Custom Components

Describes the process of building and creating a Custom Form Component.

Introduction

One of the more powerful features of the Form.io platform is the ability to create your own custom form components. The process of creating a custom component involves extending a Base class of the component that is "closest" to the implementation you desire, and then override methods or introduce new methods that will implement your custom logic. All of the existing components within the Form.io platform also use this same method, so you can see the multitude of examples by inspecting how the base components for the Form.io renderer are implemented. Here is the link to all of the existing components for the Form.io renderer.

As you can see, the implementation of any component involves extending a base class and then creating your own implementation on top of those base classes.

In order to create the best components, it is important to understand the critical methods used to define a new component. They are as follows.

Extending Components

Every custom component will derive from a base class, whose behavior is closest to the behavior of the component you wish to create. It is possible to extend any other component within the Form.io renderer and a list of all of these components and their classes can be found @ https://github.com/formio/formio.js/tree/master/src/components

Because of this, the first task in building a custom component is to determine which component most closely resembles the behavior and data model of the component you are looking to achieve. For example, if you wish to build a multi-button select component, it may be best to start with a Radio component since this is the component that most closely resembles the behavior of the component you wish to create.

If you are unsure, then it is also fine to derive from the "core" components which serve as the base for all other components within the renderer. These core components are as follows.

Core Components

Class

Extends

Description

Component

Element

Base component class

Field

Component

Component that derives from Component class that implements a "field" render template

Multivalue

Field

A component that is able to implement the "multiple" configuration allowing for multiple inputs for this field type.

Input

Multivalue

A component type that implements an HTML value input.

Each of the components can be extended by first referencing them from the Components.components object, and then extending them as follows.

const Input = Formio.Components.components.input;
class MyInput extends Input {
...
...
}

For the most generic components, it is fine to derive from "Component", but in most value components, you may wish to derive from the Input component.

Component Methods

Once you derive from a base component, the next step is to define methods that either override base behavior or introduce new behavior into the component class. It is recommended to look at the source code of your "base" component and the classes that it extends to understand what methods you have available to you, but the majority of all behavior can be achieved by implementing some of the following methods.

