Create and manage Smart Actions

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This is the documentation of the forest-express-sequelize and forest-express-mongoose Node.js agents that will soon reach end-of-support.

forest-express-sequelize v9 and forest-express-mongoose v9 are replaced by @forestadmin/agent v1.

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Create and manage Smart Actions

What is a Smart Action?

Sooner or later, you will need to perform actions on your data that are specific to your business. Moderating comments, generating an invoice, logging into a customer’s account or banning a user are exactly the kind of important tasks to unlock in order to manage your day-to-day operations.

On our Live Demo example, our companies collection has many examples of Smart Action. The simplest one is Mark as live.

If you're looking for information on native actions (CRUD), check out this page.

Creating a Smart action

In order to create a Smart action, you will first need to declare it in your code for a specific collection. Here we declare a Mark as Live Smart action for the companies collection.

/forest/companies.js
const { collection } = require('forest-express-sequelize');

collection('companies', {
  actions: [
    {
      name: 'Mark as Live',
    },
  ],
});

After declaring it, your Smart action will appear in the Smart actions tab within your collection settings.

A Smart action is displayed in the UI only if:

  • it is set as "visible" (see screenshot below) AND

  • in non-development environments, the user's role must grant the "trigger" permission

You must make the action visible there if you wish users to be able to see it.

It will then show in the actions dropdown button:

At this point, the Smart Action does nothing, because no route in your Admin backend handles the API call yet.

The Smart Action behavior is implemented separately from the declaration.

In the following example, we've implemented the Mark as live Smart Action, which simply changes a company's status to live.

/routes/companies.js
const { PermissionMiddlewareCreator } = require('forest-express-sequelize');
const permissionMiddlewareCreator = new PermissionMiddlewareCreator('companies');

...

router.post('/actions/mark-as-live', permissionMiddlewareCreator.smartAction(), (req, res) => {
  const recordsGetter = new RecordsGetter(companies, request.user, request.query);

  return recordsGetter.getIdsFromRequest(req)
    .then(companyIds => companies.update({ status: 'live' }, { where: { id: companyIds }}))
    .then(() => res.send({ success: 'Company is now live!' }));
});

...

module.exports = router;

You must make sure that all your Smart Actions routes are configured with the Smart Action middleware: permissionMiddlewareCreator.smartAction(). This is mandatory to ensure that all features built on top of Smart Actions work as expected (permissions, approval workflows,...).

What's happening under the hood?

When you trigger the Smart Action from the UI, your browser will make an API call: POST /forest/actions/mark-as-live.

If you want to customize the API call, check the list of available options.

The payload of the HTTP request is based on a JSON API document. The data.attributes.ids key allows you to retrieve easily the selected records from the UI. The data.attributes.values key contains all the values of your input fields (handling input values). Other properties of data.attributes are used to manage the select all behavior.

payload example
{
  "data": {
    "attributes": {
      "ids": ["1985"],
      "values": {},
      "collection_name": "companies",
      ...
    },
    "type": "custom-action-requests"
  }
}

Should you want not to use the RecordsGetter and use request attributes directly instead, be very careful about edge cases (related data view, etc).

Available Smart Action options

Here is the list of available options to customize your Smart Action:

NameTypeDescription

name

string

Label of the action displayed in Forest Admin.

type

string

(optional) Type of the action. Can be bulk, global or single. Default is bulk.

fields

array of objects

(optional) Check the handling input values section.

download

boolean

(optional) If true, the action triggers a file download in the Browser. Default is false

endpoint

string

(optional) Set the API route to call when clicking on the Smart Action. Default is '/forest/actions/name-of-the-action-dasherized'

httpMethod

string

(optional) Set the HTTP method to use when clicking on the Smart Action. Default is POST.

Want to go further with Smart Actions? Read the next page to discover how to make your Smart Actions even more powerful with Forms!

Available Smart Action properties

req.user

The JWT Data Token contains all the details of the requesting user. On any authenticated request to your Admin Backend, you can access them with the variable req.user.

req.user content example

{
  "id": "172",
  "email": "angelicabengtsson@doha2019.com",
  "firstName": "Angelica",
  "lastName": "Bengtsson",
  "team": "Pole Vault",
  "role": "Manager",
  "tags": [{ key: "country", value: "Canada" }],
  "renderingId": "4998",
  "iat": 1569913709,
  "exp": 1571123309
}

req.body

You can find important information in the body of the request.

This is particularly useful to find the context in which an action was performed via a relationship.

