Author: cmc12028

Migrating From Other WordPress Servers

For those of you that have been using WordPress elsewhere, there are a few key distinctions you need know about the Aurora server.

Multisite

Aurora is a multisite installation of WordPress, modeled after WordPress.com. Each site has it's own tables, but they are in one database, and share the same library of plugins and themes.

Plugins

Plugins are controlled at the Network level in Aurora. The addition of any new plugins to the network is decided on by the Aurora Governance Committee, and spelled out in the Wishlist.

Themes

Similar to plugins, Themes are also controlled at the network level. Custom themes are permitted, but must pass a Code Audit process before being allowed on production.

Migrating From Dreamweaver

There is no automated method of converting existing content from Dreamweaver template based sites into Aurora. Our research with tools and with writing our own scripts showed that so much work was needed to clean up the content manually that there was no point to trying automated solutions. Our recommendation, and the method we used as well, is to manually copy and paste the content into new pages.

Migrating HTML Files Onto Aurora

To migrate your HTML files onto Aurora, see the guide on manually migrating websites.

Aurora vs. Dreamweaver

From 2002 – 2013, UConn relied heavily on the use of Dreamweaver templates to manage website content. For those of you accustomed to working with Dreamweaver templates, there are some changes you should be aware of.

  • Automatic Backups – Each and every time you hit Publish or Update, Aurora will save a new copy of the page or post you're working on. You can revert to older copies yourself. This means if you accidentally erase a page, you can always go back to a previous version.
  • Drag & Drop Navigation – In Dreamweaver, adding, removing, or renaming navigation items was technically challenging and time consuming. Now, you can rearrange your navigation in a simple interface.
  • No Setup – With Aurora you don't have to configure software with server addresses, port numbers, or other various settings. All you need is a web browser and an internet connection.
  • Multiple Webmasters – Aurora has a lot of features to support multiple people working on the same site, even at the same time. It will warn you if you try to edit a page someone else is working on. You can create users that can only edit certain pages, or whose work always has to be reviewed before being published.
  • File and Image Uploading – In the past, this used to require a lot of moving files around into specific folders to get them to appear in Dreamweaver, or setting up a WebDAV client. In Aurora, you simply click 'Add Media' when working on a page, and you can select any file on your computer to upload to the site.
  • Scheduled Updates – If you need a site change to happen at a specific date and time, you can now just set a timer. The new page, or changes to a current page, won't appear until the appointed hour.
  • Online Drafts – If you're working on a new page, and want some feedback before it appears publicly, save it as a draft. Send the preview link to colleagues without the worry of it appearing on the main site yet.
  • Dynamic Homepages – Add news posts, an events calendar, and a photo slideshow, and control them all yourself.
  • Limited Coding Ability – In Dreamweaver, you had direct access to all code of the page. In Aurora, that access is limited. There is still a Text/HTML view for those that want to write some code by hand, but for those who want truly custom layouts and displays, please read more about Themes and Plugins.
  • Limited Layout & Color Choices – Aurora is limited to the looks and layouts available under the "Themes" menu item. UITS will be adding more options to this main theme over time, and those interested may want to look into custom themes under Themes and Plugins.

Changing Themes

On WordPress, it’s easy to change themes for a website. Simply go to Appearance > Themes, and you can preview how your site might look in another theme.

Before you decide to switch to a different theme, there are some things you should keep in mind.

The Good News

Switching themes does not destroy any pages or content that you’ve created for your site. Moreover, switching themes is reversible; if you change it and don’t like it, you can switch back.

The Tricky Parts

Top Navigation

When you switch themes, it’s possible for your top navigation menu to break. This can be fixed by going to Appearance > Menus, finding your Top Nav menu, and checking the ‘Primary Menu‘ checkbox.

Homepage

Many themes have a custom homepage page template that may not exist in a new theme. For example, switching from Hale to Sherman may wipe out the homepage. However, the widgets that created those homepages aren’t gone. If you go to Appearance > Widgets and scroll down, you’ll see them in an area for ‘unassigned widgets‘. Drag them back up to the correct sidebars and your homepage will reform itself.

In the newer themes (Hale 2015 and Sherman), you can use Page Builder to build the homepage and sub pages.  See Homepage Customization tools.

Sidebars

Some themes have sidebars that are specific to them and changing themes will move any widgets within those sidebars to the ‘unassigned widgets‘ section in Appearance > Widgets. You may need to find a new place to keep that content.

Bootstrap Layouts & Special Elements

The older Hale and Prudence themes were built on the Bootstrap 2 framework. The newer Sherman and Hale 2015 themes are built with the Bootstrap 3 framework. If your site makes use of Bootstrap columns, buttons, or accordion menus, they may not work if you switch from a Bootstrap 2 theme to a Bootstrap 3 theme.  They will fall back to being simple single column layouts, links, or text sections until you change the code to comply with the version of Bootstrap that your new theme uses.