const Input = Formio.Components.components.input;
class MyComponent extends Input {
/**
* This is the default schema of your custom component. It will "derive"
* from the base class "schema" and extend it with its default JSON schema
* properties. The most important are "type" which will be your component
* type when defining new components.
*
* @param extend - This allows classes deriving from this component to
* override the schema of the overridden class.
*/
static schema(...extend) {
return Input.schema({
type: 'mycomp',
label: 'My Component',
key: 'mycomp',
});
}
/**
* This is the Form Builder information on how this component should show
* up within the form builder. The "title" is the label that will be given
* to the button to drag-and-drop on the buidler. The "icon" is the font awesome
* icon that will show next to it, the "group" is the component group where
* this component will show up, and the weight is the position within that
* group where it will be shown. The "schema" field is used as the default
* JSON schema of the component when it is dragged onto the form.
*/
static get builderInfo() {
return {
title: 'My Component',
icon: 'terminal',
group: 'basic',
documentation: '/userguide/#textfield',
weight: 0,
schema: MyComponent.schema()
};
}
/**
* Called when the component has been instantiated. This is useful to define
* default instance variable values.
*
* @param component - The JSON representation of the component created.
* @param options - The global options for the renderer
* @param data - The contextual data object (model) used for this component.
*/
constructor(component, options, data) {
super(component, options, data);
}
/**
* Called immediately after the component has been instantiated to initialize
* the component.
*/
init() {
super.init();
}
/**
* For Input based components, this returns the <input> attributes that should
* be added to the input elements of the component. This is useful if you wish
* to alter the "name" and "class" attributes on the <input> elements created
* within this component.
*
* @return - A JSON object that is the attribute information to be added to the
* input element of a component.
*/
get inputInfo() {
const info = super.inputInfo;
return info;
}
/**
* This method is used to render a component as an HTML string. This method uses
* the template system (see Form Templates documentation) to take a template
* and then render this as an HTML string.
*
* @param content - Important for nested components that receive the "contents"
* of their children as an HTML string that should be injected
* in the {{ content }} token of the template.
*
* @return - An HTML string of this component.
*/
render(content) {
return super.render('<div ref="customRef">This is a custom component!</div>');
}
/**
* The attach method is called after "render" which takes the rendered contents
* from the render method (which are by this point already added to the DOM), and
* then "attach" this component logic to that html. This is where you would load
* any references within your templates (which use the "ref" attribute) to assign
* them to the "this.refs" component variable (see comment below).
*
* @param - The parent DOM HtmlElement that contains the component template.
*
* @return - A Promise that will resolve when the component has completed the
* attach phase.
*/
attach(element) {
/**
* This method will look for an element that has the 'ref="customRef"' as an
* attribute (like <div ref="customRef"></div>) and then assign that DOM
* element to the variable "this.refs". After this method is executed, the
* following will point to the DOM element of that reference.
*
* this.refs.customRef
*
* For DOM elements that have multiple in the component, you would make this
* say 'customRef: "multiple"' which would then turn "this.refs.customRef" into
* an array of DOM elements.
*/
this.loadRefs(element, {
customRef: 'single',
});
/**
* It is common to attach events to your "references" within your template.
* This can be done with the "addEventListener" method and send the template
* reference to that object.
*/
this.addEventListener(this.refs.customRef, 'click', () => {
console.log('Custom Ref has been clicked!!!');
});
return super.attach(element);
}
/**
* Called when the component has been detached. This is where you would destroy
* any other instance variables to free up memory. Any event registered with
* "addEventListener" will automatically be detached so no need to remove them
* here.
*
* @return - A Promise that resolves when this component is done detaching.
*/
detach() {
return super.detach();
}
/**
* Called when the component has been completely "destroyed" or removed form the
* renderer.
*
* @return - A Promise that resolves when this component is done being destroyed.
*/
destroy() {
return super.destroy();
}
/**
* A very useful method that will take the values being passed into this component
* and convert them into the "standard" or normalized value. For exmample, this
* could be used to convert a string into a boolean, or even a Date type.
*
* @param value - The value that is being passed into the "setValueAt" method to normalize.
* @param flags - Change propogation flags that are being used to control behavior of the
* change proogation logic.
*
* @return - The "normalized" value of this component.
*/
normalizeValue(value, flags = {}) {
return super.normalizeValue(value, flags);
}
/**
* Returns the value of the "view" data for this component.
*
* @return - The value for this whole component.
*/
getValue() {
return super.getValue();
}
/**
* Much like "getValue", but this handles retrieving the value of a single index
* when the "multiple" flag is used within the component (which allows them to add
* multiple values). This turns a single value into an array of values, and this
* method provides access to a certain index value.
*
* @param index - The index within the array of values (from the multiple flag)
* that is getting fetched.
*
* @return - The view data of this index.
*/
getValueAt(index) {
return super.getValueAt(index);
}
/**
* Sets the value of both the data and view of the component (such as setting the
* <input> value to the correct value of the data. This is most commonly used
* externally to set the value and also see that value show up in the view of the
* component. If you wish to only set the data of the component, like when you are
* responding to an HMTL input event, then updateValue should be used instead since
* it only sets the data value of the component and not the view.
*
* @param value - The value that is being set for this component's data and view.
* @param flags - Change propogation flags that are being used to control behavior of the
* change proogation logic.
*
* @return - Boolean indicating if the setValue changed the value or not.
*/
setValue(value, flags = {}) {
return super.setValue(value, flags);
}
/**
* Sets the value for only this index of the component. This is useful when you have
* the "multiple" flag set for this component and only wish to tell this component
* how the value should be set on a per-row basis.
*
* @param index - The index within the value array that is being set.
* @param value - The value at this index that is being set.
* @param flags - Change propogation flags that are being used to control behavior of the
* change proogation logic.
*
* @return - Boolean indiciating if the setValue at this index was changed.
*/
setValueAt(index, value, flags = {}) {
return super.setValueAt(index, value, flags);
}
/**
* Similar to setValue, except this does NOT update the "view" but only updates
* the data model of the component.
*
* @param value - The value of the component being set.
* @param flags - Change propogation flags that are being used to control behavior of the
* change proogation logic.
*
* @return - Boolean indicating if the updateValue changed the value or not.
*/
updateValue(value, flags = {}) {
return super.updateValue(...args);
}
}

Component Modules

Custom components can be registered with the renderer using a module that is also able to include a large number of components. An example of a module that implements some custom components is the Contributed Components repo.

In this repo, you can see that each component is defined within the "components" folder as follows.

These components can then be included in the module by creating an export of these components like so.

import components from './components';
import templates from './templates';
export default {
components,
templates
};

Using Custom Components in applications

Once these components are created as a module, they can then easily be added to the renderer using the Formio.use method as follows.

import { Formio } from 'formiojs';
import YourModule from './yourmodule';
Formio.use(YourModule);

Once this is done, any new components that have been added to the renderer / builder will show up and can be used.

