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Web Communication Pending Spine release available for testing

Pending Spine release available for testing

A new version of the Spine (1.4.0) is being prepped for release on Wednesday, March 23d. This is a release for enhancements and bug fixes only. We do not expect anything to break backward compatibility. 🙂

It would be great if you could spend a few minutes testing things out over the next several days. If you are an admin on the WSUWP Platform, you can change the version of the Spine that your site uses through the Customizer.

We’re still working on a full changelog to share, and will post a preliminary one soon. In the meantime, here are the primary areas to focus on:

  • Mobile navigation has been completely refactored. All modern smartphones and tablets are now expected to work. The interaction in general should be much smoother and reliable.
  • Several bugs in the Spine navigation area on all sizes have been addressed.
  • Open Sans font files are no longer being hosted as part of the Spine on repo.wsu.edu. Instead, please load Open Sans from Google Fonts in your templates. If you’re running WordPress outside of our WSUWP Platform, please make sure you’re using the latest version of the Spine Parent Theme. If your site is in the platform, you’re already good.

If you notice any bugs, please reach out through our community Slack or by filing an issue on GitHub. Thanks!

Upcoming Open Labs Schedule (Including Spokane!)

We have a change of venue for our normal, weekly open labs next Friday. On March 18th, we’ll be in the CUB, room 208 from 9:30am to 11:30am.

Same format, same everything else, just a slightly different location. And who knows, if we like it we might try to keep it. 🙂

We’re also making a trip up to Spokane on Wednesday, March 23rd to hold 2 open labs sessions. One from 10:00am to 12:00pm in PBS 118 and another from 1:30pm to 3:30pm in SAC 313. If you’re in Spokane, stop on by!

March 11 – Open Lab Recap

Howdy! Here’s a recap of the topics we discussed during open labs this week. We’ll turn comments on at some point in the near future. For now, if you have any questions or suggestions, check out the WSU Web Slack team.

Background images on columns

Background images can now be assigned to columns in the page builder interface. Use the gear icon on a column to bring up the interface to enter the image URL. This is similar to how background images can be added to sections.

The background image itself will only take up the size of the content in that column. The equalize class can be assigned to a section to make all column heights equal in that section.

TablePress DataTables Row Grouping

We’re not entirely sure how to use this feature yet, but we’re looking into it. 🙂

Gradient backgrounds

While Marsha was showing off the work she’s been doing on https://hws.wsu.edu, we explored CSS gradients vs image gradients. ColorZilla provides a gradient editor, which is a good resource for generating CSS gradients.

Are testimonials worth it?

Sheilah brought up an interesting resource that seems to claim that social testimonials are better than talking about yourself. The UI of goodui.org is a little strange though, so it’s hard to tell if it really is bad. We seemed to have some group agreement that fake testimonials are bad, authenticity goes a long way. (And talking about the work you’re doing isn’t bad at all.)

More flexible roles

There are several roles and capabilities that need work throughout the platform. Joyce brought up an issue where some folks may only need access to add calendar events, but should not be able to publish posts and pages without review. We’re tracking our wishlist of future roles and capabilities on GitHub in WSUWP Platform issue #274.

People Directory discussion

We talked through some of the current status of the people directory, including the possibility of mass importing users by WSU NID. If you have examples for how you would like people records to appear when syndicated on your site, please chime in on Slack. We’ll be looking to add a couple other HTML templates soon to cover some basic cases.

Thanks everyone!

March 4 – Open Lab Recap

The session started off with Jeremy giving an overview on setting up and developing locally in a virtual environment. He also pointed out the Spine Child Theme Skeleton and the Plugin Skeleton as bases for people to work off of.

Topics discussed and bugs found

WSUWP Platform: Colorbox – a lightbox plugin for jQuery – is available on the platform via the Custom JavaScript Editor. Jeremy gave a brief demonstration on how to set up a basic implementation.

The Social & Economic Sciences Research Center offers a survey design clinic.

WSUWP Platform: The DataTables Row Grouping extension for TablePress has been added to the platform.

WSUWP Platform: The people directory, People Display and Content Syndicate plugins were briefly discussed. The people component of the Content Syndicate plugin will be broken out as a standalone plugin.

Spine Parent Theme: The templates aren’t set up to show authorship data from the Coauthors Plus plugin.

 

 

 

Analytics properties linked to Search Console

google_search_console_image

Over the next few weeks, Web Communications will be “associating” Google Analytics properties (within the *.wsu.edu family) with their corresponding Webmaster Tools / Search Console accounts. About 40 associations have been completed so far.

The natural response: ‘So what? What is that going to do for me?’

