Category: News

Fixes galore

We uploaded some styling and layout fixes to the staging and production servers earlier today, bringing both of them up to date with our private development server. For now, everything is mostly good. Here’s a quick rundown:

Blog sidebars

Sidebars were being bad. Very bad. They wouldn’t align right or left according to theme option settings, so we had that fixed. This wasn’t a problem on the production server but those of you using the staging server, test.publish,  to test things out (over a hundred of you), this was extremely problematic. This has been resolved and is unlikely to happen again. Thank you for being patient.

Speaking of blog sidebars, the “POST sidebar” is now obsolete. From now on, the Blog Index Sidebar will appear on all posts. This includes the blog landing page (known as the blog index), individual blog posts, and categories. This was to provide consistency to post-related components and streamline the publishing process.

Also, some minor aesthetic styling changes were made to the sidebar. I don’t recall the nature of all the changes that were made, but they were all good.


When using the “skip to content” feature (hint: when your site loads, press tab then press enter), keyboard focus moves to the next link when hitting tab a second time. Prior to today, this was broken; pressing tab a second time used to take the user to the top instead of to the next link on the page, which was a violation of Illinois Information Technology Accessibility Act Implementation Guideline #9.4. As a public state entity, we are bound by law to make all of our web content accessible to all, and this fix brings our WordPress theme that much more compliant.

While an accessible theme doesn’t necessarily guarantee accessible content (that is a blog post for another day), it’s definitely a step in the right direction.

In the pipeline

A navigation and documentation revamp is on the way. Also, we’d like to update the production server to v3.9.1, as well as update all of its plugins.

Note: it seems the Blog index can only display the “default header image” as its header image. It appears to be a new bug. We prefer that header images be customizable, so we’re looking into it. As usual, we’ll keep you all posted.

Happy Monday, everyone.

Staging server stabilized

As many of you are aware, the staging server has not been operating in an agreeable manner lately. Sites on test.publish experienced text alignment issues caused by sidebars even if sidebars weren’t present, which proved to be a major issue for content presentation.

I say were because this issue has been officially resolved. We received a fix from our vendor early this afternoon and relayed that fix from our development server to test.publish about an hour and a half ago. Many, many apologies for the inconvenience.

Also resolved

A few Events Manager accessibility issues were fixed last week. The monthly calendar views were not screen reader friendly (they were practically hostile), so I altered the Events Manager template to make us more compliant with state law than we were previously.

In a nutshell: << now has title text that says “previous month,” while >> says “next month.” These were coded into the calendar for navigation purposes, but they mean nothing to our visually-impaired visitors who use screen readers. Now they’ll know what those <a> tags do.

In addition, event dates now have title text that state the full date and the event name. Identifying the header cells in that monthly table view is proving to be problematic, so that accessibility quirk will have to wait. But for now, at least people using screen readers will know the monthly calendars contain links to event listings. These accessibility fixes were non-invasive and live in files apart from the theme, so I uploaded them to the live production server.

It’s okay. Sometimes none of this makes sense to me either.

Known major issues

  1. The search function returns results in full blog post format, even for pages. We have a ticket open with the vendor and hope to get this resolved shortly.
  2. When the blog is configured to show up on the home page, both the image slider and the default header image appear. Yeah, it’s not supposed to do that. Vendor is also working on this.
  3. No shortcode documentation. Yes, it’s coming. I’m planning to update/streamline documentation in general, so shortcodes will be a part of that. Very soon.

Updates about updates, more updates planned

We pushed some theme changes to the staging server (test.publish) yesterday. Theme changes include some much-needed web accessibility fixes and styling fixes, such as the header and menu breakage in Firefox. This theme update will be rolled out to the live production server soon.

If you’re wondering why the white background behind your department’s logo was taller than usual yesterday, was a styling bug that arose when our vendor made the Firefox fix. Our team identified the source of the issue (it just needed a wrapper DIV) and pushed a fix to test.publish earlier this morning. just hit refresh and your browser will load the updated header code and css.

Regarding some of the shortcode buttons missing from the visual editor menu: this is an issue that affects all WordPress sites, not just UIC’s. When the developers released version 3.9, they integrated TinyMCE into the core and broke the ability for menu items to display custom shortcode buttons (like ours). We’re talking to our vendor to see if there’s a workaround, but be aware that this isn’t an easy fix. Again, this bug is not native to UIC; it affects every instance of WordPress worldwide that updated to v3.9. For now we’ll have to rely on pasting in some of the shortcodes manually, so keep an eye out for updated step-by-step documentation here on We’ll post here when that’s ready. 

Staging server successfully updated

Hello all,

Just a quick update: the staging server (test.publish) has been successfully updated to WordPress version 3.9.1. If you experience any problems with your site, please contact us.

In addition to updating the WordPress core, the following plugins were updated:

BE Subpages Widget (v1.4)
CMS Tree Page View (v1.2.28)
Events Manager (v5.5.3.1)
Events Manager Pro  (v2.3.8.1)
Gravity Forms  (v1.8.8)
Image Widget  (v4.1)
MaxGalleria  (v2.2.2)
TinyMCE Advanced  (v4.0.2)
User Role Editor Pro  (v4.12)
WPMU Plugin Stats  (v2.0.1)

We have a few more plugin updates in the pipeline, as well as some updates to the template. We should be able to get to those tomorrow or on Wednesday. Thanks for reading, and have a happy Monday.

Brace yourself: WordPress 3.9.1 is coming

Dear site admins, content managers, editors, and writers,

On Monday, June 23, you may notice something different about your test.publish WordPress dashboard. Not to worry; it’s just the latest version of WordPress, currently scheduled to roll out at approximately 10 a.m. CST. Cosmetic enhancements aside, the upgrade also introduces several bug and security fixes as well as a few nifty feature enhancements. If you’re really into this kind of stuff, you might want to read the 3.9.1 release notes on 

Also scheduled that day: plugin updates. Later in the week we hope to push out template updates, which include accessibility and style fixes from our vendor. 

Please note: these updates will be pushed to sites on the staging server. For example: (not an actual web site, but it very well could be). Updates to the live production server will be processed at a later date.

Everything should be fine, but please don’t hesitate to contact us if the update changes something unexpectedly, something doesn’t work, or if you’d just like to say hi.