Author Archives: Ian McBride

About Ian McBride

I'm a web developer at Middlebury.

Weekly Web Updates – June 22, 2015

New Features

A new website for Science and Mathematics at Middlebury is live. A lot of work from faculty and staff in these departments, as well as College Communications went into putting this together, especially from Jonathan Kemp and Wendy Shook. Check out the new video about teaching these subjects in the liberal arts.

When authoring a News story in the Middlebury Drupal site, there is now an additional checkbox at the bottom of the form to “Show Media Images”. If you check this, a row of 100×100 image thumbnails will appear below your story’s content. The thumbnails will be of the images that you included in your story’s body content as well as the top-right featured image. Each thumbnail will link to the full-size version of the image, so that it can be easily downloaded and shared.

Also new to News content in the Middlebury Drupal site is that the “Show Publish on date for attribution” checkbox will be checked by default. Since we don’t print content attributions, this won’t change the appearance of your content. However, this is required to be checked in order to automatically sort News content in reverse chronological order on the page. With this checked, you will no longer need to manually sort News content on the page.


* These updates apply only to the Middlebury and MIIS Course Hub.

Tweaks and Fixes

  • A bug that was preventing the Metatag module’s form from working on the page settings form in Drupal has been resolved.
  • The Google Analytics tracking code on the MIIS website has been replaced with a Google Tag Manager, which allows us to manage analytics and tracking without needing to make code changes to the site.
  • The CAS login blocks will no longer have an empty header tag appear above them. This was removed to improve site accessibility support.
  • The settings page for the WordPress Video Plugin will now appear again in WordPress’ administration interface. This was not appearing due to a deprecated version of the function that checks user permissions. The page contains a link to the plugin’s documentation.
  • The height of the left column on department pages is once again correctly calculated to avoid the overlapping of the navigation and address regions.
  • RSS feeds displayed in and via the “RSS Page” module will now refresh approximately every hour rather than every two hours.

Weekly Web Updates – June 15, 2015

New Features

The Newsroom site now has nicely designed social media buttons and individual news stories have similar share buttons. Hovering over the email button no longer automatically opens a pop-out window. You have to manually click the button.

You can now specify the text color and whether to show the title and byline in Drupal Vimeo embeds. See our updated documentation on Drupal Shortcodes for more information.


Tweaks and Fixes


We are beginning to make changes to the site to improve its accessibility according to the WCAG guidelines. In particular, this week:

  • The label for the “Search Midd” form is no longer hidden using “display:none”. Instead it is now very narrow so that it won’t appear visually in a browser, but will be read on assistive devices.
  • The labels for the email newsletter signup form on the Newsroom site now correctly correspond to their checkboxes.
  • The links in the footer to the alumni sites that have labels like “Middlebury Language Schools” now have title attributes specifying that they are “For Alumni” to avoid confusion with links labelled “Middlebury Language Schools” elsewhere on the page.
  • One instance of the <center> tag has been removed from the site.
  • The “Skip to Main Content” links are now correctly linked to the main content element on the page.
  • The headings for the “Quick Search” boxes, such as on the Offices & Services page are now being used as proper labels for the form element.
  • The wordmark logos for Middlebury and its affiliate programs are now background images and there is actual text in the header elements on each of the pages, making it easier for them to be read by assistive devices.

This is just the beginning of many accessibility improvements we’ll be making, and working with you to make as well. To learn more about this topic, here is a session on Improving SEO Using Accessibility Techniques and you can view the accessibility issues with the Middlebury site in SiteImprove.

Weekly Web Updates – June 8, 2015

New Features

The MIIS website has a new homepage, designed by staff in Middlebury’s office of Communications. This features a new global header and footer, which we’ve applied to all of the pages in the MIIS website, as well as the MIIS Directory, the MIIS instance of GO, and the MIIS mobile website / portal.

New Documentation

We’ve prepared a guide on creating Course and Section Listings in Drupal.

