RT 4.4.1 Documentation

Extending/Using forms widgets

Using widgets html/Widgets/Form*

This widgets was implemented to address several common issues in handling request arguments and allow developers to avoid reinventing the wheel.

General info

Each component shows widget by default and has two methods: Process and InputOnly. The first one method process arguments and return new value of a parametr. The second one is helper that shows only form elements with minimum of required text labels.

So you show a widget with: <& /Widgets/Form/Integer, Name => 'NameOfInputElement', Description => 'Input integer', &>

You can show only input box using: <& /Widgets/Form/Integer:InputOnly, Name => 'NameOfInputElement', &>

In such a simple case you even can avoid processing. Yeah, most probably you want to check if value is really integer, but these widgets don't do validation for you, but they are more about fetching values from hash of arguments, showing these values to user and preserving state of value between form reloads (see below).


Processing is required when you use extended features, such as Default, Multiple or Alternative.

To process arguments of a request you have to do the following: $ARGS{'NameOfInputElement'} = $m->comp( '/Widgets/Form/Integer:Process', Arguments => \%ARGS, Name => 'NameOfInputElement', );

The method returns processed value in canonical form. For different widgets a canonical form is different and depends on activated features, so you must always activate the same features during showing a widget and processing results.

Extendent features

Default value

If Default argument is true then widgets expect that there is some default value for argument if user fills nothing. 'Nothing' in each widget is different, for example in select box it's special option which is always the first one, in integer box string '' means empty value, but boolean box uses radio buttons in this case with three options: Yes, No and Default.

Each widget that supports Default feature as well has DefaultLabel and DefaultValue arguments.

Processing and showing with activated Default feature

When this option is activated then Process method returns undef value if user selected default value. So for integer box it's empty string and so on.

As well when you show a widget you should pass undef as CurrentValue to inform widget that the current value is default one.

As all methods of a widget are consistent in this behaviour so you shouldn't care much about that, but this allows you to implement custom actions if processing returned undef, for example delete user's preference record instead of updating it (default value may change later to).

DefaultValue when Default is not active

DefaultValue argument is still actual in the Process method even if Default is not true. This argument defines intial value. If value of a key in Arguments is not defined then it's treated as intial state and the method returns default value.

Multiple and Alternative

These options are only supported by the select widget.

TODO: Add more info

Implementation details

Boolean widget

This widget a little bit tricky. When you use Default option then things are simple and you see three radio buttons, but in other case we use a checkbox. But as you know browsers don't pass unchecked boxes to server, so arguments of a request has no entry for them.

In the latter case it's hard to figure out case when user unselected value. Imagine form with a checkbox, you want show it checked by default and as well form is reloadable (like Reply forms that have "Add Another File" buttons). User uncheck the box and then upload file, in this case you want to show user's choice instead of default, but browser doesn't send any value and you can not figure out if it's initial state or page reload. To solve this problem we use magic hidden input field with the same name as the box and value equal to zero (0). Mason folds arguments with the same name into array refs, so we get 0 if box is unchecked and [0, 1] if box is checked. An array reference is true value and 0 is defined value so we know that it's not initial state and avoid switching back to default. As well this trick works good in a case when you want show a link to a page and define default choice for some boolean argument, you don't need to set argument twice, you just set it to true value (for ex. 1) and things just work.

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