Question about the demo system- helpMenu and Data Dictionary

On the demo system at I see a "helpMenu" as a listed plugin. What is it? I don't find any reference to it on git.
Also, the "Data Dictionary" menu (and interface screen) - I also don't see them on git.

Just wondering


  • The help menu plugin just adds a "help" menu with items that lead to pages managed with the simple content management features built into CA. It's useful for making FAQ's and policies available to users. Some of the consortia users use it for exactly that, as they have many new users with questions.

    The data dictionary is a system for specifying extended help text and validation rules for specific fields. The validation rules are use expressions and thus can be as involved as you want to them to be (Eg. text for this field must be no more than 10 works and start with a capital letter). Failure to validate can be configured to trigger a warning or a save error, and violations of validation can be browsed upon. The nicest thing about it is that display of violations on a record is interactive. It'll walk the user through the violations one-by-one.

    Like the help menu, it was built for consortia users to put some guardrails for data quality on new users and museum volunteers.

    It's all in Git, in the develop branch, so it'll be in v1.8.

  • Ah...I see it is in git...but not in the released versions.

    Anyway, I see that the Help menu is looking for a page with a path of PROVIDENCE_HELP_MENU. Does this mean there can only be 1 help page below the Help Menu? They all will populate the help menu, but will blowup if the path is NOT PROVIDENCE_HELP_MENU. Are there more details on how the help menu is implemented?

    Page Templates: When I run caUtils to scan site_pages, I see that it pulls templates from my /themes/mytheme/templates and fills the ca_site_templates table. I also see existing entries in the table that do not have templates in the templates directory....where did they come from?

    Is there NOT an editor for the ca_site_templates? I can edit ca_site_pages, but it looks like my choice of templates is generated from the ca_site_templates table...and includes these unknown templates in the table as well.

    Might I be jumping the gun for these to be fully implemented?


  • Ok I see that once you scan a template in, it stays in the database....even after the template file is deleted. So the odd ones are from past playing arround.

    Shouldn't the scan remove, or at least mark as deleted, any template that doesn't have a file?

  • Yes, I agree that the template scanner should delete ones where the file is no longer present.

  • Regarding the help menu, you can have as many pages as you want in the menu. They url paths for all pages simply need to be set to the "help menu" value (PROVIDENCE_HELP_MENU). More than one page can have this value set.

    Try editing a page in the "content management" section of the back-end, and you'll see how the UI makes this easy to set.

  • When I try a second page with the path set to PROVIDENCE_HELP_MENU I get:

    There are errors preventing information in specific fields from being saved as noted below.

    • Identifier PROVIDENCE_HELP_MENU already exists and duplicates are not permitted

    and in /models/ca_site_pages.php:

    'path' => array(



    'IS_NULL' => false, 

    'DEFAULT' => '',

    'LABEL' => _t('Page metadata: URL path'), 'DESCRIPTION' => _t('The unique root-relative URL path used by the public to access this page. For example, if set to <em>/pages/staff</em> this page would be accessible to the public using a URL similiar to this: <em></em>.'),

    'BOUNDS_LENGTH' => array(2,255)

    Does this imply that my /models/ca_site_pages is out of date?

  • OK I just pulled from git again and it cleaned things up...and now the help pages work correctly. I guess I mashed up things moving between released and develop.

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