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Posted by Joe Knox on Wednesday, August 24, 2016 - 12:10pm

We’re excited to announce the August 2016 release of our updated mobile-responsive Drupal 7 themes:

  • Open Framework 7.x-2.5

  • Stanford Framework 7.x-3.2*

  • Stanford Wilbur 7.x-3.0*

  • Stanford Jordan 7.x-3.0*

* Stanford-branded themes are available by request for official university group and department websites. To request use of a Stanford-branded theme, visit

How to receive updates

For websites hosted on Stanford Sites: updated themes will be rolled out August 23rd through the 26th, 2016. If your website is on Stanford Sites, and is using an earlier version of one of these themes, the updated theme will be enabled automatically.

For websites hosted elsewhere: themes will be available for download August 23, 2016. To download the latest theme versions, visit


Below are improvements made to the themes since the last release (July 2015).

Open Framework 7.x-2.5

New functionality

  • Added responsive print styles
  • Removed @page dimensions to allow for landscape printing

Bug fixes

  • Updated targeting of views-grid-* classes to be more succinct and endless
  • Matched print viewport to desktop screen viewport
  • New page template for views groupings to address content flow issue: added grouping div and H2

Stanford Framework 7.x-3.2

New functionality

The newest version of Stanford Framework includes several new options for displaying organization signature lockups, a new design option, and new regions:

  • Added site title theme options to accommodate the different organization signature lockups at Stanford
  • Added Vivid design style in theme options
  • Added full-width top and full-width bottom block regions

Bug fixes

  • Fixed incorrect header brand bar padding in mobile view

Stanford Wilbur

New functionality

  • Added full-width top and full-width bottom block regions

Stanford Jordan

New functionality

  • Added full-width top and full-width bottom block regions

Have a question or concern?

Stanford Web Services creates and centrally maintains Stanford’s Drupal themes. If you have any questions, please file a HelpSU request at, and we’ll respond as soon as possible.

We're excited to bring these new theme developments and improvements to the community. We appreciate your support!

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Posted by Joe Knox on Tuesday, September 22, 2015 - 10:05am

You can do a lot to improve the performance and user experience across your site by making use of your Google Analytics account. In this post, we'll cover five valuable standard reports that you can view for your site right now.

This post aligns with the Google Analytics set up and menu structure as of September 22, 2015.

The "Audience" report

The audience report is one of the most, if not the most, useful reports that you can view for your site. Based on a selected period of time, this report shows the total number of sessions, users, and page views, as well as other valuable information such as the average session duration and the bounce rate percentage.

Demographic, system, and mobile statistics also can be viewed on the same dashboard as the aforementioned numbers. This allows you to see what county and city your site visitors are coming from, what browser and operating system they’re using, as well as what type of mobile device and screen resolution they’re viewing your site on.

How to access the report

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click the Reporting tab (if you have more than one site linked with your account, be sure that you’ve selected the site you want to view reports for).
  3. Click Overview from the Audience menu item on the left-hand side of the page.

  4. Select the dates for which you wish to view data for from the calendar in the upper right-hand corner.

The "Acquisition" report

The acquisition report allows you to view how users are getting to your site. For example, you can see the number of users who arrived on your site via organic search, via direct navigation, or via other avenues such as email.

Additionally, each avenue allows you to drill down further for more in-depth information. You can view the keywords users have searched for on search engines that led them to your site, the direct URL they entered, as well as which social network they clicked a link to your site from.

How to access the report

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click the Reporting tab (if you have more than one site linked with your account, be sure that you’ve selected the site you want to view reports for).
  3. Click Overview from the Acquisition menu item on the left-hand side of the page.

  4. To drill down even further, click on the item you wish to explore in more depth from the Acquisition column on the lower portion of the page.

The "Site Content" report

The site content report is another handy report, as it shows you which pages are the most visited on your site. You can view the total number of page views for a specific page, as well as other useful stats such as the average amount of time a user spends on a given page.

This report can be incredibly helpful when “cleaning up” your site content, as it aids in painting a picture of what visitors are looking for most on your site.

