Theme and module development planning

Last week we spent several days planning our development work for the CERN website from now until June. This work will lead to new features for site managers and editors using the 'cern' Drupal theme. Here's what we're planning:

  • Refactoring all HTML, CSS and javascript on cern_base and cern themes. This should make the themes leaner and easier to develop.
  • Two modules that will enable editors to embed CDS images into nodes: CKeditor plugin, and a CDS image field module.
  • Adding a 'site map' feature to improve navigation.


We've found that as we build new features and iterate on existing code it's really important to occasionally take the time to go back and have a clean up. We're going to take a good couple of weeks to do this, which will make our future iterations easier and reduce the amount of code we send to the browser - making things faster for end users. We'll look at removing Sass - the CSS compiler workflow we've been using - to make it easier for other developers to jump in.

CDS image integration

At the moment we have a clunky workflow for images on the CERN website. Editors pick an image in CDS, download it, reformat it for web, and then upload it to the CERN website where it is enriched with metadata such as tags, title, description, attribution details and so on. Sadly this valuable metadata never makes it back to CDS. We're going to change this so that metadata enrichment happens on the CDS side. The CDS multimedia development team are going to help extend the image API so that CDS does all the hard work and serves the images for the CERN website. We'll produce two Drupal modules - a CKeditor plugin and a CDS image field module.

Improving navigation options on the 'cern' theme

Site managers are struggling to use the main navigation that the 'cern' theme offers. So we're going to look at building a site map feature that, alongside the tabs seen at larger screens, will create a structured map of the site content based on the main menu. This will serve as the mobile navigation. We'll also look at improving navigation hierachies, so that relationships between primary, secondary and tertiary navigation is more clearly expressed.

Keep an eye out on the Entice announcements section for calls for input and early releases to test on your websites.

Entice user survey

Entice was set up by David Foster as a forum for CERN people running and developing websites to get together and define their content management infrastructure needs. When this led to the establishment of a new service at CERN - Drupal - David passed on the stewardship of Entice to Tim Bell. Now that Drupal at CERN has developed into a well-established service with a solid infrastructure, Tim has passed the baton on to me to take the group forward.

Where do we go from here? I have a couple of ideas, but I'd really like to hear from you. What do you need from Entice? How often should we meet? Should we maintain a clear focus on Drupal, or should we go back to the group's broader content-management roots?

I'd be really grateful if you could complete this short user survey (you can also complete it anonymously here if you prefer). I'll post the results of the survey on the Entice website later in March / April.

For our next meeting, I propose trying a new collaborative hack format where participants bring their Drupal site-building problems for input from the rest of the group. We'll try and do this on the afternoon 27 March - note the date. If you'd like to join a huddle to figure out the best format / space / theme for this event, please drop me a note. I'll post more details about this event on the Entice website and mailing list soon.


PS If you know of friends or colleagues who are not yet active in Entice but who might be interested, please pass on the link to the survey and encourage them to join the Entice e-group.

The 'cern_overwrite' theme now includes example customisations

The 'cern_overwrite' theme helps developers to make small changes to the way that the 'cern' theme looks and behaves. To date, if you wanted to use it you'd have to learn about the Drupal theme layer and be fairly proficient at CSS. We just reworked the theme to give a few examples out of the box that will hopefully inspire and guide developers. One of the most common theming questions we received in person, for instance, is 'How do I put a background image in the header?' - so we went ahead and put a background image in the header.

Here's what it looks like now:

Questions in the theming forum, please!

Syntax highlighter for CKEditor

Dear CERN Drupal users,

We would like to announce the availability of a new module on the infrastructure to allow syntax highlight of computer code in your content.

The module is managed centrally in the infrastructure, so you don't need to install anything locally to your site.

The configuration and usage of the module is documented here:

If you have any question, request or feedback about the module please use the Entice forum.

Best regards,

Eduardo for Drupal Admins


New backup and restore service for site administrators

Dear CERN Drupal users,


We would like to announce the availability of the new backup and restore service provided by the Drupal infrastructure.

This service allows to you create your own snapshots and recover your site from previous states if needed.

More information about the service can be found in the service's page itself :

Also please find presentations related with this service in the last entice meetings:


Eduardo Alvarez for Drupal Admins

'cern' theme updates and color module

On Monday 8 July the Drupal admins are due to deploy changes to the 'cern' theme that I demonstrated during the last Entice meeting. One of the main features that users of mobile devices coming to Drupal sites using the 'cern' theme is a change in the main navigation function, which will look like this:

Following the theme update, site managers will need to save the appearance settings for their sites in order for color module to properly register changes. Failure to do so will result in a transparent nav bar like this:

Instructions for site managers

  1. Go to /admin/appearance/settings/cern
  2. Save the settings
  3. Clear the cache - admin/config/development/performance
  4. That's it

The mobile nav bar will take the same colour as the tab background.

I have issues with my site since the theme update, what can I do?

Please get in touch with me to discuss any issues. At worst I can help you to roll back to an older version of the theme with a local copy.

Toolbar update: site search removed

Following feedback from developers trying to implement the CERN toolbar we have made a number of changes which you will see being deployed soon. The primary impact for Drupal website owners at CERN is that the 'search this site' form will be removed from the toolbar. If you use this feature on your site you will need to implement the search form in another region. We are working on updating the 'cern' theme to improve the way the search form is displayed in the 'header' and 'sidebar' regions.

The changes are expected to be deployed around the second week of March.

CERN Search index tools - initial public release available

Dear CERN Drupal users,

We would like to announce immediate availability of 'CERN Search index tools' module for all Drupal hosted sites.

This module allows to index Drupal content in CERN Search service ( in a structured way and together with already available 'CERN Search' module completes the integration of CERN Search service as backend technology for the Drupal infrastructure hosted sites.

In order to use the module, go to your site administration -> modules menu, enable 'CERN Search index tools' , then visit module help page for detailed description.

For more information please see:



Jarosław Polok for Drupal Admins.



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