Oregon State University

Drupal Update Release 12-13-2011

Starting Tuesday, December 13, 2011 Central Web Services will be updating our OSU Drupal release to the latest version.

This release will contain a new custom module we call Feeds Display which will make it much easier for people to set up the "News" and "Events" columns which you see on many of our web sites. We have also included several new modules which will enhance the functionality of Views. The OSU Standard theme as been updated as well to include an option to enter a custom Google Analytics tracking code, an option to hide the display of taxonomy tags on certain pages, and an option to add a Google+ link to your social media links.

Introducing Feeds Display

news feed block exampleYou may have noticed some interesting features showing up on many of our college and administrative sites lately.  One of these features is a variety of different, nicely styled feeds that display in columns on the front page of a site.

Up until now, if a Drupal site builder wanted to include "News" and "Events" columns in their Drupal site, they had to find or create some custom PHP code and insert that code into a block. This method was difficult for many of our users to configure, error prone and impossible for CWS to automatically update.

Feeds Display solves this problem by providing a "Feed" content type that knows how to display the most commonly used OSU feed types. For the first release these include:

  • University News and Communications news feeds regarding YOUR organization, related organizations, or the general OSU news feed if desired
  • OSU Event Calendar feeds for your organization, related organizations, or the main OSU Event Calendar, if desired
  • OSU Drupal 6 Announcement feeds from other OSU Drupal sites
  • Blog feeds from any blogs @ oregonstate.edu WordPress blog

With Feeds Display creating the "News" or "Events" blocks is as easy as creating any other content in Drupal.

Create a new Feed by going to admin menu > content management > create content > feed

After selecting "Feed" from the "Create Content" menu you will see a screen that lets you enter the URL for your site specific feed. You can create as many feeds as you want, each with their own specific content.

After your feed content is created, Feeds Display actually auto-configures the block it generates so that the block only displays on the front page.  All a builder has to do is go to the Blocks manager and place the block in the desired region.

Additonally, all feed blocks generated by Feeds Display include their own RSS icon, so your audience can pull the feed from your site.

Want to know more?  Visit the Feeds Display instruction articles, in our CWS Training site, for full details on how to use this helpful new module.

 

New OSU Standard Theme Options

Keeping true to form, OSU Standard has been updated with two new additional theme options.

Custom Google Analytics Tracking Code

custom google analytics tracking code theme settingBy default, all of our OSU Drupal sites use Google Analytics to gather data about our site traffic. In this default, all OSU sites under oregonstate.edu have aggregated statistics available, which can be obtained via WebComm.

Previously we had no way of tracking individual sites on a site-by-site basis via Google Analytics.

Now, though, if a department wants to track their data separately they can get their own tracking code from Google, enter it in their OSU Standard theme settings and monitor their web traffic via their own Google Analytics account.

To learn more about how to configure this setting, visit the related training documenatation in the CWS Training site.

Google+ Social Media Link

OSU Standard has a new addition to the Social Media links group, available through Standard's theme settings. 

If your organization has a Google+ account, simply paste the URL into the supplied field and a nicely formatted link and social media icon will appear in the lower left corner of your site, underneath the Contact Information.

Social Media Theme Settings in Standard
social media link fields in osu standard theme settings

Social Media Link Display
social links including new google+ link

For more detailed information regarding how to configure your social media links in OSU Standard, visit our Social Media Links article in the CWS Training Site.

New Site Maintenance Screen

In the past, if the timing was right, while CWS was performing updates to the hundreds of Drupal sites inside of oregonstate.edu, you, a colleague, or an audience member of yours may have landed on a strange, blue screen that informed you the Drupal site was under maintenance.

This is a normal part of updating Drupal that we try to work around by strategically scheduling our update hours, but sometimes it can't be avoided.

Original Maintenance Screen
drupal core maintenance screen

OSU Standard Maintenance Screen
new maintenance page based on osu standard

Starting from this update forward, CWS has introduced a friendlier looking maintenance page, based on OSU Standard.  If the user waits on the maintenance page, after the site has completed processing, it will automatically turn itself back on and display the front page.  The update process usually only takes a few minutes.

For specific questions or feedback regarding these updates, or for general Drupal assistance, please submit a Help Ticket or call 541-737-1189.

Contact Info

Central Web Services
Oregon State University
Corvallis, OR 97331
541-737-1189
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