Archives For customization

This article is aimed at beginning to intermediate SugarCRM developers who want to create custom filters in SugarCRM version 7.

This does not cover the custom filters that users can create for themselves.  Those are stored on a per-user basis and are not available to all users.  Instead, this document will cover creating filters that all users of the system will have access to.

This article assumes some knowledge of SQL, PHP, Unix, and general web stuff.

About Filters

In Sugar 7 parlance a filter is used to control what rows of data are displayed to the user in a given view.  Sugar has a number of core filters which come with Sugar out of the box.  When you go to a page with a layout that makes use of the filter view and click on the “Filter” pulldown menu you’ll see them displayed as options:

Image

When you choose one of those filters you’ll notice that the rows that show up in the list view change.  The filter supplies certain characteristics the data must meet before the row is displayed in the view.

Filters can be extremely useful when you want to limit what the user sees and not just present every row in the table to the user.

How to create a very basic filter

The core filters are very convenient since you don’t have to do anything to make them show up. However, it’s not unusual to have a need for a more customized filter that sets criteria specific to your individual needs.  No core filter will be able to supply that.  Fortunately, SugarCRM 7 provides a way to  create such a filter without having to descend into the core functionality of the product and hack something into place.

So let’s dive in and create a very simple filter.

For the purposes of this document I have gone into Studio and created a module called “Random Custom Stuff” with a module name of “flt_RandomCustom”.  I know that’s a weird name, but it’s how we do things where I work, so I went with it.  I also added a custom field to the module to hold a random number.  This created both the “flt_randomcustom” and “flt_randomcustom_cstm” tables (among others) in the database.  That will be more interesting later.

When I go to

http://{my instance}/#flt_RandomCustom

I see the following:

Image

You see all the rows for this module displayed because the default filter is “All Random Custom Stuff” which simply shows everything.  We’ll change that by creating a new filter.

Let’s create a filter to only show rows which have a name of “Blorg” and call it the “Blorg Only” filter.  Let’s say that you installed SugarCRM in

/var/www/sugarcrm

The first thing to do would be to create a directory for your new filter.  Like other components such as layouts and views, you create a custom filter by adding a directory and files under the
“custom/” directory in the SugarCRM instance.  We want this filter to be available only to this module so we’ll create the directory:

/var/www/sugarcrm/custom/modules/flt_RandomCustom/clients/base/filters/blorgonly

At first glance that looks like a crazy path, but if you’ve done any other customization of SugarCRM 7 you’ll recognize that this fits with layouts, views, and other customizations.

In that directory create a file “blorgonly.php” which contains the following text:

<?php
$module_name = "flt_RandomCustom";
$viewdefs[$module_name]['base']['filter']['blorgonly'] = array(
    'create'               => false,
    'filters'              => array(
        array(
            'id'                => 'blorgonly',
            'name'              => 'LBL_BLORG_ONLY_FILTER',
            'filter_definition' => array(
                array(
                    'name' => 'Blorg',
                ),
            ),
            'editable'          => false,
        ),
    ),
);

It’s very important that the name of the PHP file match the name of the directory which needs to match the name of the filter.  You’ll notice in the code above that we specify the name of the filter in two places, once as the element of the “filter” viewdefs array, and again as the “id” of the filter.  Both are important.  For the “name” we’ve put in a placeholder for a label string.  Don’t worry, we’ll get to that in a minute.

The real action takes place in the “filter_definition” array.  You can see that we have a single element that says that the “name” has to be “Blorg”.  The “name” field of the array under “filter_definition” is referring to the name of the actual column in the underlying table (flt_randomcustom in this case).  And, just to make things confusing, the name of that column is “name”.

To make it actually work you have to go to the Admin menu, click on Repair, and then click on “Quick Repair and Rebuild”.

When you reload http://{my instance}/#flt_RandomCustom and click on the filter pulldown you should see something like this:

basic_in_place

When you click on the new filter you should see only the row with “Blorg” as the name appear.  My friend, you’ve just created your first custom filter in SugarCRM 7.  Savor the moment.

