UT Drupal Kit

UT Drupal Kit 2.8 Release

ITS is happy to announce the immediate availability of UT Drupal Kit 2.8, the eighth maintenance release for our University distribution since the inclusion of the Forty Acres theme and the Page Builder module.

Please note that the official downloadable version of this release is labeled as “2.8.1” — version 2.8 was released to Pantheon dashboards and included a minor bug that was fixed before release of the full download on UT Service Now as version 2.8.1.

The 2.8 release includes a new Drupal core release and updates to several contrib modules, enhancements to the “Twitter Widget” functionality, and a number of changes to enhance accessibility on Drupal Kit-based sites.


UT Drupal Kit 2.8 includes the version 7.55 of Drupal Core, which is a bugfix-only release with no security implications. Please review the release notes before updating to check for any issues that may affect your site, and please note that this release does include changes to the stock .htaccess file included with Drupal, so you may want to incorporate these changes into your .htaccess file if you have modified it.

This release also includes updates to the latest versions of the contributed Media and Media YouTube modules. Development on the Media module has accelerated since the last UT Drupal Kit release, and this release skips ahead from version 7.x-2.0-rc12 to 7.x-2.6. Functionality associated with the Media module is heavily covered by our Behat test suite, and all tests continue to pass under this new version.


The latest version of the Twitter Widget included with the Drupal Kit provides the ability to filter results by two new operators: search terms, and tweets favorited by a particular user.

Screenshot of updated interface for Twitter Widget
Updated interface for Twitter Widget showing options for querying by search term and “Favorited by user”


UT Drupal Kit 2.8 includes the following accessibility-related improvements:

Alt text required on Media-uploaded images

The Media module’s file uploader widget provides the ability to enter custom alt-text on image uploads, but prior to this release, the alt-text field was not required. This update makes the alt-text field required; this change will also be retroactive to existing image uploads so that if they are edited in the future, the image will not be able to be saved without entering an alt-text value.


Prior to version 2.8, the search form included with the UT Drupal Kit’s Forty Acres theme contained separate <form> elements for desktop and mobile displays that had duplicate ID attributes, which triggered accessibility violations in certain scanning tools, despite the fact that the forms were never both visible simultaneously. The template version in UT Drupal Kit 2.8 provides updated <form> elements with unique ID attributes.

Developers who are using a sub-theme based on the Forty Acres theme and have modified either the header.tpl.php or search.tpl.php files should review the changes in these files and update their customized templates to use the new variables introduced in the new search form.


Another recently uncovered accessibility issue with the Forty Acres theme is the presence of active menu links with insufficient color contrast in the default design of the mobile menu. This has been fixed in UT Drupal Kit 2.8 by changing the color of burnt orange active link text in the mobile menu from #bf5700 to #ffffff on a background of #4c4342. Also, the submenus now have a background-color of #211b1a.


In order to enhance the abilities of content editors to maintain content that meets the University’s accessibility policy requirements, we have added the “A11ychecker” plugin as an avilable option for the CKEditor configuration in the UT Drupal Kit, though it is not enabled by default.

This plugin lets users investigate the accessibility level of content created through CKEditor and immediately solve any issues that are identified. An overview of the A11ychecker plugin and technical documentation for enabling it on a UTDK site are both available on the UT Drupal Kit wiki.

Please keep in mind that this plugin is not a universal remedy for accessibility compliance, and that there a number of limitations associated with its use:

  • The plugin is not capable of evaluating content that is outside the scope of the WYSIWYG editor itself
  • The plugin itself does not actually make your content accessible; it simply provides recommendations on how to make your content accessible
  • The plugin does not guarantee that your content meets all of the university’s specific accessibility guidelines


Complete instructions and download links for updating a UT Drupal Kit site are available on the documentation wiki. Pantheon site dashboards that use the UT Drupal Kit distribution should see the upstream updates available now; see the Pantheon documentation for more information on applying upstream updates.

Please review the release notes 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.