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FormHelper

class FormHelper(View $view, array $settings = array())

The FormHelper does most of the heavy lifting in form creation. The FormHelper focuses on creating forms quickly, in a way that will streamline validation, re-population and layout. The FormHelper is also flexible - it will do almost everything for you using conventions, or you can use specific methods to get only what you need.

Creating Forms

The first method you’ll need to use in order to take advantage of the FormHelper is create(). This special method outputs an opening form tag.

FormHelper::create(string $model = null, array $options = array())

All parameters are optional. If create() is called with no parameters supplied, it assumes you are building a form that submits to the current controller, via the current URL. The default method for form submission is POST. The form element is also returned with a DOM ID. The ID is generated using the name of the model, and the name of the controller action, CamelCased. If I were to call create() inside a UsersController view, I’d see something like the following output in the rendered view:

<form id="UserAddForm" method="post" action="/users/add">

Note

You can also pass false for $model. This will place your form data into the array: $this->request->data (instead of in the sub-array: $this->request->data['Model']). This can be handy for short forms that may not represent anything in your database.

The create() method allows us to customize much more using the parameters, however. First, you can specify a model name. By specifying a model for a form, you are creating that form’s context. All fields are assumed to belong to this model (unless otherwise specified), and all models referenced are assumed to be associated with it. If you do not specify a model, then it assumes you are using the default model for the current controller:

// If you are on /recipes/add
echo $this->Form->create('Recipe');

Output:

<form id="RecipeAddForm" method="post" action="/recipes/add">

This will POST the form data to the add() action of RecipesController. However, you can also use the same logic to create an edit form. The FormHelper uses the $this->request->data property to automatically detect whether to create an add or edit form. If $this->request->data contains an array element named after the form’s model, and that array contains a non-empty value of the model’s primary key, then the FormHelper will create an edit form for that record. For example, if we browse to http://site.com/recipes/edit/5, we would get the following:

// Controller/RecipesController.php:
public function edit($id = null) {
    if (empty($this->request->data)) {
        $this->request->data = $this->Recipe->findById($id);
    } else {
        // Save logic goes here
    }
}

// View/Recipes/edit.ctp:
// Since $this->request->data['Recipe']['id'] = 5,
// we will get an edit form
<?php echo $this->Form->create('Recipe'); ?>

Output:

<form id="RecipeEditForm" method="post" action="/recipes/edit/5">
<input type="hidden" name="_method" value="PUT" />

Note

Since this is an edit form, a hidden input field is generated to override the default HTTP method.

When creating forms for models in plugins, you should always use plugin syntax when creating a form. This will ensure the form is correctly generated:

echo $this->Form->create('ContactManager.Contact');

The $options array is where most of the form configuration happens. This special array can contain a number of different key-value pairs that affect the way the form tag is generated.

Changed in version 2.0: The default URL for all forms, is now the current URL including passed, named, and querystring parameters. You can override this default by supplying $options['url'] in the second parameter of $this->Form->create().

Options for create()

There are a number of options for create():

  • $options['type'] This key is used to specify the type of form to be created. Valid values include ‘post’, ‘get’, ‘file’, ‘put’ and ‘delete’.

    Supplying either ‘post’ or ‘get’ changes the form submission method accordingly:

    echo $this->Form->create('User', array('type' => 'get'));
    

    Output:

    <form id="UserAddForm" method="get" action="/users/add">
    

    Specifying ‘file’ changes the form submission method to ‘post’, and includes an enctype of “multipart/form-data” on the form tag. This is to be used if there are any file elements inside the form. The absence of the proper enctype attribute will cause the file uploads not to function:

    echo $this->Form->create('User', array('type' => 'file'));
    

    Output:

    <form id="UserAddForm" enctype="multipart/form-data"
       method="post" action="/users/add">
    

    When using ‘put’ or ‘delete’, your form will be functionally equivalent to a ‘post’ form, but when submitted, the HTTP request method will be overridden with ‘PUT’ or ‘DELETE’, respectively. This allows CakePHP to emulate proper REST support in web browsers.

  • $options['action'] The action key allows you to point the form to a specific action in your current controller. For example, if you’d like to point the form to the login() action of the current controller, you would supply an $options array like the following:

    echo $this->Form->create('User', array('action' => 'login'));
    

    Output:

    <form id="UserLoginForm" method="post" action="/users/login">
    
  • $options['url'] If the desired form action isn’t in the current controller, you can specify a URL for the form action using the ‘url’ key of the $options array. The supplied URL can be relative to your CakePHP application:

    echo $this->Form->create(null, array(
        'url' => array('controller' => 'recipes', 'action' => 'add')
    ));
    

    Output:

    <form method="post" action="/recipes/add">
    

    or can point to an external domain:

    echo $this->Form->create(null, array(
        'url' => 'http://www.google.com/search',
        'type' => 'get'
    ));
    

    Output:

    <form method="get" action="http://www.google.com/search">
    

    Also check HtmlHelper::url() method for more examples of different types of URLs.

  • $options['default'] If ‘default’ has been set to boolean false, the form’s submit action is changed so that pressing the submit button does not submit the form. If the form is meant to be submitted via AJAX, setting ‘default’ to false suppresses the form’s default behavior so you can grab the data and submit it via AJAX instead.

