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Forms

Concord flows can provide simple web-based user interfaces with forms for data input from users. Forms are described declaratively in Concord file and optionally contain custom HTML/CSS/JS/etc resources.

Form Declaration

Forms are declared at in the forms section of the Concord file:

forms:
  myForm:
  - ...

The name of a form (in this example it’s myForm) can be used to call a form from a process. Also, it will be used as a name of an object which will store the values of the fields.

Such form definitions can be reused multiple times in the same process.

Form fields can also be defined dynamically during the runtime of the process.

Form Fields

Forms must contain one or more fields:

forms:
  myForm:
  - fullName: { label: "Name", type: "string", pattern: ".* .*", readonly: true, placeholder: "Place name here" }
  - age: { label: "Age", type: "int", min: 21, max: 100 }
  - favouriteColour: { label: "Favourite colour", type: "string", allow: ["gray", "grey"], search: true }
  - languages: { label: "Preferred languages", type: "string+", allow: "${locale.languages()}" }
  - password: { label: "Password", type: "string", inputType: "password" }
  - rememberMe: { label: "Remember me", type: "boolean" }
  - photo: { label: "Photo", type: "file" }
  - email: { label: "Email", type: "string", inputType: "email" }

Field declaration consists of the name (myField), the type (string) and additional options.

The name of a field will be used to store a field’s value in the form’s results. E.g. if the form’s name is myForm and the field’s name is myField, then the value of the field will be stored in myForm.myField variable.

Common options:

  • label: the field’s label, usually human-readable;
  • value: default value expression, evaluated when the form is called;
  • allow: allowed value(s). Can be a YAML literal, array, object or an expression.

Supported types of fields and their options:

  • string: a string value
    • pattern: (optional) a regular expression to check the value.
    • inputType: (optional) specifies the type of html <input> element to display e.g. text, button, checkbox and others.
    • readonly: (optional) specifies that an input field is read-only.
    • placeholder: (optional) specifies a short hint that describes the expected value of an input field.
    • search: (optional) allows user to type and search item in dropdown input
  • int: an integer value
    • min, max: (optional) value bounds.
    • readonly: (optional) specifies that an input field is read-only.
    • placeholder: (optional) specifies a short hint that describes the expected value of an input field.
  • decimal: a decimal value
    • min, max: (optional) value bounds.
    • readonly: (optional) specifies that an input field is read-only.
    • placeholder: (optional) specifies a short hint that describes the expected value of an input field.
  • boolean: a boolean value, true or false;
    • readonly: (optional) specifies that an input field is read-only.
  • file: a file upload field, the submitted file is stored as a file in the process’ workspace. Find more tips in our dedicated section.

Supported input types:

  • password: provide a way for the user to securely enter a password.
  • email: provide a way for the user to enter a correct email.

Cardinality of the field can be specified by adding a cardinality quantifier to the type:

  • a single non-optional value: string;
  • optional value: string?;
  • one or more values: string+;
  • zero or more values: string*.

Additional field types will be added in the next versions.

Form Submitter

Concord can optionally store the form submitter’s data in a submittedBy variable. It can be enabled using saveSubmittedBy form call option:

flows:
  default:
  - form: myForm
    saveSubmittedBy: true
    
  - log: "Hello, ${myForm.submittedBy.displayName}"

The variable has the same structure as ${initiator} or ${currentUser} (see Provided Variables section).

Using a Form in a Flow

To call a form from a process, use form command:

flows:
  default:
  - form: myForm
  - log: "Hello, ${myForm.myField}"

Forms will be pre-populated with values if the current context contains a map object, stored under the form’s name. E.g. if the context has a map object

{
  "myForm": {
    "myField": "my string value"
  }
}

then the form’s myField will be populated with my string value.

