Anyone know if the required SaaS updates negatively impact customized CSS?
Great question Bryan! Suzanne Hess or Kathy Saville, have you experienced this?
If you are referring to custom CSS in your theme know that can be impacted on SaaS but...part of your transference to SaaS will include working with your Project Manager to review and work through such issues. The good news is many schools have gone through this prior so many lessons have been learned from those you have gone before you.
I've been wondering the same thing. At our university we spend a considerable amount of time customising the theme to fit with out overall institutional look and feel and the theme is a big part of our annual upgrades. With continuous SaaS, I am curious as to whether the theme requires an update with every release (e.g. monthly) or if the theme updates will be a lot less frequent. I wonder if we would need to move to a more vanilla theme if we want to move to the continuous delivery SaaS.
So far, we haven't had any issues other than the 2012 template no longer works properly in mobile versions. So if you are still using 2012, I'll recommend you start moving the CSS into the 2016 template. If having mobile versions nos displayed correctly is not a deal breaker, you should be fine. Now, when I say mobile version I am talking about using chrome or safari in your mobile device, not the Blackboard app. The app works beautifully.
We have only been on SaaS Continuous Delivery for a few weeks, so I can't provide much information. We are using the Learn 2012 theme and have a mod.css file that we load by adding an include at the end of the main css file in Blackboard. The recent 3300.6.0 upgrade, replacing 3300.2.0 replaced the main css file with a new version, so we had to go in and add the include line again. Brett Stephens is writing a small program to check our current version of Blackboard Learn and warn us (via email) if it has changed. Then we can go in and see if the mod.css is still working. We also should really check each of the changes we have placed in the mod.css file to see if they are still needed. Hopefully, some of our patches will become unnecessary as Blackboard upgrades their css.
Hope that helps.
3300.8.0 also replaced the themes.css file. We (Brett Stephens) now do a diff to see what changes have occured. Only one line changed, but I don't remember which one. We had to export themes.css, add our include statement, and import it as our custom theme. Kink of a nuisance. Until we make the change our user experience is messed up. But it only takes a minute to go through the steps with each update.
In posting this, it occurred to me that we could apply the changes from staging to production before the change is even applied to production. That would have our custom theme ready to go. This is truly "Writing to learn."
In general most css rarely negatively impacts a customization especially if the customization is in an !important fashion so it would override any updates to that particular css. But that said it behooves everyone to be on the latest default of the theme. It is easy to forget or even see a need to update your theme after each upgrade but the biggest example of this need lately is themes before Oct 2014 and earlier are missing the app_nav.css file this file is utilized a lot these days and specifically in the global nav menu. That said due to a current bug I located affecting the following versions. App_nav.css was introduced in October 2015 so any theme before that version is missing the app_nav.css file and will hit this bug causing problems till the latest default is picked up and the file is no longer found to be missing.
Replicated on: Learn 9.1 Q2 2017 3200.0.5-rel.6+3dd6b56
Replicated on: Learn 9.1 Q4 2017 3300.0.1-rel.37+c07f12a
This one but really any missing file is having major adverse affects on the Blackboard system.
What is happening is that the file is not present and the system for some reason sees this missing file and because it is missing initiates a delete and copy process of the custom theme in an attempt to repair it. But where it copies from doesn't have the file and we wont create the file on the fly so it is then missing again.
In the meantime as it is missing users are then trying to load other files which would be there but are now missing due to the deletion of the files. This one missing file is starting off a chain reaction of qued deletion and copies that is eating up CPU and causes site wide slow load response and bringing a system to it's knees or until it crashes and restarts itself, note: compared to the short time a 404 error takes to load in a browser on it's own, this issue is a much bigger problem. This issue has no fix release yet, but this is a fairly major bug and while it should not happen goes to show that one really should keep up on their custom area maintenance and make sure they have the latest code be it css theme language pack etc.
The bug article is located at the following.
At current the only way to fix:
Replace the bad Theme and put one in that is not missing files (revert to default Theme, or build a new custom Theme from the current default).For further theme customization and control education see the MH Community Webinar: https://community.blackboard.com/groups/behindmanagedhosting/blog/2017/08/03/mh-themes-and-brandings-08032017
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