At the request of Jim Stuart, we’ve added staff profiles for ITS to the ITS Teams and Workgroups section of the site. Each person has permission to edit their profile and we’ve prepared documentation on editing profiles for those interested.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • We’ve fixed a problem with the Drupal Instagram content type that was preventing images from being displayed if certain sizes of those images weren’t available through Instagram. It will now display the last X images of any size larger than the width you specify.
  • The navigation element for the Study Abroad website has been modified to include a direct link to information about their advisors.
  • We’ve made some improvements to how resources are handled in the Course Hub so that saving resources & syllabi only synchronizes the resource that was saved rather than all resources for the course, speeding up the save processes.

Weekly Web Updates – June 1, 2015

New Features

  • WordPress: We’ve replaced the broken XML-Google-Maps and GeoMashup plugins with the more-supported OSM (Open Street Map) plugin. The OSM plugin allows you to display geo-tagged posts on a map as well as embed maps based on GPX or KML data-files. For users of the two removed plugins, we’ve already converted your sites to using OSM.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • The WordPress plugin Dropdown Menu Widget was fixed so that it uses the edit_theme_options permission, which is available to site Administrators, to determine who can use its settings interface, rather than the edit_themes permission, which made it only usable by Network Administrators.
  • The Bread Loaf Writers’ Conferences site was updated with a new header image and to use the new Middlebury identity system in its footer.
  • The Center for Social Entrepreneurship site was updated to use the new Middlebury identity system and to correct an alignment issue with the image gallery.

Weekly Web Updates – May 25, 2015

New Features

New Documentation

Our colleagues at MIIS have put together a really nice quick-start guide to editing their Drupal site, including some fun video tutorials. While some of this is specific to the MIIS site, much of it also applies to the Middlebury Drupal site. We’ll be “borrowing” some of this content to improve our documentation.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • The site for the MIIS Center for Social Impact Learning has been redesigned to fit in with the rest of the MIIS site and the header features a custom wordmark logo for the program.
  • The MIIS website now has the canonical name of the organization in the site header using JSON-LD microdata format to let search engines know which name to use when displaying links to the site on search results pages. This is something we’ll be rolling out to the Middlebury Drupal sites shortly as well.
  • News stories on the MIIS site use a new set of custom designed social media icons, which will also soon appear in the site footer. Additionally, moving your mouse over the email icon no longer automatically opens a pop-up, you have to manually click on the icon.
  • The Middlebury wordmark in MiddMedia‘s height and width have been adjusted to support the new identity graphic.
  • We’ve added support for embedding Salesforce Pardot forms from on the Drupal sites using the new [iframe URL] shortcode.

Weekly Web Updates – May 11, 2015


Next week won’t have updates unless there is a critical issue to address as we’ll be attending DrupalCon. The keynote, by Dries the creator of Drupal, is typically streamed online and may be of interest to those who’d like to know what’s coming in the future for the platform. It will be on Tuesday, May 12 from 12-1:15pm ET.

File Uploads in Drupal

Functionality to support uploading multiple files at once is now enabled on the Middlebury and MIIS Drupal sites. Our documentation on Creating File Uploads has been updated to outline the new workflow. In addition to allowing multiple uploads, this greatly simplifies the upload process, removing several dialogs and making the title of the File Upload the name of the file by default. The process for updating existing File Upload contents has not changed.

New WordPress Plugins and Themes

  • RokoPhoto Lite: RokoPhoto Lite is an elegant WordPress themes for photographers, writers, and bloggers. This design focuses on your content & is perfect for an elegant blog site.
  • Shortcodes in Text Widgets: A plugin that allows shortcodes to work in Text Widgets if not supported already by theme.
  • Table of Contents Plus: A powerful yet user friendly plugin that automatically creates a table of contents. Can also output a sitemap listing all pages and categories.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • Duplicate article titles on the Health Topics A-Z page have been removed. This was done by adding a feature to the Drupal Views module that allows us to concatenate grouped results from the query, which we may be able to use for other features of the site.
  • The robots.txt files for the Drupal sites were updated to allow indexing of CSS, JavaScript, and image files in the core Drupal directories. Google announced last year that they would stop indexing pages that loaded resources from directories blocked in robots.txt and recently put this change in place in their indexing scheme.
  • Drupal Gallery captions now correctly support the UTF-8 character set, including left and right single and double quotes, emdashes, endashes, and ellipses.
  • A side effect of last week’s Drupal Webform update is that radio button and checkbox lists that use the “Other” textfield option had a hidden element that could be marked as required, making it difficult to submit the form. These hidden elements are no longer marked as required on the client side, though they will still be checked after the form is submitted to the server.

