Strategic Advocacy in HigherEd

I work for the central IT department of a non-profit higher education institution. HigherEd has a number of unique challenges in itself. For one thing, a good number of our IT projects are internal, which means either a new product (websites, applications, software, etc) or a new service (Identity Management, Printing, Computer Labs, etc). It’s virtually impossible to gauge the success or failure of a new project by simply using monetary metrics. In the corporate world, the first measure of success is usually the return on investment. In other words, is this project profitable? But in HigherEd, there really is no bottom line, therefore gauging success based on profits and losses is nearly impossible. So how else can we determine the success of a project? The next metric for success is usually time and budget. Did the project finish on time and within budget? For those readers who may not be familiar with working at HigherEd, resources are limited, time is relative, and budgets are immutable. So when you have all three forces, headed in opposite directions, required in order to successfully complete a project, chances are, the project will fail.


Resetting hook_update_N module schema

While I’m developing and testing a hook_update_N() function for my module, there are several ways to reset the schema_version in the system database table.

Drupal Tips & Tricks

Drush aliases and Multi-Site

As a Drupal administrator, Drush aliases is a tool I cannot live without. It provides a way for me to connect to any Drupal site on any environment and run drush commands. The only requirement is that I have SSH access to those servers.


Case Sensitivity on Git for Macs

Today I ran into an issue with git and case sensitivity on Macs. Although Macs preserve case, their filesystems is case insensitive.

Development Tips & Tricks

NetBeans Local History to the rescue

I did not realize the power of git reset. If you need to do a git reset on your working copy and you have modified (tracked, but uncommitted) changes, then git reset will blow away all your changes without warning.


Enabling Xdebug for Acquia Dev Desktop

There are three essential tools I use in order to develop Drupal sites: Acquia Dev Desktop, NetBeans IDE, and Xdebug. Xdebug is a great tool to step through your code in order to troubleshoot a bug, however, it comes disabled by default on Acquia Dev Desktop. The following are instructions to enable Xdebug on Acquia Dev Desktop (ADD).


Drupal DSpace Module Launched

Today I launched my new Drupal DSpace project. There are two modules included in this project, the DSpace module and the DSpace Biblio module.

DSpace Module:
The purpose of the DSpace module is to parse a DSpace REST XML feed using the Feeds module and map the feed items into nodes.

DSpace Biblio Module:
The DSpace Biblio module maps DSpace metadata fields with Biblio fields.

More information can be found here:


Development Tips & Tricks

Accidentally Adding a Git Submodule

Git LogoRecently I’ve been working on a Drupal project at work and a fellow co-worker wanted to piggy-back resources on a similar project. He sent me over the code for a custom module I was going to use on the project.

Only after committing and pushing the folder from my local git repo to the origin server did I notice the remnants of my co-workers .git folder. This cause git to treat the subfolder as a git submodule and ignore the contents of the subfolder as I push my project to the origin server.

Here is what you need to do in order to remove the submodule and add as a subfolder:

git rm --cached subfolder
git add subfolder
git commit -m "Enter message here"
git push

Now the origin should be able to see the contents of the subfolder.


HumanSky’s New Home

Thank you WP Engine Hosting for giving a new home. So far I’m extremely impressed with the customer service and quick support.

If you are interested in a WordPress site, please use this link:

Not only will it give me a referral bonus but I will take you out for a beer 🙂 

Content Management Systems

Lunch & Learn: Managing Content on the Princeton Web

During the past decade, Princeton’s web site has grown from a relatively simple tool supporting producers and consumers of information about the institution, its programs, and its people to what is today a complex, mission-critical appliance for teaching, research, administration, and collaboration.

Such complex web sites publish and sustain every day vast amounts of time sensitive information. To manage the mountain of content, Princeton has turned to Content Management Systems that offer an integrated set of powerful features for creating, storing, versioning, and publishing everything from news articles and brochures though audio, video, and images.

Read more…