The form command accepts additional options:

flows:
  default:
  - form: myForm
    yield: true
    values:
      myField: "a different value"
      additionalData:
        nestedField:
          aValue: 123

Supported options:

  • yield: a boolean value. If true, the UI wizard will stop after this form and the rest of the process will continue in the background. Supported only for non-custom (without user HTML) forms;
  • values: additional values, to override default form values or to provide additional data;
  • fields: allows defining the form fields at runtime, see more in the Dynamic Forms section.

Custom Error Messages

While Concord provides default error messages for form field validation, the error text that displays can be customized . With a form created from your YAML file, this can be accomplished with the addition of a locale.properties file in the same directory location.

The error types that can be customized are:

  • invalidCardinality
  • expectedString
  • expectedInteger
  • expectedDecimal
  • expectedBoolean
  • doesntMatchPattern
  • integerRangeError
  • decimalRangeError
  • valueNotAllowed

To customize the same error message for all fields, the syntax is simply the error type:customized error. A locale.properties file that looks like the following example flags all fields empty after submission with the error ‘Required field’:

invalidCardinality=Required field

For customizing specific fields in a form, use the format fieldname.error type=custom message. In a form to collect a name, phone number, and an optional email, the following locale.properties file requires a name and phone number, and enforces a specific pattern for the phone number (specified in YAML).

username.invalidCardinality=Please enter your username
phonenumber.invalidCardinality=Please enter your phone number
phonenumber.doesntMatchPattern=Please enter your phone number with the format ###-###-####

Custom Forms

Look and feel of a form can be changed by providing form’s own HTML, CSS, JavaScript and other resources.

For example, if we have a Concord file file with a single form:

flows:
  default:
  - form: myForm
  - log: "Hello, ${myForm.name}"

forms:
  myForm:
  - name: {type: "string"}

then we can provide a custom HTML for this form by placing it into forms/myForm/index.html file:

forms/
  myForm/
    index.html

When the form is activated, the server will redirect a user to the index.html file.

Here’s an example of how a index.html file could look like:

<!doctype html>
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <title>My Form</title>
    <script src="data.js"></script> <!-- (1) -->
</head>
<body>

<h1>My Form</h1>

<script type="text/javascript">
    function handleSubmit(form) {
       form.action = data.submitUrl; // (2)
    }
</script>

<form method="post" onsubmit="handleSubmit(this)">
    <label>Name:</label>
    <input name="name"/>  <!-- (3) -->

    <button>Submit</button>
</form>

</body>
</html>

Let’s take a closer look:

  1. data.js is referenced - a JavaScript file which is generated by the server when the form is opened. See the Accessing the data section for more details;
  2. submitUrl, a value provided in data.js, used as a submit URL of the form. For every instance of a form, the server provides a unique URL;
  3. a HTML input field added with the name same as the name of myForm field.

Forms can use any external JavaScript library or a CSS resource. The only mandatory part is to use provided submitUrl value.

Custom forms with file uploading fields must use enctype="multipart/form-data":

<form method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data">
    <label>Photo:</label>
    <input name="photo" type="file"/>
    <button>Submit</button>
</form>

Accessing Form Data

When a custom form is opened, the server generates a data.js file. It contains values of the fields, validation error and additional metadata:

data = {
  "success" : false,
  "processFailed" : false,
  "submitUrl" : "/api/service/custom_form/f5c0ab7c-72d8-42ee-b02e-26baea56f686/cc0beb01-b42c-4991-ae6c-180de2b672e5/continue",
  "definitions" : {
    "name": {
        "type": "string"
    }
  },
  "values" : {
    "name": "Concord"
  },
  "errors" : {
    "name": "Required value"
  }
};

The file defines a JavaScript object with the following fields:

  • success - false if a form submit failed;
  • processFailed - true if a process execution failed outside of a form;
  • submitUrl - automatically generated URL which should be used to submit new form values and resume the process;
  • definitions - form field definitions. Each key represents a field:
    • type - type of the field;
    • label - optional label, set in the form definition;
    • cardinality - required cardinality of the field’s value;
    • allow - allowed value(s) of the field.
  • values - current values of the form fields;
  • errors - validation error messages.