Examples

CheckMatrix Component

The following is an example custom component. This is a Check Matrix component that allows you to configure a component to have a grid of checkboxes which can be checked independently to save the data as a multi-dimensional array of checks. Here is what the code would look like for this example.

const FieldComponent = Formio.Components.components.field;
const editForm = Formio.Components.components.nested.editForm;
/**
* Here we will derive from the base component which all Form.io form components derive from.
*
* @param component
* @param options
* @param data
* @constructor
*/
class CheckMatrix extends FieldComponent {
constructor(component, options, data) {
super(component, options, data);
this.checks = [];
}
static schema() {
return FieldComponent.schema({
type: 'checkmatrix',
numRows: 3,
numCols: 3
});
}
static builderInfo() {
return {
title: 'Check Matrix',
group: 'basic',
icon: 'fa fa-table',
weight: 70,
documentation: 'http://help.form.io/userguide/#table',
schema: CheckMatrix.schema()
};
}
get tableClass() {
let tableClass = 'table ';
['striped', 'bordered', 'hover', 'condensed'].forEach((prop) => {
if (this.component[prop]) {
tableClass += `table-${prop} `;
}
});
return tableClass;
}
renderCell(row, col) {
return this.renderTemplate('input', {
input: {
type: 'input',
ref: `${this.component.key}-${row}`,
attr: {
id: `${this.component.key}-${row}-${col}`,
class: 'form-control',
type: 'checkbox',
}
}
});
}
render(children) {
let table = '<table class="table table-compressed"><tbody>';
for (let i = 0; i < this.component.numRows; i++) {
table += '<tr>';
for (let j = 0; j < this.component.numCols; j++) {
table += '<td>';
table += this.renderCell(i, j);
table += '</td>';
}
table += '</tr>';
}
table += '</tbody></table>';
return super.render(table);
}
/**
* After the html string has been mounted into the dom, the dom element is returned here. Use refs to find specific
* elements to attach functionality to.
*
* @param element
* @returns {Promise}
*/
attach(element) {
const refs = {};
for (let i = 0; i < this.component.numRows; i++) {
refs[`${this.component.key}-${i}`] = 'multiple';
}
this.loadRefs(element, refs);
this.checks = [];
for (let i = 0; i < this.component.numRows; i++) {
this.checks[i] = Array.prototype.slice.call(this.refs[`${this.component.key}-${i}`], 0);
// Attach click events to each input in the row
this.checks[i].forEach(input => {
this.addEventListener(input, 'click', () => this.updateValue())
});
}
// Allow basic component functionality to attach like field logic and tooltips.
return super.attach(element);
}
/**
* Get the value of the component from the dom elements.
*
* @returns {Array}
*/
getValue() {
var value = [];
for (var rowIndex in this.checks) {
var row = this.checks[rowIndex];
value[rowIndex] = [];
for (var colIndex in row) {
var col = row[colIndex];
value[rowIndex][colIndex] = !!col.checked;
}
}
return value;
}
/**
* Set the value of the component into the dom elements.
*
* @param value
* @returns {boolean}
*/
setValue(value) {
if (!value) {
return;
}
for (var rowIndex in this.checks) {
var row = this.checks[rowIndex];
if (!value[rowIndex]) {
break;
}
for (var colIndex in row) {
var col = row[colIndex];
if (!value[rowIndex][colIndex]) {
return false;
}
let checked = value[rowIndex][colIndex] ? 1 : 0;
col.value = checked;
col.checked = checked;
}
}
}
}
// Use the component.
Formio.use({
components: {
checkmatrix: CheckMatrix
}
});

This component can now be rendered in both the builder and renderer as the following JSFiddle illustrates.

Header Component

An example custom component implementation would be to create a Custom Component called Header which will allow the configuration of one of the following <h1>, <h2>, <h3> etc

For this component, we will simply extend the HTML Element component which allows for dynamic HTML to be rendered within a form.

This example also shows how you can introduce changes to the Form Builder to introduce new configurations or make changes to other configurations.

Here is the code for a Header component

// Get the HTMLComponent from the components listing.
const HTMLComponent = Formio.Components.components.htmlelement;
/**
* Create a Header compoennt and extend from the HTMLComponent.
*/
class HeaderComponent extends HTMLComponent {
/**
* Define the default schema to change the type and tag and label.
*/
static schema(...extend) {
return HTMLComponent.schema({
label: 'Header',
type: 'header',
tag: 'h1'
}, ...extend);
}
static get builderInfo() {
return {
title: 'Header',
group: 'layout',
icon: 'code',
weight: 2,
documentation: '/userguide/#html-element-component',
schema: HeaderComponent.schema()
};
}
}
/**
* Change the edit form to make the "tag" component a select dropdown
* instead of a textfield so that they can only configure the "h2" fields.
*/
HeaderComponent.editForm = (...args) => {
const editForm = HTMLComponent.editForm(...args);
const tagComponent = Formio.Utils.getComponent(editForm.components, 'tag');
tagComponent.type = 'select';
tagComponent.dataSrc = 'values';
tagComponent.data = {
values: [
{label: 'H1', value: 'h1'},
{label: 'H2', value: 'h2'},
{label: 'H3', value: 'h3'},
{label: 'H4', value: 'h4'},
{label: 'H5', value: 'h5'}
]
};
return editForm;
};
Formio.Components.addComponent('header', HeaderComponent);

This component can actually be tested by opening up the Form.io hosted portal @ https://portal.form.io, pasting the code within the console of the browser, and then pressing Enter. Then when you navigate to the form builder, you will see the following.