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"Charlie" Release Notes

A major technology upgrade, new customer-requested features, and a variety of user-centric improvements

The Charlie release was deployed to Sites@Duke Pro throughout the second quarter of Fiscal Year 2024 (October – December 2023). Our Charlie is named for the ridiculously photogenic cat of Duke Web Services developer Ryan Robinson, and his Charlie was named after the classic Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Rest assured, there are no Oompa-Loompas working behind the scenes of Sites Pro... Or are there?


Infrastructure updates

Drupal 10 Upgrade

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Cute grey cat with white whiskers and green eyes peering at you

Our top priority for Charlie was to upgrade all Sites Pro websites from the Drupal 9 content management system (CMS) to the more modern Drupal 10, ahead of Drupal 9 reaching end-of-life in November 2023. This update had been a long time coming, with intensive preparations and testing to pave the way for a smooth transition. The differences between Drupal 9 and 10 are primarily at the developer level, with barely any user interface changes for our customers.

Previous news articles about the Drupal 10 upgrade

Other Improvements

We also rolled out technical solutions to resolve user-reported system issues – primarily addressing Events imported from feeds showing occasional "Page Not Found" errors, and performance of the editing experience on larger sites.

 

New Features

Drag & Drop content blocks

A game-changer for our site editors, we have added the ability to drag and drop content blocks on Pages and Stories... across rows! First, click the dot icon in the upper right of the Content Blocks interface, and then choose Drag & drop.

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Sites@Duke Pro user interface: drag & drop feature

Once you've completed reordering your Content Blocks, make sure to click Complete drag & drop, and Save!

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Sites@Duke Pro user interface: drag & drop feature

 

Site-specific categories on imported Events

Historically, Events imported from the Duke Event Calendar could only be tagged with Categories from the Duke Event Calendar. However, there are cases where our customers may need more granular or unique Categories that don't make sense for the broader Event Calendar. As a result, we have added the option for Site-Specific Categories on imported Events.

The Event editing interface now differentiates between two different types of Categories terms:

  1. Imported Categories: These are the traditional Categories that are automatically added by the Event Feed from Duke Calendar. Any changes you make to these within your Drupal admin website will continue to be overwritten each time the Event Calendar feed updates.
  2. Site-Specific Categories: This new addition allows you to manually enter Category terms that are specific to your individual website and that will not be overwritten by the feed.
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Editing interface that allows for both Imported and Site-Specific Categories

This difference is only visible to site editors on the Event edit screen. Elsewhere, all categories will appear in one intermingled list.

 

Page List Enhancements

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Page list with optional thumbnail image
In this Page List, the top item displays a thumbnail image and Summary text

By user request, we've tweaked the Page List content block to be more usable! 

Each Page item now has an optional thumbnail image field, which will display in a Page List. If the Summary field is populated, its content will also appear on the List.

 

Blog RSS FEed

Much like with News and Events, you can now provide an RSS feed of your Blog Posts for other sites and services to consume.

Find your Blog RSS feed at the following URL: https://yoursite.duke.edu/blog/rss.xml

 

"Last Reviewed" Field on Policies

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Policy details fields

Charlie also added a new field under Policy Details on the Policy content type. In addition to the existing Issued and Last Revised Dates, there is now a Last Reviewed Date field – to help let your users know when policies are up-to-date, even if they have not been recently edited.

 

Filter and soRt content by Author

On the main Content screen (/admin/content), you can now filter content by Author – and sort the results table by Author, as well.

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Content screen with filter and sort by author functionality
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Grey cat laying on a brown couch looking lazy and content

 

Accessibility & User Experience

STYLING of LINKED HEADING TEXT

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Linked header text examples
An arrow icon now displays next to all linked heading text, even in content blocks

The styling of headings (H2-H6) that are linked has been updated for improved accessibility and consistency, following guidance from Duke's Web Accessibility Office. H1 has been excluded because it is only used for Page Titles.

The most noticeable change is the addition of arrow icons next to linked headers – including in many content blocks.

 

Usability Enhancements

  • Updated color contrast and alt tags for improved accessibility – for example, the background colors of table rows 
  • Adjusted help text – in particular, clarifying that the Summary field on Profiles displays on Content References but not in lists
  • Sorting Resource Lists and the Resource List Page by alphabetical order
  • Made "no items found" messages more consistent across list blocks and list pages
  • Improved site search results
  • Applied a new layout to Related Projects at the bottom of Project items, for better consistency with other content types

Other Improvements

Charlie also implemented solutions for the following user-reported issues:

  • News Lists did not display images when imported from a Duke Today feed
  • Blog Post Lists on the homepage did not show Display Title or correct number of items
  • Text with bullet points did not wrap correctly around images

 


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Charlie the cat showing his chompers

Training documentation is being updated on our User Guide – but, in the meantime, please let us know if you have any questions about our Charlie changes!

Is there a new feature or change to the system that you'd like to see? As always, you can submit your ideas for consideration through our New Feature Request process.