Certica Products

Prescriptions Authoring Guide

Updated May 05, 2021

As part of its certification process, Certify(TM) runs a battery of data certification rules each night against the student information system (SIS) and generates Scorecards that display which rules were violated by the data. These rules are from the Certify Rule Library(TM), and each has a number and name. A rule can also have a corresponding user-provided “Prescription.” A Prescription provides explanatory information about a rule and how to correct problems, similar to an online Help file. Each Prescription consists of a PDF file or a link to an outside document such as an HTML page or other online resources.

The Prescriptions can guide school and district staff about how to correct errors and enter data correctly on their systems. When users view the results of a rule, they can click the More Info button [1] and see the rule descriptive information. Then they can click the Click here to see the Prescription for this Rule link [2] to see the Prescription:

Prescription Documents

In order to have rule Prescriptions that your district or group will find useful, you need to provide Certica Solutions with the appropriate Prescription documents. You do not have to have Prescriptions for every rule. You can provide Prescriptions for only those rules that may require more information or detailed directions on correcting the data. Often districts and other groups already have documentation for these rules, and it is simply a matter of providing it in the correct format to Certica.

Once you provide Prescription files, Certica will link the Prescriptions to the corresponding rules so that the Prescriptions become available to Certify users in your district or group.

The following kinds of documents are used for authoring Prescriptions:

  • PDF files: Adobe PDF documents can contain the text and images that make up the actual Prescriptions. PDF files can be either specific to a single rule or used by multiple rules. Many student information systems provide documentation in PDF format and commonly used word processors also will create PDF files. PDFs used by multiple rules also require a Reference document.
  • Reference Documents: These are small, rule-specific text files that contain a "reference" to a Prescription either in a specific location in a PDF or a link to an outside document such as an HTML page or other online resources.

Option 1: Provide a Single PDF File Per Rule

One way to set up rule Prescriptions is to provide a single PDF file per rule. Make sure that the PDF file has these characteristics:

  • The PDF should contain whatever text and images should make up the Prescription.
  • The name of the PDF file should be the rule number such as “<Rule Number>.PDF” (e.g.555- 1234.PDF). For a list of rules and numbers, please contact your Certica representative.

Option 2: Provide One PDF file for Multiple Rules

If you want to have more than one rule Prescription contained in a single PDF file, you need to provide the PDF file as well as a Reference file for each rule Prescription. The Reference file for a rule contains the PDF file name and location of the Prescription inside the PDF, either by page number or by Named Destination.

The PDF File for Option 2

A PDF file that is appropriate for containing multiple rule Prescriptions should have these characteristics:

  • The name of the PDF file can be anything but should not contain spaces or special characters.
  • The PDF file should contain text/images for multiple rule Prescriptions.
  • Each rule Prescription can be referred to according to page number or by a Named Destination. You should have each rule Prescription begin on a separate page or add Named Destinations to the PDF document.

Named Destinations

A Named Destination is not the same as a Bookmark. Although Microsoft Word automatically creates Bookmarks from headings when a document is saved as a PDF file, bookmarks will not work with the Reference file. There are two ways to create Named Destinations in PDF documents:

  • Use Adobe Acrobat (not Adobe Reader) to add the Named Destinations to the PDF document. See the Adobe Acrobat documentation for additional information.
  • Use OpenOffice Writer to export the document file to a PDF. There are options available to generate bookmarks and then write them to the file as Named Destinations as well as bookmarks.

The Named Destination name must not contain either spaces or special characters. For example, "Chapter1" is acceptable but "Chapter 1" is not. For additional information on how PDF file links work, please refer to Adobe documentation.

Reference Files for Option 2

If you have one PDF containing more than one Prescription, you must also provide a Reference file for each rule. The Reference file is a simple text file containing a single line. This line specifies the name of the PDF file and a parameter that points to a part of that file, either by specific page or a Named Destination.

To create the Reference file to a PDF file containing multiple Prescriptions:

  1. Create a text file named "<Rule Number>.reference" (e.g. 555-1234.reference).
  2. Inside the Reference file, enter one line that refers to the PDF file and an individual Prescription by either the page number parameter or by a Named Destination parameter.
  • To use the Page method, include both the PDF file name and the "#page=" parameter in your Reference file.
  • For example: SISDocumentation.pdf#page=27

This opens the PDF file and then moves to the specified page number. The only problem with this method is that if the document is updated and the page numbers change, then all Reference files will also have to be updated.

  • To use the Named Destination method, include both the PDF file name and the "#nameddest=" parameter in the Reference file.
  • For example: SISDocumentation.pdf#nameddest=Chapter1

This opens the PDF and moves to the Named Destination, which will continue to work even if the document is updated and page numbers change.

Warning: How PDF files are opened when a page or location is specified can differ depending on the browser, browser settings, operating system, Acrobat version and other factors. In most cases, a PDF file opens in either a new window or a new tab in the same browser window, but this isn't always consistent. This is a factor of how Adobe Acrobat works and is configured and is beyond the control of the Prescription application.

Option 3: Locate Files Remotely

If you want to use rule Prescriptions that are HTML pages or other online resources located on a Website or another location, you can provide a Reference File for each rule without an accompanying PDF file. The Reference file contains a full URL address to the online resource, rather than just a pointer to a PDF located on the Certify server. These online resources can either be a PDF file, HTML page, or any other file type that can be viewed in a browser. The documents do not have to be provided to Certica and can remain in their original locations.

To create a Reference File that points to a specific URL:

  1. Create a text file named "<Rule Number>.reference" (e.g. 555-1234.reference).
  2. Inside the Reference file, enter one line that refers to the file location. You can use the “#page” and “#nameddest” parameters for PDF files as described in the section above titled, “ReferenceFiles” or any other valid URL. The URL must start with either “http://” or “https://” and can point to any location that the end user can access, including locations within a District's intranet. For example:

http://www.myschoolwebsite.com/Sisrules.pdf#page=27

or:

http://www.myschoolwebsite.com/Sisrules.html?section=5&screen=student

When a user clicks the Prescription link in a Certify Scorecard, a new window opens to the specified URL.

Catalog the Prescriptions

After you have assembled the appropriate PDF and Resource documents for your Prescriptions, please fill in the accompanying PrescriptionDocuments.DOCX file with the rules and their corresponding Prescription file(s). Here is a sample:

Rule Name/Number PDF File Name Resource File Name
020-0123 020-0123.PDF  
030-1234   030-1234.Resource
040-9876 040-222.PDF 040-9876.Resource
040-4567 040-222.PDF 040-4567.Resource

Contact Support

Place all local PDF files, Reference Files, and the PrescriptionDocument.DOCX file into a single ZIP file and send it to your Certica representative.

Certica Client Services will link the rules (shown in the Certify Scorecards) to your specific rule Prescriptions. You can update these rule Prescriptions anytime by providing updated files.

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