The next CWS Drupal release, 7.35-cws-1.0.0, will be deployed to production Drupal 7 sites on Tuesday Mar 24. This release includes:

Security Updates

  • Drupal core 7.35
  • Webform 7.x-4.5
  • Chaos Tools 7.x-1.7

CWS custom module updates

It was discovered that the varnish cache was not being cleared when the site cache in Drupal was cleared. In response, a hook was added to clear the varnish cache for a site when the site cache is cleared through using “Flush all caches”.
Lookup Module
After deleting the module, the content in the database was still present, including the tags data.  This has been corrected.
OSU Groups
Login redirection to dashboard was broken.  This has been corrected.
The appropriate Actions Permissions were added and provided to the group user role.  These permissions will allow group managers the ability to perform bulk operations when managing their users.
OSU Group Views
Every view that is a part of the OSU Group Views module has now been configured to cache for 1 hour, the same as Feature Story.  Therefore if changes do not immediately show after you make them, flush the cache.

Updates to contributed modules

New contributed modules

Domain Context
This will allow sites that use the Domain module to create Contexts that use the domain as a condition. This will be particularly helpful in

Removed contributed modules

We are no longer using this having instead gone with the Colorbox module.

If you have questions or concerns please contact us though our contact form.

Blogs have been updated to WordPress 4.1.

New features:

  • Twentyfifteen theme
  • Distraction-free writing mode
  • Vine embeds

New Plugins:

  • Disqus comment system – Use the system for comments
  • Printfriendly – Creates a printer friendly version of your blog contents as well as creating a PDF of the page.



The update of the WordPress-SEO plugins has resulted in extra content being added to a blog site’s RSS feeds.

The extra content is “The post xxx originally appeared in yyy”.

To remove this content, you will need to log onto your blog site and from the wp-admin page, go to SEO -> RSS.

Remove the text in the ‘Content to put after each post’ edit section.

Save the ‘Save Changes’ and you should be good to go.

SEO RSS Content editing

With the installation of the prezi-embedded plugin, using prezi in blogs posts and pages has been simplified.

To enbed a Prezi in our blog posts, we need to do the following (from the plugin installation notes):

Place [prezi id="<Prezi ID>"] in any post or page were you want to embed a Prezi.

To find your Prezi ID, the easiest solution is to simply copy the URL of your Prezi, which should look something
like this:<Prezi ID>/<Prezi Slug>. If you paste that URL exactly as it is, the plugin is
now smart enough to extract the ID for you. Alternatively, if you would like to do it the hard way, you can
manually extract the <Prezi ID> from that same URL.

Prezi Embedder Options

In addition to a simple embed, you can also set some additional embed options:

  1. align (default = none): Aligns the Prezi left, right, or center in your post.
  2. width (default = 500): Width of viewer in pixels.
  3. height (default = 400): Height of viewer in pixels.
  4. lock_to_path (default = 0): Whether to constrain user navigation to Prezi path (1), or let them roam free (0).
  5. autoplay (default = 0): Enables option at bottom of Prezi display to start autoplay.
  6. html5 (default = 1): True (1) to use new HTML5 viewer, false (0) to use Flash-based viewer.

The following shortcode is equivalent to [prezi id="<Prezi ID>"], with default values explicitly set:

[prezi id="<Prezi ID>" width=500 height=400 lock_to_path=0 html5=1]

Central Web Services is continuously making improvements to our Drupal platform. We’re fixing bugs, updating modules, adding new features, and enhancing existing features. For the past 3 years we have been on roughly a six week release cycle. If there were important security updates it could be shorter, but frequently it was longer. We want to change that. We want to be able get new features, and fixes out to the sites that requested them in a much more timely fashion.

As part of our Agile Development process we have been implementing procedures for automatic testing and deployment of changes to our Drupal modules and features. This has made it much easier for us to find and fix bugs and make sure that a feature is ready for prime time before it reaches your site.

This will allow us to move to a two week release cycle. We will update all of the Drupal 7 production sites every other Tuesday. Sometimes these updates will be minor and provide no additional functionality, sometimes they may only include security updates, but often they will include enhancements to existing features, or new features entirely. We will communicate these changes through e-mail announcements to site managers, through the Drupal Support e-mail list, and through a post here on the OSU CWS Blog .

As always our goal is to help you create the best websites we possibly can. We think this change will really help in that regard.

WordPress received a set of plugin updates today.  The Jetpack plugin was updated to version 2.5 resolving an issue of the Twitter widget not displaying tweets.  The issue had to deal with the Twitter widget ID not being saved properly in Jetpack’s Twitter widget.  A Twitter site owner needs to create a Twitter widget first in as a pre-requisite to using this WordPress widget.  The widget works properly now.

You know there’s a however coming next, right?

However, certain browser add ons or extensions may prevent it from displaying properly.  In the event that you still do not see the Twitter timeline, then first clear the browser cache and settings (Google it if you don’t know how), and see if it works.  If that does not work, then disable your add ons and figure out which add-on was preventing it from being displayed by re-enabling the add-ons (Firefox) or extensions (Chrome) one at a time to figure out which one.

The other plugins that were updated were:  SI Captcha, WordPress SEO, and WP-PostRatings.  Please go to the respective plugin sites to look at what was updated for these.

In between terms, we will be looking to upgrade the WordPress version to the latest, as that change will be more involved and require a longer period of downtime.

As always, if you have any questions, feel free to contact us.

