Tag Archives: Drupal

January-February LIS Workshops & New lynda.com Courses

Our current workshop schedule is now available.  Visit go/lisworkshops to view offerings for January and February and sign up for topics of interest.  You’ll find a chance to attend a Drupal introduction covering basic web site maintenance skills, as well as a several work sessions where you can get help with specific questions about how to revise and improve your departmental web site.

Do you prefer to learn on your own?  Check out lynda.com  — a fabulous online learning resource that uses short videos to help you acquire new business and technology skills.   Recently added new courses include “Mac OS X Mountain Lion Essential Training,” “Conflict Resolution Fundamentals” and “Creating Photo Books with iPhoto.”  Watch a single video or work through an entire course, but be warned — it’s addictive.

LIS Workshops & Professional Development Offerings

There is still time to acquire new skills before the year is out!  Visit go/lisworkshops to view our workshop schedule and get signed up for topics of interest.  You’ll find a few more Drupal work sessions where you can get help with specific questions about how to revise and improve your departmental web site, as well as one more chance to attend an introduction covering basic web site maintenance skills.

We’re also offering another opportunity to get acquainted with  lynda.com — a fabulous online learning resource that uses short videos to help you acquire new business and technology skills.   Recent course additions include “InDesign Secrets,” “Managing Your Career” and “Word 2010 Power Shortcuts.”  Watch a single video or work through an entire course — either way it’s professional development that doesn’t cost you or your department a dime.

LIS October Workshop Schedule Includes Drupal & lynda.com

Pinch yourself.  If you feel something it means you survived the start of the academic year!  Since you’ve done so well it’s time to treat yourself and learn some new skills that will make your life easier.  Check out go/lisworkshops to view our hot-off-the-press workshop schedule and get signed up for topics of interest.

We’re excited to offer several opportunities to get acquainted with  lynda.com — a fabulous online learning resource that uses short videos to help you acquire new skills.  You can work through an entire course (something nice to mention at performance evaluation time!) or watch a single movie for just-in-time learning.  With over 1,400 courses, there is something for everyone.  Recent additions include “Effective Public Speaking” and “Mac OS X Mountain Lion New Features.”

You’ll also find Drupal workshops on our schedule covering the basics of maintaining a departmental web site and work sessions where you can get  help with your specific questions.

LIS Workshops – August

Don’t miss out!  There is still time to fit in some learning before fall semester leaps out from behind the nearest patch of sunflowers…  Visit go/lisworkshops to view our schedule and get signed up for topics of interest. You’ll find Drupal sessions to help you get your departmental web site up to snuff before the next batch of students arrives on campus.  You’ll also find another opportunity to find out about lynda.com and how you can start using it to improve your skills.

Showing Lab Availability in Drupal

You can now let people know how many machines are available in Middlebury computer labs in your department, building, or campus-wide. Add the following short codes to any content in our Drupal site.

[labserver] Shows the total number of available lab machines on campus.
[labserver 65] Shows the total number of available lab machines in lab 65, which is LIB 105.
[labserver 65,43,58,15,13,14] Shows the total number of available lab machines in multiple labs. In this case I’ve listed all of the labs in the Davis Family Library.

To get the number for a lab, you can go to the main LabStats page and click on one of the labs. The URL will content some text like “id=65″ and that is the number to use in the short code. The LabStats site also has a lot of other information about our computing labs.

Thanks to Petar Mitrevski for helping out with some configuration on the LabStats site to support this new feature.

Sit back and watch our homepage

For the last two and a half years, College Communications has picked a set of one to a dozen stories that are “featured” at any one time on our homepage. When you visit http://www.middlebury.edu, one of these stories will randomly open. Now, another featured story will open after eight seconds, until all of the featured stories have been shown at least once, at which point they’ll start over again.

If you would like to pause this and explore the stories on your own schedule, just click to open one of the story bars. This will stop it from advancing to another story, giving you time to read the title and caption.

Easy Navigation Links For On-Campus Browsing

If you are browsing our website on-campus through an ethernet connection or connected to the midd-secure or midd-standard wireless networks, you should now see three links in the top-left corner of any page on www.middlebury.edu. If you are browsing from off-campus, you can log in to the site to have the links show up. These links will let you quickly get to WebMail, BannerWeb and the Portal.

