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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. ūüôā

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!

July 11th Open Lab Recap

Apologies for the lack of updates over the last few weeks! Here’s hoping we can get back on a regular schedule. Even though no recaps have been posted, open lab has been in session every week. We had 15 attendees for today’s session, including a handful of new faces.

Topics discussed and bugs found:

WSUWP Platform: It appears that the WSU SSO Authentication plugin is not being activated by default when a new network is created. This was a bug and was resolved shortly after the open lab under issue #171.

WSUWP Platform: Network admins do not currently have the ability to promote other users to the network admin level. Issue #172 has been opened to address this.

Labs@WSU: We’re just starting to talk about this a little more and will continue to spread the word as we sort out some of the details. Our intent is to have a labs.wsu.edu space available for any lab at WSU to have a free site with features and content organization common to a lab’s general needs. Jake Leachman’s HYPER lab¬†was our first test and we’re looking to expand. If anybody is interested in this, please contact Jeremy Felt.

WSUWP Platform: Discussed some of the possibilities around enqueuing custom Javascript from outside CDNs and the various needs of custom Javascript entry in general. This is a feature that is not yet enabled in production, but will be available in the near future.

WSUWP Platform: We need to start documenting several parts of the platform. Two areas were brought up today. First, how is PHP code introduced into the system. We’ll want to lay out what the review process looks like for that. Second, how users are added and managed at the global, network, and site level.

Web: Some kind of newsletter would be nice from the web team to keep everyone apprised of recent updates. Right now, web.wsu.edu is likely the best place. We can create a newsletter from that content.

Web: Where do we host large files? Chemistry currently has a couple videos that are many hundreds of MBs in size. We don’t want to handle the upload through WordPress, but we should have another solution where those files can be uploaded and then served.

WSU Spine Parent Theme: At this time, we link to facebook.com instead of the default WSU Pullman Facebook account in the parent theme. Issue #72 has been opened to resolve this in the theme.

WSU Maps: We covered the embedding of maps in WordPress with the shortcode that is now available. We also went through some of the custom functionality that is available to groups of the University when requesting a custom map from University Communications. This can all be done through maps.wsu.edu.

WSUWP Platform: We should document the best way to use YouTube embeds so that they are responsive and mobile friendly. The default oEmbed method works, but we can probably do a bit better to make this flexible.

WSUWP Platform:¬†It would be interesting to see how well the WordPress iOS and Android apps work for publishing to a multi-network platform. I’ve opened issue #173 to track progress on this.

That’s that. See everyone next week!

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!