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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.

Weekly Web Development Round-up April 25-29, 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:

  • A bug that caused file upload replacements to fail has been resolved. You can now replace an existing file by editing its file upload node and uploading a new version of the file, even one with the same filename.
  • TIFF images have been added to the list of allowed file types.
  • Added a Google Calendar content type that can be used to embed Google Calendars on pages of the site. MIIS has been using this for their events calendar for some time.
  • The cache files for RSS feeds are now kept in the same location as other cache files, meaning that the feeds will be refreshed with the same periodicity as other features on the site.
  • The full URL of the result page will now be shown below each search result. This was a suggestion we received from the Site Search Satisfaction Survey.
  • We’re now keeping usage data on site search so we can better analyse how its various features are working.
  • Updated the calendar template so that promotional calendars work properly when linking to the originating calendar.
  • On the “business card” style list of profiles, the person’s name will now link to their specific profile instead of the page their profile appears on to handle the case where multiple profiles appear on a single page.

GO:

  • The “my codes” area now lists your codes alphabetically for easier management. Thanks to Chris Norris for this suggestion.
  • “Superadmins” now have additional features available when moderating flagged codes and for determining whether or not a code appears in the site search suggestions.

MiddLab:

Lots of new student project in MiddLab this week from the Spring Symposium. You can follow MiddLab on Twitter and get alerted to new projects as they are added.

Weekly Web Development Round-up April 18-22, 2011

Categories: Midd Blogosphere, video

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.

Directory:

  • Updated the class photo roster application to work with the new class-group structure in the Active Directory. You will now see separate lists for instructors, students, and audits for each course.

Drupal:

  • Internet Explorer 7 users saw a notice on our homepage about a script taking too long to load. The IE 7 rendering engine has problems displaying over 100 stories on our homepage, so people using that browser will now see a smaller, random selection. If you’re using any other browser you’ll still see all the stories.
  • We’ve switched back from the OSMF player to FlowPlayer temporarily for videos. The OSMF player requires the user to have Flash Player 10 and the distribution image just includes Flash Player 9. We’re going to add a prompt to the OSMF player to let people know they need to upgrade, then put it back in production.
  • Custom splash images now work in Drupal videos. To add a custom splash image to your video use the [video:url image:url] syntax.

GO:

  • We’ve removed the Banner Web Scout which provided pseudo-load-balancing between the two BannerWeb servers through GO. All of the GO shortcuts for Banner now go directly to the primary server with no intermediate steps.

MiddLab:

  • We’ve redesigned some aspects of the MiddLab theme to make the site easier to navigate and provide more space for project content and larger video players. Watch MiddLab next week as many new projects from the Spring Symposium will appear.

Weekly Web Development Round-up April 11-15, 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

  • Webform emails have been fixed to correctly send as HTML. Each field will be shown on a single line (except multiline fields) with the field title bolded. If you want to get really fancy with your webform emails, you can create your own email templates.
  • We’re now using the Open Source Media Framework’s Strobe Player to play videos on the site. This improves the playback performance with better support for buffering streaming videos, so the content will load faster for you.
  • The “waveform” or “equalizer” feature on some of the top-level pages, like Student Life and Academics had so many stories that the title of the page wasn’t displaying. This is a good problem to have, and it’s now fixed in all browsers except Internet Explorer.
  • The Online Donor Roll is now configured to automatically switch from using the Banner reporting database to the Banner production database in the event that the reporting database is not available.
  • Lots of fixes to the New Edit Console, including a way to go back to the old Edit Console if you decide you don’t like it.

WordPress

  • Upgraded WordPress to version 3.1.1 and upgraded the XML Google Maps plugin.
  • Added the Stout Google Calendar plugin allow easier embedding of Google Calendars.
  • Added the Plugin Stats and Theme Usage Info to allow admins to monitor plugin usage and remove unused ones.
  • Posts with multiple authors (like this one) will now show information about all of the authors at the bottom of the post when you’re in a single post view. If you don’t appear in the list of authors on a post where you’re an author, you may need to configure your profile in WordPress.
  • The FeedBurner FeedPress plugin will no longer redirect all of your tag feeds to the blogs main feed address. You can now use this plugin and tag feeds at the same time.

Other

Links

Interesting news and posts from around the web about web development this week.

Issue with HTML Emails for Webforms in Drupal Resolved

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

Last Thursday I got a notice about the module that sends HTML emails for our website was no longer supported and an upgraded version was available. I installed the new version of the module and its supporting modules, tested submitting a form, got an email response that looked appropriate and upgraded our live servers to use the new version of the module.

