The Forms application contains many highly configurable field types out-of-the-box. Most use cases will be met with one of the existing field types.

forms-field-types.png

Figure 1: The Forms application has useful out-of-the-box field types, but you can add your own if you need to.

If you’re reading this, however, your use case probably wasn’t met with the default field types. For example, perhaps you need a color picker field. You could create a select field that lists the color options, but some users don’t know that gamboge is the color of spicy mustard (maybe a little darker), and anyway, seeing colors is much more interesting than listing them. Another example is a dedicated time field. You can use a text field and add a tip to tell users something like enter the time in the format hour:minute, but some users will still enter something indecipherable, like 8:88. Instead, add a time field to Liferay Portal’s Forms application. You can think of other uses where it’s best to break free of the mold of existing field types and create your own that serve your needs best. Keep reading to find out how.

In these tutorials, learn to

  • create a module that adds a Time form field type with a timepicker
  • add custom configuration options to your field types

Before getting started, learn what Liferay Portal’s field types consist of.

Anatomy of a Field Type Module

The dynamic-data-mapping-type-* modules in Liferay Portal’s source code (inside the Forms and Workflow application suite) are good templates to follow when developing your own field types. For example, look at the directory structure of the dynamic-data-mapping-type-paragraph module (version 2.0.7) in the Forms and Workflow application suite:

bnd.bnd
build.gradle
src
└── main
    ├── java
    │   └── com
    │       └── liferay
    │           └── dynamic
    │               └── data
    │                   └── mapping
    │                       └── type
    │                           └── paragraph
    │                               └── internal
    │                                   ├── ParagraphDDMFormFieldRenderer.java
    │                                   ├── ParagraphDDMFormFieldType.java
    │                                   └── ParagraphDDMFormFieldTypeSettings.java
    └── resources
        ├── content
        │   ├── Language.properties
        │   └── Language_xx_XX.properties
        │   └── ...
        └── META-INF
            └── resources
                ├── config.js
                ├── paragraph_field.js
                ├── paragraph.soy
                └── paragraph.soy.js

Custom field type modules are nearly identical in structure to those included in Liferay Portal, as presented above. You won’t need a *TypeSettings class in your initial module (see the tutorial on adding settings to your form field types to learn more about *TypeSettings), and the *.soy.js is generated from the *.soy file at compile time. These are the Java classes and resources you’ll need to create:

  • *DDMFormFieldRenderer.java: Controls the rendering of the template. Sets the language, declares the namespace, and loads the template resources on activation of the Component. Extending the abstract class that implements the DDMFormFieldRenderer makes your work here easier.
  • *DDMFormFieldType.java: Define the form field type in the backend. If you extend the abstract class that implements the interface, you automatically include the default form configuration options for your form field type. In that case, override the interface’s getName method and you’re done. To see the default configuration options your form field type will inherit, look at the DefaultDDMFormFieldTypeSettings class in the dynamic-data-mapping-form-field-type module.
  • config.js: Autogenerated if you use Blade CLI, config.js defines the dependencies of all declared JavaScript components.
  • [name-of-field-type]_field.js: The JavaScript file that models your field.
  • [name-of-field-type].soy: The template that defines the appearance of the field.
  • Language_xx.properties: Define any terms that need to be translated into different languages.

In addition to the Java classes, Soy templates, and JavaScript files, Liferay Portal applications contain a bnd.bnd file to manage the module’s metadata, and a build.gradle file to manage its dependencies and build properties. This example follows those patterns.

Creating Form Field Types

Liferay’s Forms application does not contain a dedicated time field out-of-the-box. For ease of use and to ensure proper data is collected, you can develop a time field and learn how Liferay...

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Adding Settings to Form Field Types

Once you develop a Form Field Type, you might need to add settings to it. For example, your time field might need to be configured to accept different time formats. Here you’ll learn how to add...

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