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Module for Expression Engine that tracks ratings/votes and outputs the average on command.
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vz_average Fix EE 2.7 compatibility issues Jan 21, 2014


VZ Average

This is beta software, use at your own risk. But please send along suggestions and bug reports.

VZ Average is a flexible and minimal framework for rating or tallying anything in EE that you can identify with an ID: a channel entry, a comment, a Matrix row, or anything else. A few possible uses for it include: star ratings, thumbs up/down ratings, flagging comments as offensive, voting, etc.

It provides a simple template tag that generates a form for submitting ratings, plus several tags to display data about the ratings. I have avoided outputting any UI (unlike the other ratings add-ons out there), focussing instead on providing an abstracted data store that you can use imaginatively to achieve a wide range of effects.

When used to rate a channel entry, VZ Average can also update a custom field with the average, sum, minimum, maximum, or total number of ratings. Although any of these can also be output using VZ Average's template tags, mirroring them into a custom field will allow you to search or sort entries based on the number.


Copy the VZ Average directory into /system/expressionengine/third_party/. Enable the module in the control panel.

{exp:vz_average:form} tag pair

This tag pair generates the form that you will use to submit a new rating. It only generates the form tags and some hidden fields, it is up to you to add an input or select tag with name="value" that will pass in the actual numeric value of the rating. See below for examples.

entry_id = [integer]

(required) The unique ID of the thing you are rating. Most often, this will be the {entry_id} of a channel entry or the {comment_id} of a comment, but it can be any unique identifier.

entry_type = [string]

This is essentially a namespace for the entry_id. If you are storing ratings for both channel entries and comments, there is a good chance their IDs will overlap, so you would set entry_type="comment" for the comment rating forms to keep their data separate. You can use any and as many entry_types as you see fit.

site_id = [integer]

In a multi-site environment, set this to the ID number of the current site. Defaults to 1.

form_id, form_class

These simply set their respective HTML attributes on the form tag, for styling or Javascript purposes.


The path to redirect to after the form is submitted. If this parameter is not set, it will default to returning to the current page.

secure_return = "yes"

If you set secure_return="yes" the visitor will be sent to the "https" version of the return URL after submitting the form.

limit_by = [ip|member]

If you wish to prevent people from voting more than once, you can set this parameter to either ip or member. The member setting means that only votes from logged-in members will be accepted, so you may want to make use of the {logged_in} condition to hide or disable the form for anonymous users.

Something to keep in mind: When a duplicate vote is detected, it will replace that person's previous vote. This means that a person can update their previous rating.

max, min

You can set maximum and minimum limits on the acceptable ratings. Any rating higher than the maximum or lower than the minimum will be changed to keep it within the set range.

update_field = [field short_name]

The update_field parameter lets you store the resulting average (or sum, max, etc.) in a custom field within the entry. In order for this to work, the entry_id must be the actual id of a channel entry. This parameter should be set to the short_name of the field you wish to update.

Warning: Please do not use this when storing ratings for anything other than channel entries. There is a very good chance you will end up corrupting your channel data.

update_with = [average|total|min|max|count]

The type of calculation to save in the custom field. This can be one of: average, sum, min, max, or count.

since, before = [relative or absolute date]

If the before or after parameters are set, the updated field will be filled with data calculated using only the ratings from a certain time period. Either of these parameters can take any value that is able to be parsed with PHP's strtotime function.

{exp:vz_average:average}, {exp:vz_average:sum}, {exp:vz_average:min}, {exp:vz_average:max}, {exp:vz_average:count}

All of these retrieve calculated values for a particular entry. They each take the same two paramters:

entry_id = [integer]

(required) The unique ID of the entry to be displayed.

entry_type = [string]

The type of entry to be displayed. This defaults to channel.

site_id = [integer]

In a multi-site environment, set this to the ID number of the current site. Defaults to 1.

current_by = [ip|member]

Only show data for the current user, as determined by either IP address or logged in member ID. If you set this to member and there is no logged in member, all tags will return 0.