How to access the report

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click the Reporting tab (if you have more than one site linked with your account, be sure that you’ve selected the site you want to view reports for).
  3. Click All Pages from the Site Content menu item under the Behavior menu item on the left-hand side of the page.

The "Real-Time" report

Real-time analytics allows you to monitor activity as it's happening on your site. You can see how many people are on your site right now, top keywords being searched, top active pages, as well as the location(s) of those accessing your site.

How to access the report

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click the Reporting tab (if you have more than one site linked with your account, be sure that you’ve selected the site you want to view reports for).
  3. Click Overview from the Real-Time menu item on the left-hand side of the page.

The "In-Page Analytics" report

With the in-page analytics report, you can view extremely specific data on what links your site visitors are clicking on when browsing. The report provides an image of a given page with a visual overlay of where users are clicking. By understanding how visitors interact with your site, you can optimize your site layout to improve the user experience.

How to access the report

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click the Reporting tab (if you have more than one site linked with your account, be sure that you’ve selected the site you want to view reports for).
  3. Click In-Page Analytics from the Behavior menu item on the left-hand side of the page.

    view in-page analytics

More in-page analytics coolness

There’s a cool and useful browser extension, Page Analytics (by Google), that allows you to view much of what the in-page analytics report shows you directly on your site.

Posted by Joe Knox on Friday, May 22, 2015 - 8:35am

Our team treasures productivity power tools and applications. Of all the tools that we’ve adopted, the one that has consistently proven critical to our workflow is GitHub. In this post, I'll share a few use cases related to why we luv Github and highlight an upcoming level-up opportunity.

GitHub say what?

GitHub is a version control code sharing and publishing service that allows its users to manage and store versions of projects. While our team (and other teams) mostly uses GitHub for code, it can be used to manage other file types such as Word documents.

But why’s it so cool?

GitHub is bathed in some serious awesomesauce. While there is a command line tool (Git) for those who wish to work in Terminal or Command Prompt, GitHub also provides a Web-based graphical interface where you can create a series of chunks (commits) of code, can publish repositories, and collaborate with others.

Much of GitHub’s power lies in three of its features: fork, pull, and merge. Here are some classic use cases that outline how these three features work:


Problem: a member of your team or someone from the community wants to contribute to a project, but doesn't know the state of the project or where to go for updates on the latest work being done.
Github solution: 
the team or community member can view the latest updates and changes to the project repository, as well as make a copy of the project repository and save it to their account (fork).

fork a repository so you have your own copy

Pull requests

Problem: the team or community member has ideas for making the project better and would like to collaborate, but would like others to review and approve his work beforehand, in a timely matter.
Github solution: 
after making a few changes to the project, the team or community member can send a direct notification (pull request) to the owner of a given repository (a person or a entire team can be the owner) with details about the updates and changes made.

submit a pull request with updates or changes


Problem: the project owner wants to inspire more collaboration and could use the help of others, but rolling updates and changes into the project often isn't very harmonious.
Github solution: the owner of the repostory can easily copy any updates or changes from the 
team or community member's copied repository to their original repository (merge).

merge updates or changes to original repository

The seamlessness of the process encourages the sharing of more granular changes, which helps lead to better projects, products, and innovations.

This is just an example of how Github can enable teams, departments, and people to work together and collaborate. Want to learn more? Check out the following learning opportunity:

GitHub level-up opportunity

Want to get your hands dirty in Git and GitHub?

Tech Training is offering an interactive workshop, Git and GitHub Workshop: Becoming a Contributor, on Wednesday, June 3rd from 1:00 – 4:00 PM.

Enroll in STARS

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Posted by Joe Knox on Wednesday, April 29, 2015 - 8:30am

When learning something new — no matter what it is — many of us move through the same levels of competence. In this post, we'll look at this progression of learning, and discuss how a focus on practice can lead to a more sustained level of self-awareness.

This post was inspired by a dose of awesomeness shared with me by one of my Stanford Web Services teammates (thanks, Megan). It came in the form of a talk titled How Do We Design Designers, given at the 2014 UX Immersion Mobile Conference. In his talk, Jared Spool (@jmspool) considered what makes a great designer and summarizes the similarities in the journeys that great designers often take.