File Upload

Forms with file fields allow users to upload arbitrary files:

forms:
  myForm:
  - myFile: { label: "Upload a text file", type: "file" }

flows:
  default:
  - form: myForm
  - log: "Path: ${myForm.myFile}"
  - log: "Content: ${resource.asString(myForm.myFile)}"

After the file is uploaded, the path to the file in the workspace is stored as the field’s value.

Typically, the server limits the maximum size of uploaded files. The exact limit depends on the configuration of a particular environment.

Custom forms must use <form enctype="multipart/form-data"/> in order to support file upload.

Shared Resources

Custom forms can have shared resources (e.g. common scripts or CSS files). Those resources should be put into forms/shared directory of a process:

forms/
  myForm/
    index.html
  myOtherForm/
    image.png
    index.html
  shared/
    logo.png
    common.js
    common.css

Shared resources can be referenced by forms using relative path:

<head>
    <script src="../shared/common.js"></script>
</head>

User Access

Forms can be accessed by a user in two different ways:

  • through the URL;
  • by clicking on the Wizard button on the Console’s process status page.

In both cases, users will be redirected from form to form until the process finishes, an error occurs or until a form with yield: true is reached.

Restricting Forms

Submitting a form can be restricted to a particular user or a group of users. This can be used to, but is not limited to, create flows with approval steps. You can configure a flow, where an action is required from a user that is not the process’ initiator.

Restricted forms can be submitted only by the specified user or the membersos a security group - e.g. configured in your Active Directory/LDAP setup.

To restrict a form to a specific user, use the runAs attribute. Used with a boolean variable, rendered as a checkbox, in the form, can change the flow depending on the approval or disapproval from the authorized user defined in username.

flows:
  default:
  - form: approvalForm
    runAs:
      username: "expectedUsername"

  - if: ${approvalForm.approved}
    then:
    - log: "Approved =)"
    else:
    - log: "Rejected =("

forms:
  approvalForm:
  - approved: { type: boolean }

Here’s how a form can be restricted to specific AD/LDAP groups:

In most cases it is more practical to use groups of users to decide on the authorization. This can be achieved with the group list specified as attributes of the ldap parameter of runAs.

- form: approvalForm
  runAs:
    ldap:
      - group: "CN=managers,.*"
      - group: "CN=project-leads,.*"

The group element is a list of regular expressions used to match the user’s groups. If there’s at least one match - the user will be allowed to submit the form.

By default, after the restricted form is submitted, the process continues to run on behalf of the process initiator. If you need to continue the execution on behalf of the user that submitted the form, you need to set the keep attribute to true. The currentUser.username variable initially contains the value of initiator.username. After the form with the keep: true configuration, currentUser contains details from the user, who submitted the form.

flows:
  default:
  - log: "Starting as ${currentUser.username}" # the same as ${initiator.username}

  - form: approvalForm
    runAs:
      username: "expectedUsername"
      keep: true

  - log: "Continuing as ${currentUser.username}" # the user that submitted the form

forms:
  approvalForm:
  - approved: { type: boolean }

Dynamic Forms

Form fields can be declared directly at the form usage step, without creating a form definition. Here’s a complete example:

flows:
  default:
  - form: myForm
    fields:
    - firstName: {type: "string"}
    - lastName: {type: "string"}
  - log: "Hello, ${myForm.firstName} ${myForm.lastName}"

The fields parameter expects a list of form field definitions just like the regular forms section. The list of fields can be stored as a variable and referenced using an expression:

configuration:
  arguments:
    myFormFields:
    - firstName: {type: "string"}
    - lastName: {type: "string"}
flows:
  default:
  - form: myForm
    fields: ${myFormFields}

With the usage of a script, the fields can be set dynamically at process runtime, resulting in a dynamic form. A number of examples are available in the dynamic_form_fields project.

Examples

The Concord repository contains a couple of examples on how to use custom and regular forms: