Bellevue College moves to Swiftype Site Search

On August 24 we changed the service that provides site search on the Bellevue College website. The service that we have used for many years, Google Custom Search, was discontinued by Google earlier this year. Our new service is powered by Swiftype, a widely used site search provider. We are excited to launch this new system, and hope that it will allow us to provide more relevant and dynamic results to the students and employees we serve.

As Swiftype and Google are different systems, search results may be somewhat different after this change. We will be working with Swiftype throughout the launch period to ensure that search results meet the needs of our campus; it’s very important that students and employees can find what they are looking for!

If you notice issues with the system, please submit a Service Desk ticket. This will help us improve search results over time!

Thank you for your patience and assistance as we make this change!

Updates that made this possible

Moving to Swiftype required us to update several projects that power the BC website; namely Mayflower, Mayflower Homepage, and Globals.

Along with the search updates, we also made some small tweaks to how headings are formatted, how title tags are generated, the small ad section of the BC homepage, and laid the groundwork for some new widgets in WordPress 4.8

The source code for most BC projects is open-source, and available on GitHub.

WordPress 4.7, Mayflower and Globals updates

We have just released a series of updates to the main Bellevue College website.

Globals and Mayflower updates

We have released significant updates to our ‘Mayflower’ wordpress theme and ‘Globals’ content and style library. For advanced users, this means that all Bootstrap features are now supported, and that Bootstrap grid systems will have better spacing on mobile devices. Headings are also styled more consistently with Bootstrap layouts.

WordPress 4.7.x “Vaughan”

We have release WordPress 4.7 to production. This update has a bunch of small, behind the scenes fixes, but nothing major on the user side.

WordPress 4.7 “Vaughan”

Main BC website updated to WordPress 4.6.x

We have updated the main Bellevue College website to WordPress 4.6.x ‘Pepper’!

This is a pretty small update; the main new feature is that WordPress now checks links when you create them. For more information on WordPress Pepper, see the announcement on

WordPress 4.6 “Pepper”

Note: Those who track these sorts of things may note that WordPress 4.7 was just released; we generally run about 1 version behind to allow time for stability testing.


Change in how Tabs are handled

We have switched the plugin we use to handle tabs within pages on the Bellevue College website. The plugin we had previously used lacked flexibility, and was no longer being maintained by its developer.

All sites that use this functionality have been transitioned to using a new plugin, which provides better accessibility and functionality.

This plugin also allows users to utilize the full Bootstrap library of functionality through shortcodes. While not all functionality may work optimally, this is a big step towards making advanced layouts much more convenient to work with.

For more information on the new plugin we are using, see the Bootstrap Shortcodes for WordPress plugin in the WordPress repository. Many thanks to the developers of this plugin for making it available!

Theme Update – Sidebars and more!

We have just released version 2.12 of our BC Mayflower theme, which means new updates and features for all BC official websites.

This time we have focused on:

  • Re-designing sidebars!
    • Sub-menus will now collapse in sidebar navigation menus
    • Everything has a slightly more cohesive look and feel
    • Several sidebar widgets that did not look or function correctly have been fixed (mainly archives and categories when using a dropdown menu)
    • We are transitioning to a different Twitter widget provider- this paves the way
  • Better styling in the Visual editor
  • Behind the scenes fixes
    • Allow settings to be configured on single site wordpress installs
    • Heading tweaks

Website Theme Updated (Mayflower 2.9)

We have released version 2.9 of the Mayflower theme that powers the front-end of Bellevue College’s websites. This is a small, focused release with the following updates:

  • Prevent top menus from breaking if sub-menu items are added. Previously adding a sub-item on a menu displayed in the menu bar would cause the menu bar to break, and odd-looking links to display. These sub-menu items will no longer display.
  • Better ancestor highlighting in top menu bar. Sometimes if you were on a child page whose parent was in the main top menu, the parent would no longer appear as ‘active’ or ‘selected’.
  • Accessibility and functionality improvements for CampusCE Connection. We are working with Continuing Education to bring them into our content management system; these updates allow for a better connection to the CampusCE system they use for course catalog and registration.

Behind the scenes…

We’ve improved how widgets and widget areas are added to the page, giving us more flexibility on how we can work with these areas programatically. Nothing exciting and user-facing, but will open the door for better functionality and easier maintenance in the future.