Tips & Troubleshooting

 

There are going to be times when you will need to make advanced configurations or to troubleshoot an issue in GW Drupal. Here are some good to know tips, as well as some of the most common issues and steps that you can take to address them.

Actions Any User Can Take

Content displayed in a feed, such as a list of Articles, usually displays a summary blurb. Drupal will show the first sentence or two from your content (approximately 250 characters) by default and many times this is sufficient. However, should you want to control exactly what appears in the summary, you have two options:

Use the "Insert Teaser Break" Button

Use this option when you want your teaser to display the exact same text as your content, but end in a specific place. This button, indicated by a dashed line, will insert a divider into your content and everything above the line will appear in your summary blurb.

Use the "Edit Summary" Option

Use this option when you want summary text that differs from the first sentence of your content. Click the "Edit Summary" link (next to the word "Body") and type in your desired text.

Actions a Content Supervisor or Site Administrator Can Take

Custom content panes should be used sparingly as they are difficult to manage administratively. While it is possible for Content Supervisors to create Custom Content Panes directly on the page, once saved, it is not possible to make edits to it. At that point, the content is only accessible to Site Administrators from the Drupal admin menu under Structure > Custom content panes.

Custom content panes create a standalone content pane on the page, into which any text or images can be placed. For advanced users, it can also be used to add custom CSS and Javascript to the page.

 

Recorded demo of a custom content pane being added to the page

Adding a Custom Content Pane

  1. Click the Customize this Page button
  2. At the bottom of the left sidebar menu, click Custom Content Pane
  3. Type or paste a title into the Administrative Title field
    • this is a backend field that only logged-in users will see
  4. If desired, type or paste in a title into the Title field
    • this is the title website visitors will see
  5. Use the Body field to enter your text and images
  6. Click the Finish button on the window
  7. Click to Save button on the page

If you are interested in using Custom Content Panes for Javascript and/or custom CSS, please email [email protected] to discuss your use case and to receive recommendations or assistance.

The Customize this Page button displays all of the active content panes on a page. Each content pane is designed to display a specific type of content and includes some configuration options. Only Site Administrators and Content Supervisors to add, delete, modify or move content panes.

In most cases, Customize this Page will be used to build and manage the homepage, but in general, it should not be used to add content to sidebars.

Using the Customize this Page Feature

  1. Click on the Customize this Page button
  2. Locate the existing content pane you want to modify
    • If the content pane that you need is not present, click the plus icon (+) above the region you want to add a new content pane to
      • On the next window, use the menu on the left to locate which type of content pane you need to add:
        • A-Z Lists - create taxonomy-based, alphabetized lists for Person pages, General Content pages and Webform pages
        • Bulletin - embed content from the University Bulletin
        • Content Sharing - embed content from another GW Drupal website
        • GW Display Views Site Placement - a large collection of content panes for default displays of GW Drupal content
        • Mini Panels - add Mini Panel blocks to the page
        • Miscellaneous - add Quicktab panels and RSS feeds
        • Photo Gallery - add a photo gallery
        • Taxonomy Lists - keyword-based lists of General Content pages, Article pages, Event pages and Person pages
        • New Custom Content - creates a one-off content item on the page that is only accessible to Site Administrators and Content Supervisors and is editable from this page (use sparingly!)
        • Existing Node - pulls in a pre-existing piece of content (use sparingly!)

After selecting the content pane that you need, you will see a configuration window. The majority of these fields are repetitive across the various content pane configuration windows.

The configuration window for customizing a content pane on the page

  • Override title - displays a custom title on the page
  • Num Items - specify the number of entries to display in a feed or list
  • Article Type (or Event type) - select the subtype taxonomy term that should populate the feed
  • Display Options - define how the text and images in your item should display (some options only work with specific content types)
  • Image Size - some image size options only work with specific content types

 

  1. Click the Finish button
  2. Use the crosshairs on the content pane to drag it to the desired spot on the page
    • a yellow highlight will indicate the active region
  3. Use the trash can to delete a content pane from the page
    • Unless it is a one-off Custom Content ane, it does not delete the content from the website
    • You do not need to delete the default content panes on the page
  4. Click the Save button anchored at the bottom of the page to save your new page layout
  5. Or click the Cancel button to cancel updates to the page layout

Sometimes, you need to replicate the content of an existing page into a new one with some minor tweaks. For instance, if there are a series of events with nearly identical information. In these cases, we recommend cloning the page.

