Be Genius

me

Bo Jeanes

I am an software engineer who has lived and worked in New York, Brisbane, Chicago, San Francisco, and now Melbourne. I primarily work in Ruby though am a functional programmer at heart and a fan of programming languages in general. In particular, I love Rust and Clojure but keep my eye on many langauges all the time.

Using fields_for can generate invalid HTML

Just a quick post so show you how fields_for form helper can cause invalid HTML when used in combination with accepts_nested_attributes_for in your views.

If you are for any reason editing/creating your child objects in a tabular form, your view might look something like this:

<% form_for(@todo_list) do |f| %>
  <%= f.label      :name %>
  <%= f.text_field :name %>

  <h3>To Do Items:</h3>
  <table>
    <thead>
      <tr>
        <th>To Do Item</th>
        <th>Due Date</th>
        <th>Done?</th>
      </tr>
    </thead>
    <tbody>
      <% f.fields_for :items do |item| %>
        <tr>
          <td><%= item.text_field :content %></td>
          <td><%= item.text_field :due_date %></td>
          <td><%= item.check_box  :done %></td>
        </tr>
      <% end %>
    </tbody>
  </table>

  <%= f.submit 'Save' %>
<% end %>

At first glance this looks fine. However, when the ToDoList model has accepts_nested_attributes_for :items, the fields_for helper also outputs a hidden field for each existing Item instance with it’s ID.

This means that we get the following HTML:

<form action="/to_do_lists/1" class="edit_to_do_list" id="edit_to_do_list_1" method="post">
  <div style="margin:0;padding:0;display:inline">
    <input name="_method" type="hidden" value="put" />
    <input name="authenticity_token" type="hidden" value="CE2jyRoewbwsqu4eX8AFWFqsgrMfCN35Jzy6b43MhsA=" />
  </div>
  <label for="to_do_list_name">Name</label>
  <input id="to_do_list_name" name="to_do_list[name]" size="30" type="text" value="Sup" />

  <h3>To Do Items:</h3>
  <table>
    <thead>
      <tr>
        <th>To Do Item</th>
        <th>Due Date</th>
        <th>Done?</th>
      </tr>
    </thead>
    <tbody>
      <input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_0_id" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][0][id]" type="hidden" value="1" />
        <tr>
          <td><input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_0_content" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][0][content]" size="30" type="text" value="arst" /></td>
          <td><input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_0_due_date" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][0][due_date]" size="30" type="text" value="2009-07-30" /></td>
          <td><input name="to_do_list[items_attributes][0][done]" type="hidden" value="0" /><input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_0_done" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][0][done]" type="checkbox" value="1" /></td>
        </tr>
      <input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_1_id" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][1][id]" type="hidden" value="2" />
        <tr>
          <td><input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_1_content" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][1][content]" size="30" type="text" value="arst" /></td>
          <td><input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_1_due_date" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][1][due_date]" size="30" type="text" value="2009-07-30" /></td>
          <td><input name="to_do_list[items_attributes][1][done]" type="hidden" value="0" /><input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_1_done" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][1][done]" type="checkbox" value="1" /></td>
        </tr>
    </tbody>
  </table>

  <input id="to_do_list_submit" name="commit" type="submit" value="Save" />
</form>

The keen eye will notice the hidden <input> tags that are direct children of the tbody:

<tbody>
  <input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_0_id" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][0][id]" type="hidden" value="1" />
    <tr><!-- clip! --></tr>
  <input id="to_do_list_items_attributes_1_id" name="to_do_list[items_attributes][1][id]" type="hidden" value="2" />
    <tr><!-- clip! --></tr>
</tbody>

This is not a valid place for an <input> tag.

I’ve put an example project demonstrating this on my GitHub

Comments

  1. Old post but I was having a similar issue and couldn't find a solution.

    The solution is to add your own id and then Rails will not automatically add one for you.

    See here for the answer and some examples:

    http://stackoverflow.com/questions/1236416/ruby-on-rails-field-for-form-helper-problems

    by Ryan Dewhurst on

You need to login with GitHub in order to comment.