  • $options['inputDefaults'] You can declare a set of default options for input() with the inputDefaults key to customize your default input creation:

    echo $this->Form->create('User', array(
        'inputDefaults' => array(
            'label' => false,
            'div' => false
        )
    ));
    

    All inputs created from that point forward would inherit the options declared in inputDefaults. You can override the defaultOptions by declaring the option in the input() call:

    echo $this->Form->input('password'); // No div, no label
    // has a label element
    echo $this->Form->input(
        'username',
        array('label' => 'Username')
    );
    

Closing the Form

FormHelper::end($options = null, $secureAttributes = array())

The FormHelper includes an end() method that completes the form. Often, end() only outputs a closing form tag, but using end() also allows the FormHelper to insert needed hidden form elements that SecurityComponent requires:

<?php echo $this->Form->create(); ?>

<!-- Form elements go here -->

<?php echo $this->Form->end(); ?>

If a string is supplied as the first parameter to end(), the FormHelper outputs a submit button named accordingly along with the closing form tag:

<?php echo $this->Form->end('Finish'); ?>

Will output:

<div class="submit">
    <input type="submit" value="Finish" />
</div>
</form>

You can specify detail settings by passing an array to end():

$options = array(
    'label' => 'Update',
    'div' => array(
        'class' => 'glass-pill',
    )
);
echo $this->Form->end($options);

Will output:

<div class="glass-pill"><input type="submit" value="Update" name="Update">
</div>

See the Form Helper API for further details.

Note

If you are using SecurityComponent in your application you should always end your forms with end().

Changed in version 2.5: The $secureAttributes parameter was added in 2.5.

Creating form elements

There are a few ways to create form inputs with the FormHelper. We’ll start by looking at input(). This method will automatically inspect the model field it has been supplied in order to create an appropriate input for that field. Internally input() delegates to other methods in FormHelper.

FormHelper::input(string $fieldName, array $options = array())

Creates the following elements given a particular Model.field:

  • Wrapping div.
  • Label element
  • Input element(s)
  • Error element with message if applicable.

The type of input created depends on the column datatype:

Column Type
Resulting Form Field
string (char, varchar, etc.)
text
boolean, tinyint(1)
checkbox
text
textarea
text, with name of password, passwd, or psword
password
text, with name of email
email
text, with name of tel, telephone, or phone
tel
date
day, month, and year selects
datetime, timestamp
day, month, year, hour, minute, and meridian selects
time
hour, minute, and meridian selects
binary
file

The $options parameter allows you to customize how input() works, and finely control what is generated.

The wrapping div will have a required class name appended if the validation rules for the Model’s field do not specify allowEmpty => true. One limitation of this behavior is the field’s model must have been loaded during this request. Or be directly associated to the model supplied to create().

New in version 2.5: The binary type now maps to a file input.

New in version 2.3.

Since 2.3 the HTML5 required attribute will also be added to the input based on validation rules. You can explicitly set required key in options array to override it for a field. To skip browser validation triggering for the whole form you can set option 'formnovalidate' => true for the input button you generate using FormHelper::submit() or set 'novalidate' => true in options for FormHelper::create().

For example, let’s assume that your User model includes fields for a username (varchar), password (varchar), approved (datetime) and quote (text). You can use the input() method of the FormHelper to create appropriate inputs for all of these form fields:

echo $this->Form->create();

echo $this->Form->input('username');   //text
echo $this->Form->input('password');   //password
echo $this->Form->input('approved');   //day, month, year, hour, minute,
                                       //meridian
echo $this->Form->input('quote');      //textarea

echo $this->Form->end('Add');

A more extensive example showing some options for a date field:

echo $this->Form->input('birth_dt', array(
    'label' => 'Date of birth',
    'dateFormat' => 'DMY',
    'minYear' => date('Y') - 70,
    'maxYear' => date('Y') - 18,
));

Besides the specific options for input() found below, you can specify any option for the input type & any HTML attribute (for instance onfocus). For more information on $options and $htmlAttributes see HtmlHelper.

Assuming that User hasAndBelongsToMany Group. In your controller, set a camelCase plural variable (group -> groups in this case, or ExtraFunkyModel -> extraFunkyModels) with the select options. In the controller action you would put the following:

$this->set('groups', $this->User->Group->find('list'));

And in the view a multiple select can be created with this simple code:

echo $this->Form->input('Group');

If you want to create a select field while using a belongsTo - or hasOne - Relation, you can add the following to your Users-controller (assuming your User belongsTo Group):

$this->set('groups', $this->User->Group->find('list'));

Afterwards, add the following to your form-view:

echo $this->Form->input('group_id');

If your model name consists of two or more words, e.g., “UserGroup”, when passing the data using set() you should name your data in a pluralised and camelCased format as follows:

$this->set('userGroups', $this->UserGroup->find('list'));
// or
$this->set(
    'reallyInappropriateModelNames',
    $this->ReallyInappropriateModelName->find('list')
);

Note

Try to avoid using FormHelper::input() to generate submit buttons. Use FormHelper::submit() instead.

FormHelper::inputs(mixed $fields = null, array $blacklist = null, $options = array())

Generate a set of inputs for $fields. If $fields is null all fields, except of those defined in $blacklist, of the current model will be used.

In addition to controller fields output, $fields can be used to control legend and fieldset rendering with the fieldset and legend keys. $this->Form->inputs(array('legend' => 'My legend')); Would generate an input set with a custom legend. You can customize individual inputs through $fields as well.

echo $this->Form->inputs(array(
    'name' => array('label' => 'custom label')
));

In addition to fields control, inputs() allows you to use a few additional options.

  • fieldset Set to false to disable the fieldset. If a string is supplied it will be used as the class name for the fieldset element.
  • legend Set to false to disable the legend for the generated input set. Or supply a string to customize the legend text.

