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Web Communication May 30th Open Lab Recap

May 30th Open Lab Recap

A very belated recap at only 15 hours away from the next open lab!

We had a great turnout again, with 11 total in attendance, and there was plenty of good conversation.

Topics discussed and bugs found

WSUWP Platform: We’ll need to do some work to better clarify how the platform can be used to host various intranet type sites where only certain groups have access to both the back and front end. We have the ability to make sites private, but there are issues with hosted uploads being accessible to everyone. This is something we’ll need to keep on the radar as we continue building things out.

General: Related to the intranet topic, we do have a regex that matches all WSU IP addresses. Jeremy Bass sent that out in an email after the session. We should also discuss if there is a place where that makes sense to be published.

WSUWP Platform: The space restrictions for sites are handled in a better way now. We have uploads capped at 50MB per file across the board with no maximum limit on total used space. We talked about raising the limit to 100MB in the near future, though it may not be necessary. See the next item for other considerations around that.

WSUWP Platform: Can video files be uploaded? Technically, though the current maximum upload size can restrict that. WSU does have a video server that is better equipped for hosting videos, though we should figure out how to best provide that as a service if possible. Nonetheless, we should remove MOV, WMV, and AVI files from the allowed upload list and add MP4 as an acceptable video format. We should also test some short videos from iOS and Android to see what the experience is like. (Filetypes were adjusted in #151 and deployed as part of v0.7.5 of the platform)

WSUWP Platform: It may also be desirable to handle CSV, XML, and SVG files. We need to explore the list of possible file types and the security implications that may come with each.

WSUWP Platform: Gravity Forms is now available as a plugin on the platform. There is still plenty to learn about the plugin, but we were able to cover some introductory material. Basic forms can now be created through WordPress. Forms that require more advanced logic around inventory or pricing should go through Magento.

Magento: Magento will be available for testing soon with a store that will wipe out daily. We talked about how tiered pricing could look like for internal and external users of a college site. We also walked through some basic scenarios for the use of Magento.

Spine Parent Theme: A “header” layout option will be added to the page builder. Follow progress on #45 in the Spine parent theme repository.

General: We talked briefly about the new Pullman WordPress Meetup that was created. This will be a way for those in the Pullman area to get together outside of work and talk WordPress. Please join the group for updates. Our first meetup is June 18th. Brought up the new Pullman WordPress meet up as a way to find WP folks.

WSUWP Platform: We discussed the need to enable site paths that are two levels deep. Sites at can then be created. Issue #152 has been opened to track this.

Spine Parent Theme: Revisions are created each time a post is previewed when using the page builder. This is likely because of the way content is compiled before a view can be shown. We’ll need to check upstream to see if this is something that can (or should) be modified.

See you all tomorrow!

May 23rd Open Lab Recap

Another good turnout today, especially for a slow Friday right before the holiday weekend. Thanks everyone!

At the beginning of the session we did an overview of the current content creation status in the WSUWP Platform. We walked through the newly deployed Page Builder area to show off the new functionality and discussed some of the work that can be done through the customizer. We also highlighted the framework that exists behind the Spine as it is becoming much easier to visualize in combination with the Page Builder. I think this will continue to be a focus over time as we introduce new features to this and other platforms. The possibilities for the content created throughout the University are pretty amazing!

Topics discussed and bugs found

WSUWP Platform: Talked a bit about how the Javascript and CSS editors inside the dashboard could be used together to do some pretty cool stuff with the theme. The CSS Editor is already available in production, the Javascript editor is forthcoming. We want to make sure these are handled properly on the site level, with a possible option to add common CSS and Javascript at the network level.

WSU Spine / Spine Parent Theme: How will galleries and slideshows work? We’ll have some good defaults in place soon. At the minimum, a gallery of images will be displayed with a nice modal interaction to view each of the images. The best method for prepping these into a slideshow will need to be worked out over time. There are also opportunities to handle this all with custom Javascript and CSS, but it will be nice to have a clean solution for everyone.

Spine Parent Theme: We briefly discussed what the default template should be. Right now the Builder Template appears when a new page is created. It may make more sense to show a standard page layout. We’ll also want to revisit some of the existing page templates now that the builder is available as they may not be necessary.

Spine Parent Theme: Through some of the discussion during lab hours and some after, it’s apparent that we can probably do a few things to make custom header graphics easier to implement now that the page builder is available. We’ll explore adding a header section that can be customized accordingly.

WSUWP Platform: Upload settings should be set to 50MB by default. The default site level setting was currently 1.5MB, which is way too low. This is actually a setting that could be changed at each individual network level, but it does make more sense to have that as a global setting. #132 will make its way to production early next week to resolve this.