Now, if you don’t want a reputation for shoddy work, you’re going to want to make that label look like something real.  To do that we have to set up a string for it.  To do that we create another PHP file:

/var/www/sugarcrm/custom/Extension/modules/flt_RandomCustom/Ext/Language/en_us.RCFilt.php

This filename has to start with “en_us.” and end with “.php” but it can be named anything within that.  The contents of that file should be something like:

<?php
$mod_strings['LBL_BLORG_ONLY_FILTER'] = 'Only Blorg Rows';

Once you have that file in place, do the “Quick Repair and Rebuild” again.  Reloading the page and clicking on the filter pulldown should now look like this:

filter_label_done

And there you have it, a simple custom filter users can employ within a custom module.

Making more complex filters

Filters which restrict rows to those matching a single value are all fine and good, you say, but not much use in the real world.  Reality demands much more complex criteria for filters.  I completely agree.  Let’s see if we can construct a less trivial filter.

Constructing a complex filter is exactly the same as the simple filter above except that the “filter_definition” array contents are more complicated.

Here’s where knowledge of SQL comes in handy.  The way that the filter_definition array works is not unlike the WHERE clause of a SELECT statement.  Let’s consider this example:

'filter_definition' => array(
    array(
        'random_number_c' => '17',
        'date_entered' => '2014-01-22 13:21:01',
    ),
),

By default, things that are grouped together within arrays have an implied AND relationship.  In this case the filter will only show rows with a random number of 17 and the given date_entered value.  By the way, did you notice that the random number field ends with “_c”?  That’s right, you can specify custom fields in these filters as well.  They just get treated like the columns of the main table.

Okay, that’s slightly cooler, but how would you do an OR instead of an AND?

The filter mechanism has these command directives which start with $ that you can use.  In this case we want to make use of the “$or” directive:

'filter_definition' => array(
    array(
        '$or' => array(
            array('random_number_c' => '17'),
            array('random_number_c' => '827'),
        ),
    ),
),

This array groups together two conditions with the $or directive which means that rows with either value for that column should be shown.  You’ve probably noticed that the two conditions need to be wrapped in arrays of their own within the $or array.  That’s important.  Bad stuff happens if you forget to do that.  Also, don’t make the mistake of using double-quotes or PHP will try to interpret the $or as a variable and fail.

So now let’s try to construct a really complex filter.

Let’s say you need to create a filter that’s the equivalent of this WHERE clause:

WHERE
(
    date_entered = "2014-03-01 19:54:47"
    OR (
        random_number_c > 0
        AND random_number_c < 40
    )
)
AND (
    name LIKE “A%"
    OR name LIKE "B%"
    OR name LIKE "R%"
)

Wow.  Okay, so it’s kind of tough to just rattle off the PHP necessary to do this, so let’s break it down logically.  First, we have two big conditions AND’ed together which implies:

'filter_definition' => array(
    array(
        //The thing with ‘date_entered’ and other stuff
    ),
    array(
        //The thing with the three ‘name’ conditions
    ),
),

The second condition is a little more straightforward, so let’s handle that one first.  To reproduce the behavior with the LIKE’s above, SugarCRM filters have a $starts directive which tests for whether the value of a string starts with the given value.  So we would use it as follows:

'filter_definition' => array(
    array(
        //The thing with the ‘date_entered’ and other stuff
    ),
    array(
        '$or' => array(
            array(
                'name' => array(
                    '$starts' => 'A',
                ),
            ),
            array(
                'name' => array(
                    '$starts' => 'B',
                ),
            ),
            array(
                'name' => array(
                    '$starts' => 'R',
                ),
            ),
        ),
    ),
),

While that may look intimidating, actually it makes sense.  It’s just three $starts conditions OR’ed together.

