Item Selector

An Item Selector is a UI component for selecting entities in a user-friendly manner.

Here’s what you’ll learn to do with Item Selectors:

  1. Select Entities.

  2. Create Custom Item Selector Criteria.

  3. Create Custom Item Selector Views.

Figure 1: Item Selectors select entities.

Figure 1: Item Selectors select entities.

Understanding the Item Selector API’s Components

Before working with the Item Selector API, you should learn about its components. You’ll work with these components as you leverage the API in your apps:

Selection View: A class that shows entities of particular types from different sources. For example, an Item Selector configured to show images might show selection views from Documents and Media, a third-party image provider, or a drag-and-drop UI. Selection views are the framework’s key components.

Markup: A markup file that renders the selection view. You can choose from JSP, FreeMarker, or even pure HTML and JavaScript.

Return Type: A class that represents the data type that entity selections return. For example, if users select images and you want to return the selected image’s URL, then you need a URL return type. Each return type class must implement ItemSelectorReturnType. Such classes are named after the return type’s data and suffixed with ItemSelectorReturnType. For example, the URL return type class is URLItemSelectorReturnType. The return type class is an API that connects the return type to the Item Selector’s views. The Item Selector uses the return type class, which is empty and returns no information, as an identifier. The view ensures that the proper information is returned. If you create your own return type, you should specify its data type and format in Javadoc.

Criterion: A class that represents the selected entity. For example, if users select images, you need an image criterion class. Each criterion class must implement ItemSelectorCriterion. Such classes are named for the entity they represent and suffixed with ItemSelectorCriterion. For example, the criterion class for images is ImageItemSelectorCriterion. If you create your own criterion class, extend BaseItemSelectorCriterion. This base class implements ItemSelectorCriterion and provides methods that handle the Item Selector’s return types. Your criterion class can therefore be empty, unless you also want to use it to pass information to the view.

Note that criterion and return types together form an Item Selector’s criteria. The Item Selector uses its criteria to decide which selection views to show.

Criterion Handler: A class that gets the appropriate selection view. Each criterion requires a criterion handler. Criterion handler classes extend BaseItemSelectorCriterionHandler with the criterion’s entity as a type argument. Criterion handler classes are named after the criterion’s entity and suffixed by ItemSelectorCriterionHandler. For example, the image criterion handler class is ImageItemSelectorCriterionHandler and extends BaseItemSelectorCriterionHandler<ImageItemSelectorCriterion>.

Figure 2: Item Selector views (selection views) are determined by the return type and criterion, and rendered by the markup.

Figure 2: Item Selector views (selection views) are determined by the return type and criterion, and rendered by the markup.

Getting an Item Selector

To use an Item Selector with your criteria, you must get that Item Selector’s URL. The URL is needed to open the Item Selector dialog in your UI. To get this URL, you must get an ItemSelector reference and call its getItemSelectorURL method with the following parameters:

RequestBackedPortletURLFactory: A factory that creates portlet URLs.

ItemSelectedEventName: A unique, arbitrary JavaScript event name that the Item Selector triggers when the entity is selected.

ItemSelectorCriterion: The criterion (or an array of criterion objects) that specifies the type of entities to make available in the Item Selector.

Keep these points in mind when getting an Item Selector’s URL:

  • You can invoke the URL object’s toString method to get its value.

  • You can configure an Item Selector to use any number of criterion. The criterion can use any number of return types.

  • The order of the Item Selector’s criteria determines the selection view order. For example, if you pass the Item Selector an ImageItemSelectorCriterion followed by a VideoItemSelectorCriterion, the Item Selector displays the image selection views first.

  • The return type order is also significant. A view uses the first return type it supports from each criterion’s return type list.

Understanding Custom Selection Views

The default selection views may provide everything you need for your app. Custom selection views are required, however, for certain situations. For example, you must create a custom selection view for your users to select images from an external image provider.

The selected entity type determines the view the Item Selector presents. The Item Selector can also render multiple views for the same entity type. For example, several selection views are available for images. Each selection view is a tab in the UI that corresponds to the image’s location. An *ItemSelectorCriterion class represents each selection view.

Figure 3: An entity type can have multiple selection views.

Figure 3: An entity type can have multiple selection views.

The Selection View’s Class

The criterion and return types determine the selection view’s class. This class is an ItemSelectorView component class that implements ItemSelectorView parameterized with the view’s criterion. Remember these things when creating this class:

  • Configure the title by implementing the getTitle method to return the localized title of the tab to display in the Item Selector dialog.

  • Configure the search options by implementing the isShowSearch() method to return whether your view should show the search field. To implement search, this method must return true. The renderHTML method indicates whether a user performed a search based on the value of the search parameter. You can get the user’s search keywords as follows:

    String keywords = ParamUtil.getString(request, "keywords");
    
  • Make your view visible by implementing the isVisible() method to return true. Note that you can use this method to add conditional logic to disable the view.

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