Entity prototyping

4.5.7 2015-09-24 08:32 UTC

This package is auto-updated.

Last update: 2021-12-29 01:49:41 UTC


Elgg 1.8 Elgg 1.9 Elgg 1.10 Elgg 1.11

A set of developer and administrator tools for prototyping and handling entity forms. This plugin attempts to create an easy way to build forms, validate user input, and display entity profiles.

Developer Notes


Prototypes have 3 different facades:

  • Form displays a set of inputs that are used to modify entity information
  • Action validates and handles user input
  • Profile outputs entity information

Prototypes consist of fields and are meant to be tied to registered Elgg actions. Prototype fields can be populated using "prototype",$action plugin hook.

The idea here is that entities of the same type and subtype can be modified by multiple actions. For example, a user entity can be created and modified by register and profile/edit actions.

Each prototype is tied to an instance of ElggObject, ElggUser or ElggGroup. If the entity does not exist yet, the prototype creates a new instance (but only saves it when the form has been submitted and validated).


$user = elgg_get_logged_in_user_entity();
echo hypePrototyper()->form->with($user, 'profile/edit')->view();
$form = hypePrototyper()->form->with(array('type' => 'user'), 'register')->viewBody();

echo elgg_view('input/form', array(
	'action' => 'register',
	'body' => $body,
	'enctype' => 'multipart/form-data', // if we have file inputs


$guid = get_input('guid');
$container_guid = get_input('container_guid');

if (!$guid) {
	$entity = array(
		'type' => 'object',
		'subtype' => 'blog',
		'container_guid' => $container_guid,
} else {
	$entity = get_entity($guid);

if (!$entity) {
	// something is wrong

hypePrototyper()->action->with($entity, 'blog/edit')->handle();
$entity = array(
	'type' => 'object',
	'subtype' => 'file',
	'access_id' => ACCESS_LOGGED_IN,

// In case we want to do more stuff with the new entity
try {
	$controller = hypePrototyper()->action->with($entity, 'file/upload');
	if ($controller->validate()) {
		$entity = $controller->update();
	if ($entity) {
		// do more stuff
} catch (Exception $ex) {
	// do something with the error

The above will validate the form and add all values to the entity based. If the form validation fails, the user will be forwarded back to the form (forms are made sticky) and failing validation rules will be explained.


echo hypePrototyper()->profile->with($group, 'groups/edit')
	->filter(function($field) {
		return in_array($field->getShortname(), array('title', 'description', 'tags'));


elgg_register_plugin_hook_handler('prototype', 'profile/edit', 'prepare_profile_edit_form');

function prepare_profile_edit_form($hook, $type, $return, $params) {

	if (!is_array($return)) {
		$return = array();

	$entity = elgg_extract('entity', $params);

	$fields = array(
		'name' => array(
			'type' => 'text',
			'validation_rules' => array(
				'max_length' => 50
		'briefdescription' => 'longtext',
		'interests' => array(
			'type' => 'tags',
			'required' => true,
			'show_access' => ACCESS_PRIVATE,
		'favorite_foods' => array(
			'type' => 'text',
			'multiple' => true,
			'show_access' => true,
		'eye_color' => array(
			'type' => 'dropdown',
			'label' => elgg_echo('eye_color'),
			'options_values' => array(
				'blue' => elgg_echo('blue'),
				'brown' => elgg_echo('brown'),
		'looking_for' => array(
			'type' => 'checkboxes',
			'label' => false,
			'help' => false,
			'options' => profile_get_looking_for_options(),
		'height' => array(
			'type' => 'text',
			'value_type' => 'number',
			'multiple' => false,
			'show_access' => false,
			'required' => true,
			'validation_rules' => array(
				'min' => 25,
				'max' => 50,
				'minlength' => 2,
				'maxlength' => 4,
		'empathy' => array(
			'type' => 'stars',
			'data_type' => 'annotation',
			'min' => 0,
			'max' => 10,
		'spouse' => array(
			'type' => 'autocomplete',
			'data_type' => 'relationship',
			'value_type' => 'entity',
			'inverse_relationship' => false,
			'bilateral' => true,
			'match_on' => 'friends',
		'icon' => array(
			'data_type' => 'icon',

	return array_merge($return, $fields);

Fields are defined as $shortname => $value pairs, where the $shortname is a name of an attribute, metadata, annotation etc. and $value is a string that describes the input type (e.g. text, dropdown etc) or an array with the following properties:

  • type - type of an input, used as elgg_view("input/$type") (default text)
  • data_type - a model used to store and retrieve values (default metadata)

    attribute - an entity attribute, e.g. guid metadata - an entity metadata annotation - an entity annotation relationship - an entity relationship icon - an entity icon category - entity categories (hypeCategories)

  • class_name - PHP class used to instantiate a Field with a custom data type
  • value_type - type of value if different from type, e.g when a text input expects an integer The value type is automatically added to 'type' validation rules, thus setting 'value_type' => 'integer' is also equivalent to 'validation_rules' => ['type' => 'integer']
  • input_view - view used to dipslay an input, if different from "input/$type"
  • output_view - view used to dipslay an output, if different from "output/$type"
  • required - whether or not a user input is requried (default false)
  • admin_only - whether or not the field is only visible to admins (default false)
  • hide_on_profile - whether or not the field should be hidden on automatically generated profile (default false)
  • priority - order of the field (default 500)
  • show_access - whether or not to display an access input (default false) This allows users to specify an access level for the metadata, annotation or attachment created
  • label - what label to display with the input field (default true)

    true - set to elgg_echo("label:$type:$subtype:$shortname"); false - do not display a label any other custom string

  • help - what help text to display with the input field (default true)

    true - set to elgg_echo("help:$type:$subtype:$shortname"); false - do not display help text any other custom string

  • multiple - whether or not a user can clone the field and add multiple values (default false)
  • validation_rules - an array of rule => expecation pairs You can define custom validation rules and use 'validate:$rule','prototyper' to validate the values See hypePrototyperValidators for a full list of available validators
  • options and options_values - array of options to pass to the input
  • flags - comma-separated list of flags that can be used for input/output filtering
  • all other options will be passed to the input view, so you can add class for example

The following options are available for relationship data type:

  • inverse_relationship - store as inverse relationship
  • bilateral - make it a bilateral relationship (two relationships will be added)

Custom Fields

To define a new field type, register it as so:

hypePrototyper()->config->registerType('icon', \hypeJunction\Prototyper\Elements\IconField::CLASSNAME, array(
			'accept' => 'image/*',
			'value_type' => 'image',
			'multiple' => false,
			'show_access' => false,
			'input_view' => 'input/file',
			'output_view' => false,
			'ui_sections' => array(
				'access' => false,
				'multiple' => false,

The above registers a new input type 'icon' with a handler class IconField that extends abstract Field. The third parameter contains default key - value pairs (which can later be overridden in a hook). 'ui_sections' parameter specifies which sections should be disabled in the admin interface provided by hypePrototyperUI.