Public Configuration

Starting from Mica 4.0, the administration user interface is distinct from the public pages, i.e. pages that are to be accessed by regular users. These pages are based on templates that can be customized, extended or overridden. The template engine that is used is FreeMarker which has a clean and powerful syntax.

Page Templates

Main Pages

The main public pages are:

Page Description
index The home page
profile The user profile page for updating personal information and password
signin The login page
signup The user registration page
signup-with The user registration page, with form pre-filled with personal information extracted from a OpenID Connect server
forgot-password The page to ask for password reset
just-registered The welcome page after a user has registered
networks The list of networks
network The network page
studies The list of studies
study The study page (can be individual or harmonization)
datasets The list of datasets
dataset The dataset page (can be collection or harmonization)
variable The variable page (can be collected, data schema or harmonized)
search The catalog search page
projects The list of approved projects
data-access-process The data access process presentation page
data-accesses The list of data access requests (restricted access)
data-access The data access request main page (there are other pages for each of the data access request forms and features)

The templates structure is organized in a way that it should not be necessary to override these pages definitions. Instead of that, it is recommended to change/extend the theme/style as described in this guide.

Some template variables (date formats, branding, favicon etc.) are also defined in libs/settings.ftl and can be altered in the file models/settings.ftl that would be added in your configuration folder as follows:

└── conf
    └── templates
        └── models
            └── settings.ftl

Adding Pages

It is possible to add new pages, for providing additional information or guidance to the regular user. This can be done as follows:

  • Install a new page templates
  • Add a new menu entry

1. Install custom page template

The new template page is to be declared in the configuration folder:

└── conf
    └── templates
        └── custom.ftl

You can check at the provided templates to make your template fit in the site theme and structure. The profile page template could be a good starting point.

FreeMarker will look at its context to resolve variable values. For a custom page the objects available in the context are:

Object Description
config The Mica configuration
user The user object (if user is logged in)
roles The list of user roles: mica-administrator, mica-reviewer, mica-editor, mica-data-access-officer or mica-user (if user is logged in)
query The URL query parameters as a map of strings

This custom template page can load any CSS or JS file that might be useful. These files can be served directly by adding them as follows (there are no restrictions regarding the naming and the structure of these files, as soon as they are located in the static folder):

└── conf
    └── static
        ├── custom.css
        └── custom.js

The URL of this custom page will be for instance:

2. Custom menu entry

To link to a custom page (or an external page), some templates can be defined to extend the default menus: left menu can be extended on its right and right menu can be extended on its left. The corresponding templates are:

└── conf
    └── templates
        └── models
            ├── navbar-menus-left.ftl
            └── navbar-menus-right.ftl

Check at the default left and right menus implementation as a reference.

Theme and Style


The default theme is the one provided by the excellent AdminLTE framework. It is based on Bootstrap and JQuery. In order to overwrite this default theme, the procedure is the following:

  • Build a custom AdminLTE distribution
  • Install this custom distribution
  • Change the template settings so that pages refer to this custom distribution instead of the default one

1. Build custom AdminLTE

This requires some knowledge in CSS development in a Node.js environment:

  • Download AdminLTE source (source code or a released version)
  • Reconfigure Sass variables
  • Rebuild AdminLTE (see instructions in the README file, contributions section)

2. Install custom AdminLTE

The objective is to have the web server to serve this new set of stylesheet and javascript files. This is achieved by creating the folder MICA_HOME/conf/static and copying the AdminLTE custom distribution in that folder. Not all the AdminLTE are needed, only the dist and plugins ones. The folder tree will look like:

└── conf
    └── static
        └── admin-lte
            ├── dist
            └── plugins

3. Template settings

Now that the custom AdminLTE distribution is installed in the web server environment, this new location must be declared in the page templates. The default templates settings are defined in the libs/settings.ftl template file. See the adminLTEPath variable. This variable can be altered by defining a custom settings.ftl file as follows:

└── conf
    └── templates
        └── models
            └── settings.ftl

In this custom settings.ftl file the new AdminLTE distribution location will be declared:

<#assign adminLTEPath = "/admin-lte"/>


As an alternative to theming, it is also possible to alter the style of the pages by loading your own stylesheet and tweaking the pages’ layout using javascript (and JQuery). The procedure is the following:

  • Install custom CSS and/or JS files
  • Custom the templates to include these new CSS and/or JS assets

1. Install custom CSS/JS

The objective is to have the web server to serve this new set of stylesheet and javascript files. This is achieved by creating the folder MICA_HOME/conf/static and copying any CSS/JS files that will be included in the template pages. The folder tree will look like:

└── conf
    └── static
        ├── custom.css
        └── custom.js

2. Custom templates

For the CSS files, the models/head.ftl template allows to extend the HTML pages “head” tag content with custom content. For the JS files, the models/scripts.ftl template allows to extend the HTML pages “script” tags. The folder tree will look like:

└── conf
    └── templates
        └── models
            ├── head.ftl
            └── scripts.ftl

Where the head.ftl template will be:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/custom.css"/>

And the scripts.ftl template will be:

<script src="/custom.js"/>


The translations are performed in the following order, for a given locale:

  1. check for the message key in the message_<locale>.properties (at different locations)
  2. check for the message key in the <locale> JSON object as defined the Administration > Translations section of the administration interface

For the message_* properties, the translations can be added/overridden as follows:

└── conf
    └── translations

Note that you can declare only the message_* properties files that are relevant (locales available from the website) and the content of these files can contain only the translation keys that you want to override.