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Weekly Web Development Round-up June 12-17, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Campus Map

  • Since last week’s post, we’ve added:
    • custom marker icons
    • course listings for locations
    • custom location categories like “parking lots”
    • autozoom and autocenter the map on available markers
  • You can read more about the Campus Map project in this earlier post on the LIS blog.

Course Hub

  • The Add Resource button now works in IE 7.

Drupal

  • We’re testing out a new spam prevention module on the Ask a Librarian form that block spam bots without annoying actual humans. It does this by adding some hidden fields to the form that trip up automated spammers. If you’d like to have this added to your form, just let us know.

Library Systems

  • Work continues on Summon.  Latest links into the Drupal platform include the search widget on the LIS main page (go/lis) where there was previously only a text link, and a proliferation of simple sidebar widgets on the Library pages.
  • SubjectsPlus interface alterations to reflects the change from WebBridge to 360 as our OpenURL link resolver in the Summon implementation.

Search

When we launched the new version of our website, we put in place a search strategy that would automatically forward you to a page if we were reasonably sure that the page was where you wanted to end up. For example, if you searched for “academic calendar”, you’d end up on the page with the current year’s academic calendar instead of a search results page. The way we made this work is to automatically forward you to the GO shortcut if your search matched an existing GO shortcut. So, if go/dining exists and you search for “dining” you go to the site that go/dining points at.

At the time we set this up, the GO database contained around 1,000 entries, mostly redirects to academic departments, offices, programs, or local government or non-profit organizations. GO was a self-service application at that time, but wasn’t often used by students, faculty and staff to create shortcuts.

There are now 4321 GO shortcuts in the database, including aliases. People use it to get the word out about their events (go/justice, go/bachfest), faculty create shortcuts to their course sites (go/chns0475), staff create quick links to advertise new services (go/getoffice), and many other great uses that make us glad this is a self-service application.

At the same time, there are now many GO shortcuts that are links to YouTube videos, other colleges, personal websites, and some that are just jokes. These are, generally, fine to have in the GO database. Even the first version of GO (at the time called the External Redirection Application) in 2005 had a few “easter eggs” that are still there. But because of how our search application interacted with GO, people’s ability to quickly and easily find information on our site was getting hampered by these “un-official” shortcuts.

We’ve now changed the search programming on our site so that it will only forward you automatically for a small subset of search terms. You’ll still go right to WebMail when you search for “webmail”, and similarly for “bannerweb” or “cso”, or “ccal”. But if you search for “chicago” you’ll now see search results instead of the Chicago Manual of Style. We used these criteria to select which search terms would continue to automatically forward you:

  1. It is something someone might search for (i.e. bannerweb, but not bannerweb?ugapp).
  2. It goes to a page on our site (i.e. capp, but not campusstorage).
  3. There’s really only one page that the person means by that search (i.e. chaplain, but not chicago).

New GO shortcuts will initially be excluded from being used in search, but we’ll continue to review the list and change it as needed. We’ll also review statistics from searches on our site to see if new shortcuts need to be created or if we need to make an existing shortcut searchable again.

A few additional notes:

  • We haven’t deleted any GO shortcuts today. go/bacon, go/engage, and go/oooooal still exist, but if you search for “bacon” you’ll now see more information about Sir Francis than images of meat.
  • You can send a note to go@middlebury.edu if you feel that a code that currently isn’t being used as a search result redirect ought to be. You can also flag GO shortcuts as inappropriate.
  • We’ve added a filter for “GO” to the search results page just below “www.middlebury.edu” on the right. Click on that box to filter your search results to only show pages from go.middlebury.edu.

And lastly, a reminder that when you (as a person with a Middlebury account) create shortcuts in GO, or comment on blogs on this site, or edit our wiki, you are bound by the College Handbook policies on Responsible Use of Computing Network Service and Facilities, Anti-Harassment Policy, and any other applicable policies from our Handbook. Though we’ve deleted a couple GO shortcuts in the past for being inappropriate, none have yet been referred to HR, Commons Administration or the Dean of Faculty, but logs are kept on the service and that option is always available.

WordPress

  • The embedded Flash audio player that you see in IE 7, IE 8, Firefox and Opera now renders correctly and allows you to play the audio file.
  • Many CSS fixes were made to the Translucence theme.

Introduction to Drupal Workshop Offered June 16

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

In response to a number of requests, we are offering an “Introduction to Drupal” workshop on Thursday, June 16 from 1-2:30 p.m. Now is your chance to learn the basics of managing a department website — from creating pages to building and maintaining text-based content.  This session will also cover how to embed images, as well as audio and video files.

To sign up for this workshop (or inquire about other learning opportunities) please send email to:  helpdesk@middlebury.edu.

As always, you’ll find the current Library and Information Services (LIS) workshop schedule by typing go/lisworkshops in your web browser’s address field.

Cynthia Slater
Education & Training Team Leader
Library & Information Services (LIS)
Davis Family Library, Rm 125

Weekly Web Development Round-up June 6-10, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Tip of the week: If you’re able to access an image or file on our Drupal site only when you’re logged in, the file is probably in a Recycle Bin on a site you have access to edit. You can find the file in the Recycle Bin and click Restore to return it to a publicly visible page.

Campus Map

  • A new “alpha” version of the Campus Map can be found on our site. We’ve added integration with foursquare, outlines of each building, and soon many more features like course listings, directory listings for buildings and 3D models of buildings on campus.
  • If you want to check out some 3D models of Bread Loaf, fire up Google Earth and zoom on over there.

Course Catalog

  • The Course Catalog can now be searched by building code, allowing us to display the courses taught in each building through the Campus Map.

Drupal

  • News and Profile items now use a popup browsing window to select their associated images, instead of the autocomplete textbox. This shows the editor where their selected file is located in the site tree.
  • An issue with the video player controls has been resolved.
  • Modules updated this week: mimemail, monster_menus, rss_page, media.

MediaWiki

  • The LIS Wiki now uses a Google Custom Search engine for its search results instead of the default MediaWiki search feature.
  • Additionally, the LIS Wiki’s skin has been updated to use the core Middlebury site design and styles, which should make the transition from our site to our wiki less jarring.
  • The Midd MediaWiki skin also includes custom CSS for mobile devices that make the wiki easier to read and navigate on those devices.
  • The wiki is no longer running under HTTPS.
  • MediaWiki version update: 1.16.5

Weekly Web Development Round-up May 30-June 3, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Drupal

  • Did you know that you can “geo tag” any content on our site? It’s true! When you’re editing, you’ll see a field labeled “Location”. If you expand this, you can add an address to the content you’re creating. Most addresses can be automatically translated into a latitude and longitude by our system, allowing us to create maps highlighting that content. We’re going back and adding locations to stories to make our Middlebury Around the World page more interesting, but keep this in mind as you edit the site.
  • The Preview button has been temporary disabled while we fix an issue where all permissions would get wiped out when you previewed your changes to content. We know what was causing this to happen and will have a fix shortly after a few of the edge cases are dealt with.
  • Videos from MiddMedia in most of our supported web browsers now play using the native HTML5 video player. Browsers that support this feature include Internet Explorer 9, Firefox 4, Chrome, Safari, Opera and the mobile browsers for iOS and Android devices. If you are using Firefox 3 (including 3.5 and 3.6), Internet Explorer 7, or Internet Explorer 8 you will still see the Flash player as these browsers do not support HTML5 video.
  • Additionally, MiddMedia videos on the site will now use the “full frame” poster image by default, which doesn’t include the “play” icon, but you can toggle between playing and pausing a video by clicking on it.
  • When creating a Story, there are now buttons to select the image instead of autocomplete text boxes. Clicking the button brings up the site tree so you can select your image (with a preview) from the page where you saved it instead of blindly hoping the “smiling_students01.jpg” is your image. This feature will be rolled out to more content types shortly.
  • XML sitemaps are now available for all of our Drupal-based sites. These files help search engines find content on our site. Middlebury’s sitemap is at http://www.middlebury.edu/sitemap.xml
  • Modules updated this week: Custom Permissions, Monster Menus, Media, RSS Page

Library Systems

  • As announced previously on the LIS blog, the Library Quick Search widget on the Library home page now includes a search form for Summon, a tool that searches across Midd’s many different collections at once.  New tabs, and other changes based on feedback and user study were also rolled out.

MiddMedia

  • All videos uploaded to MiddMedia are now encoded in both H.264 and WebM formats so that they can be played natively in browsers that support H.264 (IE 9, Safari, iOS) and WebM (Firefox 4, Chrome, Opera, Android).
  • When uploading a video, you can now select the quality that will be used when the video is transcoded (original, 360p, 480p, 720p, 1080p).

WordPress

Weekly Web Development Round-up May 22-27, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Drupal

  • The “Edit”, “Delete” and “Revisions” links now include the title of the content you’ll be performing those actions on. For example, if you have a node titled “Drupal Help” the link to edit that node is now Edit “Drupal Help”. These links appear below the content as they always have.
  • The “Edit” links for sidebars, site banners, carousels, and juice bars now include the title of the page. For example, if your sidebar is titled “Right Sidebar” the link to edit that content will be Edit “Right Sidebar”. These links appear above the content as they always have.
  • Remember: if you want to hide these links while you work on content, try out the New Edit Console which lets you decide to hide links in specific regions of the page.
  • The MIIS site now also has a Carousel region, using the same styles as the Middlebury website.
  • The “Revision Log” window is now collapsed by default on the editing form.
  • If you’re the manager of a permissions group, there is now a link to “Edit this group” above the members of the group on any permissions form. This link takes you to the AD group manager interface.
  • Several issues with image and file uploads have been resolved. If you were having trouble overwriting file revisions or uploading new files with the same name as other files, we believe that you’ll now be able to do those things without a problem.
  • We’ve upgraded Drupal from 6.20 to 6.22 which includes all the changes in 6.21 as well. We’ve also updated our Monster Menus module to match the version Amherst currently has in production.

LIS Drupal Workshops – May 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To sign up for workshops of interest (or suggest topics) please send email to:  helpdesk@middlebury.edu.

Day Date Course Instructor Time
Mon 5/23 Introduction to Drupal Molberger 9:00 – 10:30 am
Mon 5/23 Drupal Review Molberger 11:00 am – Noon
Tue 5/24 Introduction to Drupal Molberger 9:00 – 10:30 am
Tue 5/24 Drupal Review Molberger 11:00 am – Noon
Wed 5/25 Drupal Site Work Session Molberger 9:00 am – Noon

The current workshop schedule with course descriptions is available by typing go/lisworkshops in your web browser’s address field.

Cynthia Slater
Education & Training Team Leader
Library & Information Services (LIS)
Davis Family Library, Rm 125

Weekly Web Development Round-up May 2-6, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

To give our colleagues a better idea of what’s changed in our web applications each week, we’ll be preparing this quick list for publication each Friday. Not all of the details of each change are included below, but we’ll be happy to answer any questions you might have in the comments.

Recently, several people have had issues uploading files to Drupal using Firefox. What happens is that, when you use Firefox to download a file, like a PDF, the server you download it from tells Firefox what type of file you’re downloading. Firefox then associates that file type with the file extension. A server might tell you that a PDF is the file type “application/x-download” instead of “application/pdf” and from then on Firefox will think that all PDFs are “application/x-download”s. This causes problems when you then try to upload a PDF to our site and your browser tells our server than you’re sending us a “application/x-download”, which we don’t want you to upload.

To resolve this, you need to delete a file called “mimeTypes.rdf” from your Firefox profile folder. See this guide to locating your profile folder. You only need to do this if you start experiencing this issue.

Drupal

  • There are now named anchors above every node on the site. If you have a page with a bunch of nodes, you can link to a specific one by adding #node-XXXXXX to the URL where XXXXXX is the node ID, usually a six-digit number that is in the URL when you’re editing the node.
  • The Google Calendar content type now supports multiple calendars and will let you select from a drop down list to choose which calendar you want to view. Items in the month display now line wrap to show you the full title. These changes were done to help support adding Library hours to our website.
  • A meta description is now automatically created for every news article on the site so that when you link to a news article on Facebook the description of the link will be taken from the beginning text of the article.
  • We’ve replaced the ShareThis link at the bottom of our news articles with large buttons that look nicer. This also corrects an issue where people visiting our site using Firefox 3.5 were not able to load news articles. We encourage people to upgrade to the latest version of their browsers for best support.

Course Hub

  • If a course site is empty, the description from Banner is now displayed on the front page. (suggested by Shel)
  • The list of updates is now styled to be more constrained table-layout — along the lines of a Twitter feed or a Facebook wall. The most common feedback we received from faculty about the Course Hub was that the update list was “messy looking”. This styling change is a big improvement on that front.

GO

  • A fix so it’s now not possible to make a code with the same name as an existing alias.