package DBIx::Class::FormTools;

our $VERSION = '0.000011';

use 5.10.1;
use strict;
use warnings;

#use DBIx::Class::FormTools::Form;

use Carp;
use Moose;

use Data::Dump 'pp';
# use Debug::ShowStuff ':all';

has 'schema'    => (is => 'rw', isa => 'Ref');
has '_formdata' => (is => 'rw', isa => 'HashRef');

has '_objects'  => (is => 'rw', isa => 'HashRef');
has '_delayed_attributes' => (is => 'rw', isa => 'HashRef');

=head1 NAME

DBIx::Class::FormTools - Helper module for building forms with multiple related L<DBIx::Class> objects.

=head1 VERSION

This document describes DBIx::Class::FormTools version 0.0.11


=head2 This is BETA software

There may be bugs. The interface might change (But the it hasn't changed in a long time, so it is probably safe to use).

=head2 Prerequisites

In the examples I use 3 objects, a C<Film>, an C<Actor> and a C<Role>.
C<Role> is a many to many relation between C<Film> and C<Actor>.

    package MySchema;
    use base 'DBIx::Class::Schema';

    package MySchema::Film;
    __PACKAGE__->has_many(roles => 'MySchema::Role', 'film_id');

    package MySchema::Actor;
    __PACKAGE__->has_many(roles => 'MySchema::Role', 'actor_id');

    package MySchema::Role;

    __PACKAGE__->belongs_to(film_id  => 'MySchema::Film');
    __PACKAGE__->belongs_to(actor_id => 'MySchema::Actor');

=head2 In your Controller

    use DBIx::Class::FormTools;

    my $formtool = DBIx::Class::FormTools->new({ schema => $schema });

=head2 In your view - L<HTML::Mason> example

    my $film  = $schema->resultset('Film')->find(42);
    my $actor = $schema->resultset('Actor')->find(24);
    my $role  = $schema->resultset('Role')->new;

            name="<% $formtool->fieldname($film, 'title', 'o1') %>"
            value="<% $film->title %>"
            name="<% $formtool->fieldname($film, 'length', 'o1') %>"
            value="<% $film->length %>"
            name="<% $formtool->fieldname($film, 'comment', 'o1') %>"
            value="<% $film->comment %>"
            name="<% $formtool->fieldname($actor, 'name', 'o2') %>"
            value="<% $actor->name %>"
            name="<% $formtool->fieldname($role, undef, 'o3', {
                film_id  => 'o1',
                actor_id => 'o2'
            }) %>"

=head2 In your controller (or cool helper module, used in your controller)

    my @objects = $formtool->formdata_to_objects(\%querystring);
    foreach my $object ( @objects ) {
        # Assert and Manupulate $object as you like


=head2 Introduction

L<DBIx::Class::FormTools> is a data serializer, that can convert HTML formdata
to L<DBIx::Class> objects based on element names created with

It uses user supplied object ids to connect the objects with each-other.
The objects do not need to exist on beforehand.

The module is not ment to be used directly, although it can of-course be done
as seen in the above example, but rather used as a utility module in a
L<Catalyst> helper module or other equivalent framework.

=head2 Connecting the dots - The problem at hand

Creating a form with data from one object and storing it in a database is
easy, and several modules that does this quite well already exists on CPAN.

What I am trying to accomplish here, is to allow multiple objects to be
created and updated in the same form - This includes the relations between
the objects i.e. "connecting the dots".

=head2 Non-existent ids - Enter object_id

When converting the formdata to objects, we need "something" to identify the
objects by, and sometimes we also need this "something" to point to another
object in the formdata to signify a relation. For this purpose we have the
C<object_id> which is user definable and can be whatever you like.

=head1 METHODS

=head2 C<new>

Arguments: { schema => $schema }

Creates new form helper

    my $formtool = DBIx::Class::FormTools->new({ schema => $schema });


=head2 C<schema>

Arguments: None

Returns the schema

    my $schema = $formtool->schema;


=head2 C<fieldname>

Arguments: $object, $accessor, $object_id, $foreign_object_ids

    my $name_film  = $formtool->fieldname($film, 'title', 'o1');
    my $name_actor = $formtool->fieldname($actor, 'name', 'o2');
    my $name_role  = $formtool->fieldname($role, undef,'o3',
        { film_id => 'o1', actor_id => 'o2' }
    my $name_role  = $formtool->fieldname($role,'charater','o3',
        { film_id => 'o1', actor_id => 'o2' }

Creates a unique form field name for use in an HTML form.


=item C<$object>

The object you wish to create a key for.

=item C<$accessor>

The attribute in the object you wish to create a key for.

=item C<$object_id>

A unique string identifying a specific object in the form.

