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Drupal Update Scheduled for March 13

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

We wanted to let our website editors know that we plan on updating all six of our Drupal websites on March 13. This update is to the modules for that system that we work with Amherst to develop: Monster Menus, the Media module which manages files on the sites, and the RSS Page module which provides a content type for displaying feeds. This update may result in the site being unavailable for a few minutes while a database update script runs and will be done during our scheduled downtime that Sunday.

The affected websites are:

  • http://www.middlebury.edu
  • http://www.miis.edu
  • http://museum.middlebury.edu
  • http://www.davisprojectsforpeace.org
  • http://www.davisuwcscholars.org
  • http://courses.middlebury.edu

The Monster Menus module is what allows you to assign editing permissions to pages on our website and delegate control of portions of the site to others. We are currently running revision 3131 of this module which was completed by Amherst in August 2009, just before we first launched the new MIIS site in Drupal. Because of our fast-paced Web Redo project, we didn’t update Monster Menus while developing the new Middlebury site and moving the remaining content from MCMS to Drupal. During that time, Amherst redeveloped almost all of the module making many improvements. This update will bring us up to revision 5100, which we retrieved earlier this week.

Most of the changes to Monster Menus are behind-the-scenes things like creating a new database table to store which pages are the “parents” of other pages in the site IA. This will improve the performance of our site, but aren’t the type of things that you’re going to notice in your day-to-day work.

There are two differences that you will notice after we make this update.

Instead of collapse-and-expand menus to manage permission on a page, the interface is now presented in a single table where you can see all of the people who have permissions on the page and their level of permissions. Setting permissions still works the same way and none of the permissions you have assigned to your pages will change. Because this table is wider than the current interface, the page sidebar (if it exists) will be hidden when you edit the page’s settings.

The Insert File Upload dialog box has also changed. Instead of a list of links on the left, you now see a folder tree with all the pages on the site getting their own folder and thumbnails of the images or files appearing on the right with a nicer layout. The most important change is that you can now “bookmark” your File Uploads page so that you don’t have to browse through this list every time you add a new file. Your bookmarks will appear in the drop-down menu at the top of the pop-up window.

These probably, and hopefully, appear to be very minor changes to the editing interface. We’ll make sure that the documentation for editing the site, which you can always find at http://go.middlebury.edu/drupal, is updated with these changes when they’re applied to the live site.

If you have any questions or concerns about this, please leave a comment or contact me directly at imcbride@middlebury.edu.

LIS website content managers

Categories: Midd Blogosphere

As part of its charge, the LIS Website Team has identified staff who are willing and able to oversee the various sections of the LIS website. These people will:

  • Serve as main contact persons for questions about their sections of the site
  • Ensure their section of the site is current and accurate (which may involve delegating tasks to others).
  • Be aware of formatting, style, and other conventions used on the LIS/College web site and follow them when making changes.
  • Keep current with the necessary skills and tools do this (or receive training)
  • Consult with stakeholders before implementing major refresh & enhancements.

The team has created a wiki page (go/liswebcm) that  describes the role of the content manager, lists the names of content managers and the areas for which they are responsible, describes tools they can use to maintain content, and includes an FAQ section for anyone who may visit this page looking for answers. There is now also a “Problem with this Page?” link on each LIS page which can be used to communicate with the content managers about issues with pages such as broken links, misspellings, outdated content, etc.

We’d like to emphasize that content managers are not the only ones who make contributions to and work with the LIS website. The purpose of this contact list was to create quick access to specific “go-to” people responsible for the major parts of the site so that LIS staff would not have to spend much time determining whom to contact with questions.

If you have responsibility for a sub-section of the website, your content manager is not superseding you–you’re still responsible–but now you will hear from your content manager when you have to fix broken links, or when a design change needs to be made. More granular permissions for LIS pages in Drupal are managed using web data groups.