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  • jarbenne 4:47 pm on January 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: links, menu,   

    Deactivating the Links Menu 

    Back in 2012 WordPress removed the “Links” menu from the admin dashboard. This menu still exists on the Commons. In order to use it, you needed to add links through the Links menu, then go over to Appearance/Widgets and activate the Links widget on your sidebar. This is pretty convoluted, and the same functionality can be created by creating a custom menu of custom links (there’s a Custom Menu widget that will display any menu you build, including menus full of custom links that point to other websites).

    As WordPress adopts the Customize functionality more and more to avail a simple way to build how your site looks, holding onto functionality like the links menu creates a disconnect that I’m hoping to rectify (you can build a custom menu in the customizer, but you can’t leverage the old links menu). I think we held onto the Links functionality for too long. I don’t know of anyone who is using it, and it adds an additional menu item in the admin panel that seems superfluous now.

    All of that to say that I’m deactivating the links functionality today. If you were using it, you can re-activate it on your own site by going into the Plugins menu on your site and Activating the “Links Manager” plugin. If you would like help migrating over to a custom menu, here’s a quick video:

  • jarbenne 10:53 pm on June 27, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    SSL Everywhere 

    Warning; technical details ahead: Over the weekend, the entirety of the Commons was switched over to the HTTPS protocol. This has been in the works for a few months now, and took a few key steps.

    We first needed to secure all of the content that you share on your site. We accomplished this by shifting all our media content to be served up using an S3 Offloads plugin developed by a company from Nova Scotia named Delicious Brains. For the most part all 200 000+ media items made the shift over to their new home. You might find you need to add your header back to the top of you blog, or if you manually referenced an image or file in a widget on your sidebar, you may need to grab the URL again now that it’s being served from a different server.

    The next step was to procure certificates for all our our custom domains. Most of the sites on the site are covered under a wildcard certificate: *.commons.hwdsb.on.ca, but users who have opted for a custom URL aren’t covered by this certificate. We leveraged an exciting new initiative called Let’s Encrypt to secure sites like mrpuley.ca, suedunlop.ca, adunsiger.com, and mrjarbenne.ca. Although these sites comprise a small subsection of the 7097 sites hosted on the Commons, I’m inspired by the work of the Domain of One’s Own project, and would love to eventually see our work extend out to allow students to being building out their own digital cloud, as referenced in that linked article from Wired Magazine:

    “Writing for EDUCAUSE Review in 2009, Gardner Campbell took the argument a step further. In A Personal Cyberinfrastructure he argued that learning to build and operate a personal cloud was a life skill students would need and should be taught”

    If you don’t see the green lock at the top of the browser bar, you might have “mixed content”. A picture of a browser bar, with the green link indicating an SSL connection.This is caused by elements on the page that aren’t secured, and are still being delivered via http, and not https. In many cases, you can navigate to the post in question, and just add an “s” to the end of the “http” portion of the URL in the embed code (most sites that offer embedded content are secured by SSL. If you use a service that isn’t secure, reach out to them on Twitter and ask them to secure their embeddable content). Mixed content has been an “issue” within the HUB (Desire2Learn/Brightspace) for a few years now, so users who navigate that space will be aware of the issue. There is a movement to secure the web that we heartily support.

    We couldn’t have done this without the help of our web-host and WordPress security specialist @boreal321.

    As always, if you run into issues, don’t hesitate to comment below, or reach out to your 21CL Consultant via email.

  • jarbenne 12:52 pm on April 14, 2016 Permalink | Reply  

    Moving Media 

    We’ve started to move existing media over to a faster server to help increase the performance of the site. If you notice any issues or problems (disappearing photos would be the assumed impact if things go wrong) please reach out so we can provide a fix.

    Happy Blogging.

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