=item C<$foreign_object_ids>

A C<HASHREF> containing C<attribute =E<gt> object_id> pairs, use this to
connect objects with each-other as seen in the above example.


sub fieldname
    my ($self,$object,$attribute,$object_id,$foreign_object_ids) = @_;

    # Get class name
    my $class = $object->source_name || ref($object);

    my @primary_keys  = $object->primary_columns;

    my %relationships
        = ( map { $_,$object->relationship_info($_) } $object->relationships );

    my %id_fields = ();
    foreach my $primary_key ( @primary_keys ) {
        # Field is foreign key
        if ( exists $relationships{$primary_key} ) {
            $id_fields{$primary_key} = $foreign_object_ids->{$primary_key};
        # Field is local
        else {
                = ( ref($object) &&  $object->$primary_key )
                ? $object->$primary_key
                : 'new';

    # Build object key
    my $fieldname = join('|',
        join(q{;}, map { "$_:".$id_fields{$_} } keys %id_fields),
        ($attribute || ''),


=head2 C<formdata_to_object_hash>

Arguments: \%formdata

    my @objects = $formtool->formdata_to_objects($formdata);

Turn formdata(a querystring) in the form of a C<HASHREF> into an C<HASHREF> of
C<DBIx::Class> objects indexed by object_id.

sub formdata_to_object_hash
    my ($self,$formdata) = @_;
    # my $to_object_indent = indent();
    my $objects = {};
    my $rs = $self->schema->txn_do(sub{
        # Cleanup old objects

        # Extract all dbic fields
        my @dbic_formkeys = grep { /^dbic\|/ } keys %$formdata;

        # Create a todo list with one entry for each unique objects
        my $to_be_inflated = {};

        # Sort data into piles for later object creation/updating
        foreach my $formkey ( @dbic_formkeys ) {
            my ($prefix,$object_id,$class,$id,$attribute) = split(/\|/,$formkey);

            # Store form value for $attribute
            if ( $attribute ) {
                my $real_attribute = $self->_get_real_attribute_from_class($class,$attribute);

                my $metadata = $self->schema->source($class)->column_info($real_attribute);
                my $value    = $formdata->{$formkey};

                # Handle empty fields for numeric attributes
                $value = undef if !$value && $self->schema->storage->is_datatype_numeric($metadata->{data_type});

                # Handle empty fields for date attributes
                $value = undef if !$value && exists($metadata->{_ic_dt_method});

                # Store value
                $self->_formdata->{$object_id}->{'content'}->{$real_attribute} = $value;

            # Build id field
            my %id;
            foreach my $field ( split(/;/,$id) ) {
                my ($key,$value) = split(/:/,$field);
                $id{$key} = $value;

            # Store id field
            $self->_formdata->{$object_id}->{'form_id'} = \%id;

            # Save class name and oid in the todo list
            # println "$class | $object_id";
            $to_be_inflated->{"$class|$object_id"} = {
                class     => $class,
                object_id => $object_id,

        # Build objects from form data
        foreach my $todo ( values %$to_be_inflated ) {
            my $object = $self->_inflate_object(
                $todo->{ 'object_id' },
                $todo->{ 'class'     },
            $objects->{ $todo->{ 'object_id' } } = $object;

    foreach my $oid ( keys %{$self->_delayed_attributes} ) {
        # println "Setting delayed attributes for '$oid'";
        foreach my $accessor ( keys %{$self->_delayed_attributes->{$oid}} ) {
            # println "- ",ref($objects->{$oid}),"->$accessor( ",ref($self->_delayed_attributes->{$oid}{$accessor})," )";

    # Cleanup old objects


=head2 C<formdata_to_objects>

Arguments: \%formdata

    my @objects = $formtool->formdata_to_objects($formdata);

Turn formdata(a querystring) in the form of a C<HASHREF> into an C<ARRAY> of
C<DBIx::Class> objects.

sub formdata_to_objects {
    my ($self,$formdata,$inflate_only) = @_;
    my $hash = $self->formdata_to_object_hash($formdata,$inflate_only);
    return values %$hash;

sub _get_real_attribute_from_class {
    my ($self,$class,$attribute) = @_;

    # Get relationship info for the attribute
    my $relationship_info = $self->schema->source($class)->relationship_info($attribute);

    # Resolve the actual column name in the table (e.g. a relation named 'location' might be called 'location_id' in the result_source)
    my $real_attribute = ( $relationship_info && $relationship_info->{attrs}{accessor} eq 'filter' ) ? $attribute
                       : ( $relationship_info && $relationship_info->{attrs}{accessor} eq 'single' ) ? (keys %{$relationship_info->{'attrs'}{'fk_columns'}})[0]
                                                                                                     : $attribute;
    return $real_attribute;

sub _flatten_id
    my ($id) = @_;

    return join(';', map { $_.':'.$id->{$_} } sort keys %$id);

sub _inflate_object
    my ($self,$oid,$class) = @_;
    # my $inflate_indent = indent();
    # println "[$oid] _inflate_object - Begin";
    my $id;
    my $attributes = {};

    # Object exists in form
    if ( exists($self->_formdata->{$oid}) ) {
        $id         = $self->_formdata->{$oid}->{'form_id'};
        $attributes = $self->_formdata->{$oid}->{'content'};
    # oid does not exist in the formdata, use oid is a real id
    else {
        $id = { id => $oid };

