AutoForme is an administrative web front end to an ORM that uses Forme  for building the HTML forms. It is designed to integrate easily into web frameworks, and currently supports
Roda, Sinatra, and Rails. The only currently supported ORM is Sequel::Model.
AutoForme's UI and capabilities are modeled on scaffolding_extensions , though
AutoForme is considerably more flexible in terms of configuration.
gem install autoforme
Create, update, edit, and view model objects
Browse and search model objects
Edit many-to-many relationships for model objects
Easily access associated objects
Support autocompletion for all objects
Allow customization for all likely configuration points, using any parameters available in the request
AutoForme is configured using a fairly simple DSL. Here is an example for Sinatra:
class App < Sinatra::Base AutoForme.for(:sinatra, self) do order [:name] model Artist do columns [:name] end model Album do columns [:artist, :name] end end end
Let's break down how this works. You setup
AutoForme.for, which takes 2 arguments, the controller type symbol (currently either :sinatra, :roda, or :rails), and the controller class (either a Sinatra::Base,
Roda, or ActionController::Base subclass). You pass
AutoForme.for a block, which is instance evaled at the framework level. This level sets the defaults.
The order call in the framework block sets the default order for all models.
The model calls in the framework block take a ORM model class. As only Sequel is currently supported, this should be a Sequel::Model subclass. The block passed to the model method is instance evaled at the model level, and sets the configuration for that model. In this example, the Artist model will only show the name column, and the Album model will only show the artist association and the name column.
In your application, you can then to go '/Artist/browse' or '/Album/browse' to get to the web UI exposed to
Use Forme to generate the forms
Do not modify/extend model or controller classes
Assume that the web framework provides the layout
Do not use templates, render form objects to strings
Use a block-based DSL in the controller for configuration
Allow customization on a per-request basis for everything
When a request comes in from the web framework, the
AutoForme::Framework instance wraps request-level data in a
AutoForme::Request. Then it creates an
AutoForme::Action to handle this request. The
AutoForme::Action either returns a string that the web framework then renders, or it redirects to another page.
AutoForme doesn't have all that many features compared to other admin frameworks, but the features it does have are extremely flexible.
Most of the configuration you'll do in
AutoForme is at the model level (in the context of an
AutoForme::Model instance), so we'll start looking at the customization options there. The most common options are probably:
This is an array of column/association name symbols to use for the model.
This is a hash of column options for the model, keyed by column symbol, with values that are hashes of column options.
This is an expression or an array of expressions by which to order returned rows.
Note that for each of the customization options, you can do per-request customization by using a proc which is called with the type symbol and request (
AutoForme::Request instance), which should return an appropriate object.
Proc called with type symbol and request, should return array of column/association symbols
Proc called with column/association symbol, type symbol and request, should return hash of column options.
Proc called with type symbol and request, should return expression or array of expressions by which to order returned rows.
Below is brief description of other available options. Note that just like the above options you can use Procs with most of these options to do customization on a per-request basis.
Array of association symbols for associations to display on the show/edit pages, can also be set to :all for all associations or :all_except_mtm for all associations except many to many associations.
Enable autocompletion for this model, with the given options. The following keys are respected:
Array of associations to eagerly load in separate queries
Array of associations to eager load in the same query (necessary if order or filter refers to them)
A Proc called with a dataset, type symbol, and request that can be used to filter the available rows. Can be used to implement access control.
A Proc called with an object, type symbol, and request that can be used to override the default redirecting after form submittal.
Array of many to many association symbols to allow editing on the edit page
Whether to show the association links directly on the show/edit pages, or to load them via ajax on request
Array of many to many association symbols to support editing on a separate page
Number of records to show per page on the browse and search pages
Sets up a filter and before_create hook that makes it so access is limited to objects where the object's column value is the same as the session value with the same name.
Array of action symbols to support for the model, should be a subset of
These options are related to displayed output:
Hash of attributes to use for any form tags
Hash of Forme::Form options to pass for any forms created
The string to use on pages when referring to the model class. This defaults to the full class name.
The string to use when referring to a model instance. Can either be a symbol representing an instance method call, or a Proc called with the model object, the model object and type symbol, or the model object, type symbol, and request, depending on the arity of the Proc.
The string to use in links for the class. This defaults to
The html to use for a particular object edit field. Should be a proc that takes the model object, column symbol, type symbol, and request and returns the html to use.
Override the default footer used for pages
Override the default header used for pages
The html to use for displaying the value for an object field. Should be a proc that takes the model object, column symbol, type symbol, and request and returns the html to use.
The html class string to use for the browse and search tables
These hook options should be callable objects that are called with the model object and the request.
Called after creating the object
Called after destroying the object
Called after updating the object
Called before creating the object
Called before destroy the object
Called before displaying object on edit page
Called before displaying object on new page
Called before updating the object
There's also an addition before_action hook that is called with the type symbol of the request, and the request before every page.
In addition to being specified at the model level, almost all of these options can be specified at the framework level, where they operate as default values for models that don't specify the options. Just like the model level, the framework level also allows customization on a per request basis, though framework-level Procs generally take the model class as an initial argument (in addition to the type symbol and request).
AutoForme.for accepts a :prefix option that controls where the forms are mounted:
AutoForme.for(:sinatra, self, :prefix=>'/path/to') do model Artist end
Means you can go to
/path/to/Artist/browse to browse the artists.
Loading association links via ajax if lazy_load_association_links is true.
Adding and removing many-to-many associated objects via ajax for inline_mtm_associations
AutoForme stores classes by reference. This can cause issues when using code reloading in development environments. You can call
register_by_name to set Autoforme to store classes by name, so that if a class is removed and reloaded (giving a new class reference), it will use the new class instead of the reference to the old class. Example:
class App < Sinatra::Base AutoForme.for(:sinatra, self) do register_by_name model Artist end end
Because Rails separates routing from request handling, it can be little awkward to use
AutoForme in Rails development mode. The best way to handle it is to call
AutoForme.for in the related controller file, and have an initializer reference the controller class, causing the controller file to be loaded.
Roda uses a routing tree, unlike Rails and Sinatra, with
Roda you need to dispatch to the autoforme routes at the point in the routing tree where you want to mount them. Additionally, the
Roda support offers a
Roda plugin for easier configuration.
To mount the autoforme routes in the root of the application, you could do:
class App < Roda plugin :autoforme do model Artist end route do # rest of routing tree autoforme end end
To mount the routes in a subpath:
class App < Roda plugin :autoforme do model Artist end route do r.on "admin" do autoforme end # rest of routing tree end end
To handle multiple autoforme configurations, mounted at different subpaths:
class App < Roda plugin :autoforme autoforme(name: 'artists') model Artist end autoforme(name: 'albums') model Album end route do r.on "artists" do autoforme('artists') end r.on "albums" do autoforme('albums') end # rest of routing tree end end
capybara-webkit tests for ajax behavior
read_only fields for edit page
one_to_many/many_to_many associations in columns
nested form objects
Jeremy Evans <firstname.lastname@example.org>