v0.9.18Published 2 weeks ago

Editable Text for Meteor

This package provides a widget for rendering the fields of documents as editable text.

Example app: (also using collection2, accounts and transactions)

Example app repo:

Quick Start

meteor add babrahams:editable-text

You can then drop an editable text widget into any Blaze template as follows:

{{> editableText collection="posts" field="author"}}

where "posts" is the name of the actual mongo collection (not the name of a Meteor Mongo.Collection instance) and "author" is the name of a document field for the posts collection (author.firstName would also work as the field name).

collection and field are the only mandatory parameters.

Note: The widget assumes that the data context is that of a single document from the posts collection (with the _id value included).

You can also set the data context explicitly as follows:

{{> editableText context=singlePostDocument collection="posts" field="author"}}

where singlePostDocument can be a single post document already set in the current context, or provided by a template helper from the template that the widget was dropped into.

(You can use document, doc, object, obj, data or dataContext instead of context - go with whichever you prefer.)


This package exposes the symbols EditableText and sanitizeHtml. sanitizeHtml would only be used if you have very specific requirements when using a wysiwyg package and can be ignored for most apps. EditableText is used for setting app-wide config for the {{> editableText ...}} widget as shown below.


You can change the global behaviour of the widget by setting certain properties of EditableText.

EditableText.saveOnFocusout=false will mean that the focusout event will not save text that is being edited (default is EditableText.saveOnFocusout=true)

EditableText.trustHtml=true will mean that HTML entered in input and textarea fields is rendered as HTML (default is EditableText.trustHTML=false) - useful if you want newlines from textareas automatically represented as <br /> tags

Set several config properties at once using EditableText.config({saveOnFocusout: false, trustHtml: true});. Config properties that only have an effect on the client are: saveOnFocusout, trustHtml, and useMethods. Config properties that need to be set on both client and server are: userCanEdit, useTransactions, maximumImageSize, allowedHtml. Server only: clientControlsTransactions.


There are a number of parameters you can pass to the widget that affect its behaviour:

acceptEmpty=true will accept a value of "" for the field (by default, the widget won't make an update if an empty input value is entered)

unsetEmpty=true will accept a value of "" and $unset the field (this overrides acceptEmpty)

removeEmpty=true will remove the whole document from the database if the field value is set to "" (this trumps acceptEmpty=true!!)

textarea=true will make the widget input field a textarea element (by default, it's an <input type="text" />)

wysiwyg=true will make the widget a wysiwyg editor (which is, at present, completely uncustomizable -- what you see is what you get! :-)). You'll need to meteor add babrahams:editable-text-wysiwyg-bootstrap-3 or this wysiwyg=true will have no apparent effect and the editing widget will fall back to a textarea (with the difference being that HTML strings will be displayed as actual HTML not as a string showing the markup, so be careful with this). Note: When using content created using the wysiwyg editor in non-editable fields and other templates you will need to use triple curly braces like {{{postText}}}.

autoInsert=true will let you supply a data context without an _id field and the widget will create a document using all the fields of the data context

beforeInsert="addTimestampToDocBeforeInsert" will call addTimestampToDocBeforeInsert(documentToBeInserted, Collection), with this as the data that the editableText widget was initialized with, immediately before an auto insert. Return a modified document to have that inserted. Return false (not just any falsey value) to cancel the insert.

afterInsert="callbackFunction" will call callbackFunction(newlyInsertedDocument, Collection), with this as the data that the editableText widget was initialized with, immediately after an auto insert

beforeUpdate="coerceTypeToDateBeforeUpdate", will call coerceTypeToDateBeforeUpdate(doc, Collection, newValue, modifier), with this as the data that the editableText widget was initialized with. beforeUpdate callbacks are special cased to be called with the newValue and modifier arguments. Also, for beforeUpdate callbacks only, if the callback function returns a value, that will replace the newValue that the user entered, unless the callback returns an object with $set, $addToSet or $push as one of its keys -- in this case, it will be assumed that it is overwriting the whole modifier, not just the newValue. See the examples below.

Other available callback function hooks are afterUpdate, beforeRemove, afterRemove -- they each receive the document and Collection as their parameters and have the full widget data as this. Returning false (not just any falsey value) from any of the 'before' callback functions will cause the action to be cancelled.

onStartEditing and onStopEditing callbacks are called with this as the data that the editableText widget was initialized with and the document being edited as the only parameter. (The same is true of onShowToolbar and onHideToolbar if the babrahams:editable-text-wysiwyg-bootstrap-3 package is added.)

For all callbacks, the values of the parameters must be the (string) names of functions, not the functions themselves. These functions have to be registered as follows, using EditableText.registerCallbacks:

  addTimestampToDocBeforeInsert : function (doc) {
    return _.extend(doc, {timestamp:});
  coerceTypeToDateBeforeUpdate : function (doc, Collection, newValue, modifier) {
    return new Date(newValue);
  checkForExpletivesBeforeUpdate : function (doc, Collection, newValue, modifier) {
    var expletives = ['assorted', 'bad', 'words'];
	var containsExpletives = !!_.find(expletives, function (expletive) {
	  return newValue.indexOf(expletive) > -1;
	// modifier is already of the form { $set: {text: newValue}}
	modifier["$set"].containsExpletives = containsExpletives;
	return modifier;

These would then be applied by passing the parameter beforeInsert='addTimestampToDocBeforeInsert' (when initializing a widget that has also been passed autoInsert=true), beforeUpdate='coerceTypeToDateBeforeUpdate', etc.

