*Drumroll Please*

At long last, we have finally implemented the project we’ve called “Distributed Content Management.” What does this mean? It means that we are finally allowing (very selective) access to the Drupal layer of the site – this is a huge step towards getting a site full of up-to-date, really dynamic content. The site is integrated with LDAP, allowing users to log in with their SJU credentials. Right now we have just one role set up, but are anticipating more in the future (including a very special setup for faculty to edit their own profiles). Also, this update fixed an issue we were having with creating custom aliasing – we were able to replace the Workbench Module with the Revisioning module and the conflict is now gone. Of course, Drupal being Drupal, a couple other things broke along the way, but we’re used to that by now!


How To: Upload an Image into Cascade

Cascade is one of the content management systems used at Saint Joseph’s University.  Users have access to this system to create and manage in-depth information about departments and offices at the University.  This is the first of a series of how-to articles that will assist users of the Cascade system in creating and managing their content.

Upload an Image into Cascade

Before you can use an image in your webpage, you must upload it to the Cascade system.  Before we get started, make sure that the image is on your computer.  If you have the image in a word document, in your email, or on a website, you must download the image to your computer.  Remember where you have saved the image.

Log in to Cascade (

Creating a folder named “images”:

  • Click on the main folder of your website.
  • Select New > Folder
  • In the System Name field name the folder “images”.
  • Do not change the Parent Folder field.
  • Do not change the Metadata Set field.
  • Leave the Publish box checked.  We want to publish this folder so that it and files within it can be seen outside of the system.
  • Uncheck the Index – Include when indexing box.  We do not want to include this in the menu index on the website.

Upload Your Image

  • Choose the folder you would like to upload your image to.  You can use the images folder in your website to help keep files organized.
  • Select New / File
  • Leave the System Name field blank.
  • Leave the Parent Folder field as-is.
  • Leave the File Contents field blank.
  • Under the Data section, select Browse or Choose File to locate the image to upload.
  • Locate the image on your computer.
  • Click on the Submit button.
  • Your image is now uploaded to Cascade.

DrupalCon 2013 Keynote – Thriving in a World of Change: Future-Friendly Content with Drupal

This is a pretty good keynote about the questions you have to ask yourself about what content is going to be displayed where and how and why on various devices. Thinking about how everything is structured to be displayed on different platforms. These aren’t technology problems, but human problems. Here’s the video on her website, along with her slides and notes – I think this is a really great talk for all of our content creators and managers to watch, along with our team – it starts off a little slow, but watch the whole thing – she really hits home and makes some great points that I think our entire web team – both the web services and ucomm sides – could benefit from. She talks about getting people to adapt to new technology – giving people what they need, not what they want. Not caving in when they whine “I want Microsoft Word!” but showing them how entering content into fields is more useful and more extensible, etc. She recommends these books: Content Everywhere and Managing Enterprise Content (calling them “indispensible”), along with Card SortingInformation Architecture for the World Wide WebDon’t Make Me Think (which I know I’ve seen a copy of around here), and Prototyping. I think some of these look really interesting/valuable – especially because we are constantly struggling with IA issues here. A quote from her talk:

“Focus on that … person who is never, ever, ever going to call themselves an Information Architect, but sure does need some basic IA skills to do their jobs.”

– Lou Rosenfeld (author of the above IA O’Reilly book)

Back from DrupalCon!

We’re back from DrupalCon, which was a great time – Portland is a pretty cool city, and we met a ton of other developers in Higher Ed – including one from Creighton, which is where Father Lannon is now – small world! I’m currently summarizing some of the sessions for our team, but I’ll post a few of those here, too. I’m looking forward to keeping in touch with the many, many higher ed people we met in Portland and learning and growing from the contacts we’ve made.

Project Management & Projects in the Works

We’ve all now attended the Project Management Essentials training, so we’re hoping that the processes we learned through that will help  us to be super-efficient. We’re also using some new project tracking and wiki/collaboration software, so expect a post from Matt on that soon.

Currently in the works:

Distributed Content Management – allowing users to authenticate to the site through LDAP and edit/create content. This is tricky because we need many levels of permissions and roles, and we need to make sure that the publishing workflow is set up correctly to notify content managers of new and updated content. We’re hoping to roll this out soon because it’s been a long time coming, but we’re switching from Workbench to Revisioning because of a conflict with the Workbench module, so that’s set us back some.

Map & Virtual Tour – Fixing and vastly improving/developing a new campus map and virtual tour. This project is in its infancy but promises to be really great for prospective students.

Updates to Majors & Programs – Fixing some issues, rearranging some content, and improving the search/filtering functionality so that site users can find what they’re looking for more easily.


We’ll also be working on some Cascade updates, WordPress additions, a new social feed for Admissions, a revamp of our internal menu system in Drupal, and a responsive design for our Drupal site. Not to mention the coming of Luminis 5! It’s definitely going to be a busy summer in Web Services.


Matt and Alanna are off to Portland, Oregon next week for Drupalcon. We’re hoping to meet a lot of higher ed folks and gain some insight on managing university sites with Drupal. Expect a recap when we get back!

A quick php reminder

Something so small and silly, but that can break a site. I forgot this last week and ran into some trouble. When you’re writing a module file, never put a closing


tag at the end of the file. My editor did this automatically, and I didn’t run into trouble until later, and I realized what the culprit was. A rookie mistake, but easy to make – and luckily, easy to fix. The issue it was causing was adding a blank link to the top of our xml news feed – which caused errors in reading it. The two seemed unrelated, but that was the fix. Deleted the closing tag, and the feed was fine.

Webby Awards!

Our site relaunch was submitted to the 2013 Webby Awards, and while we did not win, we were selected as an Honoree, which is a great achievement!

It is my pleasure to inform you that Saint Joseph’s University – Web Relaunch has been selected as an Official Honoree in The 17th Annual Webby Awards in the School/University category.

In recognition of the exceptional quality of submissions received this year, the Academy has acknowledged outstanding entries as Official Honorees, alongside our Nominees. With 11,000 entries received from all 50 US states and over 60 countries, the Official Honoree distinction is awarded to the top 15% of all work entered that exhibits remarkable achievement.

Congratulations – this is an outstanding accomplishment for you and your team!


You can see our listing here –  We were one of 10 honorees, so we’re pretty excited.

Site Updates!

We’ve been very busy here in Web Services, and you might notice a few changes on the website – most of what we’ve been doing is on the backend in Drupal, but we’ve made some features of the site a little snazzier – and the entire site should be running a little faster. If you take a look at the pods that pop open when you get to the site, you should be seeing some great dynamic content – different videos and profiles loading every time you look at the site, including a great new video from Joe Lunardi  – keep an eye out for it on the front page!


So take a look around the site, learn some more about our faculty and students, and let us know what you think! There is also a great series of videos on Our Multicultural Campus, which you can see here –

HTML Encoding in Drupal Core Files

Today I was trying to override the html output of the Custom Breadcrumbs module, which put a double right arrow quote, or », in between the breadcrumbs, along with strange spacing. I couldn’t find where in the module this was being output, so I went looking through the core functions, but that’s super tedious. So I thought, “well, let me just search for the double quote and then I can see where this is being output!” So I searched for the html encoding string, which is


Yeah, no relevant results, mostly just jQuery files and a couple of .inc files. But of course, searching for the actual character led me to the theme_breadcrumb function. I overrode the function in template.php, where I was able to wrap the output in a span and add a class so that the spacing would reflect our styles, and change the divider. And now I know. Drupal core doesn’t user html encoding in its files.