Development, Programming and Architecture

Building a Better (Campus) Map (DPA1)

Monday, Oct. 17 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

Wayfinding and map data: so many (conflicting) data sources out there, so little time - but so much potential for losing your future students before you’ve even made the pitch. We’ll briefly review ways to correct your campus data in major mapping systems, and then we’ll use that data to form the building blocks of a fairly easy to build, inexpensive, mobile-friendly interactive map for your campus.

Get Hooked on Integrations With Github (DPA2)

Monday, Oct. 17 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.

Github service hooks are awesome tools for developers to integrate Github into the systems their organization uses. Even though there are over 75 items listed in Github’s integrations directory, this presentation will highlight just a few of the interesting ones. Also, we will look at a case study where Loma Linda University leveraged Github’s webhooks, a way to integrate with systems not in the integrations directory, to implement an automated deployment process for their in-house developed intranet portal platform.

Agile: Not Just for Developers Anymore (DPA3)

Monday, Oct. 17 10:45 - 11:30 a.m.

Agile is a proven methodology to support incremental continuous improvement. It works well when requirements can be expressed as discreet user stories that describe specific kinds of people doing specific things whose value is well understood and agreed upon. But where do those stories come from and how can we be sure they are the "right" stories? A common criticism of Agile is that it works well to manage engineering teams working to deliver individual features, but can feel awkward to creatives like content strategists, user experience experts, and visual designers who may see "the big picture" getting lost in small pieces. This can pose significant challenges to integrated, cross-functional teams seeking to adopt Agile as a single methodology for all of their work. Add to this that higher ed's leadership culture is often more comfortable with traditional project management methodologies and a waterfall approach to planning, and Agile can be quite difficult to pull off. This session will offer a whirlwind tour of Agile and explore how it can be extended to manage requirements and content strategy, UX and interaction design, front and back-end engineering, and visual design and theming. We'll cover process, tools, and deliverables and discuss how to introduce Agile to stakeholders with varying levels of skill and commitment in ways that support the success of their web projects. If you're new to Agile and considering its use, this talk will help you anticipate some of the challenges ahead and offer strategies for meeting them. If you're already using Agile, then hopefully you'll learn something new and share your own approach. Whether you manage an internal cross-disciplinary web team, subcontract parts of your web presence, or work as an army of one, Agile has a lot to offer.

Git For The Stubbornly-Resistant Organization (DPA4)

Monday, Oct. 17 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

You and your team members would like to introduce Git for managing your development assets. You know it's popular, but you've also heard horror stories about converting. There's a lot of doubt, and things are working now.... sort of. Not well enough to be totally happy, but also not badly enough to just "throw everything up on GitHub" as people seem to keep suggesting. But there is a middle way, a way to move the organization forward into a more modern flexible development infrastructure without feeling like you've lost complete control of your source code. The Git ecosystem has matured to the point it can serve some of the most obstinate masters. This talk will dive into the methods of how I brought a stubbornly-resistant organization into the world of Git and how we tackled the most challenging obstacles to adoption, from management to engineering.

Stop Repeating Yourself: Modularized WordPress Development (DPA5)

Monday, Oct. 17 3:00 - 3:45 p.m.

Find yourself repeating the same basic tasks on every new development project you take on? Streamline and bring consistency to your development process by designing for reusability and bootstrapping your projects using tools like Yeoman and WP-CLI. This presentation will demonstrate the effectiveness of D.R.Y. (Don't Repeat Yourself) concepts across projects, concentrating on WordPress Theme development. Additionally, it will explore design patterns that promote shared, centralized data, reducing data duplication across your sites.

3, 2, 1, Lift Off . . . Now What? Maintaining a WordPress Site for Long-Term Security (DPA6)

Monday, Oct. 17 4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

You've spent six months working with five different departments on your website redesign. You've gone over each page with a fine-tooth comb. You've perfected the perfect "voice" for your content, striking the right balance between fun and professional. You've launched successfully and clinked glasses at a celebratory happy hour. Congratulations! Now what? Launching a new website is a great feeling, but too often we become lax in maintaining our sites post-launch. Once the dust settles, take action to ensure that your site has the longevity and security that it deserves! When you work this hard for something, it pays to take care of it. In this presentation, I'll go over valuable maintenance tips for Wordpress, the world's most popular content management system: 1. Evaluating whether or not a content management system makes sense for you in the first place: think about maintenance before you build! 2. Setting up a project management tool or ticketing system after launch to track future requests and updates 3. Plugins, plugins, plugins. Keeping a strict "update" schedule and the importance of updates 4. After-launch training sessions and what should be covered 5. Managing permissions for users who may access your site 6. Security provisions - what to configure up front and what to do in case of an attack 7. Backups - how, when, and what to do if the worst should happen and more! Maintenance is not always a "sexy" topic, but just consider the ratio of build time to "maintenance" time. A website build may take six months, but the life of your website could extend five years or more! To say that maintenance is "half the battle" is selling it short - it's more than that. This presentation will arm you with everything you need to know before embarking on a new build, and give you valuable tips to ensure the longevity and security of your existing sites, microsites, and landing pages.

