Power Components - Create forms and lists in frontend the way you love from backend (but with overriding views ;) )

Power Components banner

Introduction

PowerComponents plugin is an OctoberCMS plugin with a set of traits and classes for components that moves working with components to the next level.

See the video presenting quick start of writing components using Power Components: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZTRdmudGXD0

Disclaimer

The plugin is under heavy development and it is a beta version so it should not be used in production. It still may crash and behave unexpectedly.

The plugin heavily uses OctoberCMS’s AJAX framework. All “empowered” components requests server for views, so it is not possible, to use the plugin without October’s AJAX framework. It is a very important thing in some environments to consider.

Description

This plugin is trying to mimic the backend behavior of creating lists and forms in components. While developing applications is a very common task to create pages with records list and form to preview, create and update records (CRUDs). Secondly, we always have to keep in mind the frontend theme. In this case, PowerComponents is the way to go.

This plugin heavily uses classes and features from OctoberCMS’s core and we are doing our best for it to do all those fancy things the backend can. Sometimes those things need to be done a little different, but in most cases, October’s docs should apply.

October’s docs on:

Quick start

Prepare environment

  1. Install PowerComponents from MarketPlace
  2. Include necessary tags to your layout:

     initbiz/powercomponents/assets/ui/storm.css
     {% styles %}
     jquery
     initbiz/powercomponents/assets/js/powercomponents.js
     {% framework extras %}
     {% scripts %}
    

For example:

<head>
    <!-- Add PowerComponent Storm UI -->
    <link href="{{ ['$/initbiz/powercomponents/assets/ui/storm.css']|theme }}" rel="stylesheet">
    <!-- Don't forget about additional styles -->
    {% styles %}
    <!-- load jQuery in head section -->
    <script src="{{ ['@jquery'] |theme }}"></script>
</head>

...

<!-- load PowerComponents JS, somewhere between jQuery and Framework -->
<script src="{{ ['/plugins/initbiz/powercomponents/assets/js/powercomponents.js']|theme}}"> </script>
<!-- October's AJAX Framework -->
{% framework extras %}
<!-- Don't forget about additional scripts -->
{% scripts %}

Start with creating your first CRUD

Run php artisan pc:util create crud Initbiz.ExamplePlugin Client and answer yes to all questions.

DONE! :)

After running the command you will have:

Created and registered components in Initbiz.ExamplePlugin plugin:

  • ClientCreate
  • ClientUpdate
  • ClientPreview
  • ClientList

Created pages in active theme with following URLs:

  • /clients - which shows list of clients
  • /clients/create - which renders the ‘create client’ form
  • /clients/:id/preview - which renders the ‘preview client’ form
  • /clients/:id/update - which renders the ‘update client’ form

Feature overview

Artisan commands

PowerComponents registers pc:util (as Power Components Utility) command with the following parameters:

Create components

create components <pluginCode>.<pluginName> <modelName>
# For example:
create components October.Test Person

The command creates createPerson, updatePerson, previewPerson and listPerson components, which are called crud components in this documentation.

Create sites

create sites <modelName> [urlprefix]
# For example:
create sites Person

The command creates sites in the active theme that has embedded crud components the components and optional prefix for URL.

Register component

register component <pluginCode>.<pluginName> <componentCode>
# For example:
register component October.Test PersonCreate

The command registers ComponentCode component in plugin’s Plugin.php file.

Note: The command is parsing the Plugin.php as a text file. It backs up the Plugin.php file as Plugin.php.bak before saving the new version of Plugin.php file in case of messing the syntax or doing something unintentionally.

The supported syntax of the Plugin.php register methods is for example:

public method registerComponents()
{
    return [
       'Class' => 'ComponentCode',
       'Class2' => 'ComponentCode2',
    ];
}

The command works with empty return []; and no method as well.

Create CRUD

create crud <pluginCode>.<pluginName> <modelName> [urlprefix]
# For example:
create crud October.Test Person

The command combines all the foregoing methods, so it:

  1. Creates crud components and registers them in the plugin
  2. Creates crud sites with those components embedded

Note: The create crud command will ask you if you want to create a plugin and model if they do not exist.

Developing components

Controllers differ from components. As a consequence, we cannot treat a component as a controller and give it the power to render lists and forms in one class as it is done in the backend.

In the frontend, we have to use one component for one purpose. As a consequence there are two classes that extend ComponentBase class:

  1. ListComponentBase
  2. FormComponentBase

Their major task is to implement AJAX handlers for the components and they implement all methods that are required by OctoberCMS.

