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Extending » Advanced » Providing New Field Types

Bolt 3 now gives extension developers access to the complete lifecycle of a field, from the database query that loads it, through to the template that displays it to the end user. To take advantage of that there is a new FieldManager class within Bolt along with a new structure which you can use to build custom fields.

As ever, the best way to see the potential of this system is a walk-through tutorial.

The plan

To show how we can take advantage of custom hydration and persistence we're going to make a field that acts similarly to a traditional text field, but instead of returning a plain string gives us a more useful value object that we can use on the frontend. For this example we've chosen a URL field, that will take a plain string as input and convert it to a custom Url object.

How we will use it

As with all fields within Bolt we use them via configuration in contenttypes.yml so this is where we will begin. Normally we would store a URL as a plain text field but instead we're going to add some extra features and so we use a custom type. The config will look like this:

fields:
    web:
        type: url
        label: Enter a web address

Getting started

First up we'll need a skeleton extension setup, we won't run through the setup here but you can use the Bolt Extension Starter Kit to get one setup. Once that's done we can start building our extension.

We'll start with the main Extension class itself. Here's what we need:

<?php

namespace Bolt\Extension\Ross\URLField;

use Bolt\Extension\Ross\URLField\Provider\FieldProvider;
use Bolt\Extension\SimpleExtension;

/**
 * The main extension class.
 *
 * @author Ross Riley <riley.ross@gmail.com>
 */
class Extension extends SimpleExtension
{

    public function getServiceProviders()
    {
        return [
            $this,
            new FieldProvider()
        ];
    }

    protected function registerTwigPaths()
    {
        return [
            'templates/bolt' => ['position' => 'prepend', 'namespace'=>'bolt']
        ];
    }

}

There's only two things we're doing here, adding our new FieldProvider to the registered providers and in the registerTwigPaths() method we add our extensions templates directory to the Twig loader. Note that new extensions targeting Bolt 3.0 and later need to extend the built in SimpleExtension class.

Our Field Provider Class

Fields within Bolt are now controlled by a FieldManager instance and its primary job is to map field names to handler classes. So our new field will use the url name and we'll be making a handler class within this extension. So here is the code needed to extend the base FieldManager and add our custom one to it.

<?php

namespace Bolt\Extension\Ross\URLField\Provider;

use Bolt\Extension\Ross\URLField\Field\URLFieldType;
use Bolt\Storage\FieldManager;
use Silex\Application;
use Silex\ServiceProviderInterface;

class FieldProvider implements ServiceProviderInterface
{
    public function register(Application $app)
    {
        $app['storage.typemap'] = array_merge(
            $app['storage.typemap'],
            [
                'url' => URLFieldType::class
            ]
        );

        $app['storage.field_manager'] = $app->share(
            $app->extend(
                'storage.field_manager',
                function (FieldManager $manager) {
                    $manager->addFieldType('url', new URLFieldType());

                    return $manager;
                }
            )
        );

    }

    public function boot(Application $app)
    {
    }
}

To achieve this there are two things to extend, we need to add a map from url to Bolt\Extension\Ross\URLField\Field\URLFieldType, which is the type class we are going to write next.

Then we need to instantiate the class and add it to the FieldManager, these are the only two steps needed.

Writing the Field Type Class

Now we move onto the Field Type class. This is where we define the lifecycle transforms that will happen to our field. First of all here is the final code for the class:

<?php
namespace Bolt\Extension\Ross\URLField\Field;

use Bolt\Extension\Ross\URLField\Value\Url;
use Bolt\Storage\EntityManager;
use Bolt\Storage\Field\Type\FieldTypeBase;
use Bolt\Storage\QuerySet;

class URLFieldType extends FieldTypeBase
{

    public function persist(QuerySet $queries, $entity, EntityManager $em = null)
    {
        $key = $this->mapping['fieldname'];
        $qb = $queries->getPrimary();
        $value = $entity->get($key);

        if (!$value instanceof Url) {
            $value = Url::fromNative($value);
        }

        $qb->setValue($key, ':' . $key);
        $qb->set($key, ':' . $key);
        $qb->setParameter($key, (string)$value);

    }

    public function hydrate($data, $entity)
    {
        $key = $this->mapping['fieldname'];

        $val = isset($data[$key]) ? $data[$key] : null;
        if ($val !== null) {
            $value = Url::fromNative($val);
            $this->set($entity, $value);
        }
    }

    public function getName()
    {
        return 'url';
    }

    public function getStorageType()
    {
        return 'string';
    }

    public function getStorageOptions()
    {
        return [
          'default' => ''
        ];
    }

}

This class contains a few simple methods and a couple that are a little more complicated. We'll cover off the simple ones first.

The getName() method provides the name of the field, this is primarily used for deciding which template to request. In this case we return url so when Bolt tries to render it in the backend it will request a template at editcontent/fields/_url.twig which we are going to provide.

The getStorageType() method tells Bolt how this will need to be saved in the database. Bolt uses Doctrine DBAL and supports any of the built in types by default, so potential values for this may be string, text, float, decimal integer, float along with many more. In our case we just want to store a plain string in the database, so this is what we return.

Then the getStorageOptions() method provides an array of options passed to the storage engine. Bolt fields need to be able to handle empty values (eg. when a record is saved without a value being entered) so we provide a default of an empty string. This prevents us getting an error in stricter database engines where we save a null value to a string column.

That's our basic setup taken care of, now we want to define the behaviour of our field. Put simply we want to ensure two things, 1: that whatever is set as the value of $content['url'] when we write it to the database it is converted to a string, and 2: that after we fetch a plain string from the database, we convert it to our (soon to be built) Url object. That will mean that when we interact with it in our templates instead of being only able to do {{ record.url }} which is the behaviour of a normal text field we'll be able to do other operations, like: {{ record.url.scheme }}, {{ record.url.domain }} and any other methods we define on our url object.

These two steps describe what happens at 'persistence' and 'hydration' and so we looking at the code, here's where we describe what happens at persistence:

    public function persist(QuerySet $queries, $entity, EntityManager $em = null)
    {
        $key = $this->mapping['fieldname'];
        $qb = $queries->getPrimary();
        $value = $entity->get($key);
        if (!$value instanceof Url) {
            $value = Url::fromNative($value);
        }
        $qb->setValue($key, ':' . $key);
        $qb->set($key, ':' . $key);
        $qb->setParameter($key, (string)$value);
    }

This may look a little complicated at first, but the advantage is that your field can have input on the actual database query that Bolt uses to save a record of content. That's important because it gives you the ability to provide very advanced functionality which includes writing to join tables or adding additional queries to execute on save.

So let's walk through. Our first line $key = $this->mapping['fieldname']; looks up the name of the field as configured in contenttypes.yml it may be called 'web', 'webaddress', 'siteurl' or whatever the end user sets it up as so we need to make sure we're looking at the correct value. Next we get the QueryBuilder object that will control the write to the database. Bolt uses an instance of Doctrine's QueryBuilder to compose the query that updates the content record in the database. In its simplest form this will look something like UPDATE bolt_pages SET url='http://google.com' WHERE id=1; or to be more precise using parameterised queries: UPDATE bolt_pages SET url=:url WHERE id=1;.

In most situations this will be a single query, but you will have noticed that the first parameter passed in to the persist method is an instance of QuerySet. This is an important abstraction since it leaves open the possibility to send multiple queries, but in this case we want to add only to the main query, so we call $qb = $queries->getPrimary();.

Each field is responsible for adding itself and its value to the query on persist, so it's at this stage we prepare the value to go to the database. First we get the current value from the entity passed in. It's worth remembering that this could feasibly be set to any value, at this point in time Bolt does not do any strict type checking although it may do in the future, so we need to make sure that if it isn't a type we expect then we set the value to a default.

So we call these commands:

if (!$value instanceof Url) {
    $value = Url::fromNative($value);
}

Our Url class provides an initializer that casts any non-url value to an instance of Url so now moving on to the final commands we can guarantee that $value is the type we expect.

$qb->setValue($key, ':' . $key);
$qb->set($key, ':' . $key);
$qb->setParameter($key, (string)$value);

This is the part where we modify the query object itself. The first two commands cover both updates and inserts, there's no side effects to calling both methods and it saves detecting the type of query we're calling. Finally we bind the value to the key parameter. You'll note that when we do this $qb->setParameter($key, (string)$value) we are casting our object to a string which is how it needs to be saved to the database. This conversion will all be handled in the __toString() method of our Url object.

Now we move onto the inverse of persistence, which in Bolt is known as hydration. This is when we take the raw data that is fetched from the database and turn it into an object or structure that we want to provide to our users.

In this case we're letting our Url class do the work of this, so once again here is the code:

public function hydrate($data, $entity)
{
    $key = $this->mapping['fieldname'];

    $val = isset($data[$key]) ? $data[$key] : null;
    if ($val !== null) {
        $value = Url::fromNative($val);
        $this->set($entity, $value);
    }
}

A hydrate method within Bolt is passed two parameters, the raw data from the database, and an entity object which will be the end result of the hydration process. So again, we want to lookup the specific value from the data that we are interested in, so we consult the mapping data to find out the name of the field - $key = $this->mapping['fieldname']. then we can look at the raw data value (which is an array) by asking for $data[$key]. In the case of our field we only want to make the transformation if the value is not null, and so we then call $this->set($entity, $value) which sets the value to our newly constructed Url class.

So now we have a complete custom field type extension, the only thing we haven't walked through here is the Url class itself, but you can see more by [sourcecode][viewing the extension source code]. The final check to do is to see what we have in our frontend templates. To do this we just dump the field from the ContentType page we set it up in, you should see something like this:

"web" => Url {#1604 ▼
      #scheme: "http"
      #user: "username"
      #password: "password"
      #domain: "hostname.com"
      #path: "/path"
      #port: 9090
      #queryString: "arg=value"
      #fragmentIdentifier: "anchor"
    }

Within our url class we provide getters to all the parts of the Url, so we can use {{ record.web.port }} or {{ record.web.queryString }} to access our enhanced field value.


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