WSUWP Platform: XLS should be allowed by default. This is also a network level setting that should be controlled globally. Also in #132, due early next week, we’ll be adding XLS, DOC, PSD, AI, EPS, and ZIP files. This is very much subject to change over time, mostly for security reasons.

WSUWP Platform / Spine Parent Theme: How will comments be handled? There seems to be a general agreement that comments should be available, though disabled by default. We want to avoid using a comment service such as Disqus or Facebook. We should look into a university license for Akismet. We’ll need to work within the spine parent theme to handle the display of comment forms. I’ve opened issue #38 on the parent theme and #133 on the WSUWP Platform to track this.

WSUWP Platform: Useless new user emails with passwords are still going out. We’ll be working on making the user process much better in the near future. Emails should be relevant and it should be easier to ensure that users added are valid users on the WSU network.

We almost talked about labs.wsu this week, but then I missed it. I’ll make sure that this is brought up in next week’s session as I’d like to continue spreading the word on that initiative.

Thanks again to everyone who attended. Everyone is welcome to come hang out next Friday!

May 16th Open Lab Recap

We had a great turnout at today’s open lab with 10 total attendees across 6 different colleges and departments. Thanks to everyone for coming!

A projector was brought in this week so that we could demo a few of the things that will be appearing in production soon on the WSUWP Platform. I think that helped not only as a way to demo features but to dynamically walk through some of the questions that came up. In the future there may be some room for prepared slides to walk through various concepts.

Topic discussed and bugs found

Spine Theme / WSUWP Platform: When watching over a shoulder while configuring a site on the platform for the first time, it’s easy to see how the navigation menu area that is currently setup can be confusing. We have spaces for onsite and offsite navigation, but should do a better job by creating default menus that items can be added to. As it stands, menus need to be created first, and that process can be confusing.

WSUWP Platform: The logic controlling authentication needs to be fixed so that a double login is not needed. Right now, when you login for the first time at a site, you are redirected to that site’s network. If this network does not match the site perfectly, another authentication is required to setup the right cookies for access. This should all be handled on the first round. Track this issue on GitHub – #125

WSUWP Platform: We walked through an overview of the page builder that we hope to have in production within the next week. We talked about the concept of building pages as blocks and how this can apply to various sites that are built at the University. There is a lot of excitement around this feature.

WSUWP Platform: Explored some of the basics of TablePress, which is about to be added to the production environment. This will make managing large amounts of tabular data much easier than attempting to do everything in HTML. It also provides some great default features for sorting, searching, and formatting.

WSUWP Platform: Answered some questions about WordPress roles and capabilities, including the specific use of filters for has_cap and map_meta_cap. A couple resources on this topic were shared, including the video below. The slides from that video are a great read on their own. Another great talk that I didn’t remember at the time is Andrew Nacin’s “Current User Can Watch This Talk”, which is also embedded below.

Labs in WordPress: We had a good initial conversation about how a lab could be defined in the context of hosting on the web. Our first labs.wsu site was configured today and I look forward to discussing this in detail with many others in the near future.

See you all next Friday!

May 9th Open Lab Recap


Today we held the first open lab in what we hope will be a long series of sessions. A handful braved the first session and we had quite a few great discussions.

I will admit that this is coming a week late and the topics are not fresh in my head. We’ll do a better job of recapping in detail in the future. 🙂

Topics discussed and bugs found

Spine Theme: Explain “bookmark” behavior for posts and pages and categories. The bookmark of the spine is the top right area by default. Quite a lot of thought has gone into what headers should appear there for each view. We talked through a few of the scenarios and how to change the default behavior in CSS. More changes around this will come in the future.

WSUWP Platform: Taxonomies need to be added to pages and media in order to categorize things properly. This includes site level categories and the University wide taxonomy that will be enabled on all sites. See issues #126 and #127 on GitHub to track progress here.

WSUWP Platform: A feature request to protect posts so that they can be visible to only those with a WSU Network ID. This is now technically possible, as a post can be marked private and require authentication. It would be interesting to see how we can make this process easier in the future. This will go hand in hand with page level roles and permissions. Track issue #29 on GitHub.

Spine Theme: It is possible that the site tagline is wrapping unexpectedly on mobile displays. This is something that we’ll need to explore. I’ve opened issue #72 on GitHub for this.

WSUWP Platform: Previewing custom CSS changes results in a broken URL. This was resolved on issue #3 and pushed to production.

WSUWP Platform: We discussed the idea of having CSS instructions for hiding next/previous post links. This later turned into an idea to provide various blocks of commented out CSS in the CSS editor so that common customizations could be made or areas altered with a few line changes.

WSUWP Platform: We briefly discussed the upcoming page builder feature.