Example, minimal component

Take a look at the minimal component configuration that renders the form:

PersonCreate.php:

<?php namespace October\Test\Components;

use Initbiz\PowerComponents\Classes\FormComponentBase;

class PersonCreate extends FormComponentBase
{

    public function componentDetails()
    {
        return [
            'name'        => 'PersonCreate Component',
            'description' => 'Component rendering create form for Person'
        ];
    }

}

personcreate/config_form.yaml:

modelClass: October\Test\Models\Person
form:
    fields:
        name:
            label: Name
            commentAbove: Text field, required. Given name in the first box, preferred name in the second box.

        is_married:
            label: Married
            type: dropdown
            emptyOption: Unknown
            options:
                '0': No
                '1': Yes

personcreate/default.htm:

<h2>Create person</h2>

Right now all fields of the form are defined in config_form.yaml file exactly the same way as in backend and normal HTML in default.htm with pcrender twig method.

For list the pcrender method in .htm file should be invoked as follows:

Overriding views

You can override every view, or its part by creating a file with the same name as the view you want to override. Check the name of the partial you want to override in /plugins/initbiz/powercomponents/frontendwidgets or /plugins/initbiz/powercomponents/frontendformwidgets directories. For example, if you want to override the whole list or form, then override _list.htm or _form.htm partial.

  1. If you want to override view in a component, then create the partial file in component’s views directory.
  2. If you want to override view theme wide, then create pcviews directory in theme’s root directory and then create the partial file in it.

Of course, files defined in component have higher priority than those defined in the theme.

Note: sometimes overriding views need to take time because of the cache. To see the change faster you can change something (even for a second) in parent’s view to reload.

While working with the views, the first thing to understand is that in component (using Twig) you are running a method that requests views using the AJAX framework. Then the server is rendering partials and responses to the AJAX framework, which updates the partial.

As a consequence, the partials rendered by the server are written in PHP (like those in the backend), not Twig. Views written in PHP is a good idea in this case because those will be edited by developers rather than end-users. You have to remember only one rule while writing views in PHP: Avoid logic in views. There should be only ifs, fors, foreachs and echos.

Integrations

PowerComponents can be integrated with other plugins.

Cumulus

If you do not know what Cumulus is then visit this page.

Using the CumulusIntegrator trait in your component your lists will be by default filtered by cluster using the cluter_id field in database and forms will be fed with the field containing cluster’s id, and it will check if the user can view, add or update records that are not in the current cluster.

This way, every model wrapped by the PowerComponents will be available only for the cluster that the user is currently in (for example one cluster will not be able to read or update clients of the second cluster).

Features list

Lists

  1. Rendering list of records with the search box, update the URL in the table, checkboxes, “Create” and “Delete selected” buttons
  2. Sorting list
  3. Searching records
  4. Deleting records
  5. List pagination
  6. Overriding views in theme and in component

Forms

  1. Rendering create, preview and update forms with appropriate buttons
  2. Saving and updating models

Form widgets

  1. Datepicker
  2. Colorpicker
  3. Relation (dropdown and checkboxlist)
  4. Repeater

Integrations

  1. Cumulus integration verifying user access to data and filtering lists using cluster’s slug from URL

Console commands

  1. create components Initbiz.ExamplePlugin Model - creating crud components for Model
  2. create sites Model [urlprefix] - creating sites in active theme with crud components embedded
  3. register component Initbiz.ExamplePlugin ComponentCode - registering component in plugin registration file
  4. create crud Initbiz.ExamplePlugin Model [urlprefix] - combining all the foregoing

Future plans

  1. Test, test, test, and test (stable still waiting) with better automatic tests
  2. Simplify the code (too much responsibility of classes)
  3. Make simpler pcrender method (without those ‘options’ and ‘SELF.id’ things)
  4. Merge some PoweComponents traits with October’s core and remove them from the plugin (remove the second group of traits)
  5. Console command to automatically create YAML files using model properties
  6. Run first AJAX request earlier in page load cycle (for faster page loading), or even move it to the lower level (render of page or something)

Translations

Remember that translations of plugin are not translations of your components. Translations of plugin mostly mean the translation of the inspector’s properties, it’s description, name and so on.

Labels in forms and column names are defined in your yaml file because they are not related to PowerComponents itself.

When it comes to texts on buttons, they are defined in PowerComponents lang directory. Right now there are only two languages supported: English and Polish, so if you want to have your language available on the marketplace, then please send us your translation. We cannot guarantee you full support of your language (we are just developers ;)).

PowerComponents’s assets (CSSs, JSs)

Storm UI used in PowerComponents is a smaller version of OctoberCMS’s Storm UI. I was doing my best to compile the file the way it will not mess your themes CSS, but I cannot guarantee it will be the case.

While developing themes try to avoid classes that can collide with those defined in OctoberCMS’s Storm UI and if you find collisions that should not be present, let me know.