Using CButtonColumn to customize buttons in CGridView

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CGridView is a one of most flexible widgets in Yii and example its flexibility is CButtonColumn used to build buttons for steering model in each grid row. Here in this how-to we will explain ways user can customize CButtonColumn to flexibly fit it to its needs.

Basic customization

In default look CButtonColumn contains three buttons in this order: {view}, {update} and {delete}. Their meaning and behaviour should be obvious.

The easiest way to customize look and behaviour of them is to use series of CButtonColumn properties, like: updateButtonImageUrl (path to image for update button), updateButtonLabel (label for the update button; not HTML-encoded), updateButtonOptions (HTML options for this button, used in the way as many htmlOptions property for many widgets) and updateButtonUrl (a PHP expresion that is evaluated for button and whose result is used as the URL). Respective properties you'll find for other default buttons.

A few remarks:

  1. For delete button only, there is deleteConfirmation property (string), which can be used for customizing message being displayed as confirmation of delete operation.
  2. In PHP expression used for xxxButtonUrl property, you can use variable $row for the row number (zero-based); $data for the data model for the row and $this for the column object.
  3. If you provide an empty string for xxxButtonImageUrl or set it to false, a textual link will be used instead.

>Info: Delete confirmation message (and other textual elements of CButtonColumn or CGridView) can be also customized by creating zii.php file in protected/messages/languageID/ (or even better - copying one from for example yii/messages/de/ and translating or customizing it to own needs). Don't forget to set 'coreMessages'=>array('basePath'=>'protected/messages') in components part of your config.php file for the application to force Yii to look in your own messages folder instead of build-in one inside framework directory.

More flexible customizing

If using above properties for customizing many aspects of many buttons is a bit messy in code or if there is need for more complex customization or introduction of new buttons there is a better, more flexible way - by using template and buttons properties.

You can use template property to change order of build-in buttons or remove some of them like this:


In CGridView's buttons column build upon above example there will be no view button and delete and update buttons will be in other than default order (delete first).

You can use the same property to introduce new buttons:


For new buttons you have to specify look and behaviour. buttons property of CButtonColumn is used for it. This property is an array of buttons id (which names must correspond to the one provided in template property) and each button is another array holding its specific properties. Here you can use:

'buttonID' => array
    'label'=>'...',     //Text label of the button.
    'url'=>'...',       //A PHP expression for generating the URL of the button.
    'imageUrl'=>'...',  //Image URL of the button.
    'options'=>array(), //HTML options for the button tag.
    'click'=>'...',     //A JS function to be invoked when the button is clicked.
    'visible'=>'...',   //A PHP expression for determining whether the button is visible.

There are similar remarks for these properties like the one described in first part of this text:

  1. In PHP expression used for url or visible properties, you can use variable $row for the row number (zero-based) and $data for the data model for the row.
  2. If you provide an empty string for imageUrl or set it to false, a textual link will be used instead.

Finally here is an example of introducing new buttons to CButtonColumn:

        'email' => array
            'label'=>'Send an e-mail to this user',
            'url'=>'Yii::app()->createUrl("users/email", array("id"=>$data->id))',
        'down' => array
            'visible'=>'$data->score > 0',
            'click'=>'function(){alert("Going down!");}',

Please note, that since jQuery is used here, any function passed to click should be surrounded by proper jQuery function call. That is why, we are using 'click'=>'function(){alert("Going down!");}' instead of simple 'click'=>'alert("Going down!");'.

Above example also shows (email button) how to create a valid URL containing controller and view plus current user ID (or any other data from model for current row). It also explains how to use baseUrl function from CHttpRequest class to set an image for button to be a file stored outside protected folder.

Specific delete confirmation

You may notice that a standard set of views generated for CRUD operations by Gii includes (in view and update views) delete menu item with confirmation. This confirmation text can be easily changed/extended to include some record (model) specific data, like record ID.

This is not so simple in CGridView (CButtonColumn), as deleteConfirmation property is not parsed. However, there is a tricky way to achieve this (thanks to mdomba for providing it!) using jQuery. Here is an example:

        'deleteConfirmation'=>"js:'Record with ID '+$(this).parent().parent().children(':first-child').text()+' will be deleted! Continue?'",

We can also use jQuery's ntn-child function for retrieve contents of other column:

        'deleteConfirmation'=>"js:'Do you really want to delete record with ID '+$(this).parent().parent().children(':nth-child(2)').text()+'?'",

The jQuery function looks really tricky freeky at first sight. If you wish to know, why it has to be in that form, please read this forum post.

Final words

I hope this short how-to will help in better understanding of how flexible buttons in CGridView can be customized. This is especially important as there are many forum posts asking questions about this. Please, feel free to make any updates or corrections to this article, if you find something is missing or that there are mistakes in it.

Have a nice day and happy Yii-ing! :)

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Category: How-tos
Written by: Trejder
Last updated by: Gismo
Created on: Nov 20, 2010
Last updated: 5 years ago
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