Alternative route: creating a new post

After out first journey through the blog example, in this chapter we will follow a more complex example. As an example we have chosen the creation of a new post. The user will be offered a form in the front end, where he can insert the title and the content of a new post and select an existing author for this post. After clicking the submit button, the list of the last posts of the current blog should be displayed - now with the just created post at the first place. There are multiple steps, each based on the previous step, to be implemented that are mirrored in the actions new and create. The method newAction() displays the form, while the method createAction() really creates the post, puts it in the repository and routes the process to the method indexAction().

Calling the method newAction() is done in our case with a link in the front end, that looks - a bit purged - like this:

<a href="?tx_blogexample_pi1[action]=new&tx_blogexample_pi1[blog]=12&tx_blogexample_pi1[controller]=Post">Create a new Post</a>

This was created with the following Fluid code in the template EXT:blog_example/Resources/Private/Templates/Post/Index.html:

<f:link.action action="new" class="icon new" arguments="{blog: blog}" title="{f:translate(key: 'post.createAnother')}">
      <f:translate key="post.createAnother">[create another post]</f:translate>
</f:link.action>

The tag <f:link.action> creates a link to a special controller action combination: tx_blogexample_pi1[controller]=post and tx_blogexample_pi1[action]=new. The current blog is given as an argument with tx_blogexample_pi1[blog]=12. Because the blog cannot be sent as an object, it must be translated into an unique identifier - the UID. In our case this is the UID 12. Extbase creates the request out of these three parameters and routes it to the according PostController. The translation of the UID back to the corresponding blog object is done automatically by Extbase.

Lets take a look at the called method newAction():

<?php
declare(strict_types = 1);

namespace FriendsOfTYPO3\BlogExample\Controller;

use TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Annotation as Extbase;
use TYPO3\CMS\Extbase\Mvc\Controller\ActionController;

class BlogController extends ActionController
{
   /**
   * Displays a form for creating a new post
   *
   * @param Blog $blog The blog the post belogs to
   * @param Post $newPost A fresh post object taken as a basis for the rendering
   * @return void
   * @IgnoreValidation $newPost
   */
   public function newAction(Blog $blog, Post $newPost = null)
   {
      $this->view->assign('authors', $this->personRepository->findAll());
      $this->view->assign('blog', $blog);
      $this->view->assign('newPost', $newPost);
      $this->view->assign('remainingPosts', $this->postRepository->findByBlog($blog));
   }
}

The method newAction() expects a blog object and an optional post object as parameter. It should be weird at first, because we have no blog and no post object, that has to be created with the form. Actually the parameter $newPost is empty (null) at the first call.

Our PostController, that is derived from ActionController, prepares all parameters before an action is called. The controller delegates this to an instance of the class PropertyManager, that has mainly two functions: it converts the parameter from the call (from our link) into the target object and checks if it is valid. The target for the parameter $blog is an instance of the class \FriendsOfTYPO3\BlogExample\Domain\Model\Blog, for the parameter $newPost it is an instance of the class \FriendsOfTYPO3\BlogExample\Domain\Model\Post.

How does Extbase know what the target of the conversion is? It takes this information from the type hint of the argument. If there is nothing declared it takes the destination type from the PHP doc above the method, from the line:

* @param Blog $blog The blog the post belongs to

The link is created with the name of the argument $blog. In this way the link between the request parameter and the newAction() is resolved. The link parameter:

tx_blogexample_pi1[blog]=12

is assigned to the parameter:

\FriendsOfTYPO3\BlogExample\Domain\Model\Blog $blog

of the newAction() with the name “blog”. With the help of the UID 12 the corresponding blog object can be identified, reconstructed and given to the newAction().

In the first line of the newAction() the view gets an array of persons in the parameter authors which is taken from the PersonRepository with the findAll() method. In the second and third line the view gets the parameter blog and newPost. The following actions are called automatically by the controller after calling newAction().

