Solvedangular I'd like to be able to use ngModel without specifying a name

feature request

Current behavior
If opted into the new forms and I have code like this:

<form (submit)="process()">
 <input [(ngModel)]="propertyName">
</form>

And this throws an error: ORIGINAL EXCEPTION: Name attribute must be set if ngModel is used within a form.

Expected/desired behavior
I'd like to be able to use html forms and submit capabilities (such as submitting with the enter key) without having to specify a name (and use FormGroups and FormControls) for my ngModel bound inputs.

  • Angular version: 2.0.0-beta.RC2
33 Answers

✔️Accepted Answer

kara
266

Thank you all for the great feedback - very helpful! Here's how we are thinking about it:

In the case that you don't want to register a form control, you currently have a few options:

1 - Use ngModel outside the context of a form tag. This will never throw.

<input [(ngModel)]="person.food">         

2 - Use an ngNoForm attribute on the parent form tag to indicate you don't want Angular form support

<form ngNoForm>
   <input [(ngModel)]="person.food">         
</form>

Unfortunately, neither of these approaches are appropriate for the use case a few of you brought up where you might want some form controls registered in a form but not others. We should definitely support this case, so thanks for bringing it up. However, there are a few ways to approach this, and when considering a solution, dropping the error entirely is not ideal for two reasons:

1- It's not clear what's wrong if the name attribute is missing

We want to ensure a good developer experience for those starting out with forms. Having the form silently fail to pick up a form control's value and validation state in some cases is confusing. It appears that the forms module is simply broken. Throwing a friendly error is much more explicit, and provides immediate feedback to the developer about how to fix the form.

2- The "name" attribute becomes the gatekeeper for form registration

It seems arbitrary that the presence of a "name" attribute is what dictates the form control's relationship to its parent form. Currently, it's clear that the ngModel directive confers form functionality like validation state. If the "name" attribute controls the input's registration with its parent, then it muddies that concept and causes confusion about the relative effects of adding ngModel vs. a name (e.g. can you use the "name" attribute without ngModel, since it is responsible for form registration?)

Solution:
After considering the possibilities, we've decided to add an option to ngModelOptions to indicate a form control is "standalone". This allows developers to mark that certain controls shouldn't be registered with the parent form if necessary. In other words, within a form, an input needs either a name attribute or a standalone marker.

<form>
   <input [(ngModel)]="person.food" [ngModelOptions]="{standalone: true}">         
</form>

It is preferable to have developers explicitly and deliberately indicate that they'd like to override the default behavior, rather than making an assumption based on the absence of an attribute. Using ngModelOptions is a natural choice because it is a clear extension of ngModel (rather than a distinct attribute or directive).

This is a bit more boilerplate to write for these special controls, but it seems like this is an acceptable tradeoff given that this is the less common use case. This way, developers can still create special standalone controls, but the standard developer experience is not degraded.

See PR: #9522

Other Answers:

@wrldtrvllr that's the exact case I'm dealing with. My dynamic form element (which renders a specific custom form element based on meta data from the API) breaks now in RC2 because it doesn't have a name, nor does it need one. In fact, in that case, name makes absolutely no sense.

@kara Could you please rethink the name "standalone". It leaves me standing alone. From reading it I absolutely cannot infer what it means without the explanation you've given. Wouldn't be

<form>
   <input [(ngModel)]="person.food" [ngModelOptions]="{isModelProperty: false}">  <!-- Suggestion 1 -->
   <input [(ngModel)]="person.food" [ngModelOptions]="{isFormProperty: false}">  <!-- Suggestion 2 -->
   <input [(ngModel)]="person.food" [ngModelOptions]="{serialize: false}">  <!-- Suggestion 3-->
</form>

more in line with terminology used elsewhere for forms? You might notice that these properties use
inverse logic to standalone and "true" would be the default cases. I know, it seems tedious to have discussions about names etc. but many of the changes we have to deal with when porting forms from RC.1 are also because of the miserable naming chosen ealier. So please rethink if standalone is such a good fit.

The problem is that your forms will no longer behave predictably. In the example above, what would form.value be? There's no way to refer to the input you've added, so it would have to be {undefined: 'someval'}

If name is absent for an input it should simply not be serialized in the form's JSON.

Serializing to JSON should be an opt in approach (by providing name) not an opt out using ngModelOptions. In most cases I need to construct my own JSON from the input fields to conform to a web service's request. A form's JSON is not terribly useful in these cases.

Having to specify name at all times is simply bad ergonomics for the API.

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