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Grid Custom Action Column Excercise

In this excercise I will guide you through customizing Grid’s columns and also creating some AJAX interactivity. We will be looking to achieve the following look:


Setting up the project

You will need a working Agile Toolkit, so go to the website, click Download and install it as a new project on your local computer. After you are done go inside “Admin”. You will see the default page which will prompt you to opening admin/page/index.php in your editor.

When you do, you will see something like this:

class page_index extends Page {
    public $title='Dashboard';
    function init() {
            ->setHTML('Welcome to your new Web App Project. Get started by opening '.
                '<b>admin/page/index.php</b> file in your text editor and '.
                '<a href="" target="_blank">Reading '.
                'the documentation</a>.');


In this tutorial I will mostly work on my index.php file. If you wish, you can create new files for each class (and that is what you should do in big projects), but I will just cram everything into my page file.

First, I need to create a model to work with. I don’t want to use database for this example, so I’ll create a model with some static data only:

class Model_Test extends Model {
    function init(){



This model automatically populates itself with 4 records from a supplied array. It will contain id and name fields (Model_Field) only, which should be enough.

Next, I’m going to add a default Grid and link it with my new model. Add the following code inside your page::init:

$grid = $this->add('Grid');

You should now be able to see table with two columns. We are done for the basic setup. The rest of my tutorial I’ll divide into several steps.

Step 1: Adding a custom column to Grid

(See documentation at Defining your own formatters).

First I’ll need to create my own Grid class by extending Grid:

class MyGrid extends Grid {

    function init_actions($field){

    function format_actions($field){
        $this->current_row_html[$field] = "hello <b>world</b>";

To make use of this new column type, I’ll have to manually add it by using Grid::addColumn:


First argument is type, and second will be used as field name and label.

You can now refresh the page and you will see new column populated with “hello world”. Using Grid::current_row_html allows me to specify HTML tags. Some of you might argue, that it’s not nice to have markup inside PHP file, so I’m going to move it to a designated template next.

Step 2: Creating and using custom template with markup

Create file admin/template/column/actions.html:

<div class="atk-inline">
    <div class="atk-buttonset">
        <a href="javascript:void(0)" class="atk-button-small do-set-default">
            <span class="icon-flag"></span>
        <a href="javascript:void(0)" class="atk-button-small do-delete atk-swatch-red">
            <span class="icon-trash"></span>


I will then compress all of the HTML into a single line, because spaces inside HTML markup between elements can cause undesired glitches inside your interface. I recommend you to look into JADE.

The above markup uses Agile CSS to create a button-set with two buttons. Each button will have only icon and the second button will be red. I have taken the markup example directly from

I also added two classes do-set-default and do-delete, which will help me binding triggers to those buttons.

Next, I need to load the template and the best place would be inside init_action():

function init_actions($field){
function format_actions($field){
    $this->current_row_html[$field] = $this->columns[$field]['tpl']->render();

I am making use of Grid::columns, which would store individual template for each column of type action. The template is loaded and parsed inside init_action() however it is rendered for each row. This is so that you could use GiTemplate::set to change some tag values on row-to-row basis (although i’m not using any yet).

You should now see a nice two buttons for each field on the Grid.

Step 3: Binding actions to buttons

The important thing here is to keep efficiency in mind. We must not create object during each row iteration to maximize scalability of our application. I will be taking advantage of AbstractView::on to bind action to a button. This needs to be added inside init_action method:

function init_actions($field){


    $do_flag = $this->add('VirtualPage')->set(function($p)use($m){

        // $m->flag();

        return $p->js()->univ()->alert('You have flagged '.$name)->execute();

    $this->on('click','.do-set-default')->univ()->ajaxec([$do_flag->getURL(), 'id'=>$this->js()->_selectorThis()->closest('tr')->data('id')]);

As you see, I am creating VirtualPage with a call-back method. The call-back I’m defining will make use of the Grid’s AbstractObject::model and will potentially call a low-level custom-added method “flag”, which I would have to implement later. I must stress that it’s very important that the same model instance is used for both Grid and action here, to make sure that regardless of passed id GET attribute, user will only be able to load records which would physically appear in the Grid.

The call is done through ajaxec and therefore requires me to finish with jQuery_Chain::execute to function properly.

The array I pass to ajaxec is actually a URL Component Array and I’m relying on the closest <tr> element which has data-id="1" attribute set to the ID of each record.

The final thing for me to add to format_actions is a custom width of the column:

$this->setTDParam($field, 'width', '100'); // in pixels

Although alternatively I can add class atk-expand to one of the other fields with the similar effect, but because I may be using this column in various places with different columns, I need to be sure it looks ok.

Things to try

You can continue yourself and try some other things:

  • find this project on my github and fork it as you work on it
  • implement “delete” action
  • adjust CSS to make field visible only on mouse-over
  • add nicely looking jQuery UI tooltips on the buttons
  • convert this column into Grid column class