The Search Console allows website/GA owners to better see:

  • What pages have been indexed on your site
  • What domains link to your site
  • Errors encountered by web crawlers
  • The crawl rate of your site
  • Your website’s performance in Google organic searches
  • More data regarding keywords, landing pages, devices, etc.

Please note: This step, to associate GA properties with their Webmaster Tools/Search Console, is being performed only on Google Analytics accounts over which the site owners have granted Web Communication access and permission to help. Site owners who maintain their own GA accounts, without Web Communications assistance, might want to take this step on their own, in order to benefit from the additional analytics data.

For additional information, see https://support.google.com/webmasters/answer/4559176

Protect your Web analytics from spambots/ghosts

google analytics logoWebsite traffic from referral spambots/ghosts has been invading many WSU websites and corrupting the reliability of Google Analytics data – at both the site and universitywide level. As a result, spambot/ghost filters need to be deployed on all *.wsu.edu websites.

To combat spambot/ghost data corruption, WSU Web Communication has developed, tested and monitored several spam filters over the past several months.

Like email spam, the sources of this traffic mutate regularly and eventually get around the newest filters, at which point filters need to be reconfigured.

Spam in Google Analytics can be categorized by two types: ghosts and crawlers. Ghosts comprise the vast majority of referral spam. They are called ghosts because they never access your site, but they do corrupt site data and university’s global data.

On Tuesday, Feb. 23, the newest referral spam filter was deployed/updated to about 50 Google Analytics accounts and their properties. These are Google Analytics accounts which the site owner has granted Web Communication access and permission to help oversee.

However, there are a number of websites and corresponding Google Analytics accounts in the *.wsu.edu family with which Web Communication does not assist. Because the Google Analytics data from those websites negatively affects/corrupts universitywide global analytics, it is requested that those sites install an effective, current referral spam/ghost filter as soon as possible.

If you would like Web Communication to assist you with setting up and maintaining your Google Analytics, please contact Robert Frank, rfrank@wsu.edu, 335-7727. (Note: Ownership of GA accounts/properties always remain that of the site manager/owner. Web Communication is only there to help to the degree desired.)

Thanks in advance for your time and prompt help.

(Special thanks to Jeremy Bass, who has written the code for the spam/ghost filters.)

** FYI, don’t forget to check out universitywide analytics at https://analytics.wsu.edu

Join the WSU Web Slack Team

The Web Communication team has embraced Slack as one of its daily tools. We use Slack to enable communication around the many projects that we work on day to day, as well as to increase incidental communication—sharing tips, suggestions, and interesting things that we find throughout the day.

Not too long ago, we started another Slack team for general use by the WSU web community. Anyone with a wsu.edu email address can join this team and participate in discussion. We hope to use this as another way to foster an open and collaborative culture around the web at WSU.

Signing up is quick. Head to https://wsu-web.slack.com/signup to create an account. Once you’re up and running, post questions and discussion topics in the default #general channel.

We’d like to encourage a default to open mindset. Rather than relying on private messages, ask questions in the open so that everyone can benefit from the answer. Over time, we can gather more frequently asked questions and turn them into more proper documentation on web.wsu.edu.

Intro to WordPress at WSU

When: Feb. 8th @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Where: ITB 2025

This will be a general introduction training. Anyone who is new to WordPress here at WSU is welcome to attend.

Releases: WSUWP Platform 1.4.0, WordPress 4.4.2

WordPress 4.4.2 was released yesterday and the WSUWP Platform was immediately updated to match. There are no large changes, though several bug fixes and two security fixes were included. WordPress 4.5 is scheduled for April.

What follows here is the full release information for WSUWP Platform 1.4.0, from our open source project on GitHub.

This is the thirty-third production release of our open source WSUWP Platform project. The official tag of this release is 1.4.0.

A full comparison of changes is available is available. Here are the notes from the release:

Enhancements

  • Upgrade WordPress 4.4.2
  • Allow network admins to promote users of their network to network admins.
  • Search site URL as well as site name in each network’s quick search under My Networks.
  • Enable zip file uploads for all sites. “Extended” networks are no longer used.

Bugs

  • Clear the wsuwp:site cache key for a domain/path when a site is deleted.
  • Ensure the “View” link is consistently places in the admin header when editing a post/page.
  • Fix logic to determine if My Networks menu should be shown. Users of multiple networks will now see My Networks.
  • Fix mistyped branch used for provisioning in Vagrantfile.

Intro to WordPress at WSU

When: Jan. 26th @ 2:00 pm – 4:00 pm

Where: ITB 2025

This will be a general introduction training. Anyone who is new to WordPress here at WSU is welcome to attend.