Field naming conventions

The Form helper is pretty smart. Whenever you specify a field name with the form helper methods, it’ll automatically use the current model name to build an input with a format like the following:

<input type="text" id="ModelnameFieldname" name="data[Modelname][fieldname]">

This allows you to omit the model name when generating inputs for the model that the form was created for. You can create inputs for associated models, or arbitrary models by passing in Modelname.fieldname as the first parameter:

echo $this->Form->input('Modelname.fieldname');

If you need to specify multiple fields using the same field name, thus creating an array that can be saved in one shot with saveAll(), use the following convention:

echo $this->Form->input('Modelname.0.fieldname');
echo $this->Form->input('Modelname.1.fieldname');

Output:

<input type="text" id="Modelname0Fieldname"
    name="data[Modelname][0][fieldname]">
<input type="text" id="Modelname1Fieldname"
    name="data[Modelname][1][fieldname]">

FormHelper uses several field-suffixes internally for datetime input creation. If you are using fields named year, month, day, hour, minute, or meridian and having issues getting the correct input, you can set the name attribute to override the default behavior:

echo $this->Form->input('Model.year', array(
    'type' => 'text',
    'name' => 'data[Model][year]'
));

Options

FormHelper::input() supports a large number of options. In addition to its own options input() accepts options for the generated input types, as well as HTML attributes. The following will cover the options specific to FormHelper::input().

  • $options['type'] You can force the type of an input, overriding model introspection, by specifying a type. In addition to the field types found in the Creating form elements, you can also create ‘file’, ‘password’, and any type supported by HTML5:

    echo $this->Form->input('field', array('type' => 'file'));
    echo $this->Form->input('email', array('type' => 'email'));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input file">
        <label for="UserField">Field</label>
        <input type="file" name="data[User][field]" value="" id="UserField" />
    </div>
    <div class="input email">
        <label for="UserEmail">Email</label>
        <input type="email" name="data[User][email]" value="" id="UserEmail" />
    </div>
    
  • $options['div'] Use this option to set attributes of the input’s containing div. Using a string value will set the div’s class name. An array will set the div’s attributes to those specified by the array’s keys/values. Alternatively, you can set this key to false to disable the output of the div.

    Setting the class name:

    echo $this->Form->input('User.name', array(
        'div' => 'class_name'
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="class_name">
        <label for="UserName">Name</label>
        <input name="data[User][name]" type="text" value="" id="UserName" />
    </div>
    

    Setting multiple attributes:

    echo $this->Form->input('User.name', array(
        'div' => array(
            'id' => 'mainDiv',
            'title' => 'Div Title',
            'style' => 'display:block'
        )
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input text" id="mainDiv" title="Div Title"
        style="display:block">
        <label for="UserName">Name</label>
        <input name="data[User][name]" type="text" value="" id="UserName" />
    </div>
    

    Disabling div output:

    echo $this->Form->input('User.name', array('div' => false)); ?>
    

    Output:

    <label for="UserName">Name</label>
    <input name="data[User][name]" type="text" value="" id="UserName" />
    
  • $options['label'] Set this key to the string you would like to be displayed within the label that usually accompanies the input:

    echo $this->Form->input('User.name', array(
        'label' => 'The User Alias'
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input">
        <label for="UserName">The User Alias</label>
        <input name="data[User][name]" type="text" value="" id="UserName" />
    </div>
    

    Alternatively, set this key to false to disable the output of the label:

    echo $this->Form->input('User.name', array('label' => false));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input">
        <input name="data[User][name]" type="text" value="" id="UserName" />
    </div>
    

    Set this to an array to provide additional options for the label element. If you do this, you can use a text key in the array to customize the label text:

    echo $this->Form->input('User.name', array(
        'label' => array(
            'class' => 'thingy',
            'text' => 'The User Alias'
        )
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input">
        <label for="UserName" class="thingy">The User Alias</label>
        <input name="data[User][name]" type="text" value="" id="UserName" />
    </div>
    
  • $options['error'] Using this key allows you to override the default model error messages and can be used, for example, to set i18n messages. It has a number of suboptions which control the wrapping element, wrapping element class name, and whether HTML in the error message will be escaped.

    To disable error message output & field classes set the error key to false:

    $this->Form->input('Model.field', array('error' => false));
    

    To disable only the error message, but retain the field classes, set the errorMessage key to false:

    $this->Form->input('Model.field', array('errorMessage' => false));
    

    To modify the wrapping element type and its class, use the following format:

    $this->Form->input('Model.field', array(
        'error' => array(
            'attributes' => array('wrap' => 'span', 'class' => 'bzzz')
        )
    ));
    

    To prevent HTML being automatically escaped in the error message output, set the escape suboption to false:

    $this->Form->input('Model.field', array(
        'error' => array(
            'attributes' => array('escape' => false)
        )
    ));
    

    To override the model error messages use an array with the keys matching the validation rule names:

    $this->Form->input('Model.field', array(
        'error' => array('tooShort' => __('This is not long enough'))
    ));
    

    As seen above you can set the error message for each validation rule you have in your models. In addition you can provide i18n messages for your forms.