Get Dirty. Be a Vagrant! (DPA7)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 8:30 - 9:15 a.m.

Do you need to work on your website while offline? Want to test code in a safe, production-like environment, without the extra work of having additional servers to manage? Maybe a little surprise project you want to develop and test without letting anyone know? If this is you--and it should be all of us--you need to be using Vagrant! You will get an introduction to how Vagrant works to allow you to have a complete virtual machine of your preferred production-like environment, how to configure & fine-tune your settings to accomplish amazing feats! And, play with Puppets too! For the managers in the crowd, Vagrant allows you to put a new staff person on a project, and be up and running in five minutes!

Access Denied: Keeping Yourself off an Attacker's Radar (DPA8)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 9:30 - 10:15 a.m.

Google's recent Transparency Report shows that nearly half a million websites are now hosting malware, an increase of 160 percent from this time last year. Higher education websites are particularly attractive to attackers, offering access to large amounts of bandwidth and broad network space. In this session, we will examine blackbox scanning tools to discover what types of information your WordPress site might be leaking to attackers. Then we'll explore steps we can take to stop this information leakage — one key segment of a larger strategy to fortify WordPress sites.

Learning to COPE at XU (DPA9)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 10:45 - 11:30 a.m.

In 2015 Xavier University rolled out a search-based homepage. After providing such a dynamic homepage, the content strategy was lacking. We started utilizing a blog tool to push fresh content out to our audience but still had a semi-static web presence. We'll discuss the tools we used to build out our CDN and the challenges we faced.

Rethink Reuse with Web Components (DPA10)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 11:45 a.m. - 12:30 p.m.

Enter a world where inline script and style tags are the norm, content areas have a single focus, and the way you look at web development gets turned upside down. We think of web development by units of sites and pages. But then we turn around and style rules for one particular content area on a single page to a site-wide stylesheet! This mode of thinking by nature limits how we can re-use small blocks. Web components provide a way to think smaller. By destructuring a page into self-contained blocks, we can share not just content, but full interactions across widely disparate sites with ease.

How Vassar Home-brewed a Headless CMS (DPA11)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 3:00 - 3:45 p.m.

“Headless” or “decoupled” may be buzzwords you’ve heard recently applied to CMSs (Content Management Systems), but the principles they follow and systems they represent are neither fads nor new, and help us solve real-world problems in scalable, maintainable ways. It’s well understood that separation of concerns is a best practice, especially when applied to separating content or structure (HTML) from presentation (CSS)—this same principle applies to a CMS. Learn what a headless CMS is and the benefits of separating the content in a traditional, monolithic CMS from its proprietary HTML templating engine. Learn how we designed our system with facilitating change in mind, and can manage sites that share code, markup, and assets—while allowing for infinite variation at the site level. We employ simplicity, consistency, and principles such as progressive enhancement and individualized design to guide us. Using a server-side templating; centrally controlled server-side SASS compilation; and a headless, push CMS that publishes flat files has helped us achieve more efficient workflows, gain total control over our markup, and nimbly adapt to change.

Speed and Security: A Better User Experience with HTTP/2 & Let's Encrypt (DPA12)

Tuesday, Oct. 18 4:15 - 5:00 p.m.

When it comes to web pages, speed is always important. Users leave if a site takes too long. Google ranks faster sites better. Our browsers, computers, and smartphones have all evolved, but HTTP/1.1 was last updated in 1999. In internet years, that's 5 lifetimes ago. Now, HTTP/2 has emerged as a modern update for serving content to users, quickly and securely. In this session, we will discuss HTTP/2, its improvements, challenges, and opportunities for web developers in higher ed. This speed comes at a cost - HTTP/2 is, for now, only servable via HTTPS, so we will explore easy SSL generation with Let's Encrypt, a new certificate authority offering free SSL certificates.