A clone of the multiple select helper plugin by Daniel Rodríguez Troitiño
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.


= Multiple Select Helper

IMPORTANT: This version is for Rails versions 1.2 or greater. If you want to
use the plugin with Rails 1.1 download a version of the plugin for your
version of Rails. More information at

IMPORTANT: If you used the plugin prior version 20070407 and you don't want to
change your code you should stick to use the last stable version 20060918
(you can found it at
The easiest way to port your code to the new version is change all call to
+multiple_select+, +collection_multiple_select+ and +tree_multiple_select+ to
its <tt>*_tag</tt> versions, but maybe you want to work a bit more and use
the new "object-method" parameters versions, they simplify the controllers a

Selecting multiple elements in a list is sometimes tricky. You may click
inadvertably on one item of the list and lost all your previous selection. You
are forced to use Ctrl (or Command) clicks to select more than one element.

Multiple Select Helper allows you to create easy to use list for multiple
selections from array, hashes, collections or trees. The list is build using
checkboxes so you can click easily and you will not lost the elements you
clicked before. As drawback you lose the use of the keyboard in the "list".

This multiple selections are very useful in many to many relationships
(+has_and_belongs_to_many+ or <tt>has_many :through</tt> with no obligatory
fields) where a "add and remove" solution will be cumbersome.

You can download this plugin at:


You can find this information at:


== Using Multiple Select Helper

There are 3 tuples of functions that you can use depending of the source of
your data:

- +multiple_select+ (and +multiple_select_tag+,
  +checkboxes_for_multiple_select+): With arrays, hashes or your own classes
  (implementing first and last in them).
- +collection_multiple_select+ (and +collection_multiple_select_tag+ and
  +checkboxes_from_collection_for_multiple_select+): With arrays of classes
  using +text_method+ and +value_method+ to access the data in the instances.
- +tree_multiple_select+ (and +tree_multiple_select_tag+ and
  +checkboxes_from_tree_for_multiple_select+): With tree-like structures (like
  ActiveRecord's +acts_as_tree+) using +text_method+ and +value_method+ to
  access the data in the instances.

All three posibilites supports the following options in the options hash:

[+outer_class+] Specifies the class of the ul that wraps all the checkboxes.
[+selected_items+] Specifies an array of items that should be selected when
                   the list renders (only in the three main methods, the other
                   three use the +selected_items+ parameter instead).
                   <tt>:selected_items</tt> array should be an array of values
                   to be matched with the ones provided by
[+inner_class+] Specifies the class of the li that wraps each checkbox.
[+position+] Determines the position of the label besides the checkbox. The
             value should be <tt>:right</tt> or <tt>:left</tt>. The default is
[+alternate+] Determines if the class of each of the checkboxes should
              alternate. The default is not alternating classes.
[+alternate_class+] Specifies the alternative class that will be used if
                    +alternate+ option is used. The alternative class will be
                    added to the +inner_class+ option if it is also specified.
                    The default alternative class is "alt".
[+initial_alternate+] Determines if the first element of the list should be
                      the alternative one or not. The default is that the
                      first element is not the alternative one.
[+disabled+] If disabled is +true+ all the checkboxes will be disabled. If
             disabled is an array only the checkboxes in the array will be
             disabled. If disabled is +false+ no checkboxes will be disabled.
             The default is +false+.
[+disabled+] If disabled is +true+ all the checkboxes will be disabled. If
             disabled is an array only the checkboxes in the array will be
             disabled. If disabled is +false+ no checkboxes will be disabled.
             The default is +false+.

Besides the options above described the two tree methods supports also the
following options:

[+depth+] Maximum depth the tree will be trasversed. A depth of 0 will only
          show the nodes of the first level. The default is traverse all the
[+child_method+] The method that will be send to the node to obtain its
                 children. This method must only return an array of the direct
                 children of the node. The default is "children" (valid for
                 +acts_as_tree+. For +acts_as_nested_set+ use
                 "direct_children" instead).
[+level_class+] Specifies the preffix of the class that will be used in each
                of the divs that wrap each checkbox. The +level_class+ will be
                suffixed with a incresing number according the level of the
                actual checkbox. This class will be added to the +inner_class+
                and the alternative class if they are also specified.
[+initial_level+] Specifies the first level that will be used as preffix of
                  +level_class+. The default is 0.

There used to be an option called +include_hidden_field+ but now it is not
more an option and is always enforced +true+ so you always get a param value
in your controllers, even when the users check no checkbox.

Since 20060917 version you could establish default option for some of the most
used parameters (+outer_class+, +inner_class+, +level_class+, +alternate+,
+alternate_class+, and +position+). To set the new default values of this
variables you can write in your <tt>environment.rb</tt>:

 FightTheMelons::Helpers::FormMultipleSelectHelperConfiguration.outer_class =

And every call to every method of the module will use an default +outer_class+
of +myclass+ (you can always pass a new value in the options hash and it will
be used instead of the default value).

There is an additional variable that you can not set using the options hash of
the methods but you can set using a module variable. This variable is call is
+list_tags+ and is an array of two strings that will be used to wrap the
list and the individual list items, respectively. So if you want your
checkboxes wrapped by divs like in pre-20060917 versions you can set the
variable like this:

 FightTheMelons::Helpers::FormMultipleSelectHelperConfiguration.list_tags =
   ['div', 'div']

Note that this line does NOT produce the exact same results as pre-20060917
versions of the plugin in the tree methods (collection and normal methods
produce the same results, as far as I know).

When you want to store your list of checked options in a "habtm" relationship
you could use something like:

 # In the model
 class Person < ActiveRecord::Base
   has_and_belongs_to_many :fruits
 # In the view
     'person', 'fruit_ids', Fruit.find(:all), :id, :name
 # In the controller
 @person.fruit_ids = params[:person][:fruit_ids]

And you will have all the fruits you have selected linked to the person you
are editing.

== Version history

- 20081111
  - Rails 2.2.0 RC1 compatible
- 20080608
  - Rails 2.1.0 compatible
- 20070409
  - The old hidden_field toggled by include_hidden_field is now always
    included (seems like is really needed in Rails 1.2).
  - In some situations with the object-method versions of the helpers
    Rails will fail saying that content_tag expects 3 parameters instead of 2.
- 20070407
  - Merge with the "Object Method Parameters" branch.
  - Old versions of the methods are still accessible in the "_tag" versions.
  - include_hidden_field removed (not needed in Rails 1.2).
- 20060918
  - Changed the hidden_field option to include_hidden_field so it do not clash
    with Rails hidden_field method.
  - Moved all the configuration to a new module not included in ActionView.
- 20060917
  - Added hidden_field option.
  - Change the default tags to <ul> and <li>.
  - Added module-wide variables for most used options.
- 20060903
  - Added disabled option.
  - The ids generated are now HTML 4.01 valid.
  - The tree version is more efficient now.
- 20060806
  - Initial release.

== Authors

- Daniel Rodríguez Troitiño (mailto:drodrigueztroitino@yahoo.es): main
- Michael Schuerig (mailto:michael@schuering.de): some ideas.