    # We must have an attribute hash if we want to call 'new' later on
    $attributes = {} unless $attributes;

    # Return object if is already inflated
    return $self->_objects->{$class}->{$oid}
        if ( $self->_objects->{$class} && $self->_objects->{$class}->{$oid} );

    # Build a lookup hash of fields that are relationship fields
    my $relationships = {
        map { $_,$self->schema->source($class)->relationship_info($_) }

    # Inflate foreign fields that map to a *single* column
    my $todo_delayed_attributes = {};
    foreach my $foreign_accessor ( keys %$relationships ) {
        # Resolve foreign class name
        my $foreign_class = $self->schema->source($relationships->{$foreign_accessor}->{'class'})->result_class;
        my $foreign_relation_type = $relationships->{$foreign_accessor}->{'attrs'}->{'accessor'};
        # println "[$oid] Processing $foreign_accessor for $foreign_class";

        # Do not process multicolumn relationships, they will be processed
        # seperatly when the object to which they relate is inflated
        # I.e. only process "local" attributes
        next if $foreign_relation_type eq 'multi';

        # Resolve the actual column name in the table (e.g. a relation named 'location' might be called 'location_id')
        my $real_foreign_accessor = $self->_get_real_attribute_from_class($class,$foreign_accessor);

        # Lookup foreign object id or real id, if the foreign object has already been inflated
        my $foreign_oid = ( exists($self->_formdata->{$oid}{'form_id'}{$real_foreign_accessor}) )
                        ?   $self->_formdata->{$oid}{'form_id'}{$real_foreign_accessor}
                        :   $self->_formdata->{$oid}{'content'}{$real_foreign_accessor};

        # say "Formdata for local object: ".pp($self->_formdata);
        # println "[$oid] Foreign oid to inflate ", $foreign_oid;
        # println pp($self->_formdata->{$oid});

        # No id found, no inflate needed
        next unless $foreign_oid;

        my $foreign_object = $self->_inflate_object(

        # Store object for later use
        $self->_objects->{$foreign_class}->{$oid} = $foreign_object;

        # If the field is part of the id then store it there as well
        $id->{$foreign_accessor} = $foreign_object->id if exists $id->{$foreign_accessor};

        # If the inflated foreign object is new, its 'id' will be undefined.
        # Therefore we delay adding the foreign object to the local object, until the local object have been inflated or created.
        # println "[$oid] Delaying setting $foreign_accessor to ".ref($foreign_object);
        $self->_delayed_attributes->{$oid}{$foreign_accessor} = $foreign_object;
        # $attributes->{$real_foreign_accessor} = $foreign_object->id;
    # All foreign objects have been now been inflated

    # Look up object in memory
    my $object = $self->_objects->{$class}->{$oid};

    # Lookup in object in db
    unless ( $object ) {
        my $source = $self->schema->source($class);
        # Don't lookup object if id is 'new'
        $object = $self->schema->resultset($source->source_name)->find($id)
            unless grep { defined($id->{$_}) && $id->{$_} eq 'new' } $source->primary_columns;

    # Still no object, the create it
    unless ( $object ) {
        $object = $self->schema->resultset($class)->new($attributes);

    # If we have a object update it with form data, if it exists
    # println "[$oid] We have an object: ".ref($object).", add to todo list";
    # println "[$oid] Attributes: ".pp($attributes);
    $object->set_columns($attributes) if $object && $attributes;

    # Store object for later use
    if ( $id && $object ) {
        # say "Storing object ".ref($object)." for later use.";
        $self->_objects->{$class}->{$oid} = $object;
    # println "[$oid] _inflate_object - End";

1; # Magic true value required at end of module

=head2 meta

This is a method which provides access to the current class's metaclass.

=head1 CAVEATS

=head2 Transactions

When using this module it is prudent that you use a database that supports

The reason why this is important, is that when calling C<formdata_to_objects>,
C<DBIx::Class::Row-E<gt>create()> is called foreach nonexistent object in
order to get the C<primary key> filled in. This call to C<create> results in a
SQL C<insert> statement, and might leave you with one object successfully put
into the database and one that generates an error - Transactions will allow
you to examine the C<ARRAY> of objects returned from C<formdata_to_objects>
before actually storing them in the database.

=head2 Automatic Primary Key generation

You must use C<DBIx::Class::PK::Auto>, otherwise the C<formdata_to_objects>
will fail when creating new objects, as it is unable to determine the value
for the primary key, and therefore is unable to connect the object to any
related objects in the form.


No bugs have been reported.

Please report any bugs or feature requests to
C<>, or through the web interface at

=head1 AUTHOR

David Jack Olrik  C<< <> >>


Copyright (c) 2006, David Jack Olrik C<< <> >>.
All rights reserved.

This module is free software; you can redistribute it and/or
modify it under the same terms as Perl itself. See L<perlartistic>.

=head1 TODO


=item * Add form object, that keeps track of object ids automagickly.

=item * Add field generator, that can generate HTML/XHTML fields based on the
objects in the form object.


=head1 SEE ALSO

L<DBIx::Class> L<DBIx::Class::PK::Auto>