Page Builder UT Drupal Kit

UT Drupal Kit 2.2 Release

ITS is happy to announce the immediate availability of UT Drupal Kit 2.2, the second maintenance release for our University distribution since the inclusion of the Forty Acres theme and the Page Builder module. Additionally, we have also released the first two sets of “Add-On” features that can be downloaded separately and added to a Drupal Kit-based site.

There are some major changes to the Forty Acres and STARTERKIT themes in this release that will necessitate some work for developers who have created a STARTERKIT-based subtheme in any previous version of the Drupal Kit. And leveraging some of the other new features in version 2.2 will require manual configuration changes for existing sites.

We have extensive guidance available for users updating from previous versions, but first let’s walk through some of the notable features of the distribution update…

Core Security Update

Version 2.2 of the UT Drupal Kit distribution includes Drupal Core 7.43, which is a security update from previous versions of the Kit.

New Options for Embedding Rich Media Elements

Version 2.2 includes two new options for easily embedding specific types of external media objects in pages using “shortcodes” in your HTML source, as well as CKEditor plugins to enable insertion of these embeds via the WYSIWYG editor toolbar.

The first option is to embed streaming video from nearly 40 different providers, including YouTube and Vimeo, via the Video Filter contrib module. Video Filter uses a simple custom shortcode syntax, and also has a WYSIWYG button to allow adding videos from the toolbar.

Inserting a YouTube video with the Video Filter WYSIWYG button
Inserting a YouTube video with the Video Filter WYSIWYG button

The second option is a new custom module to allow content editors to embed Qualtrics forms in pages, also using either a custom shortcode syntax or a WYSIWYG button. We recommend embedded Qualtrics forms as the preferred solution for webforms in Drupal, so this module allows site builders to easily adopt Qualtrics as part of their site architecture.

Further Support for Optional Foundation Classes

In UT Drupal Kit 2.1, we added an “experimental” feature in the STARTERKIT subtheme that would allow site builders to easily enable the CSS and JavaScript for some of the optional UI components that are part of the Foundation framework but not included as part of the default Forty Acres Theme. These include accordions, tabs, and modal dialogs.

In version 2.2, we’ve extended that support to be available in the Forty Acres theme itself, and we’ve also added a Demonstration page that allows users to play around with these UI components in the context of a Drupal Kit site, and provides sample markup that can be copy/pasted into a new page to speed the addition of these elements to your site.

Demonstration page for optional Foundation UI elements, showing demo code option for the Alert Box element.
Demonstration page for optional Foundation UI elements, showing demo code option for the Alert Box element.

We did decide to remove this “checkbox” support for a number of the specific Foundation elements that were previously included in 2.1, due to known issues with accessibility, or potential conflicts with University brand guidelines.

You can find the Foundation element configuration options and a link to the demo page at the bottom of the Theme settings page for either Forty Acres or STARTERKIT ( or


A few other items of note:

  • The Metatag module is now enabled during installation for enhanced SEO
  • Removed “/content” from the default pathauto URL pattern
  • Fixed an issue that caused main menu links to not work correctly in certain Android browsers

Full release notes for version 2.2 are available on the Drupal Kit wiki.

Special Consideration for Older Subthemes

The Forty Acres and STARTERKIT subthemes for version 2.2 have been refactored extensively to actually reduce the number of files that need to be included in a Forty Acres-based subtheme. For example, the need for a “templates” directory has been completely eliminated in the new version, unless a developer actually needs to customize a particular template file. These changes are so extensive that we have actually christened the latest version of the themes as Forty Acres 7.x-2.0 and STARTERKIT 7.x-2.0.

This change brings Forty Acres and STARTERKIT more in line with best practices for base theme/subtheme development, and will greatly reduce the number of changes that need to be manually added to Forty Acres subthemes in the future. Unfortunately the cost of this gain is that subthemes built from the STARTERKIT in either UT Drupal Kit 2.0 or 2.1 need to be either rebuilt from scratch or modified to work with the new version of Forty Acres.

There is an entire page dedicated to updating STARTERKIT-based subthemes from 1.x to 2.x on the UT Drupal Kit wiki.

Manual Configuration Changes for New Features

When new modules or features are added to the UT Drupal Kit, or configuration changes are made to existing features, these will be reflected automatically for new site installs with the latest version of the Kit. But with an extremely limited number of exceptions, we do not automatically make configuration changes during the Kit update process, so that we avoid breaking your functioning site with unexpected changes.

Because of this approach, new features in the codebase may require site owners to manually enable modules, modify text formats, adjust roles and permissions, or make other types of configuration changes, in order to take advantage of a particular addition.

In order to help site owners decide what changes they should make, we have added a new section to the UT Drupal Kit release notes detailing new configuration options for the 2.2 release. We strongly encourage close review of this page to ensure that you make the necessary changes to be able to take advantage of the great new features in 2.2.


Finally, while not officially part of the UT Drupal Kit distribution, we have simultaneously released six individually packaged “feature modules” that can be used as Add-Ons with a Drupal Kit-based site.

The first Add-On is the “Team Member” feature, which creates a content type and sortable views that can be used to manage the display of individual user profiles, such as for faculty and staff. Profiles created using the Team Member content type can be viewed individually, or can be used with prebuilt Views block to add styled listings of all team members to a Standard Page or Landing Page. Separate documentation for using the Team Member feature is available for Developers/Site Administrators and Site Builders/Content Editors.

Team Member profile example
Team Member profile example
Team member overview block showing three different display styles, added to a Standard Page
Team member overview block showing three different display styles, added to a Standard Page

There are five additional Add-Ons that do not provide new functionality, but are related to user roles and permissions:

  • Site Builder role
  • Site Manager role
  • Landing Page Editor role
  • Standard Page Editor role
  • Team Member Editor role (requires the Team Member feature)

These roles have been developed for use in our future Managed CMS service, but can be added a la carte to any UT Drupal Kit 2.x site to be used either “as-is” or as a starting point to be refined for your own site’s particular requirements.

Documentation and downloads for the Users and Permissions Add-Ons are available on the UT Drupal Kit wiki.

How to Update the UT Drupal Kit

Complete instructions for updating a UT Drupal Kit site are available on the documentation wiki, including instructions for the patchfile-based approach that can be used to update sites hosted on UT Web.

Please review the release notes and the special instructions for 2.2 thoroughly, and always make backups of your code, files, and database before proceeding with an update!


By Paul Grotevant

Paul Grotevant is the Senior IT Manager of Web Content Management Solutions for Information Technology Services at the University of Texas at Austin.

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