The Clone Content tab can be found just above the Brand and Hero in Classic theme sites or to the right of the New Draft tabs in Editorial theme sites.

The Clone Content tab in the GW Drupal Classic theme

The clone content tab displayed about the Brand image in a Classic theme website

The Clone Content tab in the GW Drupal Editorial theme

The Clone Content tab displayed in the GW Drupal Editorial theme

 

Once you have clicked the Clone Content tab, a New Draft content entry page will open with all of the original page's content and settings. Here, you can make any necessary tweaks to the content for the new page, as necessary.

  • Be sure to change the page title, as it will read "Clone of [Original Page Name]" by default
  • Be sure to check if there is a menu link title, as it will also read "Clone of [Original Page Name]" by default

Often, there is an overlap in the information that needs to be shared across two different GW Drupal websites. In these cases, it is not ideal to create a duplicate page on each site, as there is always the risk that one of the pages will not be updated in a timely fashion or the information will vary ever so slightly, leading to discrepancies and a negative experience for your website visitors.

Duplicating pages also causes them to compete against each other for higher search engine optimization ranking and confuses users who have to then determine which is the more appropriate source.

To aid in these situations, a Content Sharing feature is available in GW Drupal. Content Sharing allows one GW Drupal website to mirror the content hosted on another GW Drupal website. Changes on the host website are automatically captured by the borrowing website.

Supported Content Types

  Classic Theme Editorial Theme
General Content page X X
Article page X X
Event page    
Person page X X
Testimonial page    
Webform page    
Promotion X X

What gets shared

  1. The original content title
    • Note, if the title has been customized on the host site, the borrowing site will not display the custom title. It will display what was entered in the Title field on the host site's backend.
      • The borrowing site can use the Customize this Page options to display a custom title
  2. The Body text field
  3. The Main Image (if present)

Screenshot of a page from the commencement website identifying the shared content fields, #1 the page title, #2 the body text and #3 the main image.

What does NOT get shared

Anything that is not in the Body field, including:

  • sidebar content
  • any customizations on the host page, such as:
    • feeds
    • social media embeds
    • animated elements

What information is necessary

  • The base domain of the host website
  • The node ID of the item you want to borrow
    • You will have to contact the host site's main point of contact for this information

Using Content Sharing

  1. Click on the Customize this Page button
  2. Select Content Sharing from the menu of options
  3. Type or paste in the host website’s base domain
    • There should not be anything after “.gwu.edu” in the domain
  4. Type or paste in the Node ID of the content to be shared from the host website
  5. Click the Finish button
  6. Drag the Shared Content pane to the appropriate location on the page
  7. Click the Save button

You should now see the content from the host website mirrored on your own (you may need to click the browser refresh button).

Sharing between a Classic & Editorial GW Drupal Website

Sharing content between a GW Drupal website using the older (i.e. Classic) theme and the newer (i.e. Editorial) theme is technically possible.

However, since images are handled differently between the two themes, it is recommended that you do not display the image in these cases.

Actions only a Site Administrator Can Take

In order to load pages faster, website browsers employ a process known as "caching the page".

Simply put, when a user visits a webpage, their browser stores a snapshot of what's on that page. Then, the next time they visit that webpage, instead of connecting to the website's server to load the newest version of the page, their browser loads the snapshot.

The length of time these snapshots are stored can range but is typically short term. It can also be affected by other factors, such as server-side settings on the website or preferential settings on the user's device.

Seeing the most up-to-date webpage is usually a matter of time, or, the site owner can try flushing the cached version of the page.

