website.

We have added a WordPress plugin to embed ThingLink interactive images.

New Documentation

Replacing files in Drupal appears to now be working as it did prior to the Drupal 7 upgrade. We have prepared documentation on how to replace File Uploads.

Our website privacy policy has been updated with new information about how we track usage of our web platforms and how to opt out of tracking, should you wish to do so. We recommend everyone read and understand this policy.

Updates

Tweaks and Changes

  • The trailing slash on any request to any of our Drupal sites will now be removed. This removes confusion for search engines wondering which of the URLs is the canonical version. It will also make Google Analytics reports easier to understand, as there is now only one version of the URL.
  • The sub-domain blse.middlebury.edu now exists and goes to the Bread Loaf School of English website.
  • The MIIS wordmark no longer contains the “Formerly… ” text.
  • When searching for files using the link in the Edit Console, URL encoded characters (such as %20 which represents the space character) will now be properly decoded before trying to find matching filenames.
  • The miis_alumni Drupal view, which displays a list of stories about alumni from particular problems, will no longer print out two pagers at the bottom of the list, just one.
  • Fixed an issue with Jetpack’s slideshow displays that was the result of a faulty merge operation in our version control system.
  • The height of images in the flexslider slideshow on the sites.miis.edu homepage is no longer hard-coded to be 405px, allowing the image to resize proportionally depending on the browser window size.
  • The BLOGS DOT MIDDLEBURY Landscape, Map, Metrics, Minimalist, Translucence, and Translucence Dark themes are no longer available to be enabled on new sites.
  • The Dining Menus Drupal site has been updated to use the core Middlebury theme, allowing us to eliminate a third party theme system from our codebase.
  • We have added the Google Tag Manager code to the Dining Menus, Reunion Yearbook, and Non-College Housing websites.

Weekly Web Updates – August 10, 2015

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • The WordPress “Agency” theme had an error that prevented it from working when activated on a site which we have resolved.
  • Fixed an error that occurred when Jetpack and the WordPress Video plugin tried to embed a SlideShare presentation.
  • Captions in the pop-out window for images on the Middlebury Drupal site will now be left-aligned and there will be only one close window button.

Weekly Web Updates – August 3, 2015

Updates

New Documentation

Fixes & Tweaks

  • The Middlebury Drupal site and both the Middlebury and MIIS WordPress sites are now using Google Tag Manager to load the Google Analytics tracking code, rather than loading it directly. This change will continue to be rolled out to all of our services. WordPress sites we host that do not use the middlebury.edu or miis.edu domains can continue to load the Google Analytics tracking code in the old fashion.
  • We have fixed and improved the check that determines whether a region of the Drupal page is empty and you will no longer see empty carousels or quick links areas.
  • The WordPress Video Plugin, which is automatically enabled on all sites, now uses the Jetpack plugin’s method of generating the shortcode for SlideShare embeds as its own method is no longer supported by SlideShare.
  • The WordPress Sticky Front Page Categories and Tags plugin is now compatible with sites using a static front page.
  • Clicks on Drupal FAQ titles, which expand and contract the FAQ text, are now tracked using a custom event in Google Analytics. These can be found under Event Category “Drupal”, Event Action “Click”, Event Label “FAQ”.
  • The last 25% of stories on the Middlebury homepage were being excluded due to an error in the boolean logic that reduces the number of stories shown on the homepage to Internet Explorer 7 users by 50%. Everyone except IE 7 users will now see all the stories which have been selected for the homepage.

Weekly Web Updates – July 27, 2015

Accessibility

I mentioned this at the last ITS Tech Partners meeting and promised to include a link to it in this week’s updates. tota11y is a bookmarklet that you can use to highlight accessibility issues on web pages.

Updates

Tweaks & Fixes

  • We have updated the Museum of Art site to use the Drupal Service Links module for the buttons that allow you to share news items on social media. The ShareThis module has been removed from all Drupal sites.
  • When you click the “Put on Reserve” link in MIDCAT, the form will automatically populate the Call Number field.

