[Html-widget] Rails-like form helpers - RFC for a new module

Zbigniew Lukasiak zzbbyy at gmail.com
Tue Sep 26 09:39:17 CEST 2006

Thanks for the ideas, I think I'll try them later - for now the module is
nearly ready it just needs some finishing touches. I would like to finish it
and see if people use it before extending.  What I need now is to decide how
to name it and if make it a subclass of HTML::Widget - the creator would
record the config and db row in the object and then the update would an
object method with no arguments.  This would be the simplest interface I see
- but unfortunately the update method needs to have a HTML::Widget::Result
object not a simple HTML::Widget - any ideas how to cleanly solve that?

All the logic for this module I've taken from DBIx::Class::Widget (by Jonas
Alves). We came to conclusion that it was coupling the db and the interface
too strongly and I hope that the config will make the coupling a bit more


On 9/25/06, Peter Edwards <peter at dragonstaff.com> wrote:
> The sort of interface I'd like would be a form definition file, say in
> Config::General format, following a standard syntax.
> As a starting point it would be worth looking at a Visual Basic .frm file
> to
> see the sort of info that stores.
> - general form level attributes, including data source spec
> - nested containers, both simple and tabbed
> - labels
> - widgets for display elements with optional link to data source element
> - back in InstantCRUD an overrideable handler for generalised form
> handling
> tasks (list paging, record view, record next/prev, that sort of thing) and
> backends for AJAX widgets.
> Later on someone could write an Eclipse plugin to make it easy to set up
> forms. Valuable for proof of concept prototyping and then you can fine
> tune
> the form def or write custom TT2 templates where necessary.
> It also makes it easy to write a utility to allow users to customise
> screen
> appearance.
> Regards, Peter
> -----Original Message-----
> From: html-widget-bounces at lists.rawmode.org
> [mailto:html-widget-bounces at lists.rawmode.org] On Behalf Of John
> Napiorkowski
> Sent: 24 September 2006 23:38
> To: html-widget at lists.rawmode.org
> Subject: Re: [Html-widget] Rails-like form helpers - RFC for a new module
> --- Zbigniew Lukasiak <zzbbyy at gmail.com> wrote:
> > Dear all,
> >
> > In the new InstantCRUD I decided to take out the
> > code for html forms
> > generation and make a separate module for it.  After
> > reading 'Rails-like
> > form helpers' thread I think that this module might
> > find a more general use.
> > I would like to ask you what intefrace would you
> > propose for it.
> >
> > It can build the HTML::Widgets based on some config
> > and data from the
> > database and then can also save the data from the
> > widget to the database.
> > The config part is more complicated than it could be
> > because the info about
> > many-to-many relations is not available from the
> > schema so you need to
> > specify it in the config.  Since it is already there
> > I've added also the
> > stringification to it - as it is a bit cleaner to
> > have it here in the
> > interface part than overload stringification in the
> > database schema
> > definition.
> >
> > The current interface is composed of just two
> > functions:
> >
> >
> Catalyst::Example::InstantCRUD::Widget->make_widget($interface_config,
> > $class, $schema, $item);
> >
> > $interface_config is a hash containing info about
> > all db classes and how to
> > wigetify them, $class is the db class, $schema is
> > DBIC schema and $item is
> > the db row to populate values in the form - its
> > optional.
> >
> >
> Catalyst::Example::InstantCRUD::Widget->populate_db($result,
> > $item);
> >
> > $result is HTML::Widget::Result and $item is the db
> > row to be updated
> >
> > So my question is do you think it deserves to be
> > taken out from InstantCRUD
> > and then what name would you propose for it?  How
> > would you design the API?
> I personally like the idea of having a config file for
> this.  One of the things that has really worked for me
> with Formbuilding is that option to use a yaml
> configuration file to build forms.  I didn't
> personally like building the forms in the controller,
> it really seems like a view thing to me, and
> forwarding to a view to build the form and then to
> Template Toolkit seemed really like a lot of extra
> work.
> With formbuilding I can put the config file in with
> the *.tt files and it seems really neat and ordered to
> me.
> Other things I'd like is an easier way to have the
> forms and other elements hook back to catalyst
> controllers.  I've really liked the JSF idea of having
> the template language be more than a renderer.  Makes
> developing AJAX stuff easier.
> So it would be very cool if instead of exposing
> information to the template system you would expose
> objects with callbacks to controllers.  However to get
> this to work right we really need a better subrequest
> system.  I've been playing with the subrequest plugin
> from Trunk just to get the idea of how this all works
> but haven't made so much progress in understanding it
> all :)
> Right now for my portal like system I'm just creating
> objects that do dumb LWP requests to a controller.  It
> works but feels very crude.
> --john
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Zbigniew Lukasiak
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