Now let’s attack the first bit.  What if all we had to do was do the two tests for the random number?  It would look like this:

'filter_definition' => array(
    array(
        array(
            'random_number_c' => array(
                '$lt' => '40',
            ),
        ),
        array(
            'random_number_c' => array(
                '$gt' => '0',
            ),
        ),
    ),
    array(
        //The thing with the three ‘name’ conditions
    ),
),

That’s not too bad, right?  Now let’s OR in the date_entered test:

'filter_definition' => array(
    array(
        '$or' => array(
            array(
                '$and' => array(
                    array(
                        'random_number_c' => array(
                            '$lt' => '40'
                        ),
                    ),
                    array(
                        'random_number_c' => array(
                            '$gt' => '0'
                        ),
                    ),
                ),
            ),
            array(
                'date_entered' => '2014-03-01 19:54:47'
            ),
        ),
    ),
    array(
        //The thing with the three ‘name’ conditions
    ),
),

Okay, I admit it, that’s a little weird.  You have to explicitly use the $and directive because in this case it gets confused if you leave the AND implied as before.  So let’s put the whole filter together in all its glory:

'filter_definition' => array(
    array(
        '$or' => array(
            array(
                '$and' => array(
                    array(
                        'random_number_c' => array(
                            '$lt' => '40'
                        ),
                    ),
                    array(
                        'random_number_c' => array(
                            '$gt' => '0'
                        ),
                    ),
                ),
            ),
            array(
                'date_entered' => '2014-03-01 19:54:47'
            ),
        ),
    ),
    array(
        '$or' => array(
            array(
                'name' => array(
                    '$starts' => 'A',
                ),
            ),
            array(
                'name' => array(
                    '$starts' => 'B',
                ),
            ),
            array(
                'name' => array(
                    '$starts' => 'R',
                ),
            ),
        ),
    ),
),

Sadly, the filter mechanism lacks some of the features of an SQL WHERE clause such as NOT, a true LIKE, and a few other things.  But you can handle most conditions with filters.

For a complete list of directives and additional documentation you can go to:

http://{your instance}/rest/v10/help

Search for “/<module>/filter” next to “GET” and click on it.

Making your filter the default filter

Normally with a layout that includes the filter pulldown the filter that shows all rows is the default.  This is usually fine, but sometimes it’s not ideal.  It’s pretty easy to set a custom filter as the default filter for a module.

To do this you need to create a “default/” directory in the same “filters/” directory as your other custom filters.  In this directory you create a “default.php” file.  But instead of the filter code you saw above, the file would instead contain something like this:

<?php
$module_name = 'flt_RandomCustom';
$viewdefs[$module_name]['base']['filter']['default'] = array(
    'default_filter' => 'blorgonly',
);

As I imagine you figured out, this will set the default filter to the blorgonly filter we created earlier.  To see this work you sometimes have to clear your browser cache completely after doing the repair and rebuild, but before reloading the page.

Debugging techniques

Remember the horrible complex filter we saw above?  It was as ugly to write as it is to read.  Developing it took a lot of iterations.  There aren’t a lot of tools which will help you figure things out, but there are a few.

Examining the API Call

When SugarCRM 7 tries to apply a filter it makes a GET call to the appropriate filter API.  If you open the JavaScript console on your browser (or Firebug, or whatever your tool of choice is) you can see the API call go by along with any errors.  It can sometimes be helpful to pull out the URL it calls and examine it to see what it might be trying to do.

Here’s the URL for the API call for the big ugly filter (with the various entities replaced with their original characters, of course):

http://{whatever+your+intance+is}/rest/v10/flt_RandomCustom/filter?fields=name,random_number_c,date_entered,my_favorite&max_num=20&order_by=date_modified:desc&filter[0][$or][0][$and][0][random_number_c][$lt]=40&filter[0][$or][0][$and][1][random_number_c][$gt]=0&filter[0][$or][1][date_entered]=2014-03-01+19:54:47&filter[1][$or][0][name][$starts]=A&filter[1][$or][1][name][$starts]=B&filter[1][$or][2][name][$starts]=R

Yeah, yikes.  But, you can ignore everything up to the first &filter parameter which leaves:

&filter[0][$or][0][$and][0][random_number_c][$lt]=40&filter[0][$or][0][$and][1][random_number_c][$gt]=0&filter[0][$or][1][date_entered]=2014-03-01+19:54:47&filter[1][$or][0][name][$starts]=A&filter[1][$or][1][name][$starts]=B&filter[1][$or][2][name][$starts]=R

That’s still not wonderful, but if you split it out by parameter, you get:

&filter[0][$or][0][$and][0][random_number_c][$lt]=40
&filter[0][$or][0][$and][1][random_number_c][$gt]=0
&filter[0][$or][1][date_entered]=2014-03-01+19:54:47
&filter[1][$or][0][name][$starts]=A
&filter[1][$or][1][name][$starts]=B
&filter[1][$or][2][name][$starts]=R

Which actually starts to make some sense, sort of.  Note, for example, how there are two main arrays, just like the arrays we have in our filter_definition array.