As we’ve been talking to people about consolidating Drupal sites into larger sites in Drupal 7, questions come up about how to set up navigation for a much larger site. With academic units the navigation breaks down nicely along the lines of colleges, schools, departments, and programs, but with administrative units it is not always that clear. When Information Services was faced with this task a decision was made to de-emphasize the organizational structure and instead focus on the services provided. This makes a lot of sense as most visitors to our websites really don’t care that much about our department structure but rather what we do and what services are available to them. As CWS was designing how we would use Organic Groups to combine the old Drupal 6 sites into the new Drupal 7 site for IS we wondered how well OG would work with this service oriented approach. Fortunately IS had already done the hard work of coming up with logical groups of service categories, and the services within each one. We then were able to map the groups directly to the services, and organize them into “parent units” which were mapped to the service categories. By including the names of the service. and the category, in the site name header, we accomplished the goal of having these appear as distinctive sections of a website.


Each title is a link back to that level of the site, just as the site name has always been a link back to the front page.

The services based navigation solves many of the problems of organizing a large website, but sometimes there is still a need to represent the department organization as well. For example to see where people work, and where they are located, you still might want to have an organizational view of your website. At first we were not sure how to approach this, but then realized that we could have a parallel structure of parent units and groups that matched the department structure. So for example a parent unit for Media Services, and a group for Central Web Services. Once we determined the right approach this was easy to implement and works well in practice.

To see this for yourself please visit the Information Services website at . The services and categories are all in the “Services” menu and the departments are under “Directory & Contacts” => “Organization”. As you explore this site think about how we can use this model on your Drupal site when it comes time to upgrade it to Drupal 7.

Another year, and we are ready for another round of Connect.  What is Connect?  Connect is the 4 days before fall term classes begin. It is a chance for new students to begin to “connect” to OSU. There are a range of activities that help to connect you to academic resources, discover all the ways to get involved, learn about traditions and meet other new students.  With this year’s connect we are launching version 2 of our OSU Connect App.


Connect Events Screen     This version, available for Android and iOS, will feature the OSU Scholar Symposium events, and the ability to “favorite” events, by dotting the O.  What you don’t see is all the work put in behind all of this to adapt to an upgrade in the framework we are using by Appcelerator.  The Alloy framework introduced MVC programming into Titanium, and with the help of staff and one of OSU’s very own computer science students, Seth Toda, we’re refactoring the code to make it more modular.  This will enable OSU to be able to launch our apps faster and add features faster as well.


So look for the apps and app updates in the iTunes Store and Google Play store, and don’t forget to keep your apps up to date.  To the new students arriving at OSU, it is time to Connect.

OSU Search is powered by a Google Search Appliance. One of issues we’ve had to overcome from day one is the relevance of search results. One of the main criteria for search result relevance is how many pages link back to a page to figure out how relevant a search result is. This is one of the areas where OSU Search can’t keep up with external search engines like Bing, Yahoo or Google because OSU Search crawls, and is only aware of, OSU related websites.

In other words, if a site is being linked to by many external websites or groups this information is not used by OSU Search to improve results.

The good news is that the Google Search Appliance has a feature called Self Scorer. With this functionality turned on, the search appliance can improve the search results relevance by observing which links the users click on after they do a search. We had this feature turned on, but since we don’t use the search appliance directly, we weren’t taking advantage of it. In the latest version of OSU Search, we ported this feature over. Now, whenever you do a search in, the search appliance will make a note of what search result you clicked on and if enough people click that search result, it will move it up the list. This should make a difference in the relevance of search results end users see.

Another advantage of having the Self Scorer enabled is that we can run advanced search reports. What this means is that we’ll now be able to get reports that tell us things such as:

  • The ranking of the search results that people are clicking on, or
  • How often people use the next/prev links to find what they’re looking for instead of finding it on the first page

This extra data will allow us learn how useful the information that OSU Search is for different types of search queries, so that we can improve them.


The close of Drupalcon 2013, held in Portland, has left me with lingering, fond memories of 3,300 nerds gathered in a glowing Drupalicious camaraderie.  The convention was a great success, despite the rain and ever present Wi-Fi issues.

So what, you may ask, was my personal highlight?  Maybe it was the tantalizing sneak previews of Drupal 8 with all its built-in mobile goodness?  Perhaps it was the really excellent sessions that were provided in the brand new and much needed Education and Government track?  Or, was it possibly getting my photo taken with User-1 himself, Dries Buytaert, and giving him some of our very own OSU Drupal swag?

These were all great things.  Really they were.  But, ultimately, they all pale in comparison to the keynote address given on Day Two, in my eyes at least.

This particular keynote, “Thriving in a World of Change: Future-Friendly Content with Drupal”, was presented by Karen McGrane, a world-renowned user-experience designer and content strategist who has led content projects for The New York Times, Conde Nast, and Time.  In addition to spearheading projects for enormous publishing corporations, she’s also a managing partner at Bond Art + Science, a UX consultancy she founded in 2006, and she teaches Design Management in the Interaction Design MFA program for the School of Visual Arts in Manhatten.

In short, this lady knows her stuff, folks.  If you’re a content author, site architect, or web developer on any platform, I strongly suggest taking a peek at what she has to say regarding content structure and strategy.  You will leave more informed.  You might even be a little entertained.  You certainly won’t be sorry.

Please note that the actual keynote begins at 11:30 minutes into the video.