Author Archives: Ian McBride

Weekly Web Updates – February 22, 2016

New Features

The Middlebury Institute homepage received a new design. This features three content regions (the slideshow, Important Dates, and Academic Highlights) that can be edited by the Communications team at MIIS in the admin interface directly, giving them more flexibility in ensuring timely content appears on their site.

As part of an update to the WRMC website, we’ve added the Chat plugin to WordPress, which you can now activate to add a chat box to your site. You can try it out by chatting with the WRMC DJs.

At the request of several MIIS programs, we have added a WordPress plugin to that embeds appointment booking from the Simplybook.me service.

We added a block to the Middlebury Drupal site to display tweets from @MiddInfoSec.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • We made many updates to improve the WRMC site, at the direction of their board. The weekly schedule now starts the day at midnight, rather than 5am. The “On Air” section only shows up if a show is in progress and the current playing song will be shown based on the DJ playlist and the duration of the song, according to Last.FM. In addition to many other small stylistic tweaks, we’ve fixed a performance issue that caused very long page loads.
  • The Quick Chat plugin was replaced with the Chat plugin in WordPress and the former is no longer available for use.
  • The Arclite WordPress theme only allowed network administrators to access its settings form. It may now be access by site administrators.
  • If you try to view a syllabus on the Course Hub that is private and you’re not logged in, you will now see a “not authorized” message rather than a “no syllabus added” message.
  • Fixed an issue on the non-flash version of the MiddMedia uploader that was causing problems.
  • The MIIS forms site is now included in the weekly SiteImprove index.
  • Navigation for the “Giving” sub-section of the MIIS site was updated in GO, the Course Catalog, the MIIS forms site, and the MIIS Directory.
  • The CSS file for the Drupal “Edit Console” is now loaded in a way that allows it to be merged with all the other Drupal CSS files, saving your browser having to issue a separate request to download it.
  • We have removed the “Location Type” taxonomy and the “Location” content type from the Middlebury Drupal site. These were used for an older version of the Campus Map. The current campus map is hosted externally.

Weekly Web Updates – February 16, 2016

New Features

You can now embed content from trailhub.com in WordPress. This was added to provide trail conditions for the Rikert Nordic Center.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • We made several improvements to the program that fetches images for the Athletics history wall from flickr, including ensuring that photos no longer in flickr are removed and email reports of errors on importing images.
  • Fixed an error that sometimes prevented a WordPress site from being able to be added to a Course Hub page.
  • Three Google Web Fonts will no longer be loaded on each Drupal page load as we decided to use the licensed Sentinel and Whitney fonts instead. This should improve page load times for first-time visitors as their browsers will no longer need to download the Google Web Font files.

Weekly Web Updates – February 8, 2015

New Features

In collaboration with College Communications, the new site for February Orientation uses a responsive design to make it easy to browse on mobile devices. This is a sub-theme in our main Drupal site, meaning that the same features are available as elsewhere on the site, just presented differently for these sub-pages. The responsive theme works best with content designed to be shown at multiple viewport resolutions, so it’s something we’ll roll out to new portions of the site that have carefully crafted content.

Updates

Tweaks & Fixes

  • We have removed the “Profiles” view from the main Middlebury site. This was used to aggregate profiles from multiple sub-pages, but was difficult to set up and made sorting the profiles a pain. We moved away from this on all academic sites over a year ago, but have finished migrating the other portions of the site that were using this. The documentation on using Profiles on the Middlebury site is now accurate for all instances of this content type.
  • The Group Manager now has a “super admin” role that can modify group membership, allowing us easier management of web permissions groups maintained by people who have since left Middlebury or are otherwise unavailable.
  • Fixed the Group Manager‘s notification system — changes to groups are now reflected in the Drupal sites after approximately 20 seconds rather than waiting until the next full sync.
  • The NextGEN Gallery plugin will, by default, save a backup copy of all the images you upload, more than doubling the disk space used by the plugin. This option will now default to “off” for new sites enabling the plugin. Those desiring it can still enable the option through the “Other Options” screen in the plugin settings.

Weekly Web Updates – February 1, 2016

New Features

When sharing News stories from the Middlebury site on Facebook, the top right image will always be the default image for the post. You can change this to a different image by editing the “og:image” field in the Meta Tags section. See our documentation on meta tags. Choosing these defaults for other content types is something we’ll be working on in the future and your suggestions are welcome.

The Enable Media Replace plugin is now available for WordPress. With this, you can replace an old file with a newer version of the file. This is particularly useful if you have a PDF or Word document that you need to replace with an updated copy. The replacement is done in a way that preserves all the existing links to the file.

We have added support for Emma email marketing signup forms in WordPress.

Updates

Weekly Web Updates – January 25, 2016

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Corrected an issue in MediaWiki where new users were unable to log in and edit due to an error saving information to the users table in the database.
  • Syllabus pages on the Course Hub that don’t have any syllabus on them will now issue a “404 Not Found” header to the browser, but won’t redirect the user to the central 404 page. This is being done so that search engines know that there’s no content on the page and won’t return it in search results.
  • Fixed an issue with cascading permissions in Drupal’s Monster Menus that would sometimes cause queries to the database to get backed up and slow down the site.
  • Our script to create new wikis in MediaWiki now works with version 1.26.
  • We removed NER digital and Behind the Byline from the list of categories that are excluded on the New England Review site’s posts list.
  • Fixed an issue where creating sufficiently large CSS in WordPress using the Jetpack plugin’s “Edit CSS” module would cause the CSS editor to fail.

Weekly Web Updates – January 18, 2016

Change to Instructor Course Listings

Instructor course lists in the Course Catalog and Drupal profiles merge equivalent courses so that cross-listed courses don’t show up multiple times in the list when they are really the same thing, but under a different code. Unfortunately, the logic we were using conflicted with the way data is entered in Banner to prevent students from registering for different courses that overlap significantly in their content area.

We’ve now updated the logic to merge the results based on the “cross-listing of course-sections” instead of the “equivalence of courses”. This should reduce the number of mis-merged courses shown in instructor profiles. That said, because we are using the data in a new way, it is possible that we will expose errors in the data that will need to be cleaned up. If you are an instructor and see an error in the course list in your profile, please submit a Helpdesk Ticket and we’ll investigate.

More details for those who are interested:

The old process was:

  1. Find sections taught by the instructor in the time-frame (default is past 4 years).
  2. For each section, get its associated course.
  3. For each course look up equivalents in SCR_EQUIV and merge them into a single result.

The new process is:

  1. Find sections taught by the instructor in the time-frame (default is past 4 years).
  2. For each section get the cross-listed sections from SSB_XLST.
  3. For each section plus its cross-listed sections, get their course entries and merge them into a single result.

Updates

Tweaks and Fixes

  • The “MiddTags” shown at the bottom of Basic Content nodes in the Middlebury Drupal site are now displayed using Drupal’s built-in field API, allowing their display and label to be altered on sub-themes. Currently, there should be no noticeable difference in how they are displayed.
  • Similarly, the “card” view of Profiles on the Middlebury Drupal site is now using Drupal’s built-in view mode system to display them as “teasers”. This allows us to prevent some code from running when they are displayed this way, most importantly preventing the lookup of course listings, which are not shown in the “card” view. As a result, the lists of profiles will load faster when you are logged into the site (the caching system means they already load quickly and there will not be a noticeable effect on their load time when not logged in).
  • We have also made performance improvements to the Course Catalog, lazy-loading data that is not needed on the initial page load, such as course descriptions, to improve the load time of search results.
  • MediaWiki 1.26 changed the order in which some files are included on the page and we have updated the CategorySuggest plugin so that it is now working again.
  • Facebook embeds in our Drupal sites now include the height attribute in the element, ensuring that the browser renders the embed at the correct height while the page is loading. This also means that when the left sidebar in the Middlebury site corrects its height to set the address block at the bottom of the column, it will take into account any Facebook embeds.
  • The Health Professions Committee form was updated to include a link for submitters to view their submissions, so that they could edit and resubmit certain entries.
  • We have removed the Twenty Eleven Midd, Midd Classifieds, BLOGS DOT MIDDLEBURY Landscape, BLOGS DOT MIDDLEBURY Map, BLOGS DOT MIDDLEBURY Translucense, Flexible BLOGS DOT MIDDLEBURY Navy, 2010 Translucence, and 2010 Translucence Parent (2.0)) WordPress themes.
  • The WordPress configuration on the MIIS WordPress site has been updated to prevent a redirection loop that could occur when accessing a site dashboard.

Weekly Web Updates – January 11, 2016

Previously, everyone who could log into our Middlebury and MIIS Drupal sites was in a group of users who could view the general Google Analytics report and would potentially see a “Stats” link in the Edit Console to get a Google Analytics report on pages they can edit. While there’s no security issue with this, the best practice is to scope site permissions where possible, so this view is now restricted to just people with access to our Google Analytics under their @middlebury.edu or @miis.edu email address. We’ll be reaching out to those who are registered in Google Analytics using their own @gmail.com emails with instructions on switching, if they like. If you would like access to analytics, you can request it through Web Helpdesk.

Updates

Fixes and Tweaks

  • Google changed the domain of their calendars from google.com/calendar to calendar.google.com, which broke some Google Calendar shortcodes in WordPress. The plugin now accepts both domains.
  • When showing a list of “News” items on the Middlebury Drupal site using the RSS Page content type, the Publish On date will now be used to sort the items, when available, rather than the last edited date.
  • You can now include “controls:false” in the MiddMedia shortcode in WordPress to display a video player without the control buttons.
  • As part of the continuing phase out of the Translucence themes for WordPress, the Metrics, Minimalist, Translucence Dark, and Blogging Community Homepage themes were removed.
  • The default value for class year on Davis UWC student profiles is now 2019.
  • A contact email address was removed from the MIIS footer on forms.miis.edu, directory.miis.edu, go.miis.edu, catalog.miis.edu, and m.miis.edu.
  • Fixed a bug in the Course Hub sync process that was preventing spring-term courses from synchronizing rosters to Moodle.
  • Improved the security of of CAS Directory service. ITS staff can now log in via CAS to use this service for troubleshooting group-membership attributes.