Yii 1.1: An easy way to display a success page using flash messages

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We often need to display a success page after the user has submitted a form without problem. We may show some welcome message after a user registers a new account. There are many ways to implement this workflow. In this article, I will explain a method that exploits flash messages.

As we know, a flash message is a message that is available on the current and the next page request. Yii provides CWebUser::getFlash() and CWebUser::setFlash() to support this feature.

In order to implement a success page, we can have the following action code.

public function actionRegister()
{
    // display the success page if the register form was previously
    // submitted successfully
    if (Yii::app()->user->hasFlash('register.success'))
    {
        $this->render('registerSuccess', Yii::app()->user->getFlash('register.success'));
        return;
    }
 
    $model = new User('register');
    if (isset($_POST['User']))
    {
        $model->attributes = $_POST['User'];
        if ($model->save())
        {
            Yii::app()->user->setFlash('register.success', array(
                'username' => $model->username,
                'email' => $model->email,
            ));
            $this->refresh();
        }
    }
    $this->render('register', array('model'=>$model));
}

We also need to create two views named register.php and registerSuccess.php, respectively. I will not give more details about these two views since they are very straightforward: one is to display the register form, the other is to display the success message.

Let me explain a bit more about the action code.

In the register action, we first check if there is a flash message named register.success. If so, it means the user has just finished registration and we should display a success page to him. We render the registerSuccess view with the register.success flash message. As I will explain shortly, the register.success flash message is an array, instead of a string. As a result, all data in this array will be available in the registerSuccess view. In this example, we will be able to use $username and $email about the new user.

Next, we see a typical model create/update action code. When the model is successfully saved, we set the flash messages with an array (NOT a string). The array contains the data that will be used to render in the success page. We call CController::refresh() to refresh the current page, which will discard the post data and prevent the user from resubmitting the data by reloading/refreshing the page.

So what are new stuff here?

  • First, instead of saving a string as flash message, we save an array of data that will persist to the next page request.

  • Second, we use the action code to control which view to render. The code conforms better to the MVC pattern.

Note: Flash messages are essentially stored as session data. As a result, they will be serialized when saving and deserialized when loading. For this reason, the data saved as flash message should be simple data, such as strings, numbers. Do not store objects (e.g. data model objects) or resource handles in it because their serialization and deserialization may cause problem.

Refactoring the code ΒΆ

If an application needs to display different success pages in different actions, we may refactor the above code so that the usage is even simpler and more DRY.

First in the base controller class, define the following method:

/**
 * Renders a success view.
 * Note that this method will redirect the browser to the 'site/success' route
 * which will then render the specified success view.
 * @param string $view the view name. It can be a view relative to
 * the current controller or an absolute view (starting with '/')
 * @param array $data the data to be passed to the view.
 */
public function success($view, $data=array())
{
    if($view[0]!=='/')  // relative to current controller
        $view = '/' . $this->id . '/' . $view;
    $data['_view_'] = $view;
    Yii::app()->user->setFlash('_success_', $data);
    $this->redirect(array('site/success'));
}

Then, in the SiteController class, define the following success action:

/**
 * Displays a success page.
 * The success page content is specified via the flash data '_success_'
 * which is generated by {@link Controller::success()} method.
 * If the flash data does not exist, it will redirect the browser to the homepage.
 */
public function actionSuccess()
{
    if (!Yii::app()->user->hasFlash('_success_'))
        $this->redirect(Yii::app()->homeUrl);
    $data = Yii::app()->user->getFlash('_success_');
    $view = $data['_view_'];
    unset($data['_view_']);
    $this->render($view, $data);
}

Now, the previous actionRegister() method can be greatly simplified:

public function actionRegister()
{
    $model = new User('register');
    if (isset($_POST['User']))
    {
        $model->attributes = $_POST['User'];
        if ($model->save())
        {
            $this->success('registerSuccess', array(
                'username' => $model->username,
                'email' => $model->email,
            ));
        }
    }
    $this->render('register', array('model'=>$model));
}

And we can call the success() method in any other action as long as it needs to display a success page.

Total 2 comments

#10344 report it
mrs at 2012/10/21 03:53pm
Nice one

Thanks for your excellent presentation about this. Seems it will help me.

#3421 report it
nickcv at 2011/04/11 06:35pm
this is much simpler

i was dealing with this kind of problem just yesterday and i ended up using sessions (that is actually what flash messages do) but this solution is much more elegant.

gonna make some changes tomorrow morning once i get to the office.

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  • Written by: qiang
  • Category: Tips
  • Yii Version: 1.1
  • Votes: +26
  • Viewed: 25,307 times
  • Created on: Apr 11, 2011
  • Last updated: Apr 11, 2011
  • Tags: flash message, Forms