8: Sign Up in Java

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8: Sign Up
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The signup form /signup for new users
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Listing 84 A wafer-thin amount of CSS for the signup form
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public/stylesheets/customcss
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divfield, divactions { margin-bottom: 10px; }
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812 The Form HTML
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As indicated by Figure 83, the signup page now renders properly, indicating that the form_for code in Listing 82 is producing valid HTML If you look at the HTML for the generated form (using either Firebug or the view page source feature of your
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Signup Form
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browser), you should see markup as in Listing 85 Although many of the details are irrelevant for our purposes, let s take a moment to highlight the most important parts of its structure
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Listing 85 The HTML for the form in Figure 83
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<form action="/users" class="new_user" id="new_user" method="post"> <div style="margin:0;padding:0;display:inline"> <input name="authenticity_token" type="hidden" value="rB82sI7Qw5J9J1UMILG/VQL411vH5putR+JwlxLScMQ=" /> </div> <div class="field"> <label for="user_name">Name</label><br /> <input id="user_name" name="user[name]" size="30" type="text" /> </div> <div class="field"> <label for="user_email">Email</label><br /> <input id="user_email" name="user[email]" size="30" type="text" /> </div> <div class="field"> <label for="user_password">Password</label><br /> <input id="user_password" name="user[password]" size="30" type="password" /> </div> <div class="field"> <label for="user_password_confirmation">Confirmation</label><br /> <input id="user_password_confirmation" name="user[password_confirmation]" size="30" type="password" /> </div> <div class="actions"> <input id="user_submit" name="commit" type="submit" value="Sign up" /> </div> </form>
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We ll start with the internal structure Comparing Listing 82 with Listing 85, we see that the Embedded Ruby
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<div class="field"> <%= flabel :name %><br /> <%= ftext_field :name %> </div>
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8: Sign Up
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produces the HTML
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<div class="field"> <label for="user_name">Name</label><br /> <input id="user_name" name="user[name]" size="30" type="text" /> </div>
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<div class="field"> <%= flabel :password %><br /> <%= fpassword_field :password %> </div>
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<div class="field"> <label for="user_password">Password</label><br /> <input id="user_password" name="user[password]" size="30" type="password" /> </div>
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As seen in Figure 84, text fields (type="text") simply display their contents, whereas password fields (type="password") obscure the input for security purposes, as seen in Figure 84 As we ll see in Section 83, the key to creating a user is the special name attribute in each input:
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<input id="user_name" name="user[name]" - - - /> <input id="user_password" name="user[password]" - - - />
These name values allow Rails to construct an initialization hash (via the params variable first seen in Section 632) for creating users using the values entered by the user, as we ll see in Section 82
Signup Form
A filled-in form, showing the difference between text and password fields
The second important element is the form tag itself Rails creates the form tag using the @user object: because every Ruby object knows its own class (Section 441), Rails figures out that @user is of class User; moreover, since @user is a new user, Rails knows to construct a form with the post method, which is the proper verb for creating a new object (Box 31):
<form action="/users" class="new_user" id="new_user" method="post">
Here the class and id attributes are largely irrelevant; what s important is action="/users" and method="post" Together, these constitute instructions to issue an HTML POST request to the /users URL We ll see in the next two sections what effects this has
8: Sign Up
Finally, note the rather obscure code for the authenticity token :
<div style="margin:0;padding:0;display:inline"> <input name="authenticity_token" type="hidden" value="rB82sI7Qw5J9J1UMILG/VQL411vH5putR+JwlxLScMQ=" /> </div>
Here Rails uses a special unique value to thwart a particular kind of cross-site scripting attack called a forgery; see the Stack Overflow entry on the Rails authenticity token if you re interested in the details of how this works and why it s important Happily, Rails takes care of the problem for you, and the input tag is hidden so you don t really have to give it a second thought, but it shows up when you view the form source so I wanted at least to address it
82 Signup Failure
Though we ve briefly examined the HTML for the form in Figure 83 (shown in Listing 85), it s best understood in the context of signup failure Just getting a signup form that accepts an invalid submission and re-renders the signup page (as mocked up in Figure 85) is a significant accomplishment, and it s the goal of this section
821 Testing Failure
Recall from Section 633 that adding resources :users to the routesrb file (Listing 626) automatically ensures that our Rails application responds to the RESTful URLs from Table 62 In particular, it ensures that a POST request to /users is handled by the create action Our strategy for the create action is to use the form submission to make a new user object using Usernew, try (and fail) to save that user, and then render the signup page for possible resubmission Our task is to write tests for this action, and then add create to the Users controller to get it to pass Let s get started by reviewing the code for the signup form: