Author Archives: Ian McBride

Weekly Web Updates – July 4, 2016

Several issues contributed to cause our Middlebury WordPress site to run slower than normal early last week. We believe we have mitigated most of these issues, but are still investigating a few. If some operation in WordPress is taking more than ten seconds to respond, please let us know by opening a ticket and telling us the site URL, what action was slow, and the time it happened, as precisely as possible. Thanks for your help and patience.

Separately, there was a Google Calendar outage for much of last Thursday and some of the features of our site, such as Library hours, had to be temporarily removed.

New Features

We have added the Instagram Feed plugin to the Middlebury and MIIS WordPress sites. You can activate and configure this plugin on your site to display a grid of images from Instagram. This replaces the Simple Instagram plugin, which stopped working after a recent Instagram API update.

We’ve created a separate, dedicated site for use in Drupal training workshops.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Recent updates to the MIIS global navigation were applied to the Directory, forms, Course Catalog, and GO sites.
  • Fixed a hidden image gallery on the Middlebury Library site.
  • Resolved an issue creating WordPress sites through the Course Hub caused by a change in our production Drupal environment.
  • Resolved an issue in the Course Hub where class-groups were not getting updated regularly.
  • Applied some style changes to the accordion menu in the Omeka NeatLine module.
  • Added new menu and style settings for the Envisioning Middlebury site to its contact form and fixed its menu for mobile devices.
  • Corrected an issue with shortcodes in the NextGEN Gallery WordPress plugin that would sometimes crash a site.

Weekly Web Updates – June 20, 2016

On Sunday we worked with our colleagues in CSNS to migrate our Drupal sites to an updated cluster of web-hosts managed using the Chef configuration management system. This migration represents an exciting shift as we strive for more consistency and recoverability of our infrastructure. While the primary functions of all Drupal sites have been tested and validated prior to and after the migration, please submit a Web Helpdesk ticket if you notice anything newly broken in a Drupal site.

We have removed the wp-jquery-timelinr plugin from our WordPress sites. When it was enabled, editors were unable to use the WordPress editing interface. The plugin had not been updated in some time.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • We fixed some accessibility issues present in our Drupal site templates including an empty header on the BLSE site, a duplicate element in some of the branding blocks, lack of alt tags on the Sustainability site tag icons and MIIS site arrow images.
  • Applied a fix to improve the speed of cascading permissions in Drupal.
  • The “Middlebury in the News” feature of the Newsroom sidebar will no longer load its templates from the Sustainability site theme.
  • A fix was made to the directory to solve an error that occurred when returning results that didn’t have an email address value.

Weekly Web Updates – June 13, 2016

When editing a Drupal “RSS Page” node, you may now select to sort the results by date with the newest items shown first (the default option) or with the oldest items shown first.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Due to a change in the terms of service for the Instagram API, we have had to remove the Instagram module from our Drupal sites. The one instance of this module being used on a live site was replaced with a static image linking to the Instagram account.
  • We have removed the Flickr plugin from our MediaWiki installation. The plugin was not being used and no longer recommended for use by its developer.

Weekly Web Updates – June 6, 2016

Photos uploaded to the Directory will now be added to the Facility Commander ID card database after they’ve been approved, allowing for an easy, automated process for allowing students and others to submit photos for their ID card. Additionally, staff who approve the photos can send a custom approve or decline message to the individual. The strict 200×200 pixel dimension requirement on new photos has been removed, but they will be still be displayed in a 200×200 square on the directory.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • We resolved a technical issue on the back-end of the Course Catalog that prevented the nightly sync from Banner running as scheduled due to a database version mismatch.
  • Items in the Recycle Bin will no longer be displayed in the rotating homepage view of stories on the David Fellows for Peace website.

Weekly Web Updates – May 30, 2016

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • A recent update to MediaWiki caused an error when looking at the difference between revisions, which we’ve now fixed.
  • The “GObacktionary” now lists GO shortcuts alphabetically by URL.
  • Fixed an issue where the term lookup for new MiddFiles resources in the Course Hub wasn’t working.
  • Canvas Resources in the Course Hub for the Language Schools course sites now auto-update.
  • Sub-page lists on the Middlebury Drupal site, like the table of content for the Handbook, where more than one level of the site tree is displayed will now indicate the depth of a page in the tree using indentation.
  • Several photo syncing issues with the Athletics History Wall were resolved.
  • All of our Drupal sites can now store user names up to 254 characters in length, increased from the default length of 60 characters.

Weekly Web Updates – May 9, 2016

The Office of Communications & Marketing has reorganized the Student Life portion of the site, ensuring that information for students is front-and-center. The URL of the site has changed from /studentlife to /student-life, which is slightly better for search engine optimization. We have put in place redirects for most of the old paths, changed the links in the global site header on many services, and are working with that office to review our logs for broken links and 404s.

We also worked with that office to implement a redesign of the Middlebury Language Schools homepage, header, and footer.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Our WordPress sites now use the GD library to process images, rather than the ImageMagick library. This was already the case on other services we run. We do not anticipate any issues, but please report any trouble manipulating images in WordPress through the Heldpesk.
  • The amount of funding received for a MiddSTART project is now cached locally if the funding deadline has passed, rather than being read out of Banner for each page load, in an attempt to improve site performance.
  • Upgraded the ol2 library for Omeka to resolve an issue with Google Maps.
  • Support for the course list content types on the sites forms.middlebury.edu, forms.miis.edu, davisuwcscholars.org, davisprojectsforpeace.org, and davisfellowsforpeace.org was removed. This feature was not being used on those sites.

Weekly Web Updates – May 2, 2016

New Features

This week we’ve completed and begun testing an integration between the Course Hub and the Canvas LMS that provisions user accounts and course spaces on request (as we do with Moodle, SANSSpace, etc). This integration is in preparation for a July 1 budget decision on Canvas and will also be in place for an LS pilot of Canvas earlier in the summer.

Upgrades

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Added a “News Tags” taxonomy to the News content type on the Middlebury Drupal site. This will be used by College Communications to tag stories for the MiddNews newsletter.
  • The custom Middlebury MailChimp plugin for WordPress was replaced with the official MailChimp plugin and the two sites using the old plugin were transitioned to the new one.
  • We moved the Policies and Procedures pages in the Language School site, adding server-side rewrites to the new location.
  • When embedding images in content while selecting the option to show the image at full size on click, the image title and image alternate text tag are used to populate the caption, if not empty.