While Spool’s talk focuses primarily on designers, many of the useful nuggets he shared can be applied to almost any field of work. In fact, throughout his talk, he draws on many examples from other professions to better illustrate his point. In this post, I’ve leaned on generic examples to help make the ideas stick.

Levels of competence when learning anything

Many consider Michael Jordan and Wayne Gretzky respectively the greatest basketball and hockey players of all time. Yet even having demonstrated amazing skill, unmatched commitment, and a deep understanding of their craft, neither was or is very successful as a professional coach or owner.  

How can two people with such incredible ability struggle in directing and teaching?

In his talk, Spool discusses some of the findings of researchers who studied why many esteemed doctors make poor medical instructors. It turns out that there is a largely universal model to learning anything new that many of us go through:

  1. Unconscious Incompetence — we actually don’t know what we’re doing, and we don’t know that we don’t know what we’re doing
  2. Conscious Incompetence — we don’t know what we’re doing, but we understand that we don’t know what we’re doing
  3. Conscious Competence — we know how to do the stuff we’re doing, and we can pay attention to what we’re doing
  4. Unconscious Competence — we can do things without thinking about it; we’ve become amazing at it

After identifying and analyzing the model, researchers found that individuals who are unconsciously competent often don't make for good instructors, because in order to be a good instructor, you must remember what it was like to be consciously competent, which many unconsciously competent individuals can no longer do.

Most of us have seen this in one form or another.

If you ask a friend who’s a great cook how they knew to add more salt to a sauce when they did, they may reply with, “I just knew” or “It just needed more.” If you ask a mechanic who’s been practicing for years how they knew your car’s drive belt was three weeks away from giving out, they may reply with, “Can’t you tell? I mean look right there.” Or, returning to our sports example, if a reporter asks Jordan or Gretzky how they knew to attack a defender in the way that they did, they may reply with, “I just did. I could tell he was favoring his right side and was tired.”

Too often this is the problem: those who are unconsciously competent, even though they’re regularly right, can’t communicate what it is they’re doing and/or why they’re doing it in a way that helps another learn the skill. What if we could reach the level of capability associated with those who are unconsciously competent, while not forgetting how we learned to do what we do?

Spool suggests that there is another way that we can look at the transitions in levels of competence when learning something new that may help us in reaching that goal.

Literacy to fluency to mastery

Let's look at the first two levels of competence. Our move from unconscious incompetence to conscious incompetence is often a result of the fact that we’re becoming more literate in a given area. We begin learning more about what makes one successful, what the best practices are, and what vocabulary is used to describe the work. At one point in time, the words dribble, shoot, pass, screen, post, and rebound were new to Jordan. He learned what the words meant by doing and by studying.

Often becoming more fluent in a given area commonly sparks our next transition from conscious incompetence to conscious competence. We’re able to speak a shared language with others in the field, which increases our ability to communicate ideas. At this stage, Gretzky was likely able to discuss the best ways of handling a two-man advantage and was thoughtfully aware of what he needed to do to make an amazing assist.

Finally, our move from conscious competence to unconscious competence is due to our mastery in a given area. We’ve reached the level of craftsmanship that we set out trying to achieve. You wouldn’t have to search very long to find clips of Jordan and Gretzky in their prime showing off their level of mastery. Their physical reactions are natural and not the result of the thoughtful (even if only momentary) planning associated with conscious competence.

Mastery through practice

No one master — not Jordan or Gretzky, our friends who cook, nor our mechanics — moved through the levels of literacy, fluency, or mastery when developing their skills without practice. What we’re trying to accomplish by doing and practicing is to move through these stages and reach the next level.

If we think in terms of practice, it makes it easier to identify what it takes to get from one stage to the next. Jordan first needed to learn what a jump shot was before recognizing what a good and a not-so-good one looked like, and he needed to recognize that before developing the jump shot form that he had so much success with.