    New in version 2.3: Support for the errorMessage option was added in 2.3

  • $options['before'], $options['between'], $options['separator'], and $options['after']

    Use these keys if you need to inject some markup inside the output of the input() method:

    echo $this->Form->input('field', array(
        'before' => '--before--',
        'after' => '--after--',
        'between' => '--between---'
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input">
    --before--
    <label for="UserField">Field</label>
    --between---
    <input name="data[User][field]" type="text" value="" id="UserField" />
    --after--
    </div>
    

    For radio inputs the ‘separator’ attribute can be used to inject markup to separate each input/label pair:

    echo $this->Form->input('field', array(
        'before' => '--before--',
        'after' => '--after--',
        'between' => '--between---',
        'separator' => '--separator--',
        'options' => array('1', '2')
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input">
    --before--
    <input name="data[User][field]" type="radio" value="1" id="UserField1" />
    <label for="UserField1">1</label>
    --separator--
    <input name="data[User][field]" type="radio" value="2" id="UserField2" />
    <label for="UserField2">2</label>
    --between---
    --after--
    </div>
    

    For date and datetime type elements the ‘separator’ attribute can be used to change the string between select elements. Defaults to ‘-‘.

  • $options['format'] The ordering of the HTML generated by FormHelper is controllable as well. The ‘format’ options supports an array of strings describing the template you would like said element to follow. The supported array keys are: array('before', 'input', 'between', 'label', 'after','error').

  • $options['inputDefaults'] If you find yourself repeating the same options in multiple input() calls, you can use inputDefaults` to keep your code dry:

    echo $this->Form->create('User', array(
        'inputDefaults' => array(
            'label' => false,
            'div' => false
        )
    ));
    

    All inputs created from that point forward would inherit the options declared in inputDefaults. You can override the defaultOptions by declaring the option in the input() call:

    // No div, no label
    echo $this->Form->input('password');
    
    // has a label element
    echo $this->Form->input('username', array('label' => 'Username'));
    

    If you need to later change the defaults you can use FormHelper::inputDefaults().

Generating specific types of inputs

In addition to the generic input() method, FormHelper has specific methods for generating a number of different types of inputs. These can be used to generate just the input widget itself, and combined with other methods like label() and error() to generate fully custom form layouts.

Common options

Many of the various input element methods support a common set of options. All of these options are also supported by input(). To reduce repetition the common options shared by all input methods are as follows:

  • $options['class'] You can set the class name for an input:

    echo $this->Form->input('title', array('class' => 'custom-class'));
    
  • $options['id'] Set this key to force the value of the DOM id for the input.

  • $options['default'] Used to set a default value for the input field. The value is used if the data passed to the form does not contain a value for the field (or if no data is passed at all).

    Example usage:

    echo $this->Form->input('ingredient', array('default' => 'Sugar'));
    

    Example with select field (Size “Medium” will be selected as default):

    $sizes = array('s' => 'Small', 'm' => 'Medium', 'l' => 'Large');
    echo $this->Form->input(
        'size',
        array('options' => $sizes, 'default' => 'm')
    );
    

    Note

    You cannot use default to check a checkbox - instead you might set the value in $this->request->data in your controller, or set the input option checked to true.

    Date and datetime fields’ default values can be set by using the ‘selected’ key.

    Beware of using false to assign a default value. A false value is used to disable/exclude options of an input field, so 'default' => false would not set any value at all. Instead use 'default' => 0.

In addition to the above options, you can mixin any HTML attribute you wish to use. Any non-special option name will be treated as an HTML attribute, and applied to the generated HTML input element.

Options for select, checkbox and radio inputs

  • $options['selected'] Used in combination with a select-type input (i.e. For types select, date, time, datetime). Set ‘selected’ to the value of the item you wish to be selected by default when the input is rendered:

    echo $this->Form->input('close_time', array(
        'type' => 'time',
        'selected' => '13:30:00'
    ));
    

    Note

    The selected key for date and datetime inputs may also be a UNIX timestamp.

  • $options['empty'] If set to true, forces the input to remain empty.

    When passed to a select list, this creates a blank option with an empty value in your drop down list. If you want to have a empty value with text displayed instead of just a blank option, pass in a string to empty:

    echo $this->Form->input('field', array(
        'options' => array(1, 2, 3, 4, 5),
        'empty' => '(choose one)'
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input">
        <label for="UserField">Field</label>
        <select name="data[User][field]" id="UserField">
            <option value="">(choose one)</option>
            <option value="0">1</option>
            <option value="1">2</option>
            <option value="2">3</option>
            <option value="3">4</option>
            <option value="4">5</option>
        </select>
    </div>
    

    Note

    If you need to set the default value in a password field to blank, use ‘value’ => ‘’ instead.

    Options can also supplied as key-value pairs.

  • $options['hiddenField'] For certain input types (checkboxes, radios) a hidden input is created so that the key in $this->request->data will exist even without a value specified:

    <input type="hidden" name="data[Post][Published]" id="PostPublished_"
        value="0" />
    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Post][Published]" value="1"
        id="PostPublished" />
    

    This can be disabled by setting the $options['hiddenField'] = false:

    echo $this->Form->checkbox('published', array('hiddenField' => false));
    

    Which outputs:

    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Post][Published]" value="1"
        id="PostPublished" />
    

    If you want to create multiple blocks of inputs on a form that are all grouped together, you should use this parameter on all inputs except the first. If the hidden input is on the page in multiple places, only the last group of input’s values will be saved

    In this example, only the tertiary colors would be passed, and the primary colors would be overridden:

    <h2>Primary Colors</h2>
    <input type="hidden" name="data[Color][Color]" id="Colors_" value="0" />
    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Color][Color][]" value="5"
        id="ColorsRed" />
    <label for="ColorsRed">Red</label>
    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Color][Color][]" value="5"
        id="ColorsBlue" />
    <label for="ColorsBlue">Blue</label>
    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Color][Color][]" value="5"
        id="ColorsYellow" />
    <label for="ColorsYellow">Yellow</label>
    
    <h2>Tertiary Colors</h2>
    <input type="hidden" name="data[Color][Color]" id="Colors_" value="0" />
    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Color][Color][]" value="5"
        id="ColorsGreen" />
    <label for="ColorsGreen">Green</label>
    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Color][Color][]" value="5"
        id="ColorsPurple" />
    <label for="ColorsPurple">Purple</label>
    <input type="checkbox" name="data[Addon][Addon][]" value="5"
        id="ColorsOrange" />
    <label for="ColorsOrange">Orange</label>
    

    Disabling the 'hiddenField' on the second input group would prevent this behavior.

