Create news items

You now know how you can read data from a database using CodeIgniter, but you haven’t written any information to the database yet. In this section you’ll expand your news controller and model created earlier to include this functionality.

Note

This section of the tutorial cannot be completed as certain portions of the framework, like the form helper and the validation library have not been completed yet.

Create a form

To input data into the database you need to create a form where you can input the information to be stored. This means you’ll be needing a form with two fields, one for the title and one for the text. You’ll derive the slug from our title in the model. Create the new view at application/Views/News/Create.php.

<h2><?= esc($title); ?></h2>

<?= validation_errors(); ?>

<?= form_open('news/create'); ?>

    <label for="title">Title</label>
    <input type="input" name="title" /><br />

    <label for="text">Text</label>
    <textarea name="text"></textarea><br />

    <input type="submit" name="submit" value="Create news item" />

</form>

There are only two things here that probably look unfamiliar to you: the form_open() function and the validation_errors() function.

The first function is provided by the form helper and renders the form element and adds extra functionality, like adding a hidden CSRF prevention field. The latter is used to report errors related to form validation.

Go back to your news controller. You’re going to do two things here, check whether the form was submitted and whether the submitted data passed the validation rules. You’ll use the form validation library to do this.

public function create()
{
    helper('form');
    $model = new NewsModel();

    if (! $this->validate($this->request, [
        'title' => 'required|min[3]|max[255]',
        'text'  => 'required'
    ]))
    {
        echo view('Templates/Header', ['title' => 'Create a news item']);
        echo view('News/Create');
        echo view('Templates/Footer');

    }
    else
    {
        $model->save([
            'title' => $this->request->getVar('title'),
            'slug'  => url_title($this->request->getVar('title')),
            'text'  => $this->request->getVar('text'),
        ]);
        echo view('News/Success');
    }
}

The code above adds a lot of functionality. The first few lines load the form helper and the NewsModel. After that, the Controller-provided helper function is used to validate the $_POST fields. In this case the title and text fields are required.

CodeIgniter has a powerful validation library as demonstrated above. You can read more about this library here.

Continuing down, you can see a condition that checks whether the form validation ran successfully. If it did not, the form is displayed, if it was submitted and passed all the rules, the model is called. This takes care of passing the news item into the model. This contains a new function, url_title(). This function - provided by the URL helper - strips down the string you pass it, replacing all spaces by dashes (-) and makes sure everything is in lowercase characters. This leaves you with a nice slug, perfect for creating URIs.

After this, a view is loaded to display a success message. Create a view at application/Views/News/Success.php and write a success message.

Model

The only thing that remains is ensuring that your model is setup to allow data to be saved properly. The save() method that was used will determine whether the information should be inserted or if the row already exists and should be updated, based on the presence of a primary key. In this case, there is no id field passed to it, so it will insert a new row into it’s table, news.

However, by default the insert and update methods in the model will not actually save any data because it doesn’t know what fields are safe to be updated. Edit the model to provide it a list of updatable fields in the $allowedFields property.

<?php
class NewsModel extends \CodeIgniter\Model
{
    protected $table = 'news';

    protected $allowedFields = ['title', 'slug', 'text'];
}

This new property now contains the fields that we allow to be saved to the database. Notice that we leave out the id? That’s because you will almost never need to do that, since it is an auto-incrementing field in the database. This helps protect against Mass Assignment Vulnerabilities. If your model is handling your timestamps, you would also leave those out.

Routing

Before you can start adding news items into your CodeIgniter application you have to add an extra rule to Config/Routes.php file. Make sure your file contains the following. This makes sure CodeIgniter sees ‘create’ as a method instead of a news item’s slug.

$routes->post('news/create', 'News::create');
$routes->add('news/(:segment)', 'News::view/$1');
$routes->get('news', 'News::index');
$routes->add('(:any)', 'Pages::view/$1');

Now point your browser to your local development environment where you installed CodeIgniter and add index.php/news/create to the URL. Congratulations, you just created your first CodeIgniter application! Add some news and check out the different pages you made.