Be mindful about what you are practicing, noting (physically or mentally) what works and what doesn’t. If we can build more self-awareness around our practice, we are in a better position to become mentors to those lower down in the levels of competence. Look for your equivalent to a jump shot in what you do and enjoy fine-tuning your skills as you move through the stages. While there’s no foolproof process for combating the challenge of communicating your level of mastery, thinking in terms of practice and remembering what it was like on your journey of mastery can lead to better results for you and those around you.

Final word

There’s always a person a level ahead of you. Seek them out and learn from them what you can. You may find that they are often anxious to help others develop. At the very least, they’d likely be willing to provide you with ideas of how you can practice your skills.

Similarly, as you continue to grow, there will always be someone at the level behind you. Inspire them where you can, and do your best to remember what it was like to be where they are.

The more of us who contribute to a culture of learning, the better our industry becomes.

I encourage all of our readers to pass on inspiring work or developmental-related pieces of work to those who may benefit or find it exciting. Speaking from experience, receiving a recommended read, watch, or listen can have a very positive impact.

Jared Spool’s full talk can be viewed on the UX Mobile Immersion site

Posted by Joe Knox on Monday, March 23, 2015 - 9:00am

Have you ever wanted to try something new on your site, but wished you could view and experiment with it before making the change(s) live? You can! All you need is a development site. In this post we'll talk about how to request a dev site and why you might want to have one.

A short story:

Mr. Webby owns a site on Stanford Sites. Currently, his homepage is very text heavy, and he fears that his site is unwelcoming. To address this, he's decided to cut out half of the text on his homepage, adding a cool, splashy banner image in its place.

Here’s the problem: Mr. Webby's site is live, and he doesn’t want to risk making a change that could affect other items on his homepage. He's also deciding between three banner images, and wants to see what each looks like on his homepage before making a final decision.

Here’s the solution: After chatting with one of the Stanford Web Services team members, Mr. Webby learned he could request a development site, where he could test different content layouts, banner images, and more before pushing the changes to his live site. "Boom!" he thought.

The following steps outline how to request a development site.

Request a dev site

  1. Direct your browser to
  2. Click the desired site’s Edit Configuration button


  3. Click the Create Dev Site button


Your development site should be ready within one hour. You will receive a confirmation email when the process completes.

What if my site has a vanity URL?

If your site is using a Vanity URL (e.g.,, you must first submit a HelpSU request to create a vanity URL for the development site.

Here is an example of such a HelpSU request:

Please create a new virtual host,, to point to

Once you receive the email confirming that the vanity URL has been successfully created, proceed with following the instructions above.

Want to migrate your live site to your development site?

See Making a copy of a website with the Backup and Migrate Module:

Posted by Joe Knox on Monday, February 2, 2015 - 9:00am

Google Analytics gives you critical insights that help drive innovation and evolution by showing you exactly how people are using your site. Understanding how your site is being used can aid in identifying where improvements can and should be made. This post will cover how to add Google Analytics to your Drupal site.

Once your Google Analytics account is set up, there are three main steps that need to be completed in order to begin tracking your site: 1. Creating a new property for your site, 2. Enabling the Google Analytics module, and 3. Configuring the Google Analytics module.

Create a new property for your site

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Click the Admin tab.
  3. In the Account column, use the dropdown menu to select the account to which you want to add the property.
  4. In the Property column, click Create new property from the dropdown menu.

    click create new property

  5. Select Website.
  6. Enter your Website Name.
  7. Enter your Website URL.
  8. Select an Industry Category and Reporting Time Zone.
  9. Click Get Tracking ID (copy/note the tracking ID for later step).

Enable the Google Analytics module

  1. Log in to the site you wish to track as an administrator.
  2. Navigate to Admin -> Modules.
  3. Enable the Google Analytics module.

    enable google analytics module

  4. Click Save configuration.

Configure the Google Analytics module

  1. Navigate to Admin -> Configuration -> System -> Google Analytics.
  2. Enter the Web Property ID (UA-xxxxxxx-yy) from your Google Analytics account into the Web Property ID field.

    enter the web property id

  3. Click Roles.
  4. Check Add to every role except the selected ones, then select the roles that you don’t want to be tracked (i.e., administrator).

    select the roles you don't want to track

  5. Click Users.
  6. Check Tracking on by default, users with opt-in or out of tracking permission can opt out.

    select the user setting

  7. Adjust other settings as necessary.
  8. Click Save configuration.

Your Drupal site is now being tracked by Google Analytics. You can generate detailed statistics about your site's traffic, measure visitor behavior, monitor browser usage and other important things from your Google Analytics account.

