Using jQuery UI Autocomplete with hidden ID in ColdBox

Previously in How to use jQuery UI Autocomplete with ColdBox and Bootstrap the value used was singular and also the record identifier. However what if we want to submit the identifier but show another text value for the auto-suggest to the user, for example, if we want to show the client’s full name for auto suggest, but submit the client’s ID.

The environment used for this example is:

  • ColdBox 3.8
  • BootStrap 3.1.1
  • ColdFusion 10

The steps are essentially the same  (the differences are in the helper function and front end UI), i.e.

  • Reference jQuery UI in the main layout
  • Create a helper function to retrieve the required data
  • Use autocomplete on the view page

1 Reference the jQuery UI in the main layout

Open layouts\Main.cfm and add the following reference to the style sheet and JavaScript for jQuery UI (if not already present), i.e.

  <link href="/path/to/bootstrap/bootstrap.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css"/ >
  <link href="/path/to/jquery-ui/themes/smoothness/jquery-ui.min.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
  <script src="/path/to/jquery/jquery.11.1.js"></script>
  <script src="/path/to/jquery/ui/jquery-ui.min.js"></script>
  <script src="/path/to/bootstrap/bootstrap.min.js"></script>

2 Create a helper function to retrieve the required data

Load includes\helpers\ApplicationHelper.cfm and add the following function:

<cffunction name="getClients" access="remote" output="no">
    var qGet = "";
    var clientsList = [];
    var stClients = "";
  <cfquery name="qGet" datasource="clients">
      clientid, title, firstname, lastname
    FROM clients
    //convert query to array
    for (var row in qGet) {
      stClients.label = row.title & ' ' & row.firstname & ' ' & row.lastname;
      stClients.value = row.clientid;
    ArrayAppend(clientsList, stClients);
    return clientsList;

3 Use jQuery UI Autocomplete on the view page

In the view page, for example, the edit.cfm where autocomplete is needed, add the following code:

//somewhere in the form section, add this:
<input type="text" name="clientname" id="clientname" class="form-control client-suggest" value="">
<input type="hidden" name="clientid" id="clientid" class="form-control" value="">

  //retrieve list of clients from db, getClients is a function in the application helper
  var #toScript(getClients(), "clientsList")#;

$(document).ready(function() {
   var suggestInput = function (sourceValues, elemClassName){
      $('input.' + elemClassName).each(function(){
         var formElemName = $(this).attr('name');
         var hiddenElemID = formElemName + 'id';

         //on auto suggest
            source: sourceValues,
            select: function(event, ui) {
               selectedObj = ui.item; 
               $('#'+ hiddenElemID).val(selectedObj.value); 
               return false; 
            change: function(event,ui) {
               var formElemVal = $(this).val();
               if (formElemVal === ''){
                  //clear id from hidden field if input is blank
                  $('#'+ hiddenElemID).val('');
               } //if
         }); //autocomplete

         //clear id from hidden field if input is blank
         $('#' + formElemName).blur(function(){
            if ( $('#' + formElemName).val() == ''){
               $('#' + hiddenElemID).val(''); 
      } //each
   } //suggestInput

   if ($('.client-suggest').length){
      //activate auto suggest for client input box 
      //(i.e. the input with class of 'client-suggest')
}); //document.ready

Here we use the ColdFusion toScript function to convert ColdFusion value to JavaScript saving it as clientsList. getClients is the ColdBox helper function which we added to ApplicationHelper.cfm.

The client name input box will sugget the client’s full name (including title), but upon form submission, the client’s ID will be submitted.


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