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An example of Symfony2 CollectionType form field prototype

Toni Uebernickel

While working an a multi-step form with multiple CollectionType in it, I came across the issue requiring a generic solution for handling allow_add and allow_delete on a collection. As there is no entry on the allow_delete part in the Symfony2 documentation itself, this solution may not be the best way to do it. If you got other solutions on this topic, let me know!

The form types


namespace Acme\Bundle\BlogBundle\Form\Type;

use Symfony\Component\Form\FormBuilder;
use Symfony\Component\Form\AbstractType;

class PostType extends AbstractType
    public function buildForm(FormBuilder $builder, array $options)
            ->add('content', 'textarea')
            ->add('tags', 'collection', array(
                'type' => new TagType(),

                'allow_add' => true,
                'allow_delete' => true,

                'prototype' => true,
                'prototype_name' => 'tag__name__',
                'options' => array(
                    // options on the rendered TagTypes

    public function getName()
        return 'post';


namespace Acme\Bundle\BlogBundle\Form\Type;

use Symfony\Component\Form\FormBuilder;
use Symfony\Component\Form\AbstractType;

class TagType extends AbstractType
    public function buildForm(FormBuilder $builder, array $options)

    public function getName()
        return 'tag';

The prototype macro

I added a macro to handle the prototyping in Twig templates.

This macro renders the prototype and the actual widget the same way. Therefore the resulting usage code is very little and required javascript code just works for all collections.

{% macro widget_prototype(widget, remove_text) %}
    {% if widget.get('prototype') %}
        {% set form = widget.get('prototype') %}
        {% set name = widget.get('prototype').get('name') %}
    {% else %}
        {% set form = widget %}
        {% set name = widget.get('full_name') %}
    {% endif %}

    <div data-content="{{ name }}">
        <a class="btn-remove" data-related="{{ name }}">{{ remove_text }}</a>
        {{ form_widget(form) }}
{% endmacro %}

Example usage

You should - at least on more advanced forms - render each row or widget manually. The example shows how to make use of the given macro. You can easily add parameters to the macro to further customize the actual result depending on your needs.

<form action="{{ path('add_post') }}" method="POST">
    {{ form_errors(form) }}
        <legend>Add a new post</legend>
        {{ form_row(form.title) }}
        {{ form_row(form.content) }}

        <div id="post_tags" data-prototype="{{ _self.widget_prototype(form.tags, 'Remove tag')|escape }}">
            {% for widget in form.tags.children %}
                {{ _self.widget_prototype(widget, 'Remove tag') }}
            {% endfor %}

        <a class="btn-add" data-target="post_tags">Add tag</a>

    {{ form_widget(form._token) }}

    <input type="submit" value="Add post" />

The javascript required to handle the add and delete of a tag is very small. The script is very basic, you might want to check for existing objects, verify related items and much more.

Using jQuery it comes down to this:

$('.btn-add').click(function(event) {
    var collectionHolder = $('#' + $(this).attr('data-target'));
    var prototype = collectionHolder.attr('data-prototype');
    var form = prototype.replace(/__name__/g, collectionHolder.children().length);


    return false;
$('.btn-remove').live('click', function(event) {
    var name = $(this).attr('data-related');

    return false;

The relation between the add button and the collection is built by the data-target of the link and the id attribute of the container.

The relation between the remove buttons and their respective content is built by the data-content of the container and data-target of the link. This relation is built by the macro itself. This allows to customize the resulting html even more and does not rely on the actual element nesting. However you should take care about removing the link itself, if you put it outside of the content!

It’s important to use the live binding of the click event. This is required to have the binding apply on newly created links!

Update: An updated version of the Javascript can be found here.

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Written by

Toni Uebernickel

Software Engineer and Architect, Symfony evangelist with some Ducati bikes.

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