But wait, there's more! Adding views and filters

It's possible that other sites may copy your header markup and paste it into their site verbatim as a template. This could include your site's Google Anayltics code and property ID. When this happens, it can result in data being sent to your property in Google Analytics from sites that are not yours, and that are unrelated to your content.

One way to solve this is by creating a View in Google Analytics and adding a Filter to it that only includes data from the hostname that you want to monitor. This is something to consider doing for all new properties after set up, as Views are not retroactive and only affect new data being sent to Google Analytics.

Here's how to do it:

  1. Log in to your Google Analytics account.
  2. Select the Admin tab.
  3. Navigate to the Account and Property to which you want to add the view and filter.
  4. In the View column, click Create new view from the dropdown menu.

    click create new view

  5. Select Website.
  6. Enter the Reporting View Name (i.e., only).
  7. Select a Reporting Time Zone.
  8. Click Create View.
  9. From the View column, click Filters.

    click filters

  10. Click + New Filter.
  11. Select Create new Filter.
  12. Enter a name for the filter in the Filter Name filter.
  13. Select Custom Filter.
  14. Select Include.
  15. Select Hostname from the Filter Field dropdown.
  16. Enter your site URL in the Filter Pattern field (i.e., mysite\.stanford\.edu).

    adjust the settings for the new filter on the view

  17. Click Save.

The more you know

I hope these steps were helpful! Google Analytics can be a great tool for managing your site and planning improvements based on what your viewers need. Do you have other Google Analytics tricks to share? Share more in the comments below!

Posted by Joe Knox on Tuesday, December 9, 2014 - 8:50am

In this post, I'll share one of my take-aways from reading A Book Apart's Designing for Emotion, highlighting how infusing personality into the things we create can help produce emotionally engaging experiences that make long-lasting impressions on our audience.

Constant inspiration

One of the coolest things about being a member of the Stanford Web Services team is experiencing the inspiration that erupts with every project (and often, with every discussion). We’re always rethinking processes and studying patterns to find new, more awesome ways of doing things.

Many of our exciting ideas are sparked by something we happened across in our lives that we want to share and further explore. Sometimes inspiration is produced from a blog post, a talk, a short video, a quote, or a book.

Recently, our amazingly rad Web Designer, Megan, recommended (and let me borrow) a fantastic short book loaded with inspiration, Designing for Emotionby Aarron Walter. Designing for Emotionemphasizes the impact we have when we reevaluate what it means to create content, design interfaces, and build websites in the context of emotion.

Websites, with personalities

In many circumstances, experience designers research and interview their audience as part of the design process so that they can create a profile of a standard user who embodies a larger group. This is called a persona. Personas aid web teams in staying focused on user needs and help with understanding who the target audience is. But what about understanding who the website is?

One of the concepts that I found really exciting, and that I’d like to share, is creating a design persona for your website much like you would for a user. In a way, giving personality to your website. Personality can manifest itself through site architecture, content construction, page layout, and design. Creating a persona for your site helps define the best ways to channel personality in each of those areas.

Personality is also a big part of your brand, and the personality (of a person or a thing) exhibited deeply sways your audience's decision-making process. In higher education, brand plays an important role in defining the character of an institution or school, and highlights the unique characteristics of the departments and offices within the overarching institutional brand. Therefore, establishing personality can be a powerful tool in building websites, establishing your brand, and connecting with your audience – is the site trustworthy? Likeable? Easy to get along with? Does it serve its purpose? Do the benefits of forming a lasting relationship with it outweigh the costs?

Ask yourself: if your website was a person, who would it be?

All of this sounds cool, right? But where do you start? Below is a framework of what to include when creating a design persona for your website as outlined in Designing for Emotion.

