Middlebury

Drupal Features

Revision as of 16:01, 17 August 2009 by Adam Franco (talk | contribs) (Course Catalog)

The features and services which will be available to content managers on the new website, using Drupal.

Drupal Native Features

For the purposes of this article, which is to explain how content managers will interact with Drupal, all features in Drupal core, contributed Drupal modules, and Monster Menus are considered "native" features. To content managers, these features will appear as a seamless part of a single system.

Images and Documents

Similar to the current Content Management System, content managers will be able to upload images and documents which they can link in their posts. Unlike the CMS, they will be able to do this while editing their content, rather than as part of a separate document manager.

Please refer to the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines for use of PDFs to determine whether documents should be in document format or if their content is better presented as a web page.

Audio and Video

These media formats can be embedded inline in content posts using the format "[video:url_to_video.ext]". The list of 15 supported video sources is available in the Video Filter Module documentation. We have extended the module to support our local streaming media server, MiddMedia, which is the preferred content repository for locally developed media. All Middlebury users already have access to MiddMedia with a generous quota. Many departments also have shared space on the server, which can be set up on request to Joe Antonioli.

Profiles

There will be a content type in Drupal that allows you to fetch profile information from the Directory and display it alongside biographical information about the person. This will be similar to how the Faculty profiles operate currently in departmental sites. This will both display information from the online directory and link to the record in the directory.

Tagging

Content managers will be able to tag pages on their site using the Taxonomy module for Drupal. Tags will come from a set of global sites tags. Tagging content is a way to relate the content on each site with similar content elsewhere. An example of a tag might be "environment", which could be applied to a story in Dining Services about buying local food. A user clicking on the "environment" tag would then see content related to that topic from anywhere on the Middlebury site.

For departments which require it, we may also set up a custom "vocabularly". This would allow the department to organize content using a set of tags specific to their function. The need for a custom vocabulary should be identified as part of the content workbook process.

You may wish to read more details about Taxonomy in Drupal in the Drupal handbook.

RSS Aggregation

Content managers will be able to display the contents of a RSS feed as a page in their site. This allows the departments to manage certain content in a blog or other RSS enabled system and then present the content as though it were natively part of the department's CMS site, without requiring the user to visit the blog. In addition to external RSS feeds, content managers will also be able to display feeds of other sites within Drupal. For instance, the Sustainability Integration Office (formerly Environmental Affairs) may choose to display a feed of news items from the Environmental Studies department. Similarly, the "RSS Page" in Drupal can be used to display feeds of site tags from the Taxonomy system.

Calendaring

Each site will be able to choose to have a calendar which presents events involving their functional area. This calendar will be based on segment criteria from the central scheduling system: Resource 25. It will be the responsiblity of the department to coordinate the input of their events into this system, which should occur with the Events Scheduling Office. This segemented calendar will allow users to subscribe to that department's events via RSS, iCal, vCal, or text messaging. This is the preferred and highly encouraged way to manage event information and there will not be a separate template for events in the new content management system.

Google Maps

Content managers will be able to enter location information into certain content types on their site. They can enter an address or latitude/longitude coordinates. For many (but not all) countries, the system will automatically determine the lat/lon based on address information. This can then be used to build a custom Google Map on the site. MIIS is using this feature to add lat/lon to each of their Stories which will then be used to automatically populate a map of the MIIS Around the World page, allowing users to click on map points and read about the MIIS story happening in that location.

Web Forms

We will use the Web Form module for Drupal which allows departments to do self-service creation of online forms with fields as specified by the content managers. This module also allows the managers to set email delivery of the form results and do conditional emailing of the results (i.e. send the results to Mary if they answered "Yes" to question 3, otherwise send the results to Tom). We will recommend that content authors move their current web based forms into this system as part of their content redevelopment work, if appropriate.

Web Features outside of Drupal

Content managers should be aware that Drupal is not the only content authoring platform supported. Because of our ability to import information using the RSS Page content type, we can create content in other locations and display it as part of the department site, or simply link to it from the department site in the traditional manner.

Course Catalog

Course information and descriptions will be contained in a central database fed from Banner that can be used to display slices of that information on the departmental sites. This database will contain both information for the current term as well as past and future terms.

See: Course Catalog

Blogging

Departments are welcome to create their own department blog in WordPress_MU our supported blogging platform. They can do so at any time. Several new themes for WordPress_MU will be delivered as part of the design deliverables from White Whale. Once we have these, departments will be free and encouraged to use them.

Wikis

Department may request a wiki on our MediaWiki platform. Wikis can be either public or private. A list of changes can be aggregated from the wiki for display in the CMS portion of the departmental web presence.

Search Landing Page

The strategic recommendations document from White Whale specifies that we should create custom search result pages for some number of the top search terms on our search engine. A custom search page is an easy way for a department to get the most relevent information about themselves into a short form. Not all custom search result pages will be for departments, but some may. Departments should think about what information they would want to display in this form and how that would be different from the home page of their departmental site.