Weekly Web Updates – May 4, 2015

Drupal Webform Update

We’re now on version 7.x-4.8 of webform for both the Middlebury and MIIS forms sites. Here are the new features in this release:

  1. Conditionals can now act on more than one component with the same rule.
  2. Conditionals can now make components required/optional and set component values, in addition to hiding/showing them.
  3. Tokens may now be used to set the file component upload directory, as well as create a pattern to rename each uploaded file.
  4. Grid components support a right-side header to create semantic-differential survey questions.
  5. Result analysis can now be customized with views, including creating exposed filters.
  6. Email addresses now support long-format names, such as "First Last" <>.
  7. The confirmation message may now be shown within the webform block, if desired.
  8. In addition to the first-saved timestamp, webform now tracks the first completed (not draft) and last modified timestamp.
  9. Submissions may be downloaded by date range, both via the user interface and drush.
  10. Numeric submission data may now be properly formatted, filtered, and sorted with views.
  11. The day/month/year may be made optional in date components.
  12. Time components may have a start and end time, including “over midnight” ranges, such as 10pm-3am.
  13. Date and time components only show options that fall within the start and end date/times.
  14. Anonymous users may submit Webforms confidentially, without their IP address being recorded.
  15. Multi-page drafts are now resumed where the user left off, rather than on page 1.
  16. The html5 required attribute is used on required components, providing in-browser validation.

Other Updates

Library Guides

Thanks to a suggestion, creation of the dropdown lists, and testing from Bryan Carson, the Library Quick Search feature on the Library site now features a selection of subject and course guides under the “Guides” tab.

Fixes and Tweaks

  • The link to the BLWC site on the Middlebury homepage is once again plural in reference to the conferences.
  • Elements of the MIIS global design are now rendered via Drupal’s block system, which we’ve been using for the Middlebury site since the upgrade to Drupal 7. This allows us to mix-and-match which elements show up without having to create a new theme and is part of the work we’re doing to port the Course Hubs to Drupal 7.
  • A number of programming errors that were preventing the Podcasting and Visual Links WordPress plugins from working on our sites have been corrected.
  • The “waveform” feature was not being displayed at the top of the Admissions site, but is now back in place.
  • The stylesheeets for the AD Group Manager are now loaded from the central CDN rather than the older “web” server, in preparation of retiring that machine.

Weekly Web Updates – April 27 📬 🎁 😻

WordPress 4.2

  • You can now switch themes in the Customizer, making it easier to compare how new themes will look on your site.
  • Added Tumblr and Kickstarter to the list of services that can be embedded by just pasting a URL into the editor.
  • Extended character support, including native support for Chinese, Japanese, and Korean characters as well as mathematical and musical symbols. Also, emoji 👻

WordPress / Google Calendar support

In the past our and WordPress systems have offered a variety of plugins to support embedding Google Calendars in posts and sidebar widgets. Over time the authors of these plugins have moved on and not updated them to work with the latest versions of WordPress, leaving us with broken calendar support.

We are pleased to announce that we have now retired the old plugins and have replaced them with a streamlined pair of plugins, a Google Calendar Shortcode plugin that allows embedding of calendars in posts and pages and a Google Calendar Widget plugin that provides a sidebar widget which displays an “agenda” view of upcoming events from a calendar. These plugins can be enabled and used on any site in our systems.

See the LIS Wiki for instructions and more information on how use these plugins. For users of the old plugins, we will be going through your sites over the next few days and updating them to use the new plugins.


Tweaks and Fixes

  • Google claims that the issue with embedded Google Calendars being blank has been fixed. Let us know if you notice this occurring again.
  • In Drupal, on the Middlebury site, RSS feeds and forms on pages with blank sidebars will now use the full width of the content region, rather than being confined to 450px. This mirrors an earlier fix for promotional calendars.
  • Also on the Middlebury Drupal site, Facebook buttons and boxes in sidebars won’t have a dotted line border around or beneath them any more.
  • Choosing to hide one field in a profile on the Middlebury Drupal site, such as fax number, will no longer also cause the photo to be hidden.