In GW Drupal, the website cache is affected at three levels: the page, the website as a whole and the server.

Flushing the Page Cache

Sometimes, when edits are made to a GW Drupal webpage, they do not show up right away on the front end. When this happens, we recommend flushing the cache on that page to try to force the new edits to display.

To do this, simply click the Refresh this Page button in the upper left corner of the content area of the page.

Screenshot of a GW Drupal webpage with a red arrow pointing to the Refresh this page button

Flushing the Website Cache

Sometimes, flushing the cache on the page isn't enough or doesn't apply. For instance, an item in a rotator that still appears after deletion or a new/updated event not appearing in an event feed as expected.

In these cases, the GW Drupal cache should be flushed to see if that will resolve the delay.

To flush the GW Drupal cache, hover over the home icon in the admin bar, and then click Flush all caches.

Video demonstrating the mouse hovering over the home icon in the Drupal admin bar and then clicking the Flush all caches link

Flushing the Server-Side Cache

If flushing the page cache and flushing the GW Drupal cache do not resolve the delay in updated content displaying as expected, please email [email protected] to have a server-side cache done.

Don't forget the browser cache

It's also possible that someone's personal computer, phone or tablet is simply displaying the stored cached page just on their device. If you are receiving reports of a few users seeing the old version of a page, assist them in flushing their website browser cache to see if that fixes the display discrepancy.

Redirects are used to send users who are going to outdated URLs to a new, more appropriate URL. In GW Drupal, redirects can be set up using the URL redirects tab on individual content entry pages or you can manage multiple redirects using the URL redirects list.

For instance, if a website no longer exists at a specific web address, users can be automatically redirected to the new web address.

Creating Redirects on Individual Pages

  1. At the bottom of the New Draft content entry page, click on the tab for URL redirects.
  2. Click on the + Add URL redirect to this node text link to create a new redirect
  3. Type or paste in the end portion of the old page link (i.e. what comes after .gwu.edu/) into the From field
  4. The To field will be prepopulated with the Node ID of your page
  5. Make sure the Enabled checkbox is checked
  6. Click the Save button

Creating Multiple Redirects from the Drupal Admin

  1. Hover over Configuration > Search and Metadata
  2. Click on URL Redirects
  3. Click the + Add Redirect text link
  4. In the From field, type or paste in the end portion of the old page link (i.e. what comes after .gwu.edu/)
  5. In the To field, type or paste in the destination link
    1. this can be the Node ID for a page on your website
    2. the full URL for a page on your website or a completely different website
    3. use /front to redirect to your GW Drupal homepage
  6. Make sure the Enabled checkbox is checked
  7. Click the Save button

Repeat these steps for any additional redirects needed.

Redirecting Document Links

Redirects can also be created if the link to a document changes. However, there are some factors to keep in mind in these cases.

If there are empty spaces in the file name of your document, they will be encoded by the browser at %20 or %25. This can create issues if both the old document and the new document have blank spaces in their file names. When this happens, web browsers may get confused by the presence of blank spaces AND the pre-existing %20 or %25 code. In these cases, the redirect may not work.

To remedy this, we recommend renaming the new file, removing any blank spaces in the file name (try using underscores ( _ ) or dashes ( - ) instead). Once the new file has been renamed, follow the steps to create redirects from the Drupal admin.

Panelizer sets a given page back to its default layout and settings. This can come in handy in a few situations, including:

Using Panelizer on a Page

Animated image showing the mouse point move to and click on the panelizer tab on a page

  1. Click on the Panelizer tab
  2. Click on the Settings button
  3. Scroll to the bottom of the page
  4. Uncheck the Create new revision checkbox
  5. Click the Reset to default button
  6. Click on the View Published tab

You should now see the default layout for your page. If there are customizations needed, such as a sidebar feed of events, they will need to be re-added via the Customize this Page button.

Still need help?

If these tips and tricks do not address your questions or concerns, feel free to take advantage of our in-person and virtual Office Hours for one-on-one support, or to email [email protected].