$form = $this->view()->render();
return $form;

Here you will see the shortened template new.html:

<f:form action="{action}" controller="Post" arguments="{blog: blog}" objectName="{objectName}" object="{object}" method="post">
   <dl>
      <dt>
         <label for="tx-blogexample-author"><f:translate key="property.author">[author]</f:translate>:</label>
      </dt>
      <dd>
         <f:form.select property="author" id="tx-blogexample-author" options="{authors}" optionLabelField="fullName"></f:form.select>
      </dd>
      <dt>
         <label for="tx-blogexample-title"><f:translate key="property.title">[title]</f:translate>:</label>
      </dt>
      <dd>
         <f:form.textfield property="title" id="tx-blogexample-title"><input type="text" id="tx-blogexample-title" /></f:form.textfield>
      </dd>
      <dd>
         <f:form.submit class="button" value="{f:translate(key: 'submit', default: '[submit]')}"><input class="button" type="submit" name="" value="Submit" /></f:form.submit>
      </dd>
   </dl>
</f:form>

Fluid offers some comfortable tags for creating forms which names are all starting with form. The whole form is enclosed in <f:form></f:form>. Like the creating of a link the controller action combination which should be called when clicking the submit button is given here.

Note

Don’t be confused by the parameter method="post". This is the transfer method of the form and has nothing to do with our domain (instead of method="post" it also could be method="get").

The form is bound with object="{newPost}" to the object that we have assigned to the variable newPost in the controller. The specific form fields have a property property="..."`. With this a form field can be filled with the content of the property of the given object. Because {newPost} is empty (= null) here, the form fields are empty at first.

The select tag is created by the Fluid tag <f:form.select>. The available options are taken by Fluid from the content of the given property options="{authors}". In our case it is an array with all persons of the PersonRepository. The visible text of the options are created by Fluid from the parameter optionLabelField="fullName". The created HTML code of the form looks like this:

<form method="post" action="/?tx_blogexample_pi1%5Baction%5D=create&amp;tx_blogexample_pi1%5Bblog%5D=12&amp;tx_blogexample_pi1%5Bcontroller%5D=Post&amp;cHash=4218364112cecc7a3cc9de3428c36c46">
    <dl>
      <dt><label for="tx-blogexample-author">author:</label></dt>
      <dd>
            <select id="tx-blogexample-author" name="tx_blogexample_pi1[newPost][author]">
                  <option value="9">Stephen Smith</option>
                  <option value="10">Stephen Smith</option>
                  <option value="11">Stephen Smith</option>
                  <option value="12">Stephen Smith</option>
            </select>
      </dd>
      <dt><label for="tx-blogexample-title">title:</label></dt>
      <dd><input id="tx-blogexample-title" type="text" name="tx_blogexample_pi1[newPost][title]"></dd>
      <dt><label for="tx-blogexample-content">content:</label></dt>
      <dd><textarea rows="8" cols="46" id="tx-blogexample-content" name="tx_blogexample_pi1[newPost][content]"></textarea></dd>
      <dt><label for="tx-blogexample-relatedposts">related posts:</label></dt>

      <dd><input class="button" type="submit" value="submit"></dd>
   </dl>
</form>

TYPO3 takes the rendered form and includes it at the appropriate place in the HTML page (see figure 3-5).

../_images/figure-3-5.png

Figure 3-5: The rendered form

Clicking the submit button calls the createAction of the PostController. Here you will see the stripped-down method:

/**
 * Creates a new post
 *
 * @param Blog $blog The blog the post belogns to
 * @param Post $newBlog A fresh Blog object which has not yet been added to the repository
 * @return void
 */
public function createAction(Blog $blog, Post $newPost)
{
    // TODO access protection
    $blog->addPost($newPost);
    $newPost->setBlog($blog);
    $this->addFlashMessage('created');
    $this->redirect('index', null, null, ['blog' => $blog]);
}

The arguments $blog and $post are filled and validated equivalent to the method newAction().

Note

During the conversion of the arguments into the property values of the target object, the above-mentioned PropertyManager checks if any errors are encountered during the validation. The validation effected on the base of the property definitions of the target object. More about the subject validating you will find in the section “Validating domain objects” in chapter 9.

The post is added to the blog with $blog->addPost($newPost). After that the following processing is forwarded by $this->redirect([...]) to the method indexAction(). Thereby the blog - now with the new post - is passed as argument. In order that the new post is available in the blog when next called, it must be persisted. This is done automatically after the flow through the extension in the dispatcher of Extbase.

Note

What’s redirect()? Extbase knows the methods forward() and redirect(). They both forward the further processing. The difference is that redirect() starts a complete new page call (new request response cycle), while forward() resides in the processing of the current page call. The outcome of this is an important consequence: At redirect() the changes are persisted before the call of the target action, whereas at forward() these must be done by hand with the call of $persistenceManager->persistAll();.