    You can set a different hidden field value other than 0 such as ‘N’:

    echo $this->Form->checkbox('published', array(
        'value' => 'Y',
        'hiddenField' => 'N',
    ));
    

Datetime options

  • $options['timeFormat'] Used to specify the format of the select inputs for a time-related set of inputs. Valid values include 12, 24, and null.

  • $options['dateFormat'] Used to specify the format of the select inputs for a date-related set of inputs. Valid values include any combination of ‘D’, ‘M’ and ‘Y’ or null. The inputs will be put in the order defined by the dateFormat option.

  • $options['minYear'], $options['maxYear'] Used in combination with a date/datetime input. Defines the lower and/or upper end of values shown in the years select field.

  • $options['orderYear'] Used in combination with a date/datetime input. Defines the order in which the year values will be set. Valid values include ‘asc’, ‘desc’. The default value is ‘desc’.

  • $options['interval'] This option specifies the number of minutes between each option in the minutes select box:

    echo $this->Form->input('Model.time', array(
        'type' => 'time',
        'interval' => 15
    ));
    

    Would create 4 options in the minute select. One for each 15 minutes.

  • $options['round'] Can be set to up or down to force rounding in either direction. Defaults to null which rounds half up according to interval.

    New in version 2.4.

Form Element-Specific Methods

All elements are created under a form for the User model as in the examples above. For this reason, the HTML code generated will contain attributes that reference to the User model. Ex: name=data[User][username], id=UserUsername

FormHelper::label(string $fieldName, string $text, array $options)

Create a label element. $fieldName is used for generating the DOM id. If $text is undefined, $fieldName will be used to inflect the label’s text:

echo $this->Form->label('User.name');
echo $this->Form->label('User.name', 'Your username');

Output:

<label for="UserName">Name</label>
<label for="UserName">Your username</label>

$options can either be an array of HTML attributes, or a string that will be used as a class name:

echo $this->Form->label('User.name', null, array('id' => 'user-label'));
echo $this->Form->label('User.name', 'Your username', 'highlight');

Output:

<label for="UserName" id="user-label">Name</label>
<label for="UserName" class="highlight">Your username</label>
FormHelper::text(string $name, array $options)

The rest of the methods available in the FormHelper are for creating specific form elements. Many of these methods also make use of a special $options parameter. In this case, however, $options is used primarily to specify HTML tag attributes (such as the value or DOM id of an element in the form):

echo $this->Form->text('username', array('class' => 'users'));

Will output:

<input name="data[User][username]" type="text" class="users"
    id="UserUsername" />
FormHelper::password(string $fieldName, array $options)

Creates a password field.

echo $this->Form->password('password');

Will output:

<input name="data[User][password]" value="" id="UserPassword"
    type="password" />
FormHelper::hidden(string $fieldName, array $options)

Creates a hidden form input. Example:

echo $this->Form->hidden('id');

Will output:

<input name="data[User][id]" id="UserId" type="hidden" />

If the form is edited (that is, the array $this->request->data will contain the information saved for the User model), the value corresponding to id field will automatically be added to the HTML generated. Example for data[User][id] = 10:

<input name="data[User][id]" id="UserId" type="hidden" />

Changed in version 2.0: Hidden fields no longer remove the class attribute. This means that if there are validation errors on hidden fields, the error-field class name will be applied.

FormHelper::textarea(string $fieldName, array $options)

Creates a textarea input field.

echo $this->Form->textarea('notes');

Will output:

<textarea name="data[User][notes]" id="UserNotes"></textarea>

If the form is edited (that is, the array $this->request->data will contain the information saved for the User model), the value corresponding to notes field will automatically be added to the HTML generated. Example:

<textarea name="data[User][notes]" id="UserNotes">
This text is to be edited.
</textarea>

Note

The textarea input type allows for the $options attribute of 'escape' which determines whether or not the contents of the textarea should be escaped. Defaults to true.

echo $this->Form->textarea('notes', array('escape' => false);
// OR....
echo $this->Form->input(
    'notes',
    array('type' => 'textarea', 'escape' => false)
);

Options

In addition to the Common options, textarea() supports a few specific options:

  • $options['rows'], $options['cols'] These two keys specify the number of rows and columns:

    echo $this->Form->textarea(
        'textarea',
        array('rows' => '5', 'cols' => '5')
    );
    

    Output:

<textarea name="data[Form][textarea]" cols="5" rows="5" id="FormTextarea">
</textarea>
FormHelper::checkbox(string $fieldName, array $options)

Creates a checkbox form element. This method also generates an associated hidden form input to force the submission of data for the specified field.

echo $this->Form->checkbox('done');

Will output:

<input type="hidden" name="data[User][done]" value="0" id="UserDone_" />
<input type="checkbox" name="data[User][done]" value="1" id="UserDone" />

It is possible to specify the value of the checkbox by using the $options array:

echo $this->Form->checkbox('done', array('value' => 555));

Will output:

<input type="hidden" name="data[User][done]" value="0" id="UserDone_" />
<input type="checkbox" name="data[User][done]" value="555" id="UserDone" />

If you don’t want the Form helper to create a hidden input:

echo $this->Form->checkbox('done', array('hiddenField' => false));

Will output:

<input type="checkbox" name="data[User][done]" value="1" id="UserDone" />
FormHelper::radio(string $fieldName, array $options, array $attributes)

Creates a set of radio button inputs.

