Symfony 1.3 and 1.4 have been released some days ago in RC2 and you should really take a look at it, because they improve a lot the way you work with the framework, especially the forms one. It’s been a couple of days I started to implement a new bookmarks management feature on a project I’m working on currently, and the new model relationship embedding feature of 1.3’s forms framework just saved me a lot of days.

Here’s a quick and dirty example on how to setup a willingly simplistic bookmarks management system using it

The schema

Here’s the naive Doctrine schema I’ll use for this example:

 yaml
# in config/doctrine/schema.yml
User:
  columns:
    id:
      type: integer(4)
      primary: true
      autoincrement: true
    name:
      type: string(255)
      notnull: true
  relations:
    Bookmarks:
      type: many
      class: Bookmark
      local: id
      foreign: user_id
      onDelete: CASCADE

Bookmark:
  columns:
    id:
      type: integer(4)
      primary: true
      autoincrement: true
    name:
      type: string(255)
      notnull: true
    url:
      type: string(255)
      notnull: true
    user_id:
      type: integer(4)
      notnull: true
  relations:
    User:
      type: one
      local: user_id
      foreign: id

As you can see, it’s really naive. Anyway.

Some fixtures

What would be a Doctrine schema without fixtures? Quite nothing I guess, so here we go:

 yaml
# in data/fixtures/fixtures.yml
User:
  niko:
    name: niko

Bookmark:
  niko_bookmark1:
    User: niko
    name: Slashdot
    url: http://slashdot.org/
  niko_bookmark2:
    User: niko
    name: Delicious
    url: http://delicious.com/
  niko_bookmark3:
    User: niko
    name: Digg
    url: http://digg.com/

Building stuff

You guessed it, after having suited the config/databases.yml file to set up a database of our choice, we can now build the database, all the classes we need and load the previously defined fixtures:

$ ./symfony doctrine:build --all --and-load

A basic user’s bookmarks management form

What we want do do now is to manage one User’s bookmarks in a single form. Let’s do it now in a new UserBookmarksForm.class.php file where we’ll build a form extending the autogenerated UserForm one:

 php
<?php
// lib/form/doctrine/UserBookmarksForm.class.php
class UserBookmarksForm extends UserForm
{
  public function configure()
  {
    // We don't want to edit the User object
    unset($this['name']);

    // Existing bookmark forms
    $this->embedRelation('Bookmarks');
    
    $this->widgetSchema->setNameFormat('user_bookmarks[%s]');
  }
}

All the magic is done by calling the embedRelation() method here: all BookmarkForm instances will be embedded and managed automatically in and by our form.

Let’s use a simple controller to manage the form[1]:

 php
<?php
class testActions extends sfActions
{
  public function executeBookmarks(sfWebRequest $request)
  {
    $this->form = new UserBookmarksForm($user = Doctrine::getTable('User')->findOneByName('niko'));
    if ($request->isMethod('post') && $this->form->bindAndSave($request->getParameter('user_bookmarks')))
    {
      $this->getUser()->setFlash('notice', 'Bookmarks list updated');
      $this->redirect('test/index');
    }
  }
}

And a basic template:

 php
<form action="." method="post">
  <?php echo $form->renderHiddenFields() ?>
  <?php echo $form->renderGlobalErrors() ?>
  <table>
    <?php echo $form ?>
    <tr>
      <td></td>
      <td><input type="submit"/></td>
    </tr>
  </table>
</form>

You should see something like this:

simple.png

The form is functional, you can edit several bookmarks at one. Neat? But wait, we can’t add a new one!

Embedding a bookmark creation form

Let’s enhance our form by embedding an empty BookmarkForm form instance in order to add a new bookmark:

 php
<?php
// lib/form/doctrine/UserBookmarksForm.class.php
class UserBookmarksForm extends UserForm
{
  public function configure()
  {
    unset($this['name']);
    
    // Bookmark creation form
    $newBookmarkForm = new BookmarkForm();
    $newBookmarkForm->setDefault('user_id', $this->object->id);
    $this->embedForm('new', $newBookmarkForm);
    
    // Existing bookmark forms
    $this->embedRelation('Bookmarks');
    
    $this->widgetSchema->setNameFormat('user_bookmarks[%s]');
  }
  
  protected function doBind(array $values)
  {
    if ('' === trim($values['new']['name']) && '' === trim($values['new']['url']))
    {
      unset($values['new'], $this['new']);
    }
    
    parent::doBind($values);
  }
}

Here I just override the doBind() method to remove the bookmark creation embedded form if nothing has been submitted by the user in its fields; that’s probably because he just wants to edit existing bookmarks[2].

By refreshing the page you should now be able to see the new form:

withAdd.png

So now you’re able to add a new Bookmark and/or edit existing instances within the same simple form. Neat? Wait, we can’t delete existing bookmarks!

Deleting existing bookmarks

So you would like to have a checkbox next to every existing bookmark embedded form to schedule its deletion on saving the form? Wow, that’s getting tricky, I like that.

The Symfony forms framework has evolved a lot, but what we’re trying to achieve here will involve some fine-tunning. Don’t be too much afraid seeing the code ;)

First, we’ll have to add the checkbox widget to the BookmarkForm form, but only if an existing Bookmark object has been bound to it:

 php
<?php
// lib/form/doctrine/BookmarkForm.class.php
class BookmarkForm extends BaseBookmarkForm
{
  public function configure()
  {
    $this->widgetSchema['user_id'] = new sfWidgetFormInputHidden();
    $this->validatorSchema['url'] = new sfValidatorAnd(array(
      new sfValidatorString(array('max_length' => 255)),
      new sfValidatorUrl(),
    ));
    
    if ($this->object->exists())
    {
      $this->widgetSchema['delete'] = new sfWidgetFormInputCheckbox();
      $this->validatorSchema['delete'] = new sfValidatorPass();
    }
  }
}

Refreshing the form page should display something like that:

withAddAndDelete.png

The UserBookmarksForm now holds this code:

 php
<?php
// lib/form/doctrine/UserBookmarksForm.class.php
class UserBookmarksForm extends UserForm
{
  /**
   * Bookmarks scheduled for deletion
   * @var array
   */
  protected $scheduledForDeletion = array();  
  
  /**
   * Configures the form
   *
   */
  public function configure()
  {
    unset($this['name']);
    
    // Bookmark creation form
    $newBookmarkForm = new BookmarkForm();
    $newBookmarkForm->setDefault('user_id', $this->object->id);
    $this->embedForm('new', $newBookmarkForm);
    
    // Existing bookmark forms
    $this->embedRelation('Bookmarks');
    
    $this->widgetSchema->setNameFormat('user_bookmarks[%s]');
  }
  
  /**
   * Here we just drop the bookmark embedded creation form if no value has been 
   * provided for it (it somewhat simulates a non-required embedded form)
   *
   * @see sfForm::doBind()
   */
  protected function doBind(array $values)
  {
    if ('' === trim($values['new']['name']) && '' === trim($values['new']['url']))
    {
      unset($values['new'], $this['new']);
    }
    
    if (isset($values['Bookmarks']))
    {
      foreach ($values['Bookmarks'] as $i => $bookmarkValues)
      {
        if (isset($bookmarkValues['delete']) && $bookmarkValues['id'])
        {
          $this->scheduledForDeletion[$i] = $bookmarkValues['id'];
        }
      }
    }
    
    parent::doBind($values);
  }
  
  /**
   * Updates object with provided values, dealing with evantual relation deletion
   *
   * @see sfFormDoctrine::doUpdateObject()
   */
  protected function doUpdateObject($values)
  {
    if (count($this->scheduledForDeletion))
    {
      foreach ($this->scheduledForDeletion as $index => $id)
      {
        unset($values['Bookmarks'][$index]);
        unset($this->object['Bookmarks'][$index]);
        Doctrine::getTable('Bookmark')->findOneById($id)->delete();
      }
    }

    $this->getObject()->fromArray($values);
  }
  
  /**
   * Saves embedded form objects.
   *
   * @param mixed $con   An optional connection object
   * @param array $forms An array of forms
   */
  public function saveEmbeddedForms($con = null, $forms = null)
  {
    if (null === $con)
    {
      $con = $this->getConnection();
    }

    if (null === $forms)
    {
      $forms = $this->embeddedForms;
    }
    
    foreach ($forms as $form)
    {
      if ($form instanceof sfFormObject)
      {
        if (!in_array($form->getObject()->getId(), $this->scheduledForDeletion))
        {
          $form->saveEmbeddedForms($con);
          $form->getObject()->save($con);
        }
      }
      else
      {
        $this->saveEmbeddedForms($con, $form->getEmbeddedForms());
      }
    }
  }
}

The code should be self-explanatory… or not. But anyway, you should now be able to add a new bookmark and delete existing ones as well, in a single form and process, and we’re still using the very same controller from the beginning!

Okay, let’s admit it, we’re reaching the limits of Symfony and probably those of my knowledge of it as well, but… IT WORKS.

But, what about the templating?

As of now we’ve used the convenient <?php echo $form ?> trick, but we now want to have full fine-grained control over the way our embedded form fields will look like.

Let’s update the form template accordingly:

 php
<form action="." method="post">
  <?php echo $form->renderHiddenFields() ?>
  <?php echo $form->renderGlobalErrors() ?>
  <!-- Embedded new bookmark form -->
  <fieldset>
    <legend><?php echo __('Create a new bookmark') ?></legend>
    <?php echo $form['new']->renderError() ?>
    <div class="form-row">
      <?php echo $form['new']['name']->renderLabel() ?>
      <div class="form-field">
        <?php echo $form['new']['name']->render() ?>
        <?php echo $form['new']['name']->renderError() ?>
      </div>
    </div>
    <div class="form-row">
      <?php echo $form['new']['url']->renderLabel() ?>
      <div class="form-field">
        <?php echo $form['new']['url']->render() ?>
        <?php echo $form['new']['url']->renderError() ?>
      </div>
    </div>
  </fieldset>
  <!-- /Embedded new bookmark form -->
  <!-- Embedded existing bookmark forms -->
  <?php foreach ($form['Bookmarks'] as $i => $eForm): ?>
    <fieldset>
      <legend><?php echo sprintf(__('Edit bookmark #%d'), $i+1) ?></legend>
      <?php echo $eForm->renderError() ?>
      <div class="form-row">
        <?php echo $eForm['name']->renderLabel() ?>
        <div class="form-field">
          <?php echo $eForm['name']->render() ?>
          <?php echo $eForm['name']->renderError() ?>
        </div>
      </div>
      <div class="form-row">
        <?php echo $eForm['url']->renderLabel() ?>
        <div class="form-field">
          <?php echo $eForm['url']->render() ?>
          <?php echo $eForm['url']->renderError() ?>
        </div>
      </div>
      <div class="form-row">
        <div class="form-field">
          <?php echo $eForm['delete']->render() ?>
          <?php echo $eForm['delete']->renderError() ?>
          <?php echo $eForm['delete']->renderLabel(__('Delete this bookmark')) ?>
        </div>
      </div>
    </fieldset>
  <?php endforeach; ?>
  <!-- /Embedded existing bookmark forms -->
  <input type="submit" value="<?php echo __('Update your bookmarks') ?>"/>
</form>

Now you can really control the semantics of the HTML code of the form, field by field.

As always, if you have better solutions in mind, feel free to post them in the comments.

Notes

[1] I’ll leave you to create an app, module and route, okay?

[2] Of course this can be a lot improved, but the example is kept as simple as possible to ease understanding.