Modifying Forms With State Emitters

Widgets Bundle > Form Building> Modifying Forms With State Emitters

State emitters give you a way to easily hide, show or manipulate certain parts of a widget's form. Using entries in the form array, you can define state emitters fields, that will emit a specific state to the rest of the form, and then state handlers that will perform a specific action based on any changes in the state.

State emitters are an advanced concept, and they aren't necessary for all fields. Make sure you're comfortable with creating forms before you try adding state emitters.

Form states

A form state is scoped to a given widget form. Each form can only occupy one state per state group. A state is represented by the string group[state]. Group and state names can consist of alphabetical characters and underscores.

State Emitters

The first thing you need to understand is state emitters. These are tied to specific fields. They broadcast form states based on a given set of arguments. Here's how you define them in the form array.

'map_type'    => array(
    'type'    => 'radio',
    'default' => 'interactive',
    'label'   => __( 'Map type', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
    'state_emitter' => array(
        'callback' => 'select',
        'args' => array( 'map_type' )
    'options' => array(
        'interactive' => __( 'Interactive', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
        'static'      => __( 'Static image', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),

What the state_emitter argument is essentially saying is that every time this field changes, we'll emit a new state based on what's returned by the state emitter callback.

The Widgets Bundle has a few built in state emitter callbacks that should cover most of your needs.

The select callback

The select state emitter simply sets the state for all the given groups in the args array to the value of the field. This is especially useful when you want to set the state of the field based on a dropdown or radio field.

The in callback

The in state emitter checks if the current field value is in the set of arguments.

'state_emitter' => array(
    'callback' => 'in',
    'args' => array(
        'group[state_1]: option1, option2',
        'group[state_2]: option3, option4',

This is useful when you want to group different options into a set of states.

The conditional callback

The conditional callback evaluates arbitrary conditions. The variable var is available to use in any way you please. Your expression should be valid Javascript and evaluate to a boolean.

'state_emitter' => array(
    'callback' => 'conditional',
    'args' => array(
        'group[state_0]: val == 50',
        'group[state_1]: val > 50',
        'group[state_2]: val < 50',

Custom callbacks

If you need a custom state emitter for some specialized functionality, you can add it in Javascript by simply attaching a new function to the global sowEmitters object.

sowEmitters.custom : function(val, args){
    var returnStates = {};

    // Use the field value in val and the args to set the group states
    returnStates['group'] = 'state';

    return returnStates;

State Handlers

Once a state has been emitted by any field in the form, the rest of the form can handle state changes by defining a state handler. The most common use case of this will be to show or hide fields, depending on the state of the form.

'markers_draggable' => array(
    'type'       => 'checkbox',
    'default'    => false,
    'state_handler' => array(
        'map_type[interactive]' => array('show'),
        'map_type[static]' => array('hide'),
    'label' => __( 'Draggable markers', 'siteorigin-widgets' )

This particular field is from the Google Maps widget. The markers_draggable lets you decide if you want the user to be allowed to move the markers. This feature, however, is only available in interactive map mode, not static map mode.

So we're using this state handler to hide this checkbox field if the maps is a static map and show it if it's an interactive map. Each value in the state handler array is essentially saying the following.

'group[state]' => array('function', 'selector', array( 'args ) ),

So when the form changes to state in group, we'll run the given action. The function is run on the jQuery object of the form wrapper. If selector isn't empty, then we'll use it to target a sub-element using jQuery.find. The args array is the argument for the action function.

So as an example, if you want to change the color of a field's label to green in a given state, this is the state handler argument you would use.

'state_handler' => array(
    'map_type[interactive]' => array('css', 'label', array('color', '#00ff00') ),
    'map_type[static]' => array('css', 'label', array('color', '#474747') ),

Multiple actions

State handlers also have a very simple syntax for running multiple actions for a given state.

'state_handler' => array(
    'map_type[interactive][]' => array( 
        array( 'show' ),
        array( 'css', 'label', array('color', '#00ff00' ),

Just adding the [] after the state name is enough to tell the Widgets Bundle that there are multiple actions to run. It just expects an array of arrays.

Else arguments

Else arguments give you a catch all of actions to run for a given group. Let's say, for example, you've created a state emitters that emits several states for a given goup. You only want to hide a field for one of those states and show it for the rest. Rather than defining actions for each state, you can combine them all into a single _else.

'state_handler' => array(
    'map_type[interactive]' => array( 'hide' ),
    '_else[map_type]' => array( 'show' ),

The Widgets bundle goes from top to bottom of the state handlers. If it reaches an else handler, it'll run it only if no actions have run for the same group for the given state handler.

States in Repeaters

State Emitter groups are global within a given form. That means if you have a state emitter for a field inside a repeater, each instance of that field will emit states for the same group. To change this behavoir, use the {$repeater} string in your repeater group names.

For example, the Contact Form widget has a repeater that allows a user to create a list of form fields. Each item has a field type dropdown to select what type of field it is and another repeater to add value options for the field. This value options field only applies to dropdown and and checkboxes fields.

So in the state emitter argument, we have a select state emitter where the group is field_type_{$repeater} and a state handler that shows or hides the value options repeater based on this same group.

'type' => array(
    'type' => 'select',
    'label' => __( 'Field Type', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
    'options' => array(
        // Some options left out
        'text' => __( 'Text', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
        'select' => __( 'Dropdown Select', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
        'checkboxes' => __( 'Checkboxes', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
    'state_emitter' => array(
        'callback' => 'select',
        'args' => array( 'field_type_{$repeater}' ),

And then for the value options repeater:

'options' => array(
    'type' => 'repeater',
    'label' => __( 'Options', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
    'item_name' => __( 'Option', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),
    'fields' => array(
        'value' => array(
            'type' => 'text',
            'label' => __( 'Value', 'siteorigin-widgets' ),

    // These are only required for a few states
    'state_handler' => array(
        'field_type_{$repeater}[select,checkboxes]' => array('show'),
        '_else[field_type_{$repeater}]' => array( 'hide' ),