If you’re on-campus you can also get to these resources by typing mail, go/mail, go/email, go/webmail to get to WebMail; go/bw or go/bannerweb to get to BannerWeb; and portal, m, students, facstaff, staff, faculty, go/portal, go/m, go/facstaff, go/students, or go/faculty to get to the Portal. Searching for any of these terms will also bring you directly to these sites and the links to them remain in the site footer. You can also customize how and whether they appear for you in the Portal.

Thanks also to Adam Franco for setting up Edge Side Includes so that we can show custom content to on-campus people while still delivering a cached copy of the page to make your browsing experience faster.

Top Picks from DrupalCon 2012 Denver

We (Adam and Ian) were in Denver, Colorado this week attending the annual US Drupal convention. In addition to attending sessions, we were able to connect with colleagues from other institutions including Amherst, Wellesley, Lawrence University, UNH, and CSUMB. We sponsored a “birds of a feather” session, with Amherst, to introduce interested parties to Monster Menus, a Drupal module that Amherst and Middlebury use to add a site hierarchy and manage permissions on our site. This session was surprisingly well attended by about thirty participants and we had a lively discussion about Monster Menus’ capabilities and limitations. We also attended multiple sessions on using Drupal in higher education to hear what people at other schools were doing with the platform.

All of the sessions can be watched on the conference website (use the tabs across the top to browse each day’s sessions). Adam and I will highlight some that we found especially engaging, but if there’s one we missed that you think others would enjoy, please share it in the comments.


Dries Buytaert: Dries is the guy who created Drupal and currently runs the leading Drupal consulting business and serves as President of the Drupal Association. His talk covered where the development team is focusing for the Drupal 8 release. There are three main areas of focus, (1) mobile compatibility, (2) modernizing the development API with the Symfony framework, and (3) improving the user interface for content authors. He announced a tentative release date of August 2013 for Drupal 8.

Mitchell Baker: Mitchell is the “Chief Lizard Wrangler”, the head of the Mozilla project that produces the Firefox browser and Thunderbird email client among other efforts. She talked about the “Maker Ethic” and how the goal of Mozilla it to enable and promote the freedom to create, write, and publish. As she describes, the Firefox browser is but one product to enable this freedom and only one of the many projects Mozilla is engaged in.

Luke Wroblewski: Luke gave a very entertaining presentation arguing that we now need to develop web applications for mobile devices first and worry about the desktop experience second. He presents amble data backing up this assertion, which is guiding the mobile-first goal for Drupal 8. Adding responsive designs for mobile interfaces to our platforms is a 2012 goal for the Web Applications Development workgroup here, so we’ll be doing a lot of work in this space shortly.

Ian’s Picks

Designing Fast and Beautiful Maps: This talk describes the TileMill and MapBox mapping tools, showing how you can transform a simple spreadsheet into an interactive map interface that can easily be added to a Drupal site (or any other website). Though this is probably not something that we’d use for the main campus map it looks like a great tool for one-off mapping projects including student research. By the way, if you have a map that you’d like us to feature on the site or in MiddLab, contact me and I’ll be happy to help you get that map online.

I just want to edit a node and Five things we need to create an awesome experience for content creators: These discussions describe the initial thinking about the user interface for content creators in Drupal 8. While we won’t be moving to that platform until late 2013/early 2014, and some of the decisions about the platform may very well change by then, this is an early warning about what to expect. I should note that some of the features they discuss, like inline editing, are already available to us thanks to the Monster Menus module developed by Amherst.

HTML 4 S – While We’re Waiting for the Revolution: We spent a lot of time thinking and talking about adding HTML5 features to our sites, but that’s not always possible due to assumptions made by the back-end systems as well as browser compatibility. This talk discusses the steps we can take to get “close enough” on HTML5 adoption and some of the pitfalls we’ll encounter that are specific to Drupal, though much of the information here is Drupal-agnostic. I’ll give a small warning that the speaker is quite colorful and animated in his speech.

Adam’s Picks

Real World Performance Analysis: How to Identify Performance Problems in Your Own Sites: This talk provides a good strategy for tackling performance issues in Drupal sites without wasting time on optimizations that won’t have a big impact.

Keeping The Lights On – Operations and Monitoring Best Practices:  This session is focused on practical tools and techniques you can use to keep “your fingers on the pulse” of your site, from availability to performance to security.


Also, we were able to enjoy Colorado for a bit before the conference.

Looking forward to next year in Portland, Oregon, or perhaps Munich or São Paulo later this year!