Blogs

Don't Neglect Your print.css file!

I just spent a few hours working on making a better print.css file for the Archdiocese of St. Louis' website, and, imho, it was time very well spent.

In a meeting just last week with the St. Louis Review staff, I noticed that three different people on staff had printed out pages from archstl.org, and those printed pages looked like junk. I had neglected spending much time with the Archdiocese's print styling (in a print.css file) when I originally designed the site, and I decided it was time to work on it a bit.

I first hid all non-essential elements (graphics, search, navigation, sidebars), then worked on styling the main body of the page a lot nicer. Now, it prints relatively well across Safari, Chrome, FireFox, and Internet Explorer. However, there's a weird bug in FireFox that causes some pages to print with a blank leading page, then with cut-off content on the second page.

Online vs Printed Layout

At least it looks pretty :)

I think you'd be surprised how many people print out articles and pages from your website—especially if your site is heavy on written content. It's a good idea to cater to them just as you would to mobile readers and those using less-than-ideal browsers (<cough>IE</cough>).

Google's New Open Font Library

Reposted from Life is a Prayer.com:

Today Google announced they'd help advance web typography by hosting open-sourced fonts on their CDN, and by giving the code to easily embed fonts on websites on a new website, the Google Font Directory.

It was amazingly simple: just copy the <link> code and paste it in your template's header, then set any element on your page to use the Google-provided font(s). I started using OFL Sorts Mill Goudy TT, and I like the look (except for the lower-case y, which seems to be cut off).

(The code simply adds an @font-face declaration via a Google-hosted CSS file... I wonder if it's legit to self-host the CSS and font file; I haven't read through the terms and conditions yet).

I'm thinking of using this library for a few other projects on which I'm working. Much easier than Typekit, and it doesn't require any javascript or flash overhead, like alternatives such as Cufon and sIFR do. (Source).

Post Photos to Your Drupal Site from the iPad

Over on my personal blog, I write about how to post photos from the iPad to ImageFields on a Drupal site. I intend to do so quite a bit this weekend on my visit to New York City (this will be my first trip without a laptop—yikes!).

I basically use Dropbox as a middleman to get a URL for the photo, which I can pass to FileField Sources so my Drupal site can use the photo. Unfortunately, for the time being, Mobile Safari doesn't support file select fields :-(

Vatican Announces Upgrade of Network Infrastructure

It looks like the Vatican is going optical! Here are the details, from CathNews Asia:

The Vatican City State has announced a major upgrade to its communications infrastructure including fibre optics links to other Vatican sites including the pontifical villa at Castelgandolfo.

The Governorate of the Vatican City State and Telecom Italia announced the signing of a contract for the installation of the first nucleus of the “Integrated Communication Infrastructure for Vatican City State”, VIS reports.

This consists in a broadband IP network capable of voice, data and video transmission within the territory of the Holy See and Vatican City State, a communique says.

The plan includes, among other things, fibre optic cable links between the ten main extraterritorial sites including the Pontifical Villas at Castelgandolfo and the radio stations in Santa Maria de Galeria.

Creating a More Friendly 404 Page

I finally had a little time today to update the Archdiocese of Saint Louis' 404 Not Found page. Drupal has built-in 404 handling, so I simply created a new node, added in the content of the 404 page in the node body, and went to the 'site information' page to set 404 errors to that node.

Archdiocese of Saint Louis - 404 Page

In redesigning the page, I wanted to fulfill two goals:

Our Designs Have to Reflect Christ

Interesting Quote from the blog 'Vitamin C':

How we do this through design is the big question. Our designs have to reflect Christ. We do this through demanding people’s interest, respect, and most importantly their time through our designs. Christ deserves the best designs possible. I don’t know if I speak for all people, but for me to take Church retreats, events, or other ministries serious I want to see that reflected in their designs. If the design is lacking then (in my mind) the retreat must be lacking as well. Just like you wouldn’t go to a bank that was tattered and looked unprofessional, I don’t want to invest my time in something God related if it comes across as “not current” or lacks effort.

If we don't design our websites and software to be as user-friendly, beautiful, and stunning as possible, then we do a disservice to those who use them.

Of course, as I've said on my own blog before, modern Church architecture, design, music, etc. seems to be just as sad as modern Church web design. It stinks. Let's help make that change.

Resetting Files Table after Drupal 4.7.x -> 6.x Upgrade

At some point during the upgrade process from Drupal 4.7.11 to 6.16 (through versions of 5.x, with contributed module updates along the way), one of my sites' files tables got screwed up. All the 'filepath' entries were converted to 'filepath' (instead of sites/example.com/files/filename.ext).

Luckily, since the original 4.7.x version of the site only saved files directly under the 'files' directory, I could write a simple SQL query to update all the filepath entries in the files table:

UPDATE files SET filepath = CONCAT('sites/reapteam.org/files/',filename);

I ran that query, and it put in sites/example.com/files/filename.ext for each row in the table.

One caveat: If you ever saved files with ImageField, FileField, etc., under different subdirectories of your main files folder, and your filepaths were screwed up... well... good luck fixing that! I hope you have a backup :)

Franciscan Monks Involved in Drupal Core Development!

According to Dries Buytaert, a Franciscan Monk was working on Drupal Core at DrupalCon SF last week; he was involved in the core developer's summit with 149 other attendees.

[At Drupalcon, we] organized a core developer summit with 150 attendees, 16 lightning talks, 11 breakout sessions and 1 Franciscan monk.

Where are the Jesuits? The Dominicans? Any other orders? In the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, many of the curial websites are running on Drupal. I also hear the Legionaries have a lot of Drupal involvement (for instance, their Familia website).

Vatican Secret Archive is Digitizing to Open FITS Format

Tip 'o the hat to the Curt Jester, and originally posted on Slashdot:

"The Vatican Library plans to digtize 80,000 manuscripts and store them in the open data format FITS, originally developed for astronomy and maintained under the IAU. The result is expected to be 40 million pages and 45 petabytes. FITS was chosen because it 'has been used for more than 40 years for the conservation of data concerning spatial missions and, in the past decade, in astrophysics and nuclear medicine. It permits the conservation of images with neither technical nor financial problems in the future, since it is systematically updated by the international scientific community.'"

Plan for Emergencies—Before they Happen

I was recently emailed by an organization who has recently had their website go belly-up, and they lost most of their recent data. Their development company supposedly has some backups, but are not being the best of communicators right now (it can happen to the best of us).

So, in the email, I was asked to offer my help in getting their site back online. Unfortunately, I can do just about nothing, since the organization has no backups, no data, not even an old database backup.

If you run a website, do the following right now:

  1. Set up an automated weekly or monthly backup of the entire website (daily, if your data merits that level of backup), including the site database, in case of catastrophe. Keep it locally (i.e. within your offices, or on an accessible backup server). This way, even if your developer goes belly-up, you can transfer the backup to someone else and quickly get back up and running (within a day or two). (I might do a post on how the Archdiocese maintains weekly backups of everything in two separate locations soon...).
  2. Develop a site maintenance and upgrade plan; with content managed websites, maintenance and security patches must be applied on a monthly or quarterly basis (I do it every week on the Archdiocesan website), otherwise maintenance and upgrade costs will go through the roof in as little as a year's time.

Do these things, and nobody gets hurt.

Pages

Subscribe to RSS - blogs