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Module: Field Descriptions Extended


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Field Descriptions Extended

This module enables you to extend field descriptions by dividing short descriptions with a longer text that is revealed in a toggle.

Modules Directory: http://modules.processwire.com/modules/field-descriptions-extended/

Github: https://github.com/outflux3/FieldDescriptionsExtended

Extending your field descriptions using the standard field's description field.

Once this module is installed, it will automatically search your description field for the presence of 5 dashes (-----).
Any content above the 5 dashes will be visible and the content below the dashes will be hidden. A 'More...' link will appear at the end of the short description which when clicked will reveal the rest of the description.

Using Simple Markdown Editor with the description field

If you have Simple Markdown Editor (InputfieldSimpleMDE) installed, you can enable the field description to have that editor.
*When using Simple MDE, you can use the button (Insert Horizontal Line) instead of typing 5 dashes. More about SimpleMDE.

Extending your field descriptions using content from a ProcessWire Page for the field description.

You may use the content from a ProcessWire page as a field description. This would allow you to easily insert images, links, and use hanna codes.
To use page content for your field descriptions, please follow these instructions:

  1. Install Select Fields module (FieldtypeFields) http://modules.processwire.com/modules/fieldtype-fields/
  2. Create a new field using this field type, e.g. field_select.
  3. Add the field to any template you will be using for your field descriptions.
  4. Setup your help pages (for example under a settings branch) where you will store the field description content,using the template containing the Field Select.
  5. Add content to a page and select the field where that content should show. To show a short text before the link to the longer content, separate them with 5 dashes
  6. Be sure to update your settings on this page, first enable page content descriptions,then specify the name of the Select Fields field, template to search, and content field.

If you create a field description using this method, please note that the description field must be blank for contexts where you want the page content to appear.
You can freely use template context for field descriptions, but the Page Content method is not context sensitive and will display under all contexts where the description is blank.


original post:

This is a new module, hope to release soon, which allows extended field descriptions, in currently 2 ways.

The main feature of the module is that you can have a short description and then a 'more...' link which drops down a longer block of text.
This is achieved by separating the intro/visible text and the rest with 5 dashes.


Example setup:


the 2nd way is if you are using AdminThemeUiKit, you can show extended field instructions in a panel. The content of the panel is edited on a regular PW page. This use case would probably not be that common, but if you had a field that required some extended instructions for how to use, this could be useful; Also, since this allows you to target information and instructions down at the field level, it could reduce the amount of documentation needed on a global level, since it is a lot more context targeted.


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25 minutes ago, bernhard said:

in the second example: where does the content come from? a regular page that is linked? what kind of panel is this? is there a reason why you use an uikit panel instead of the built in pw-panel?

The 'page content for field description' option works along side the split content; so it is possible to use both as is show in the screen captures. When using the page content option, the content is from a page (e.g. under help pages). The aim is to make it configurable where you can specify which field to use for the content; the textformatters are applied, so you can use markdown if preferred; Right now it is hardcoded to use the body field.

For determining which field to show a link to the page's content on in the description, currently in my usage i have a FieldtypeFields field where you select the field that the content should show up on. The other option would be to just use a text field and have users enter the name of the field, or if multiple then a space or comma separated list; Having the selectable fields using that inputfield is very convenient though and maybe less error prone.

On UiKit theme it uses the uikit panel to show the help info; the actual content is already on the page, output in a hidden div next to the inputfield; so i don't think pw-panel will work since that is all about iframes. I had thought about the idea of creating a process module that would output the content from any page and then be able to use pw-panel, but i'm not sure if it needs to go there, as it would add another sub-module;

On the other themes it shows that content in magnific popup. The main reason i like the panel better than using a popup overall is that i actually have clients who are not super computer savvy or experienced and they are confused by popups and overlays, i've had them close the window because they didn't realize that they were still on the page.

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The module is now up on Github in case anyone wants to test it or give it a try.

Some additional features were added, like the ability to use SimpleMDE for field descriptions (on the field edit screen).

There are probably still some things in this module that could be improved overall, but fundamentally it works well and is in heavy use on one site.

This module is being used instead of the Admin Help module now in most cases, because typically the info that editors need to access is always about a specific field, so general instructions on the page editor (like in the help tab or lightbox) do not help as much as here, where targeted/contextual info about how to interact with a specific field is a click away.

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This module was finally released and in the Modules Directory:


Future Plans:

  1. Make the 'more' text configurable, as well as multi-langauage
  2. allow specification of which field to use for Field Selection, where the selected field on any content page would be a candidate to get the extended field description (in panel or modal) treatment.
  3. allow specification of which field to use for the content, when in "Page Content for Field Description" mode.

oops, just realized the module already does #2 & #3:


Edited by Macrura
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@netcarver - thanks for the compliment!

Hope someone else finds this useful; for me this has become a life-saver and the clients/editors have given a lot of positive feedback, and less questions/problems/confusion...  saves a ton on screen real estate when you absolutely have to have a fairly verbose field description, since you can hide most of it under the reveal...

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Hi @Macrura

This has a side effect if used on a field that is set to Ajax open (closed and ajax load only when opened) - the entire text is shown, sans link, before the ajax load completes and is shown again, with the 'more' link, once the load completes...


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Seems like a nice addition to your in-place documentation module suite, @Macrura:


I think that with PW in-place docs are a real help for editors. And you are the expert in this field. I would love to read or watch a screencast about all those modules used together. If you could find time to share your knowledge, that would surely be an awesome gift to the community.

And yes, that is just a fancy way to ask something free for myself ?

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@Ivan Gretsky  -thanks; sure - in short:


Enhanced field descriptions


Main function is to provide help pages in the admin which can be separate, and navigable; Since you can control the pages, it allows admins to have any documentation page open in a separate tab or window; contrasting to Admin Help, which has the help information either contextually on the Template (in a tab) or all in 1 process page inside an accordion.

This module also allows editors to download a PDF of the help page for offline reading, as well as various other helpers.


Original module, not being actively maintained, but soon all of the elements of this module would be covered by ProcessDocumentation. Still helpful if you want the simple help tab on a template, or some basic documentation for a site, all on 1 process page, in an accordion.


The next version of ProcessDocumentation will include a feature to show help content contextually on any template, using a help icon in the breadcrumbs bar instead of down in the editor tabs. In addition it will allow for showing expandable/collapsible help text at the top of any Lister/ListerPro. So in the end, ProcessDocumentation should cover most needs for fully documenting and providing help for any admin.


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On 7/20/2018 at 6:06 AM, netcarver said:

This has a side effect if used on a field that is set to Ajax open (closed and ajax load only when opened) - the entire text is shown, sans link, before the ajax load completes and is shown again, with the 'more' link, once the load completes...

An update was made to the module to fix this;

Please proceed cautiously and if you experience any errors or unexpected behavior let me know and revert to the previous version.

bunch of things got moved around in the module; testing was done and all seems to work fine, but due to the large number of changes in this update, caution is advised;

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The module instructions are rendered here on pw 3.0.108 as plain text instead html. Changing line 456-457 to this solves the issue (removing translate function):

$f->markupText = file_get_contents(__DIR__ . '/instructions.php');

Perhaps this happens only on a multilanguage site or where SimpleMDE is not installed?

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  • 3 years later...

I find this module really useful - thank you for providing it!

One thing I'm experiencing: if the field is a Page Reference field, the description heading gets repeated. These are both Page Reference fields:

1.PNG.a20479ee49011a2c4aadd76aeeb942ee.PNG   2.PNG.0d483799d7878a1dc9d51a05b9fbaf6b.PNG

For comparison, these two aren't Page Reference fields, and display correctly:

3.PNG.20d99f3e3ebde3f81e8e9a002788982f.PNG   4.PNG.7f1dcabd1ecd91f63d5044e54a103c37.PNG

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  • 3 months later...
On 4/6/2022 at 11:07 PM, Macrura said:


i have experienced that and i thought i had fixed it. I will check to see if there is some change or update i forgot to commit to the repo and get back to you - it is definitely solvable if i recall.


I just updated the module and see that you've fixed it - thank you Macrura!

On another note, I'm using Admin Theme Canvas and noticed that it and your module don't play well together, so I amended the FieldDescriptionsExtended.module file like this:

Lines 236 and 282:
if($this->adminTheme == 'AdminThemeUikit' or $this->adminTheme == 'AdminThemeCanvas') {

Line 288:
if($this->adminTheme != 'AdminThemeUikit' or $this->adminTheme != 'AdminThemeCanvas') {

Not sure if that's the sort of thing you would want to include in the module or not, but will leave it here so that it's findable for others.

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@taotoo thanks for this - and i actually can't recall how that got fixed but i did sync the repo and the fix was probably in there.. I will definitely get around to do a deep dive check and make sure it works and add the AdminThemeCanvas to the code as you have indicated; I didn't even know about that new theme...

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  • 6 months later...

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