{
  data: {
    attributes: {
      collection_name: 'users', //collection on which the action has been triggered
      values: {},
      ids: [Array], //IDs of selected records
      parent_collection_name: 'companies', //Parent collection name
      parent_collection_id: '1', //Parent collection id
      parent_association_name: 'users', //Name of the association
      all_records: false,
      all_records_subset_query: {},
      all_records_ids_excluded: [],
      smart_action_id: 'users-reset-password'
    },
    type: 'custom-action-requests'
  }
}

Customizing response

Default success notification

Returning a 204 status code to the HTTP request of the Smart Action shows the default notification message in the browser.

On our Live Demo example, if our Smart Action Mark as Live route is implemented like this:

/routes/companies.js
...

router.post('/actions/mark-as-live', permissionMiddlewareCreator.smartAction(), (req, res) => {
  // ...
  res.status(204).send();
});

...

We will see a success message in the browser:

Custom success notification

If we return a 200 status code with an object { success: '...' } as the payload like this…

/routes/companies.js
...

router.post('/actions/mark-as-live', permissionMiddlewareCreator.smartAction(), (req, res) => {
  // ...
  res.send({ success: 'Company is now live!' });
});

...

… the success notification will look like this:

Custom error notification

Finally, returning a 400 status code allows you to return errors properly.

/routes/companies.js
...

router.post('/actions/mark-as-live', permissionMiddlewareCreator.smartAction(), (req, res) => {
  // ...
  res.status(400).send({ error: 'The company was already live!' });
});

...

Custom HTML response

You can also return a HTML page as a response to give more feedback to the admin user who has triggered your Smart Action. To do this, you just need to return a 200 status code with an object { html: '...' }.

On our Live Demo example, we’ve created a Charge credit card Smart Action on the Collection customersthat returns a custom HTML response.

/forest/companies.js
const { collection } = require('forest-express-sequelize');

collection('customers', {
  actions: [
    {
      name: 'Charge credit card',
      type: 'single',
      fields: [
        {
          field: 'amount',
          isRequired: true,
          description:
            'The amount (USD) to charge the credit card. Example: 42.50',
          type: 'Number',
        },
        {
          field: 'description',
          isRequired: true,
          description:
            'Explain the reason why you want to charge manually the customer here',
          type: 'String',
        },
      ],
    },
  ],
});
/routes/customers.js
...
const stripe = require('stripe')(process.env.STRIPE_SECRET_KEY);

router.post('/actions/charge-credit-card', permissionMiddlewareCreator.smartAction(), (req, res) => {
  let customerId = req.body.data.attributes.ids[0];
  let amount = req.body.data.attributes.values.amount * 100;
  let description = req.body.data.attributes.values.description;

  return customers
    .findByPk(customerId)
    .then((customer) => {
      return stripe.charges.create({
        amount: amount,
        currency: 'usd',
        customer: customer.stripe_id,
        description: description
      });
    })
    .then((response) => {
      res.send({
        html: `
        <p class="c-clr-1-4 l-mt l-mb">\$${response.amount / 100} USD has been successfully charged.</p>
        <strong class="c-form__label--read c-clr-1-2">Credit card</strong>
        <p class="c-clr-1-4 l-mb">**** **** **** ${response.source.last4}</p>
        <strong class="c-form__label--read c-clr-1-2">Expire</strong>
        <p class="c-clr-1-4 l-mb">${response.source.exp_month}/${response.source.exp_year}</p>
        <strong class="c-form__label--read c-clr-1-2">Card type</strong>
        <p class="c-clr-1-4 l-mb">${response.source.brand}</p>
        <strong class="c-form__label--read c-clr-1-2">Country</strong>
        <p class="c-clr-1-4 l-mb">${response.source.country}</p>
        `
      });
    });
});

...

module.exports = router;

You can either respond with an HTML page in case of error. The user will be able to go back to his smart action's form by using the cross icon at the top right of the panel.

/forest/companies.js
const { collection } = require('forest-express-sequelize');

collection('customers', {
  actions: [
    {
      name: 'Charge credit card',
      type: 'single',
      fields: [
        {
          field: 'amount',
          isRequired: true,
          description:
            'The amount (USD) to charge the credit card. Example: 42.50',
          type: 'Number',
        },
        {
          field: 'description',
          isRequired: true,
          description:
            'Explain the reason why you want to charge manually the customer here',
          type: 'String',
        },
      ],
    },
  ],
});
/routes/customers.js
...
const stripe = require('stripe')(process.env.STRIPE_SECRET_KEY);

router.post('/actions/charge-credit-card', permissionMiddlewareCreator.smartAction(), (req, res) => {
  let customerId = req.body.data.attributes.ids[0];
  let amount = req.body.data.attributes.values.amount * 100;
  let description = req.body.data.attributes.values.description;