Making a custom selection form - newbie

Hello all,

I’ve been working with Ruby on Rails for a few weeks now. It’s difficult
for me because I don’t have much experience with Ruby, Rails, MySQL, or
any other web-languages. But I’m trudging on and learning a lot.

I’ve been working on a web application for my dad’s website; it’s a
simple content manager for “listings.” Using the scaffolding and other
stuff I’ve learned I was able to set up the basic system easily, but the
categories are not so simple.

Categories are a model: they habtm (has_and_belong_to_many) listings,
and listings habtm categories. This way an individual listing can
display its categories, and a category can display its listings.
Categories are also trees: each major category contains a variety of

The difficult part is creating the UI to create a listing: a listing can
have one or two main categories, and one or more sub-categories within
those main categories. The UI needs to be user-friendly, as clients are
going to be creating the listings.

I’ve tried everything that I’ve learned about FormHelpers, but I don’t
think they can do what I want. So now I’m assuming that I’m going to
have to write a bunch of Ruby code that creates a “select” form but more
complex. I’m hoping to get something that looks like this (only
prettier, and with meaningful categories):



Click on Lions, it changes color to indicate selection, and the page
changes to this:


Click on a sub-category and it lights up. Send the form (which will also
include normal text fields) and the selected categories are added to the

I’m not really looking for code here; I learn a lot when I do things
myself. What I’m interested is some sort of idea of how to get started,
what new tools I’ll need to understand, and so on.

Anybody? :slight_smile:

Perhaps you want to look here:

From there, I believe you will be able to determine how best to handle your
specific situation.

Thanks! I’ll take a look at that.


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