Options

  • $attributes['value'] to set which value should be selected default.

  • $attributes['separator'] to specify HTML in between radio buttons (e.g. <br />).

  • $attributes['between'] specify some content to be inserted between the legend and first element.

  • $attributes['disabled'] Setting this to true or 'disabled' will disable all of the generated radio buttons.

  • $attributes['legend'] Radio elements are wrapped with a legend and fieldset by default. Set $attributes['legend'] to false to remove them.

    $options = array('M' => 'Male', 'F' => 'Female');
    $attributes = array('legend' => false);
    echo $this->Form->radio('gender', $options, $attributes);
    

    Will output:

    <input name="data[User][gender]" id="UserGender_" value=""
        type="hidden" />
    <input name="data[User][gender]" id="UserGenderM" value="M"
        type="radio" />
    <label for="UserGenderM">Male</label>
    <input name="data[User][gender]" id="UserGenderF" value="F"
        type="radio" />
    <label for="UserGenderF">Female</label>
    

If for some reason you don’t want the hidden input, setting $attributes['value'] to a selected value or boolean false will do just that.

Changed in version 2.1: The $attributes['disabled'] option was added in 2.1.

FormHelper::select(string $fieldName, array $options, array $attributes)

Creates a select element, populated with the items in $options, with the option specified by $attributes['value'] shown as selected by default. Set the ‘empty’ key in the $attributes variable to false to turn off the default empty option:

$options = array('M' => 'Male', 'F' => 'Female');
echo $this->Form->select('gender', $options);

Will output:

<select name="data[User][gender]" id="UserGender">
<option value=""></option>
<option value="M">Male</option>
<option value="F">Female</option>
</select>

The select input type allows for a special $option attribute called 'escape' which accepts a bool and determines whether to HTML entity encode the contents of the select options. Defaults to true:

$options = array('M' => 'Male', 'F' => 'Female');
echo $this->Form->select('gender', $options, array('escape' => false));
  • $attributes['options'] This key allows you to manually specify options for a select input, or for a radio group. Unless the ‘type’ is specified as ‘radio’, the FormHelper will assume that the target output is a select input:

    echo $this->Form->select('field', array(1,2,3,4,5));
    

    Output:

    <select name="data[User][field]" id="UserField">
        <option value="0">1</option>
        <option value="1">2</option>
        <option value="2">3</option>
        <option value="3">4</option>
        <option value="4">5</option>
    </select>
    

    Options can also be supplied as key-value pairs:

    echo $this->Form->select('field', array(
        'Value 1' => 'Label 1',
        'Value 2' => 'Label 2',
        'Value 3' => 'Label 3'
    ));
    

    Output:

    <select name="data[User][field]" id="UserField">
        <option value="Value 1">Label 1</option>
        <option value="Value 2">Label 2</option>
        <option value="Value 3">Label 3</option>
    </select>
    

    If you would like to generate a select with optgroups, just pass data in hierarchical format. This works on multiple checkboxes and radio buttons too, but instead of optgroups wraps elements in fieldsets:

    $options = array(
       'Group 1' => array(
          'Value 1' => 'Label 1',
          'Value 2' => 'Label 2'
       ),
       'Group 2' => array(
          'Value 3' => 'Label 3'
       )
    );
    echo $this->Form->select('field', $options);
    

    Output:

    <select name="data[User][field]" id="UserField">
        <optgroup label="Group 1">
            <option value="Value 1">Label 1</option>
            <option value="Value 2">Label 2</option>
        </optgroup>
        <optgroup label="Group 2">
            <option value="Value 3">Label 3</option>
        </optgroup>
    </select>
    
  • $attributes['multiple'] If ‘multiple’ has been set to true for an input that outputs a select, the select will allow multiple selections:

    echo $this->Form->select(
        'Model.field',
        $options,
        array('multiple' => true)
    );
    

    Alternatively set ‘multiple’ to ‘checkbox’ to output a list of related check boxes:

    $options = array(
        'Value 1' => 'Label 1',
        'Value 2' => 'Label 2'
    );
    echo $this->Form->select('Model.field', $options, array(
        'multiple' => 'checkbox'
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input select">
       <label for="ModelField">Field</label>
       <input name="data[Model][field]" value="" id="ModelField"
        type="hidden">
       <div class="checkbox">
          <input name="data[Model][field][]" value="Value 1"
            id="ModelField1" type="checkbox">
          <label for="ModelField1">Label 1</label>
       </div>
       <div class="checkbox">
          <input name="data[Model][field][]" value="Value 2"
            id="ModelField2" type="checkbox">
          <label for="ModelField2">Label 2</label>
       </div>
    </div>
    
  • $attributes['disabled'] When creating checkboxes, this option can be set to disable all or some checkboxes. To disable all checkboxes set disabled to true:

    $options = array(
        'Value 1' => 'Label 1',
        'Value 2' => 'Label 2'
    );
    echo $this->Form->select('Model.field', $options, array(
        'multiple' => 'checkbox',
        'disabled' => array('Value 1')
    ));
    

    Output:

    <div class="input select">
       <label for="ModelField">Field</label>
       <input name="data[Model][field]" value="" id="ModelField"
        type="hidden">
       <div class="checkbox">
          <input name="data[Model][field][]" disabled="disabled"
            value="Value 1" id="ModelField1" type="checkbox">
          <label for="ModelField1">Label 1</label>
       </div>
       <div class="checkbox">
          <input name="data[Model][field][]" value="Value 2"
            id="ModelField2" type="checkbox">
          <label for="ModelField2">Label 2</label>
       </div>
    </div>
    

Changed in version 2.3: Support for arrays in $attributes['disabled'] was added in 2.3.

