Weekly Web Updates – March 7, 2016

You No Longer Need to Wait Five Minutes to See Your Drupal Changes (Most of the Time)

When you save content, save page settings, or create new content, that change will now immediately appear for everyone browsing the site, whether they are logged in or not. We use a caching service named Varnish that takes the rendered output from Drupal and keeps it in memory for five minutes. Everyone who is not logged in visiting the site (if you’re logged in you will always get an un-cached copy) will get the copy of the page from Varnish within that five minute window, meaning Drupal doesn’t need to use resources recreating the page for each visitor. After five minutes, the next person to request that page will get it from Drupal and Varnish will update its cache with the new copy.

Now, when you update or create new content on many of our Drupal sites, Varnish will be notified in the background that it should clear its cache and get the new copy of the page. So even if it’s only been a minute since the page was requested when you click the save button, the next visitor will get a fresh copy of the page from Drupal with your latest changes.

Unfortunately, this does not work for content displayed in page regions other than the main content area. If you update a sidebar item on a department homepage, the cache will only clear for that homepage, not all of the sub-pages on which the sidebar item might also appear. You’ll still need to wait the five minutes for that to happen.

We have only made this change to the Drupal sites where we run Monster Menus. Right now, that includes:

  • www.middlebury.edu
  • www.miis.edu
  • forms.middlebury.edu
  • forms.miis.edu
  • courses.middlebury.edu
  • courses.miis.edu
  • museum.middlebury.edu
  • www.davisfellowsforpeace.org
  • www.davisprojectsforpeace.org
  • www.davisuwcscholars.org

We will roll out a similar change to our other Drupal sites soon.


Fixes & Tweaks

  • We’ve corrected several JavaScript errors that were preventing the footer from appearing correctly on the L&ITS Wiki.
  • The Audio Player plugin for MediaWiki now works as intended.
  • Drupal webform radio and checkbox lists that are marked as required will now correctly show the red asterisk next to their field label when the field allows “Other…” as an option. It was missing, previously.
  • The Site Editor Log In link on the Middlebury Drupal site now appears in bright green on blue backgrounds, making it visible.
  • We have removed the WordPress Simple Footnotes Editor Button plugin, which no longer works.
  • We have removed the Pinterest link from the MIIS site footer.
  • The Varnish 503 Error page has been re-themed to provide better messaging during an error or widespread downtime.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *