Form Helpers

It provides a powerful Ruby API to describe HTML5 forms, to be used both with views and templates. It ships with:

Technical notes

This feature has a similar syntax to other Ruby gems with the same purpose, but it has a different usage if compared with Rails or Padrino.

Those frameworks allow a syntax like this:

<%= form_for :book do |f| %>
  <div>
    <%= f.text_field :title %>
  </div>
<% end %>

The code above isn't a valid ERB template. To make it work, these frameworks use custom ERB handlers and rely on third-party gems for other template engines.

Template engine independent

Because we support a lot of template engines, we wanted to keep it simple: use what ERB already offers. That means we can use Slim, HAML, or ERB and keep the same Ruby syntax.

One output block

The technical compromise for the principles described above is to use the form builder in a unique output block.

<%=
  form_for :book, routes.books_path do
    text_field :title

    submit 'Create'
  end
%>

This will produce

<form action="/books" id="book-form" method="POST">
  <input type="hidden" name="_csrf_token" value="0a800d6a8fc3c24e7eca319186beb287689a91c2a719f1cbb411f721cacd79d4">
  <input type="text" name="book[title]" id="book-id" value="">
  <button type="submit">Create</button>
</form>

Method in views

An alternative usage is to define a concrete method in a view and to use it in the template:

module Web::Views::Books
  class New
    include Web::View

    def form
      form_for :book, routes.books_path do
        text_field :title

        submit 'Create'
      end
    end
  end
end
<%= form %>

Supported methods

Examples

Basic usage

The API is really clean and concise, it doesn't require concatenation between the returning value of the block (submit) and the previous lines (div).

<%=
  form_for :book, routes.books_path, class: 'form-horizontal' do
    div do
      label      :title
      text_field :title, class: 'form-control'
    end

    submit 'Create'
  end
%>
<form action="/books" id="book-form" method="POST" class="form-horizontal">
  <input type="hidden" name="_csrf_token" value="1825a0a7ea92bbe3fd60cc8b6a0ea00ce3c52030afbf4037370d937bc5248acb">
  <div>
    <label for="book-title">Title</label>
    <input type="text" name="book[title]" id="book-title" value="" class="form-control">
  </div>

  <button type="submit">Create</button>
</form>

Method override

Browsers don't understand HTTP methods outside of GET and POST. On the other hand, Hanami embraces REST conventions, that goes beyond that two verbs. When we specify a method via :method, it adds a special hidden field _method, that's understood by the application.

<%=
  form_for :book, routes.book_path(book.id), method: :put do
    text_field :title

    submit 'Update'
  end
%>
<form action="/books/23" id="book-form" method="POST">
  <input type="hidden" name="_method" value="PUT">
  <input type="hidden" name="_csrf_token" value="5f1029dd15981648a0882ec52028208410afeaeffbca8f88975ef199e2988ce7">
  <input type="text" name="book[title]" id="book-title" value="Test Driven Development">

  <button type="submit">Update</button>
</form>

CSRF Protection

Cross Site Request Forgery (CSRF) is one of the most common attacks on the web. Hanami offers a security mechanism based on a technique called: Synchronizer Token Pattern.

When we enable sessions, it uses them to store a random token for each user. Forms are rendered with a special hidden field (_csrf_token) which contains this token.

On form submission, Hanami matches this input with the value from the session. If they match, the request can continue. If not, it resets the session and raises an exception.

Developers can customize attack handling.

Nested fields

<%=
  form_for :delivery, routes.deliveries_path do
    text_field :customer_name

    fields_for :address do
      text_field :city
    end

    submit 'Create'
  end
%>
<form action="/deliveries" id="delivery-form" method="POST">
  <input type="hidden" name="_csrf_token" value="4800d585b3a802682ae92cb72eed1cdd2894da106fb4e9e25f8a262b862c52ce">
  <input type="text" name="delivery[customer_name]" id="delivery-customer-name" value="">
  <input type="text" name="delivery[address][city]" id="delivery-address-city" value="">

  <button type="submit">Create</button>
</form>

Automatic values

Form fields are automatically filled with the right value. Hanami looks up for explicit values passed in the form constructor and for the params of the current request. It compares the form hierarchy (including nested fields), with these two sources. For each match, it fills the associated value.

Example

Imagine we want to update data for delivery. We have two objects: delivery and customer, which are plain objects (no ORM involved). They respond to the following methods:

delivery.id   # => 1
delivery.code # => 123

customer.name # => "Luca"

customer.address.class # => Address
customer.address.city  # => "Rome"

Let's compose the form.

<%=
  form_for :delivery, routes.delivery_path(id: delivery.id), method: :patch, values: {delivery: delivery, customer: customer} do
    text_field :code

    fields_for :customer do
      text_field :name

      fields_for :address do
        text_field :city
      end
    end

    submit 'Update'
  end
%>
<form action="/deliveries/1" id="delivery-form" method="POST">
  <input type="hidden" name="_method" value="PATCH">
  <input type="hidden" name="_csrf_token" value="4800d585b3a802682ae92cb72eed1cdd2894da106fb4e9e25f8a262b862c52ce">

  <input type="text" name="delivery[code]" id="delivery-code" value="123">

  <input type="text" name="delivery[customer][name]" id="delivery-customer-name" value="Luca">
  <input type="text" name="delivery[customer][address][city]" id="delivery-customer-address-city" value="Rome">

  <button type="submit">Update</button>
</form>

Please note the :values option that we pass to #form_for. It maps the name attributes that we have in the form with the objects that we want to use to fill the values. For instance delivery[code] corresponds to delivery.code (123), delivery[customer][address][city] to customer.address.city ("Rome") and so on..

Read Values From Params

Params are automatically passed to form helpers, to read values and try to autofill fields. If a value is present both in params and explicit values (:values), the first takes precendence. The reason is simple: params sometimes represent a failed form submission attempt.

Example

Imagine the form described above, and that our user enters "foo" as delivery code. This value isn't acceptable for our model domain rules, so we render again the form, presenting a validation error. Our params are now carrying on the values filled by our user. For instance: params.get('delivery.code') returns "foo".

Here how the form is rendered:

<form action="/deliveries/1" id="delivery-form" method="POST">
  <input type="hidden" name="_method" value="PATCH">
  <input type="hidden" name="_csrf_token" value="4800d585b3a802682ae92cb72eed1cdd2894da106fb4e9e25f8a262b862c52ce">

  <input type="text" name="delivery[code]" id="delivery-code" value="foo">

  <input type="text" name="delivery[customer][name]" id="delivery-customer-name" value="Luca">
  <input type="text" name="delivery[customer][address][city]" id="delivery-customer-address-city" value="Rome">

  <button type="submit">Update</button>
</form>

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