Watching how these parameters change as you change your filter code can shed light on how you need to arrange your arrays and directives.  It’s not a slam dunk by any means, but it can help when you’re stuck.  You’ll often see things grouped together in ways you didn’t expect which can point to a problem.

Actually calling the API

Sometimes it’s helpful to actually make the API call that SugarCRM makes so you can see everything in detail including any errors, warnings, and any returned rows.  You can also mess with the parameters directly to see what effect that has on the results.  Fortunately it’s not that hard to do.  Here’s what you need to do:

Bring up your favorite utility for making API calls.  For example, POSTman in Chrome, or RESTClient in Firefox are good choices.  For the purposes of this explanation we’ll use POSTman in Chrome, but the basic ideas are the same regardless of the tool you choose.

Bring up the JavaScript console in Chrome, select the “Network” tab, and reload your page with your filter selected.  You should see a bunch of calls go by.  Once the page is loaded, from the bottom up, hover over each call until you find a one resembling:

http://{your instance}/rest/v10/{your module name}/filter?...

That’s the API call that Sugar makes to apply the filter to the rows.

Click on that entry and make sure the “Headers” tab is selected.  This should show you, among many other things, the OAuth-Token.  Save that string.

java_console

Copy the “Request URL” into the url line for POSTman, set the method to GET, and add OAuth-Token to the header with a value of the string you just saved.

When you hit “Send” you should get a result with a return status of 200 and a “records” array appropriate for your filter.

This too isn’t necessarily a slam dunk in terms of debugging, but sometimes you’ll see errors or other things which may point to the problem.  Also you can manually change the parameters to experiment with different things to try to solve the problem.

So you’ve seen what the REST API can do and you want more. In this recipe we’ll be covering how to create your own REST endpoint.

Our sample endpoint is going to go beyond the filter API and give us a list of accounts ordered by the number of open cases.

1. Deciding on an endpoint location

This is just about the most important step in adding a new endpoint. The URL of an endpoint should be created using RESTful ideas and placed in the virtual directory tree in a way that will make it easy for developers too see the original intent of this API.

Since this endpoint is just going to be reading data let’s make it a “GET” request.

Because we are dealing primarily with account data we’ll throw it in “/Accounts“.

To finish it off we’ll name the endpoint “at_risk“.

So with it all together our endpoint is “GET /Accounts/at_risk“, now we could have our URL set to anything else but with a descriptive name and using the correct HTTP verb of GET it will help any other developers coming across calls to this endpoint to better understand what we are asking for.

2. Creating the endpoint class

The REST service looks in a lot of locations for endpoint classes:

  • clients/:platform/api/*
  • modules/:module/clients/:platform/api/*
  • custom/clients/:platform/api/*
  • custom/modules/:module/clients/:platform/api/*

Since we are adding a custom accounts endpoint we’ll create a new class “AtRiskApi” and put it in the file “custom/modules/Accounts/clients/base/api/AtRiskApi.php“. It is important to name the file so that it is the same as the class name except with .php at the end otherwise the REST service won’t find our class.

To get this class so it is listening for a specific URL we need to add a function ->registerApiRest(). We are setting the path to array(‘Accounts’, ‘at_risk’) and set the pathVars to array(”, ”) to represent “Accounts/at_risk” and not bring any part of the URL in to our array of arguments. If we wanted to match against a wildcard to look at the at risk profile for a single account record for example we could add a path of array(‘Accounts’, ‘?’, ‘at_risk’) and a pathVars of array(”, ‘id’, ”) which would let us listen for “Accounts/*/at_risk” and would take the second part of the path and populate the id element of our arguments with it.

Next we will actually add a function, setting the method in our register array to getAtRisk lets the REST API know to call that method in this class. We’ll keep this method simple for now and just have it return ‘burgers’ just so we can tell it is working right away. These methods just need to return data and the REST API will take care of all the json encoding for you.

