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Grouping lists of records

The SS_List class is designed to return a flat list of records. These lists can get quite long, and hard to present on a single list. Pagination is one way to solve this problem, by splitting up the list into multiple pages.

In this howto, we present an alternative to pagination: Grouping a list by various criteria, through the GroupedList class. This class is a SS_ListDecorator, which means it wraps around a list, adding new functionality.

It provides a groupBy() method, which takes a field name, and breaks up the managed list into a number of arrays, where each array contains only objects with the same value of that field. Similarly, the GroupedBy() method builds on this and returns the same data in a template-friendly format.

Grouping Sets By First Letter

This example deals with breaking up a SS_List into sub-headings by the first letter.

Let's say you have a set of Module objects, each representing a SilverStripe module, and you want to output a list of these in alphabetical order, with each letter as a heading; something like the following list:

*    B
    * Blog
*    C
    * CMS Workflow
    * Custom Translations
*    D
    * Database Plumber
    * ...

The first step is to set up the basic data model, along with a method that returns the first letter of the title. This will be used both for grouping and for the title in the template.

class Module extends DataObject {
    private static $db = array(
        'Title' => 'Text'
    );

    /**
     * Returns the first letter of the module title, used for grouping.
     * @return string
     */
    public function getTitleFirstLetter() {
        return $this->Title[0];
    }
}

The next step is to create a method or variable that will contain/return all the objects, sorted by title. For this example this will be a method on the Page class.

class Page extends SiteTree {

    // ...

    /**
     * Returns all modules, sorted by their title.
     * @return GroupedList
     */
    public function getGroupedModules() {
        return GroupedList::create(Module::get()->sort('Title'));
    }

}

The final step is to render this into a template. The GroupedBy() method breaks up the set into a number of sets, grouped by the field that is passed as the parameter. In this case, the getTitleFirstLetter() method defined earlier is used to break them up.

<%-- Modules list grouped by TitleFirstLetter --%>
<h2>Modules</h2>
<% loop $GroupedModules.GroupedBy(TitleFirstLetter) %>
    <h3>$TitleFirstLetter</h3>
    <ul>
        <% loop $Children %>
            <li>$Title</li>
        <% end_loop %>
    </ul>
<% end_loop %>

Grouping Sets By Month

Grouping a set by month is a very similar process. The only difference would be to sort the records by month name, and then create a method on the DataObject that returns the month name, and pass that to the GroupedList->GroupedBy()&version=3.1&module=framework) call.

We're reusing our example Module object, but grouping by its built-in Created property instead, which is automatically set when the record is first written to the database. This will have a method which returns the month it was posted in:

class Module extends DataObject {

    // ...

    /**
     * Returns the month name this news item was posted in.
     * @return string
     */
    public function getMonthCreated() {
        return date('F', strtotime($this->Created));
    }

}

The next step is to create a method that will return all records that exist, sorted by month name from January to December. This can be accomplshed by sorting by the Created field:

class Page extends SiteTree {

    // ...

    /**
     * Returns all news items, sorted by the month they were posted
     * @return GroupedList
     */
    public function getGroupedModulesByDate() {
        return GroupedList::create(Module::get()->sort('Created'));
    }

}

The final step is the render this into the template using the GroupedList->GroupedBy()&version=3.1&module=framework) method.

// Modules list grouped by the Month Posted
<h2>Modules</h2>
<% loop $GroupedModulesByDate.GroupedBy(MonthCreated) %>
    <h3>$MonthCreated</h3>
    <ul>
        <% loop $Children %>
            <li>$Title ($Created.Nice)</li>
        <% end_loop %>
    </ul>
<% end_loop %>