What to include in your website persona

Brand Name: The name of your site, service, or company.

Overview: A short overview of the personality of your service. What makes your service or brand personality different?

Personality Image: An image of a person that embodies many of the traits you wish to include in your service or brand. This will help make the personality less abstract. Pick a famous person, or a person with whom your team is familiar. If your brand has a mascot or representative that already embodies the personality, use that instead.

Brand Traits: List five to seven traits that best describe your service along with a trait that you want to avoid. This will help those who are designing and writing for this design persona to create a consistent personality while avoiding the traits that would take your service or brand in the wrong direction.

Personality Map: Personalities can be mapped on an X and Y-axis. The X-axis indicates the degree to which the personality is unfriendly or friendly. The Y-axis shows the degree of submissiveness or dominance.

Voice: If your service or brand could talk, how would they speak? What sorts of things would they say? Would they speak with a folksy vernacular or a refined, erudite clip? Describe the specific aspects of your brands voice, and how it might change in various communication situations. People change their language and tone to fit the situation, and so should the voice of your service or brand.

Copy Examples: Provide examples of the type of copy that might be used in different situations in your interface. This will help writers quickly get a sense for how your design persona should communicate.

Visual Lexicon (optional): If you are a designer creating this document for yourself and/or a design team, you can include in your design persona a visual lexicon providing an overview of the colors, typography, and visual style that will best convey the personality of your service or brand visually.

Engagement Methods: Describe the types of emotional engagement methods you might use in your interface to support the design persona, and create a memorable experience.

You can check out and download Aarron Walter's design persona template (with an example) at

Words to guide us

Here’s one of my favorite related excerpts from the book:

We’re not just designing pages. We’re designing human experiences. Like the visionaries of the Arts and Crafts movement, we know that preserving the human touch and showing ourselves in our work isn’t optional: it’s essential.

So, what about you? What have you been inspired by lately? Did you stumble upon an inspirational quote? Happen across a motivating article? Read an exciting book? Share with us in the comments.

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Posted by Joe Knox on Thursday, November 20, 2014 - 10:57am

University IT will perform updates for all websites hosted on the Stanford Sites Drupal hosting service on the following dates:

  • Friday, December 5th, from 9 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Saturday, December 6th, from 4 a.m. - 8 a.m.
  • Sunday, December 7th, from 4 a.m. - 8 a.m.

The changes are significant and include security patches and upgrades for both Drupal 6 and 7 sites. See below for a complete list of module updates.

The 7.34 update to Drupal core addresses two vulnerabilities: limiting the length of passwords at the API level and correcting an issue with sites that serve “mixed mode” http/https content. Stanford Sites relies almost exclusively on the WebAuth module for Drupal and does not serve “mixed mode” http/https content. As a result, the update did not warrant an emergency rollout.

Websites are scheduled to receive upgrades on a rolling basis. Please note that when the upgrade begins on a website, all logged-in users (if any) will be logged out, and the website will be placed offline temporarily. Visitors will see a message that the website is offline for maintenance. Security patches and database updates will be applied, and the website will be placed back online. We expect the website to be offline for approximately 1 minute during the updates.

If you experience issues with your website hosted on Stanford Sites, please submit a HelpSU request. We will respond as soon as possible.

What is included in the upgrade

Drupal 7:

  • Drupal Core 7.34
  • External Repository Update Status 7.x-1.0
  • Bean 7.x-1.8
  • Calendar 7.x-3.5
  • Context 7.x-3.3
  • Contextual Block Classes 7.x-1.0
  • Context List 7.x-1.x-dev
  • Display Suite 7.x-2.7
  • Field Collection 7.x-1.0-beta8
  • File Entity 7.x-2.0-beta1
  • Link 7.x-1.3
  • Metatag 7.x-1.4
  • Mollom 7.x-2.12
  • OpenLayers 7.x-2.0-beta11
  • Relation 7.x-1.0-rc6
  • Services 7.x-3.11
  • UUID 7.x-1.0-alpha6
  • Webform 7.x-4.2
  • Stanford Courses 7.x-3.3
  • Stanford Events Importer 7.x-3.0-alpha9
  • Stanford Image 7.x-3.1
  • Stanford Image Styles 7.x-3.1
  • Stanford Sites Helper 7.x-1.3
  • Stanford Sites System Tools 7.x-1.2
  • Stanford WYSIWYG 7.x-2.3
  • Stanford Drupal Profile 7.x-1.2
  • WebAuth Module for Drupal 7.x-3.4