Weekly Web Updates – July 20, 2015

New Features

There is now a “simple search” field at the top of the Directory that uses Active Directory’s Ambiguous Name Resolution index to return results from multiple fields. These are all “starts with” searches, so searching for “Joe” will return people whose first or last names start with “Joe”. All of the old search options are still available in the Advanced Search section on the same page.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • When you are editing a piece of content in Drupal the “Owner” of that content will be updated to be you once you save it. If you wish to set the “Owner” to someone else, you can do so in the Permissions settings while editing. This matches how “Owner”s are already set when editing Page settings in Drupal.
  • WordPress sites with the Subscribe2 plugin enabled were sending up to four emails to the author of a post when it was published. This is apparently a “feature” of Subscribe2, giving authors an opportunity to see examples of all the possible emails the plugin is sending to subscribers. These emails are no longer being sent to post authors, but you can subscribe yourself to your own site(s) if you wish to continue receiving emails of your posts. If you were already subscribed, no action is required on your part.
  • The “Body” field of Drupal RSS Page content will now be shown when the content is displayed, not just when it is being edited. The body will appear above the list of RSS feed links.
  • HTML tables that are wider than the content area in Drupal will now be wrapped in a special element after the page loads that allows for horizontal scrolling, rather than having the table overflow out of the contents region.
  • We have fixed issues in Drupal that prevented editors from adding space around images and links around images in table cells. Please note that due to an issue with how Internet Explorer communicates with pop-up windows, editing in IE is still not supported at this time. Editing in other browsers, such as Firefox, Chrome, or Safari is advised.
  • The correct space between profiles when displayed as a list of “cards” will now be applied, even if there are non-profile nodes on the page with the list. Previously, these non-profiles had been throwing off the even/odd count on which items to apply the margin.
  • The Google Fonts Domine, Open Sans, and Rosarivo are now loaded on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal sites. These will be used for some text styles going forward, to better match the fonts already in use for print publications.
  • The WordPress Jetpack plugin’s Custom Content Type submodule has been re-enabled.
  • The Library Hours in that site’s sidebar will no longer include the date as it was always the current day’s date.
  • The image slider on the Davis UWC Scholars site is even more slightly faster.

Weekly Web Updates – July 13, 2015

New Features

We have added the FlatOn theme to the themes available on our WordPress sites.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • Searching by “Last Name” on the Directory will now include results from anyone whose last name contains your search query. Previously it only included people whose last name started with your search query. This made it somewhat difficult to search for people with “de” in their last name, hyphenated names, or multiple last names.
  • The “department” field for each person in Banner is a single line of text. For people working in multiple departments, their “department” will be “Dept A / Dept B”. When you search by department in the Directory, we include the people who work in multiple departments in the results. If a department was comprised of only people who worked in multiple departments, that department was not being shown in the list. They now are.
  • Accessibility: presentational attributes like ‘border’ shouldn’t be used on HTML elements, but rather specified using CSS. This is already how we handle many elements, but the site code would add a redundant “border=0” to every image. We have removed this. Borders can still be specified on images using the Edit Image button in the editor, which adds a CSS style to the image.
  • We have disabled some of the components of the WordPress Jetpack plugin that may cause conflicts with our sites. These include: Custom Content Types, Gravatar Hovercards, Single Sign On, Site Management, Mobile Theme, Notifications, Photon, Post by Email, Protect, Videopress, Vaultpress.
  • The image slider on the Davis UWC Scholars site will rotate through its features faster.

Weekly Web Updates – July 6, 2015

Updates

Tweaks & Fixes

  • We have removed some extra markup from the Drupal RSS Page content type. There is no visual difference, but there had been some hidden content that included a link that directed people back to the same page they were already on. Google crawled this link and it had a minor impact on our site search engine optimization due to duplicate content being displayed.
  • We have updated the ROBOTS.txt file on public WordPress sites for both Middlebury and MIIS so that global media files (images, CSS, JavaScript) referenced by themes and plugins are allowed to be included in the index. Google changed their indexer to penalize pages that included references to resources that were being blocked by ROBOTS.txt.
  • Accessibility: we’ve added a hidden label to the Google Custom Search Engine fields that are embedded in Drupal site content, such as on the Helpdesk website. This is similar to the accessibility improvement that we made for the global search field in the top right.
  • Accessibility: the title of the section pages (e.g. ‘About Middlebury’, ‘Student Life’, ‘Sustainability’) is now included in the markup as text, in addition to the image used for the parallax effect as you scroll left-to-right in the waveform.