Using fields_for with Nested Attributes, Calling it Multiple Times

There has been quite an annoying problem that has been bugging @chendo and I today.

In short, fields_for when used with accepts_nested_attributes_fordoes not reset it’s index when it’s called multiple times for the same attribute.

Our scenario was the following:

We had a 3 levels of hierarchical data that we had to display in a <table>. Because of the nature of the data we were displaying one level as columns and the other level as rows. Unfortunately, HTML mandates that we group everything by rows — each column is really just a single cell. This means that we have to iterate over the “column” values not just once, but once for every row.

Now, fields_for takes care of naming your <input> tags magically with the correct indexes so that your models can accept the params directly and magic happens. However, evidently calling fields_for multiple times was not part of the original intention, and it seems resetting the index after each call was neglected.

`chendo couldn't see a cleaner way of doing this so we added our own option to reset the index. We didn't just override the behaviour in case there is a good reason to leave it, but here is our code:

class ActionView::Helpers::FormBuilder
  def fields_for_with_nested_attributes_with_index_reset(association_name, args, block)
    if args.last.is_a?(Hash) && args.last[:reset_index]
      @nested_child_index = nil

    fields_for_without_nested_attributes_without_index_reset(association_name, args, block)

  alias_method_change :fields_for_with_nested_attributes, :index_reset