Multiple checkbox values, convert to string, 1 db field


#1

Basically what I’m trying to do is create a way for users to enter
“keywords” that will then be searchable. I.e., when a user creates a
new Item, there is also a keywords field in the database that is a
string like “purple triangle free” – but all the user sees when they
are creating the keywords is a series of checkboxes like:
__blue
__red
__purple
__circle
__triangle
__square
__free
__not-free

And then the controller (?) would receive those checkbox values,
concatenate them together, and stick them in the database. Doesn’t
sound too terribly difficult. But… I can’t get it. I try using the
check_box form helper, setting the variable to “item” and the attribute
to “keywords[]” (to create an array of checkbox values) but that doesn’t
work because ActiveRecord knows that the database field is called
keywords, not keywords[], and so I can’t even get the “Create Item” page
to load without an method error. I’ve also tried using a select box
(less preferable) and can’t get that to work, either. I suppose I could
use JavaScript to string each checkbox value together in a hidden field
onSubmit, but that seems really inelegant and awkward.

I apologize if this is a really stupid question; I’m a complete newbie
to Ruby on Rails (background in PHP)… I love it so far but it is
frustrating in situations like this where I know exactly how to do it in
PHP but am baffled in Ruby. :-\

Any help is much appreciated!


#2

The check_box form helper will be bound to an active record field - you
probably want plain ol’ checkboxes. There is a form helper for this
too: check_box_tag.

Then you can probably do something like this in the controller method:

@mymodel = MyModel.find(params[:id])
selected_keywords = params[:selected_keywords]
@mymodel.keywords = keywords.join(" ")
@mymodel.save

This is untested code so i may be way off :0)

Steve


#3

Here’s what I tried (different combinations of these):

CONTROLLER (other two lines are already there):

    selected_keywords = params[:selected_keywords[]]
    @item.keywords = selected_keywords.join(" ")

OR
selected_keywords = params[:selected_keywords]
@item.keywords = selected_keywords.join(" ")

VIEW:

    <%= #check_box_tag('item[selected_keywords][]',"wrap") %>

OR

OR
<%= #check_box_tag(‘item[selected_keywords]’,“wrap”) %>
OR

OR

OR
<%= #check_box_tag(‘item’,“selected_keywords”,{},{:value =>
‘wrap’}) %>

And none of these work. Maybe I’m misunderstanding you? I always get
an undefined method error for selected_keywords, if not on the page
itself, then on the processing page. Thanks for the help.


#4

Argh. I am so sorry. It did work.

For anyone else who googles this problem in the future and finds nothing
as I did, here’s the precise thing that works:

Controller:

    selected_keywords = params[:selected_keywords]
    @item.keywords = selected_keywords.join(" ")

View (as many times as needed):

    <input id="item_selected_keywords" name="selected_keywords[]"
    type="checkbox" value="exterior" />

Thanks for the help!