Drupal 6:

  • Backup Migrate 6.x-2.8
  • Backup Migrate_files 6.x-1.x-dev
  • Filefield Paths 6.x-1.5
  • Google Analytics 6.x-3.6
  • Imagecache Actions 6.x-1.9
  • Mollom 6.x-2.11
  • Views Bulk Operations 6.x-1.16
  • Webform 6.x-3.21
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Posted by Joe Knox on Tuesday, November 18, 2014 - 9:00am

We’ve got a first timer here! I attended the Higher Ed Summit at my first ever BADCamp this year. I learned about Drupal’s presence on numerous college campuses, software as a service, building tools, project management, and Drupal communities. Here are just a few of my take-aways.

The Drupal community

As a newer member of the larger Drupal community, I found it inspiring and exciting to learn how many people and educational institutions are using Drupal. While my first two-ish months with Stanford Web Services has already opened my eyes to just how powerful of a tool Drupal is and can be, it became even more apparent after hearing individuals from several other schools talk about the different ways Drupal is being used.

I developed a deeper appreciation for the environment in which I get to work each day, as not all campuses have such the strong Drupal community and support resources that we do at Stanford. Continuous formation and growth of a Drupal community is a main focus for many universities.


Web teams (including us here in Stanford Web Services) are using Agile, a method of managing the design and build activities for new product or service development projects. Many teams who aren’t currently employing Agile are interested in exploring it further. Different teams are using it in different ways – ways that work well for them. I think this speaks to the power of Agile.

I have no context for how much Agile was discussed at previous BADCamps, but interest seems to be growing.

Power tools

It’s important to build tools that simplify the process of building websites and that enable people to create great sites without needing a lot of technical knowledge. Continuously exploring new ways of creating, collaborating, editing, and sharing current ways of doing things helps drive the community forward.

Posted by Joe Knox on Thursday, November 6, 2014 - 9:00am

Need to build and manage a website for university work? Want responsive and accessible themes that work well on phones, tablets, and desktop browsers? Looking for a self-service tool that requires little technical expertise and has all patches and upgrades handled at no cost? Stanford Sites is for you!

Post updated on May 20, 2015.

The Stanford Sites Drupal hosting service has many of the most popular Drupal modules and unique Stanford themes pre-installed. It’s customized for our academic environment and is available to current faculty, staff, and students free of charge, so you can use it to build your personal and department or group website. 

As of fall 2014, there are more than 1,400 websites hosted on Stanford Sites, and all are monitored and securely maintained by University IT. Training and support are available as well.

How to get started

Our Stanford Web Services team developed a "Getting Started on Sites" series. We're always adding more awesomely helpful tips to our blog, so add it to your favorite browser’s bookmark toolbar.

While the series can be read and studied in any order as needed, we’ve constructed the following list in the most sequential way to help guide you through getting started on Stanford Sites. 

  1. How to Request a new Drupal Site
  2. Configuring Your Personal Drupal Site
  3. How to Attach Documents to Your Content
  4. How to Add Images to Your Content
  5. Inserting Images in Your Content
  6. How to Add a Google Map to Your Website
  7. Image Styles
  8. Adding New Fields to Your Content Type
  9. What’s this “No front page content” about?
  10. Creating a New Content Type
  11. Improving the Node Edit Form
  12. How do I remove the “authoring information” on my page?
  13. Taxonomy
  14. Taxonomy Manager
  15. Adding a new user to your Stanford Drupal site
  16. Remove Users Account Privileges
  17. Creating a New View Mode
  18. Adding Google Analytics to your site
  19. Why you might want to request a development site
  20. Linking to a Profile on
  21. Creating a Personal Webpage: Just like the Jane Smith preview!

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