Appalachian is moving to a new version of Drupal
Web Services is currently migrating all Drupal sites at the university from Drupal 6 to Drupal 7.
Frequently Asked Questions
University sites built in the new version of Drupal are:
- Mobile-friendly. More than 30% of the visits to most of our sites are from mobile devices.
- More stable and secure.
- More feature-rich, with better integration with Google services, improved webforms, and better ADA (accessibility) tools.
- Consistent with the university's new graphic design standards for the web.
Web Services will build your new site. We'll work with the Communications Liaison for each department to coordinate the process. Read more about what communications liaisons and site owners can do to help the migration process go smoothly in the "How to Prepare" section below.
Yes. Web Services will send the site owner and the college's Communications Liaison a link to the development site before it goes live. Once your department has reviewed the new site and approved it for launch, we’ll notify you of the launch date. On the launch date, your URL will start pointing to your new site instead of your old one.
No. The current site will remain live until the new site is ready to launch, and you can continue doing routine updates to your current site during migration. (We just ask that you keep a log of updates you make to your current site during migration.)
People who have completed the Introduction to Drupal training do not need to complete it again. They’ll just need to fill out the Access Request form once the new site launches. Drupal 7 is a little bit different from Drupal 6, so people who want a refresher are welcome to register for the training again.
How to prepare
This section explains what to do before, during, and after site migration.
How to get your site ready
- Web Services will contact the Communications Liaison for the college/unit two months before the sites in that unit are scheduled for migration.
- We'll ask the liaison to identify a contact person (site owner) for each site within her college/unit who can complete the other steps below.
- Web Services will e-mail the contact person for each site individually, but we ask that the liaison:
- Remind site owners that they must review/update their sites before migration begins and cannot make major changes to the site as part of the migration process.
- Make sure the dean or unit head understands the migration process and keeps her/him apprised of progress on the upgrade of the college/unit's sites.
- Assist site owners who need help accessing or requesting media, pre-written content, or other resources from University Communications.
We'll build your new site based on the content of your current site, so content must be updated before Web Services starts migrating your site. The site is not ready to migrate until the steps below have been completed.
- Review all pages on your site
- Pay special attention to information that changes frequently, like staff listings
- Delete any pages that should not be migrated to your new site
- Check all links
- Review your menu structure
- You can go to yoursitename.appstate.edu/admin/build/menu-customize/primary-links to see your site's menu tree and remove, rearrange, or rename menu items if needed.
- Check your unpublished/unlinked content
- Unpublished pages and pages/files that are not linked from anywhere will not be migrated to your new site, so you'll need to check your content list and files directory and save copies of anything you need
- Check your content list by going to Content management > Content > List
- Check your files directory at yoursitename.appstate.edu/imce
Major changes to the site's content, structure, or layout cannot be made during the migration process. Web Services is currently focused on migrating all sites to Drupal 7 as quickly as possible, so we are not able to offer custom development or major redesigns for individual departments. If you would like to make significant changes to your site, you will need to complete these changes before Web Services begins migrating your site or after your new site launches.
University Communications can help departments planning major organization/layout changes. Fill out their Web Design/Redesign Request Form if you would like to set up a consultation.
Does your department have a generic Google account, such as firstname.lastname@example.org?
- If so, please find out who has access to it.
- If not, request one by going to support.appstate.edu/help and choosing the “Generic Google Account Request” option.
In your ticket, specify the account name / e-mail address you would like as well as the people who should have access to the account.
This generic account will be used for several things on your new site:
- the contact form / primary contact e-mail address for the site
- any files that need to be linked from your site that are too large (>6MB) to be uploaded directly to the Drupal site
- the news archive, if applicable
- embedded calendars, YouTube videos, Google Docs, and Google Forms.
The new Drupal 7 theme uses larger header images than the old theme, so you'll need to choose images that are at least 1155x400px. Many sites also use photo tiles (example) and embedded video.
What to do during migration
You can continue to do routine updates to your site during migration. Just keep a log of changes you make to your current site while we’re building your new site. (We recommend creating a Google Docs spreadsheet to log your changes and sharing it with anyone in your department who edits your site.) We’ll notify you by email when you need to start logging changes to your site.
If you would like a calendar on your new site, set up a public Google Calendar for embedding in your site (example). To create and share a calendar:
- Use the generic account for your department, unit, or college (e.g., email@example.com), not an individual's Google account.
- Log in to the generic account, then go to calendar.google.com
- On the left side, beside "My calendars," click the small down arrow and choose Create New Calendar
- Name the calendar (e.g., "Walker College of Business Events")
- Select "Make this calendar public"
- Under "Share with specific people," add firstname.lastname@example.org and grant access to make changes AND manage sharing.
- Add the email addresses of other people to whom you would like to grant access to make changes and/or manage sharing (e.g., colleagues in your department)
- Click Create Calendar button
- Find your new calendar in the My Calendars list on the left sidebar and mouse over it to make the down arrow appear
- Choose Calendar Settings. On the calendar settings page, next to Calendar Address, you should see a Calendar ID. (It will look like an email address.)
- Email the calendar ID to email@example.com and let us know if you would like the calendar displayed in week view, month view, or agenda (list) view.
You'll need to add events to the calendar before your new site launches, but you don't necessarily have to add them before sending Web Services the calendar ID, so you can work on adding events to your calendar while we're migrating your site.
When your new site is ready for review, Web Services will send you an e-mail notification with:
- a link to the development site
- a link to a Google Doc if we have any questions/notes about your new site
- a deadline for revisions
- an anticipated launch date.
Please review the development site carefully, answer any questions in the Google Doc, and note any additional changes needed to the site in the Google Doc.
One or two days before your new site is scheduled to launch, please:
- Send Web Services the log of changes you made to to your current site during migration.
- Double-check your old site for any content you might need that was not migrated to the new site (e.g., unlinked files or unpublished pages). The most common issues are:
- Pages that are published/unpublished seasonally, such as registration or application forms that are only available during a certain time of year.
- Files that are still used by the department but are not actually linked from any page on your site. (Often these files are linked from emails sent by the department.) If the file isn't linked, it won't be migrated.
- Download a copy of any webform results you need for your records. The forms themselves are migrated but the results/submissions cannot be. Please download a spreadsheet of the submissions for your records before the new site launches. Go to Content Management > Webforms and click the Download link beside each form to download a spreadsheet.
What to do after your new site launches
These are the most common questions people have:
- Access permissions start over with the new site. Anyone needing editing access to the new site will need to log in once via the Login link in the site footer, then fill out the Access Request form.
- People who have completed the Introduction to Drupal training are not required to complete it again to get access to the Drupal 7 site.
- However, there are some differences between Drupal 7 and Drupal 6, so people who want a refresher are welcome to register for the Introduction to Drupal 7 training.
Web Services can set up Google Analytics for your new site and grant access to anyone in the department/unit. Google Analytics can help you understand how people use your site, which content is most popular, and how many people visit from a desktop vs. a tablet or phone. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like access to Google Analytics for your site.