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Editing a Lead Part I

There are two places to edit a lead in the app. We have status and notes which are immediately visible on lead show, and we can also click an “edit” link that will let us edit the lead’s basic info like name, email, and phone.

Let’s start with the status and notes. These will be additions to our existing lead template.

Add the Status Select

First we need to tell the app about the different statuses a lead can have. The Lead model should know about this, but it’s more class knowledge than instance knowledge, so lets use reopenClass to add it to the class.

Add this code after your Lead model in the same file:

# app/assets/javascripts/models/
  STATUSES: ['new', 'in progress', 'closed', 'bad']
// app/assets/javascripts/models/lead.js
  STATUSES: ['new', 'in progress', 'closed', 'bad']

You will now be able to get to this array through App.Lead.STATUSES.

Open the lead template and add the following to the bottom, in line with the other p tags:

// app/assets/javascripts/templates/lead.js.emblem
  label Status:
  view Ember.Select content=App.Lead.STATUSES value=model.status

Ember provides a built in select view which we can use. We point content to our status array, and we point value to our lead’s status. Now this select will be automatically bound to the lead model’s status.

Add the Notes

Add this code after the status select:

// app/assets/javascripts/templates/lead.js.emblem
  label Notes:
  view Ember.TextArea value=model.notes

Here we use Ember’s text area view and bind it to model.notes.

Add a Submit Button

Add a submit button below the notes field:

// app/assets/javascripts/templates/lead.js.emblem
  input type='submit' value='Save Changes' click='saveChanges'

The click attribute specifies a function to call when you click this button. Ember expects the controller to define this function.

Save the Record

Now everything in our form is wired up except the submit button.

Since we’re in the middle of the lead object flow, Create a LeadController to handle the saveChanges click action:

# app/assets/javascripts/controllers/
App.LeadController = Ember.ObjectController.extend

    saveChanges: -> @get('model').save()
// app/assets/javascripts/controllers/lead.js
App.LeadController = Ember.ObjectController.extend({

  actions: {
    saveChanges: function() {


Note that this controller is an ObjectController because it wraps a single lead model.

Our submit button will call the saveChanges function. This function must be within actions since it is being called from a template action. This is an Ember convention to help keep your code organized.

save() will actually send an ajax put request to our Rails API, and everything should just work. Try it out in your browser. Edit a record, click “Save Changes”, and look at the Network tab in the Chrome console. You should see a put request to api/v1/leads/(id of record). If you refresh the page the saved record should show your changes.

Note: If you get a 422 error stating “Invalid Authenticity Token” then check to make sure that you’ve required jquery_ujs in your application javascript.

Saving is that easy! Just bind and call save(). It’s fun and it’s healthy.

Ember will always send an API request on save, even if the record isn’t dirty. You can prevent this behavior with a simple if:

saveChanges: -> @get('model').save() if @get('model.isDirty')
saveChanges: function() {
  if (this.get('model.isDirty')) this.get('model').save();

Show Helpful Feedback

Now we’re going to get fancy and give the user some nice feedback around saving. When there are unsaved changes we will show a message saying “unsaved changes”, and when the record is actually saving we’ll show “saving…”.

Add these messages immediately below the submit button:

// app/assets/javascripts/templates/lead.js.emblem
  input type='submit' value='Save Changes' click="saveChanges"
  if isDirty
    .unsaved unsaved changes
  if isSaving
    .saving saving...

Ember will look in the controller to find isDirty and isSaving. If the controller doesn’t find them it will look in the model. Both isSaving and isDirty come built-in with DS.Model, so we are good.

Try it out it in the browser. You should see “unsaved changes” appear in red next to the save button if you add anything to notes or change the status of a lead. Click “save changes” to see “saving…” in green. It will probably appear only briefly – since you are in development the server is going to be quick.

Prettifying the Feedback

We have a little problem here. “unsaved changes” is still visible while you are saving a record. You can see this more easily if you add sleep 1 to the top of your update action in the leads API controller. This is because the record remains dirty until saving is completed, as you would expect. Let’s do some work to hide this text while saving.

We’ll make a property called showUnsavedMessage. Replace isDirty with showUnsavedMessage in the template:

// app/assets/javascripts/templates/lead.js.emblem
if showUnsavedMessage
  .unsaved unsaved changes

Open the controller and add the property:

# app/assets/javascripts/controllers/
App.LeadController = Ember.ObjectController.extend

  showUnsavedMessage: ( ->
    @get('isDirty') and !@get('isSaving')
  ).property('isDirty', 'isSaving')
// app/assets/javascripts/controllers/lead.js
App.LeadController = Ember.ObjectController.extend({

  showUnsavedMessage: function() {
    return this.get('isDirty') && !this.get('isSaving')
  }.property('isDirty', 'isSaving'),

  // actions, etc...


Our new logic will return false when the record is saving, giving us the result we want.

That’s it for editing part one. Onwards and upwards!

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