Finally we add a little line in the shortHelp giving a quick description of what this endpoint is for. We’re leaving the longHelp out of this little demo but if you are building endpoints for real be sure to add some detailed documents there.

So, after everything is all said and done, here’s what our little class looks like:

3. Taking it for a test drive

Let’s do a GET request for /rest/v10/Accounts/at_risk

curl -X GET -H OAuth-Token:some-token http://localhost/burgers/rest/v10/Accounts/at_risk

And here is what we get back:

Hey, what gives? First things first let’s check to see if it registered correctly by looking for the endpoint definition in /help, navigate over to /rest/v10/help in your browser and look for it. Not there? didn’t think so.

We added the class and it didn’t load. Since the REST API looks for so many files in so many directories we have to add some heavy duty caching in order to speed up the url lookup on every single request. In order for changes in endpoint definitions to show up we need to login as an admin and run quick repair and rebuild.

After quick repair, let’s check /rest/v10/help again and you should see a line like this:

snapshot1

So let’s try that request again.

curl -X GET -H OAuth-Token:some-token http://localhost/burgers/rest/v10/Accounts/at_risk

Now we get back the correct response:

4. Fetching the data

While having a new URL that says “burgers” is pretty fancy I think we can accomplish more. While there are many ways to fetch and return this data I want to show you the preferred way to do it in Sugar 7.

First things first we need to start off by using SugarQuery. Let’s get a seed bean going by fetching a new bean from the bean factory. We pass that through to the SugarQuery ->from() method to let SugarQuery know we will be querying off of the Accounts module. We’ll limit our result set to just ID’s by adding ->select(‘id’) and then limit our rows to just the first five by adding ->limit(3). From here we can just have it return the results of the ->execute() call and see what that gets us.

Now our getAtRisk function looks like this:

and when we make that same GET request to Accounts/at_risk we get back:

Okay so now we have some simple SQL being run and are returning the result set. How about we add some more complex logic here so we actually fetch the results we want. To start things off let’s join in the cases by adding this “$caseAlias = $q->join(‘cases’)->joinName();“. It’s nice that we just need to use the link field to add a join and everything else is handled by SugarQuery. SugarQuery also understands that we have to go beyond it’s abilities every once in a while, so we need to add a ->fieldRaw() call to fetch the count and then an ->orderByRaw() to properly sort them. We have to use the Raw versions of the functions because neither of those columns are defined in the field_defs for the modules. The ->groupBy() call just needs to group by the account ID so that is simple. Finally the ->where()->notIn() is there so we only fetch related cases that aren’t resolved, no need to quote elements here because SugarQuery will handle that for us.

Added all together it looks like this:

Once again let’s hit Accounts/at_risk and see what we get:

Looking good! Now we are getting the data we need how about we make it look nice for the javascript client that needs it?

5. Formatting the data

To format the data first we have to figure out what to format. Most endpoints accept the argument fields to specify which fields they want returned from the api and we’ll keep up that tradition here with some simple parsing of the $args array.

Next up we want to convert the results of the query into beans so they can be properly formatted. Previously you would have to perform the PHP equivalent of banging two rocks together to make fire by manually fetching the rows and creating beans and populating them via ->populateFromRow(). Fortunately we are introducing a helper function in SugarBean named ->fetchFromQuery() to help automate and centralize this process, so we’ll just call that here. We need to pass ->fetchFromQuery() the option of returnRawRows because we need to populate the case_count field manually because it doesn’t exist in any of the field definitions.

With the beans returned from ->fetchFromQuery() we strip out the raw rows from the result set and then pass the remaining beans through to ->formatBeans() so that our returned results look the same as every single other API call. After we get the results back as an array from ->formatBeans() we loop through the results and jam the case_count in there.

So with all that, here’s what our final method looks like:

And when we finally call the Accounts/at_risk, here is what we get:

curl -X GET -H OAuth-Token:some-token http://localhost/burgers/rest/v10/Accounts/at_risk?fields=id,name,date_modified

6. All done!

That’s all, I hope this clears how to add your own endpoint to Sugar 7. Along with some helpful tips on how to use a combination of SugarQuery, ->fetchFromQuery() and ->formatBeans() to create easy and standardized code for returning data from the API. Add a comment if you have questions.

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