Indy Forms - Simplify Your Forms

Indy Forms

Forms can be simplified using IndyForm. A form can be implemented in just couple of lines.

  use IndyForm.FormComponent, context: Context

  form_component(form_key, create_action, update_action, opts)
  • form_key: is your schema name. This is used for finding the form in the params.
  • create_action: can be an atom or list of atoms. This is used to determine what action should be performed - create or update.
  • update_action: can be an atom or list of atoms. This is used to determine what action should be performed - create or update.
    create_action or update_action values can be directly mapped to socket.assigns.live_action values.
  • opts: change_listeners can be enabled through opts
  form_component(form_key, create_action, update_action, change_listeners: true)


A complete example which reduces around 50 lines of boilerplate code form component to 3 just lines:

defmodule UserForm do
  alias IndyFormSample.Accounts, as: Context

  use IndyForm.FormComponent, context: Context

  form_component("user", :new, :edit)

or can be writen in verbose 7 lines if you prefer this way:

defmodule UserForm do
  alias IndyFormSample.Accounts, as: Context

  use IndyForm.FormComponent, context: Context

  @form_key "user"
  @create_action :new
  @edit_action :edit

  form_component(@form_key, @create_action, @edit_action)

Value Change Listeners

on_value_change/2 is invoked when there is a change is detected in field while handling validate event.

key is an atom - which is field name defined in your form.

You can override to handle changes in form happening without writing a single line of javascript.

Note: Don’t forget to enable value change listeners by passing change_listeners: true through form_component opts.

  # handle changes relating to field :contact_me
  def on_value_change(socket, {:contact_me, _old_value, new_value}) do
    show_phone? = show_phone?(new_value)
    show_email? = show_email?(new_value)

    |> assign(:show_phone, show_phone?)
    |> assign(:show_email, show_email?)

  # needed for handling changes not relating to our fields of interest
  def on_value_change(socket, _), do: socket

Design Goals

Design goals of this library :

  • less code injection through macros.
  • less magic and more explicit configuration.
  • flexibility to override everything to perform one off customizations.
  • reduce boilerplate code in application.

You can read docs about forms and contexts.

Browse code at GitHub - lkarthee/indy_form: Simplify LiveView Forms.

And browse sample code here - GitHub - lkarthee/indy_form_sample: A sample project using IndyForm

I want hear more from you - please share feedback or discuss about use cases or suggest design changes.

Note: this library is not published on Hex. You can use it from GitHub. I want to publish after hearing your feedback.


Edits: changed sample code to reflect few changes.


This link is broken.

1 Like

Fixed it thanks.

1 Like

Phoenix 1.7 is going to have redesigned Form API, because form API sucks.

Chris McCord iterated at the end of his ElixirConf 2022 talk.
How can your library help with that kind of problem?

For instance, he mentions choose your own adventure kind of form, i.e. based on your previous selection, new form sections get rendered. (Which doesn’t work well with Ecto Changesets and Phoenix HTML Form data protocol.)


I see some ways to solve that issue in your example code: Awesome!!

def on_init(socket) do
  show_phone? = show_phone?(socket.assigns.row.contact_me)
  show_email? = show_email?(socket.assigns.row.contact_me)
  |> assign(:show_phone, show_phone?)
  |> assign(:show_email, show_email?)

defp show_phone?(value) do
  value in [:phone, :phone_email]

defp show_email?(value) do
  value in [:email, :phone_email]
<%= if @show_phone do %>
  <%= label f, :phone %>
  <%= text_input f, :phone %>
  <%= error_tag f, :phone %>
<% end %>

<%= if @show_email do %>
  <%= label f, :email %>
  <%= text_input f, :email %>
  <%= error_tag f, :email %>
<% end %>
1 Like

I am looking forward for 1.7 release and all the exciting things.

Not a replacement for Phoenix forms or LiveView Form rather builds over on top of them.

It is more of high level library which abstract things over UI patterns like forms with master row and child line items, show delete popups, refresh dependent fields, etc

It does three things:

  • Reduce boilerplate code when writing form components.
  • Server side Value change listeners - no need to write javascript for that
  • Handles navigation after creating or updating row.

In applications where there are a lot of forms - it will simplify many things.

My forms look like this after using this library:

1 Like

One consistent pain-point with libraries like this (not Elixir-specific, see also Devise and many others) is providing enough hooks / APIs / abstraction-points that people can customize the behavior without having to start over from scratch.

For instance, what if I wanted to display a different flash message when creation succeeds? The current messages are hard-coded deep inside apply_crud_action:

I18n could be an easy-to-add escape hatch for this particular case, since it’s just text.

But things get rougher for behavioral changes: for instance, if I wanted to display a “your changes couldn’t be saved” flash message on error. That’s also buried inside of create and update, and not easily overridable.


Thank you @al2o3cr for your feedback.

I have refactored library:

  • to include on_event, on_error to handle more scenarios.
  • removed name param to the macro from which flash messages were being generated.

Please look at this version and provide your inputs if any.

It does not make sense to generate flash messages - considering issues relating to i18n and message customisation. on_error/2 and on_success/2 can be overridden to generate flash messages.

It’s a challenge to keep up with changes in Phoenix Live View with every release and its not abnormal considering it has not yet reached 1.x .

With a fairly large application with more than 50 form components - i ended up with a lot of files and heex templates. When migrating from controller based pages to live view I faced a lot of issues with boilerplate code. In mid way, I stopped the migration and refactored all the migrated live view pages using high level components.

I realised that the only way to stabilise my application code is by using stable things from Live View and fill pages with high level components. That way if I have to upgrade to a new release of LiveView, i will just upgrade the high level components like form, table, etc. Even the .heex pages are filled with either html tags or high level components. I got rid of <%= if … do %> tags with 0.18.x.