FormHelper::file(string $fieldName, array $options)

To add a file upload field to a form, you must first make sure that the form enctype is set to “multipart/form-data”, so start off with a create function such as the following:

echo $this->Form->create('Document', array(
    'enctype' => 'multipart/form-data'
));
// OR
echo $this->Form->create('Document', array('type' => 'file'));

Next add either of the two lines to your form view file:

echo $this->Form->input('Document.submittedfile', array(
    'between' => '<br />',
    'type' => 'file'
));

// OR

echo $this->Form->file('Document.submittedfile');

Due to the limitations of HTML itself, it is not possible to put default values into input fields of type ‘file’. Each time the form is displayed, the value inside will be empty.

Upon submission, file fields provide an expanded data array to the script receiving the form data.

For the example above, the values in the submitted data array would be organized as follows, if the CakePHP was installed on a Windows server. ‘tmp_name’ will have a different path in a Unix environment:

$this->request->data['Document']['submittedfile'] = array(
    'name' => 'conference_schedule.pdf',
    'type' => 'application/pdf',
    'tmp_name' => 'C:/WINDOWS/TEMP/php1EE.tmp',
    'error' => 0,
    'size' => 41737,
);

This array is generated by PHP itself, so for more detail on the way PHP handles data passed via file fields read the PHP manual section on file uploads.

Validating Uploads

Below is an example validation method you could define in your model to validate whether a file has been successfully uploaded:

public function isUploadedFile($params) {
    $val = array_shift($params);
    if ((isset($val['error']) && $val['error'] == 0) ||
        (!empty( $val['tmp_name']) && $val['tmp_name'] != 'none')
    ) {
        return is_uploaded_file($val['tmp_name']);
    }
    return false;
}

Creates a file input:

echo $this->Form->create('User', array('type' => 'file'));
echo $this->Form->file('avatar');

Will output:

<form enctype="multipart/form-data" method="post" action="/users/add">
<input name="data[User][avatar]" value="" id="UserAvatar" type="file">

Note

When using $this->Form->file(), remember to set the form encoding-type, by setting the type option to ‘file’ in $this->Form->create()

Creating buttons and submit elements

FormHelper::submit(string $caption, array $options)

Creates a submit button with caption $caption. If the supplied $caption is a URL to an image (it contains a ‘.’ character), the submit button will be rendered as an image.

It is enclosed between div tags by default; you can avoid this by declaring $options['div'] = false:

echo $this->Form->submit();

Will output:

<div class="submit"><input value="Submit" type="submit"></div>

You can also pass a relative or absolute URL to an image for the caption parameter instead of caption text.

echo $this->Form->submit('ok.png');

Will output:

<div class="submit"><input type="image" src="/img/ok.png"></div>
FormHelper::button(string $title, array $options = array())

Creates an HTML button with the specified title and a default type of “button”. Setting $options['type'] will output one of the three possible button types:

  1. submit: Same as the $this->Form->submit method - (the default).
  2. reset: Creates a form reset button.
  3. button: Creates a standard push button.
echo $this->Form->button('A Button');
echo $this->Form->button('Another Button', array('type' => 'button'));
echo $this->Form->button('Reset the Form', array('type' => 'reset'));
echo $this->Form->button('Submit Form', array('type' => 'submit'));

Will output:

<button type="submit">A Button</button>
<button type="button">Another Button</button>
<button type="reset">Reset the Form</button>
<button type="submit">Submit Form</button>

The button input type supports the escape option, which accepts a bool and determines whether to HTML entity encode the $title of the button. Defaults to false:

echo $this->Form->button('Submit Form', array(
    'type' => 'submit',
    'escape' => true
));
FormHelper::postButton(string $title, mixed $url, array $options = array ())

Create a <button> tag with a surrounding <form> that submits via POST.

This method creates a <form> element. So do not use this method in some opened form. Instead use FormHelper::submit() or FormHelper::button() to create buttons inside opened forms.

Creates an HTML link, but access the URL using method POST. Requires JavaScript to be enabled in browser.

This method creates a <form> element. So do not use this method inside an existing form. Instead you should add a submit button using FormHelper::submit()

Changed in version 2.3: The method option was added.

Changed in version 2.5: The inline and block options were added. They allow buffering the generated form tag, instead of returning with the link. This helps avoiding nested form tags. Setting 'inline' => true will add the form tag to postLink content block or you can use option block to specify a custom block.

Changed in version 2.6: The argument $confirmMessage was deprecated. Use confirm key in $options instead.

Creating date and time inputs

FormHelper::dateTime($fieldName, $dateFormat = 'DMY', $timeFormat = '12', $attributes = array())

Creates a set of select inputs for date and time. Valid values for $dateformat are ‘DMY’, ‘MDY’, ‘YMD’ or ‘NONE’. Valid values for $timeFormat are ‘12’, ‘24’, and null.

You can specify not to display empty values by setting “array(‘empty’ => false)” in the attributes parameter. It will also pre-select the fields with the current datetime.

FormHelper::year(string $fieldName, int $minYear, int $maxYear, array $attributes)

Creates a select element populated with the years from $minYear to $maxYear. HTML attributes may be supplied in $attributes. If $attributes['empty'] is false, the select will not include an empty option:

echo $this->Form->year('purchased', 2000, date('Y'));

Will output:

<select name="data[User][purchased][year]" id="UserPurchasedYear">
<option value=""></option>
<option value="2009">2009</option>
<option value="2008">2008</option>
<option value="2007">2007</option>
<option value="2006">2006</option>
<option value="2005">2005</option>
<option value="2004">2004</option>
<option value="2003">2003</option>
<option value="2002">2002</option>
<option value="2001">2001</option>
<option value="2000">2000</option>
</select>
FormHelper::month(string $fieldName, array $attributes)

Creates a select element populated with month names:

echo $this->Form->month('mob');

Will output:

<select name="data[User][mob][month]" id="UserMobMonth">
<option value=""></option>
<option value="01">January</option>
<option value="02">February</option>
<option value="03">March</option>
<option value="04">April</option>
<option value="05">May</option>
<option value="06">June</option>
<option value="07">July</option>
<option value="08">August</option>
<option value="09">September</option>
<option value="10">October</option>
<option value="11">November</option>
<option value="12">December</option>
</select>

You can pass in your own array of months to be used by setting the ‘monthNames’ attribute, or have months displayed as numbers by passing false. (Note: the default months are internationalized and can be translated using localization.):

echo $this->Form->month('mob', array('monthNames' => false));
FormHelper::day(string $fieldName, array $attributes)

Creates a select element populated with the (numerical) days of the month.

To create an empty option with prompt text of your choosing (e.g. the first option is ‘Day’), you can supply the text as the final parameter as follows:

echo $this->Form->day('created');

Will output:

<select name="data[User][created][day]" id="UserCreatedDay">
<option value=""></option>
<option value="01">1</option>
<option value="02">2</option>
<option value="03">3</option>
...
<option value="31">31</option>
</select>
FormHelper::hour(string $fieldName, boolean $format24Hours, array $attributes)

Creates a select element populated with the hours of the day.

FormHelper::minute(string $fieldName, array $attributes)

Creates a select element populated with the minutes of the hour.

FormHelper::meridian(string $fieldName, array $attributes)

Creates a select element populated with ‘am’ and ‘pm’.

Displaying and checking errors

FormHelper::error(string $fieldName, mixed $text, array $options)

Shows a validation error message, specified by $text, for the given field, in the event that a validation error has occurred.

Options:

  • ‘escape’ bool Whether or not to HTML escape the contents of the error.
  • ‘wrap’ mixed Whether or not the error message should be wrapped in a div. If a string, will be used as the HTML tag to use.
  • ‘class’ string The class name for the error message
FormHelper::isFieldError(string $fieldName)

Returns true if the supplied $fieldName has an active validation error.

if ($this->Form->isFieldError('gender')) {
    echo $this->Form->error('gender');
}

Note

When using FormHelper::input(), errors are rendered by default.

FormHelper::tagIsInvalid()

Returns false if given form field described by the current entity has no errors. Otherwise it returns the validation message.

Setting Defaults for all fields

New in version 2.2.

You can declare a set of default options for input() using FormHelper::inputDefaults(). Changing the default options allows you to consolidate repeated options into a single method call:

$this->Form->inputDefaults(array(
        'label' => false,
        'div' => false,
        'class' => 'fancy'
    )
);

All inputs created from that point forward will inherit the options declared in inputDefaults. You can override the default options by declaring the option in the input() call:

echo $this->Form->input('password'); // No div, no label with class 'fancy'
// has a label element same defaults
echo $this->Form->input(
    'username',
    array('label' => 'Username')
);

Working with SecurityComponent

SecurityComponent offers several features that make your forms safer and more secure. By simply including the SecurityComponent in your controller, you’ll automatically benefit from CSRF and form tampering features.

As mentioned previously when using SecurityComponent, you should always close your forms using FormHelper::end(). This will ensure that the special _Token inputs are generated.

FormHelper::unlockField($name)

Unlocks a field making it exempt from the SecurityComponent field hashing. This also allows the fields to be manipulated by JavaScript. The $name parameter should be the entity name for the input:

$this->Form->unlockField('User.id');
FormHelper::secure(array $fields = array())

Generates a hidden field with a security hash based on the fields used in the form.

2.0 updates

$selected parameter removed

The $selected parameter was removed from several methods in FormHelper. All methods now support a $attributes['value'] key now which should be used in place of $selected. This change simplifies the FormHelper methods, reducing the number of arguments, and reduces the duplication that $selected created. The effected methods are:

  • FormHelper::select()
  • FormHelper::dateTime()
  • FormHelper::year()
  • FormHelper::month()
  • FormHelper::day()
  • FormHelper::hour()
  • FormHelper::minute()
  • FormHelper::meridian()

Default URLs on forms is the current action

The default URL for all forms, is now the current URL including passed, named, and querystring parameters. You can override this default by supplying $options['url'] in the second parameter of $this->Form->create()

FormHelper::hidden()

Hidden fields no longer remove the class attribute. This means that if there are validation errors on hidden fields, the error-field class name will be applied.