member_id = [integer]

Only show data for a particular member.

decimals (only for {exp:vz_average:average})

The number of decimal places to round the average to. Defaults to 0 (displays whole numbers).

min, max (only for {exp:vz_average:average})

If you specify a min and a max, the {exp:vz_average:average} tag will return a percentage rather than a fixed number. This is particularly useful for generating bar graphs, as can be seen in the first example below.

before, after = [relative or absolute date]

If the before or after parameters are set, the returned number will be calculated with only the ratings from a certain time period. Either of these parameters can take any value that is able to be parsed with PHP's strtotime function.


You can easily POST the VZ Average form using AJAX, in which case the return value will be a JSON string containing all the calculated values, which can be decoded into the following object:

    'average': 0,
    'sum': 0,
    'min': 0,
    'max': 0,
    'count': 0


Tally votes

<h2>{title} has received {exp:vz_average:count entry_id="{entry_id}"} votes!</h2>
{if logged_in}
    {exp:vz_average:form entry_id="{entry_id}" limit_by="member"}
        <input type="hidden" name="value" value="1" />
        <input type="submit" value="Vote for {title}!" />
    <p class="alert">You must be logged in to vote :(</p>

Simple 5-star rating widget

The rating custom field will be updated with the new average rating each time, allowing for the entries to be sorted from highest- to lowest-rated.

<div class="star-rating" style="position:relative; background:#00f;">
    <meter max="5" min="0" style="width:{exp:vz_average:average entry_id="{entry_id}" min="0" max="5"}%; background:#ff0;" value="{rating}">
        {rating} out of 5
{exp:vz_average:form entry_id="{entry_id}" limit_by="ip" min="0" max="5" update_field="rating" update_type="average"}
    <label for="rating_{entry_id}_1">1</label>
    <input id="rating_{entry_id}_1" name="value" type="radio" value="1" />
    <label for="rating_{entry_id}_2">2</label>
    <input id="rating_{entry_id}_2" name="value" type="radio" value="2" />
    <label for="rating_{entry_id}_3">3</label>
    <input id="rating_{entry_id}_3" name="value" type="radio" value="3" />
    <label for="rating_{entry_id}_4">4</label>
    <input id="rating_{entry_id}_4" name="value" type="radio" value="4" />
    <label for="rating_{entry_id}_5">5</label>
    <input id="rating_{entry_id}_5" name="value" type="radio" value="5" />

Allow users to flag comments as "offensive"

<ol>{exp:comment:entries entry_id="{entry_id}" status="not Closed"}
    <li class="comment" id="comment_{comment_id}">
        <div class="author">By {url_as_author}</div>
        <div class="comment_body">{comment}</div>
        <div class="published"><time>{comment_date format="%F %j, %Y"}</time></div>
        {exp:vz_average:form entry_id="{comment_id}" entry_type="comment" limit_by="ip"}
            <input type="hidden" name="value" value="1" />
            <input type="submit" value="Flag as Offensive" />

Note that this will not automatically close comments when they reach a certain number of "flags". That can be done with an experimental modification to VZ Average's core code. Edit mod.vz_average.php and add the following code beginning on line 194:

// MOD: close comments with enough flags
if ($entry_type == 'comment') {
    if ($cumulative['count'] > 0)
        $status = 'p';
    elseif ($cumulative['count'] > 2) // Change the "2" to however many flags it takes to trigger the filter
        $status = 'c';
        $status = 'o';

        array('status' => $status),
        array('comment_id' => $entry_id, 'site_id' => $this->EE->input->post('site_id'))


In no particular order, these are features I hope to add in the relatively near future. If anyone has other suggestions, or wants to tackle one of these and submit a pull-request, so much the better.

  • A CP interface to view rated items. Sort by most rated, highest average, etc.
  • Support saving data to more than one custom field at a time.
  • Add more data outputs including weighted scoring for better entry sorting.
  • More/better code examples for different scenarios.
  • Hooks (what do y'all want?)
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