Unfortunately, the new version did not work on the production servers. I’ve spent about 20 hours since then trying to figure out why that is the case, but was unable to come up with a solution. Instead, I’ve switched to using another module which is more widely supported. After some issues testing that, and some bug fixes to the Webform module to make them play nice together, emails should now be working as they were prior to Thursday.

If you notice any continued issues with emails from our website, please let me know.

If you want, you can re-send your form’s emails. Click “View submissions” below the form, then click the “View” link next to any submission and you’ll see a link labelled “Re-send emails”.

I’m truly sorry that this issue occurred. I was able to use this opportunity to bring our development and production systems closer to having the same configuration which should help prevent similar errors from happening in the future. As always, I welcome any questions you might have.

DrupalCon 2011: Day 1

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

This week Ian and Adam are in Chicago for the bi-annual DrupalCon developer conference. Drupal is the software that we use to manage the Middlebury and MIIS websites, as well as a couple others.

Read on for notes on the sessions we attended.

Keynote Presentation: Dries Buytaert (video)

Dries is the original developer of Drupal and gives the “state of Drupal” kickoff speech each year. This presentation is already available as streaming video (see the link above). The rest of the session videos will be up after the conference and when they’re ready we’ll make a blog post linking you to a few that are interesting for site editors – especially a session on the webform module.

The big news in the keynote this year is that development on Drupal 8 is going to begin at this conference and the developers who work on the core Drupal software are going to try to move to a more regular release schedule for new versions. We are currently running Drupal 6 and will be working on moving to Drupal 7 this year. Other news is that Drupal 8 is going to add more support for mobile and HTML5. There is a very good overview of HTML5 online if you’re unsure what this term means.

Media module for Drupal 7

Not to be confused with the Media module we run, which is part of Monster Menus, the code we work with Amherst to develop for Drupal, the Media module for Drupal 7 does many of the same things, but is a lot more slick about it. In Drupal 6, the standard way to add files to a site is to make them their own nodes (this is essentially what we do with File Upload nodes) or attach them to existing nodes as fields. The first way makes it easy to reuse files, but hard to use them inside content and the second way makes it easy to use files inside other content, but hard to reuse them.

The Drupal 7 media module is an attempt to resolve these conflicts. It’s still very early on in its development and use, but has features like the ability to manage YouTube videos like other files, drag-and-drop uploads and drag-and-drop reordering for photo galleries. Their goal is for Media to become the standard file-management system for Drupal 8. As work on this continues, we’ll see how we can use this modules features on our site, either by adding them to our Media module or making this module work with Monster Menus.

    Drupal Security for Coders

    This session was a good overview of the content in Cracking Drupal, given by the author. It focused on preventing XSS and CSRF attacks.

    Rockin’ HTML5 with Drupal

    I’m wary of any presentation that includes a slide with the title “Web 3.0″, but fortunately here it was used as a bit of a joke. There was a high-level discussion of the new features available to you when you convert your site markup to use HTML5, and this conversion is one of our goals this year at Middlebury. She also discussed the HTML5 Tools module, which is used to re-write a lot of HTML that Drupal produces so that it is HTML5 markup instead.

    This is useful for all the forms Drupal creates, not just the webforms you add to your site, but the page settings form, and the node editing form, and the copy/move form, etc. HTML5 adds a lot of new form markup so that you can have a non-JavaScript date picker, type suggestions in the field, and my favorite example is that you can mark a field as “email” and mobile device keyboards will include an @ symbol, or mark the field as “number” and the mobile keyboard will automatically which to a number pad when you move into the field.

    Aphorisms of API design

    A good session on designing APIs in Drupal systems. Talked a lot about how to make modules pluggable and when to do so. The topics discussed will be useful as we refactor our modules for Drupal 7.

    Views for Hackers

    The talk was an overview of the Views module and how its concepts like “relationships”, “arguments”, and “filters” translate to code and database queries. Most of the information was already familiar to us, but it made some of these concepts easier to understand.

    Discussions with Amherst Developers

    Our colleagues from Amherst are also here and we got to chat with Victor, Anita, and James. They’ve already helped us patch two issues that were bugging me and helped explain what the new Monster Menus CCK module is. I’m burying this at the bottom of this blog post because this is a really neat feature and I’m not sure when it will be available, but we’ll try to add it very soon.

    MM CCK adds a new “node picker” and “page picker” field type to nodes. If you’ve ever created a News posting or Story on our website and needed to add an image to it, you know that you do this by starting to type the name of the image in a field which searches the entire site for all images and you pick yours from that list. With the new “node picker”, you’ll get a popup window just like you do when you put an image inline in content and you’ll be able to browse just your site’s File Uploads folder.

    We’ve had a good exchange so far and look forward to continuing our discussion as the conference goes on.