Converting User Profiles to UC People

The University User Profiles plugin continues to work, and will be supported for existing sites. However, it will not be available in newly made sites, or any site that uses any theme released after Hale 2015. Sites that wish to upgrade to a newer theme will need to convert their UUP content to UC People.

  1. Follow the instructions for Importing Users to UC People. This will create a “person” for every public user.
  2. Create a People Page to replace each User-List and User-Table page that you had used previously.
  3. If you created profile pages for each user, you want to find those within Pages and then either change their status to ‘draft’ or delete them. This is just to avoid duplicate entries for each person.
  4. Fix any broken links to profile pages, replacing them with the new links to each person.

Adding Users

Site Administrators can give other people access to edit the site or create new pages. To do this, you will need the NetID of the person you are adding.

To add a user, go to Users > Add New.

Fill in the Form

  • NetID -- Enter the User's NetID or UConn email address.
  • Role -- Specify the User's Role as one of the following:
    • Subscriber -- Can only edit their profile details — cannot add photos or access the media library.
    • Profile User -- Can edit their profile details, upload their own photo, and access the media library.
    • Contributor Without Media -- Can edit their profile details and profile pages but cannot access the media library (upload own photos or CVs).
    • Contributor -- Can edit their profile details, create profile page, and access the media library (upload photos or CVs), but will need Author, Editor, or Administrator to publish the profile page.
    • Author -- Can edit their profile details, create and publish profile page, and access the medial library (upload photos or CVs).
    • Editor -- Has access over the content and media but cannot update the appearance or add users.
    • Adminsitrator -- Has full access to site, can change appearance, and can add users.
  • Confirmation Email -- Uncheck this box to stop the system from sending a confirmation email.

Auto-Filling Fields in Gravity Forms

First, select the form you would like to edit in the dashboard. After setting up the field you want to populate, hover over it and expand more options by clicking the blue arrow that appears. Then to define what value should be used to dynamically populate the field, click the ‘Advanced’ Tab.

Gravity Forms Auto-fill 1

At this point, you will see an input field called ‘Default Value’. Hovering over the question-mark will show you that you can use merge tags here to pre-populate the value of your field. To access some default merge tags, you can use the dropdown to the right of the ‘Default Value’ input for some merge tags like ‘User Display Name’ and ‘User Email’. For a full list of merge tags, visit the Merge Tags page in the Gravity Forms documentation.

Gravity Forms Auto-fill 2

In order to auto-fill the value of your field with a logged-in user’s email-address, you can use the dropdown or enter {user:user_email} in ‘Default Value’. There are many different tags you can use and they can all be found at the previously-linked Merge Tags page along with helpful information on how to use them.

Note: The ‘user_login’ merge tag will auto-fill the user’s NetID.

A-Z Index Template

This page template will automatically generate a list of all pages from your Aurora site and list them in alphabetical order.

To assign a page the A-Z index template, locate the menu on the right side of the editing screen entitled ‘Page Attributes.’ Under ‘Template‘, select ‘A-Z Index‘.

page attributes screenshot
Find the Page Attributes box on the right and click the Template menu.
Screenshot
Then, select ‘A-Z Index’.

For a working example, view the Aurora site’s A-Z Index.

Excluding Pages

By default, the A-Z Index will display every single published page in the site, but it is possible to override that behavior and specify a few pages to leave out.

To do this, first you must find the ID number of the page you wish to exclude. Edit the page in question, and look at the URL bar in your browser. You’ll see a number there that looks like this:

screenshot
In this example, the ID number is 1799

Next, you’ll edit the A-Z Index page. If you scroll down, you’ll see a box labeled custom fields.

If you don’t see this box, you’ll want to go to the ‘Screen Options’ tab at the very top right of the page and click the checkbox next to Custom Fields, and then scroll down once more.

In the Custom Fields box, add a new custom field called exclude, and add the number of the page to exclude. When adding multiple pages, use a comma to separate the ID numbers.

screenshot

Save the changes to the page, and you’re done!

Blog Page Template

The Blog page template, part of Cornerstone, allows users to create a page that displays all posts from the site. It also allows the user to filter those posts by a specific category, author, tag, or any combination of these.

Filtering the Blog

Scroll down to the Custom Fields box. If you don't see this box, go to Screen Options on the top right of the page, and make sure the option is checked.

You can add one or all of the following fields: authors, categories, tags.

Each of these fields will accept one or more values to filter the posts by. If entering multiple values, be sure to separate them with commas.

screenshot

Create an Anchor

An anchor is a link that brings you to a specific section of a page. To create an anchor, follow these steps using the visual editor:

  1. Click on the location you want your link to be redirected to.
  2. Click on the Insert dropdown from the menu at the top of the visual editor, then click Anchor.
  3. Type a name for your anchor – keep it lowercase, no spaces or special characters.
  4. Click on OK.
  5. Then go to the location where you want the hyperlink, highlight text.
  6. Click on the Paperclip Icon, then Insert link.
  7. In the URL box, type a # followed by your anchor name.
  8. Click on Add Link.