A Context is an area of similar responsibility within the code and/or UI. They appear as top-level navigation objects within the main menu, and should all cover a similar topic, or theme. The following are all good candidates for Contexts:

Context Description
Security Holds menu items from different modules that provide security tools and reports.
Forums You can group all of your forums admin panels in a single context.
Design You might provide methods for editing your templates or various error pages
Tools Might contain collections of utilities that don't belong elsewhere.
Role-Specific A single role might have access to a set of tools that no one else does. These could be grouped so they are easier to provide access to.

Context Controllers

Contexts map directly to controllers of the same name in your module. If you are creating a controller to handle your Settings Context for your module, the controller should be named content.php and the class should be named Content.

class Content extends Admin_Controller {

Context Views

All views for your contexts should be stored within the views folder of your module, under a sub-folder named after the context. Continuing our example, the view for the index method would exist at my_module/views/content/index.php.

Public Contexts

A Public Context is just a fancy name for what you would typically do in a CodeIgniter application. This controller is named the same as your module and can have as many methods that map directly to the URI as you need.

Views are stored directly in your views folder. For front-facing page, or Public Contexts, there's little-to-no magic going on behind the scenes other than what you're already used to working with. The file would then be available at:

Required Contexts

Bonfire requires only two contexts to exist, and will create them if they don’t. They are the Developer and Settings Contexts.

Context Description
Developer This context is meant for tools designed to make the application developer’s life easier and may include database tools, code generation, deploy helpers, etc.
Settings Any settings related to your module. These are typically items that are infrequently changed, like the number of events to show on each page, etc.

Creating New Contexts

You can create any number of contexts to fit your application’s specific needs. Doing so is a very simple task that only requires a single step.

Update the Application Config Array

To create a new context that will be displayed in the admin area, you only need to add the name of the context to the contexts array in the config/application.php file. The context name must not contain any spaces. If more than one word is needed, separate the words with an underscore.

Localizing the Context Name

To make your context's name localized, you simply need to add a new entry in the language/english/application_lang.php file. The name should be preceded by bf_context_.

$lang['bf_context_new'] = 'New Context';

The localized version will automatically be used if present, otherwise the name displayed will be the name of the context.

Restricting Access to Contexts

You can restrict access to your contexts by creating a new permission. This permission should be named 'Site.{context}.View', where {context} is the name of your context. Once this permission is created in the system, no one will be able to view the context if they do not have permission.

In order to manage the permission, you will need to create another permission called 'Permissions.{context}.Manage'.

Custom Context Menus

To customize the context menus for your module, simply add any of the following entries to your module's config.php file's 'module_config' array:

  • name is the human-readable name of your module, to be displayed in the context menu. If not specified, the name of the module directory will be used.
  • description is a short description of your module and will appear in the list of installed modules, as well as being used in the 'title' attribute of the link in the context menu. If not specified, the name of the module directory will be used.
  • menus is an array which allows you to specify sub-menus that appear under each context. The value is the relative path to a view file which contains a <ul> of your options.
  • menu_topic is an array which allows you to specify that the menu for a given context will appear as a sub-menu under a given 'menu_topic'. The same 'menu_topic' may be used by multiple modules within the application to group related functionality within a single sub-menu.
  • weights is an array that allows you to order the menu items within the main context navigation. Think of it like the menu is a bowl of water. The heavier the weight (or the larger the value), the farther down the menu it will sink.

Values specified under 'menu_topic' or 'name' may optionally use the lang: prefix to indicate an entry in the 'application_lang' file to be used for translating that particular item in the menu; any 'menu_topic' specified with a lang: prefix should be specified with that prefix consistently throughout the application's modules.

In most cases, only 'name' and 'description' are specified (along with 'author' and 'version', which are not used within the context menu).

An example config.php file may look like the following:

<?php defined('BASEPATH') || exit('No direct script access allowed');

$config['module_config'] = array(
    'name'        => 'lang:bf_menu_blog_name',
    'description' => 'A Simple Blog Example',
    'author'      => 'Your Name',
    'homepage'    => 'http://...',
    'version'     => '1.0.1',
    'menus'       => array(
        'context' => 'path/to/view',
    'menu_topic'  => array(
        'context' => 'lang:bf_menu_blog_context_name',
    'weights'     => array(
        'context' => 0,

Note that 'context' under 'menus', 'menu_topic', and 'weights' is a placeholder for the name of the context (e.g. content, settings, etc.).

Bonfire makes use of the 'menus' setting in the database and emailer modules to create sub-menus in the developer and settings contexts.

The 'menu_topic' setting is used to group menu entries for Bonfire's migrations module with those from the database module.

The 'weights' setting is used to weight the 'Users' entry in the settings context, which, by default, causes the Users entry to be listed first in the menu.