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APEX : How to emphasis Required Fields...


In APEX there is no property to mark a field as a required field (at this moment, could be an enhancement request!). However you can mark the prompt of a field by using the 'Required' template - with or without help. So why not use the APEX Repository to enhance the look-and-feel of your application and show the user which fields are required? And of course we use jQuery to accomplish this.

This is how you do it:
Create an On Demand Application Process (lets call it getRequiredItems) and fire it onLoad - After Header:

DECLARE
CURSOR c_items IS
SELECT item_name
FROM apex_application_page_items
WHERE item_label_template LIKE 'Required%'
AND page_id = :APP_PAGE_ID;

item_list varchar2(32000) := '';
item_sep varchar2(1) := '~';

BEGIN
FOR r_item IN c_items LOOP
item_list := item_list||r_item.item_name||item_sep;
END LOOP;
-- P0_REQUIRED_ITEMS is an hidden item on Page 0
:P0_REQUIRED_ITEMS := substr( item_list, 1, length( item_list ) -1);
END;
This process returns the items with a 'Required'-prompt for the current page in one long string, separated with a ~.

In Page 0, create a Javascript function that adds a class ('RequiredField') to the fields in the P0_REQUIRED_ITEMS string filled by the Application Process and (optional) adds an onblur event that calls a function (checkRequiredField) using

function setRequiredItems(){
var colArray = $v("P0_REQUIRED_ITEMS").split("~");
for(i = 0; i < colArray.length; i++){
$('#'+colArray[i]).addClass("RequiredField").attr("onblur",'checkRequiredField(this)');
}
}
Now you can create an entry in your CSS file to give the required field a nice color (or whatever else you want).
Next create the Javascript function to check if a required field is empty or not. If the field is empty, the user cannot navigate out of the field, unless he puts in a value.

function checkRequiredField(pThis){
if (!(pThis.value)){
alert('Field must be entered');
setTimeout(function(){pThis.focus();}, 5);
}
}

Now add this Javascript function to the jQuery document.ready function:

$(function(){
setRequiredItems();
});

And the result is something like the picture on the top of this post. A live example is available on apex.oracle.com.

Comments

Paulo Vale said…
Nice tip Roel ;)
Stew said…
Very nice!

Of course Apex's default templates add an * to each field with the Required label but this is much better, especially with the validation.

Now I'm not sure if I'd highlight the required fields that much, the yellow is a bit garish. But if your users need really obvious markers, so be it! :-)
Kerkblad said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
Roel said…
@Stew: Of course you can pick any color you like (or one or more other stuff you can set using the stylesheet).
Algimas said…
Super, works fine :)
Thanks.
Patrick Wolf said…
Roel,

nice tip!

Just a question, why don't you immediately generate the string with the items in the page 0 region? That would avoid the additional AJAX call to the server to get the items. I think that should be much faster and would save database resources.

Greetings
Patrick
Roel said…
@Patrick: That is a good idea. I changed the example to work without an (extra) AJAX call. Why make things more complex than necessary....
Hi Roel,

Nice post! I know Patrick suggested that you make a Page 0 process to load the list. To help avoid the extra processing why not update the "required" template with a certain class and use jQuery to tag all the fields with that class as required. That way you wouldn't even need to run the process?

Martin.
Roel said…
@Martin. I think you can do that, but there is only a 'Required' Label template. So you have to write jQuery code to get the 'required' label and then use the 'for' attribute to determine the actual field and tag those fields with that class.
Thanks for the update!
Robert said…
The highlight works great but the validation did not. I followed each step (process, page 0, javascripts) but the validation saying that "this field is required." did not happen. I also tried it using your example, and when I clicked outside the field (after I deleted the data) it did not give the error. Did I do something wrong?
Roel said…
@Robert,
I messed up that page (trying something else), but it is working again. Check the value of P0_REQUIRED_ITEMS in Session State (and check that jQuery is loaded!).

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