Notice that returning a modified document in a beforeInsert function will mean that this is the version of the document that will be inserted into the db, while returning a modified value (usually a string) from a beforeUpdate function will mean that the modified value is used for the db update (good for custom validations).

eventType="dblclick" will make the text become editable only when double clicked (only event types supported are "click", "dblclick", "mousedown") -- the default is "click"

type="number" will mean the value entered is stored as a NumberInt value in mongo (the default is type="string")

class="text-class" will change the class attribute of the span element wrapping the text that can be edited

inputClass="input-class" will change the class attribute of the input element once the text is being edited

style=dynamicStyle can be used if you need to have more dynamic control over the style of the editable text (use a template helper to give the dynamicStyle) e.g.

dynamicStyle : function() {
  return 'color:' + Session.get('currentColor') + ';';

inputStyle=dynamicInputStyle same as above, but for the input element when editing text

substitute='<i class="fa fa-pencil"></i>' will let you put something in as a substitute for the editable text if the field value is ''

title="This is editable text" changes the title attribute on editable text (default is 'Click to edit')

userCanEdit=userCanEdit is a way to tell the widget whether the current user can edit the text or only view it (using a template helper) e.g.

userCanEdit : function() {
  return this.user_id === Meteor.userId();

(Of course, to make the above work, you would have to save your documents with a user_id field that has a value equal to Meteor.userId() of the creator.)

userCanEdit is really only useful for preventing text from being editable on the client in certain circumstances (by setting it to false). In the end, the only logic that matters is that of the EditableText.userCanEdit function (see the 'Security' section below).

placeholder="New post" will be the placeholder on input or textarea elements

saveOnFocusout=false will prevent a particular widget instance from saving the text being edited on a focusout event (the default is to save the text, which can be changed via EditableText.saveOnFocusout)

trustHtml=true will make a particular widget instance rendered its text as HTML (default is false, which can be changed via EditableText.trustHTML)

stopPropagation=true will stop the event that triggers the widget from propagating up the the elements ancestors on the DOM (default is stopPropagation=false, so the event will propagate)

All of these options can be set by using the options=optionsHelper parameter, where optionsHelper is a template helper that returns an object such as this:

  optionsHelper : function() {
    return {
      collection: "posts",
      field: "title",
      removeEmpty: true,
      acceptEmpty: true,
      placeholder: "Post title",
      substitute: '<i class="fa fa-pencil"></i>'

Triggering widget

If you wrap the {{> editableText ... }} widget in an element which has class="editable-text-trigger", a click on that element will trigger the edititing.

Note: Only use class="editable-text-trigger" to trigger the widget with eventType values that are click (default), dblclick or mousedown. If you use other eventType values, you will run into problems with recursion.


There is built-in support for the babrahams:transactions package, if you want everything to be undo/redo-able. To enable this:

meteor add babrahams:transactions

and in your app (in some config file on both client and server), add:

EditableText.useTransactions = true;

Or if you only want transactions on particular instances of the widget, pass useTransaction=true or useTransaction=false to override the default that was set via EditableText.useTransactions, but this will only work if you also set EditableText.clientControlsTransactions=true (by default it is false). If you set the EditableText.useTransactions value on the server, without changing EditableText.clientControlsTransactions, it doesn't matter what you set on the client (or pass from the client), you will always get the behaviour as set on the server.


To control whether certain users can edit text on certain documents/fields, you can overwrite the function EditableText.userCanEdit (which gets the data and config passed to the widget as this and parameters which are the document and collection). e.g. (to only allow users to edit their own documents):

EditableText.userCanEdit = function(doc, Collection) {
  return this.context.user_id === Meteor.userId(); // same as: doc.user_id === Meteor.userId();

It is important that you overwrite this function in a production app as the default is:

EditableText.userCanEdit = function(doc, Collection) {
  return true;

... which means anyone can edit any field in any document.

In this case, it is a good idea to make the EditableText.userCanEdit function and your allow and deny functions share the same logic to the greatest degree possible.

Note: the default setting is EditableText.useMethods=true, meaning updates are processed server side and bypass your allow and deny rules. If you're happy with this (and you should be), then all you need to do for consistency between client and server permission checks is overwrite the EditableText.userCanEdit function in a file that is shared by both client and server. Note that this function receives the widget data context as this and the collection object as the only parameter.

// e.g. If `type` is the editable field, but you want to limit the number of objects in the collection with any given value of `type` to 10
EditableText.userCanEdit = function(doc, Collection) {
  var count = Collection.find({type: this.context.type}).count(); // `this.context` is a document from `Collection`
  return count < 10;

Warning: if you set EditableText.useMethods=false, your data updates are being done on the client and you don't get html sanitization by default -- you'll have to sort this out or yourself via collection hooks or something. By default (i.e. when EditableText.useMethods=true) all data going into the database is passed through htmlSantizer.

Bigger warning: it doesn't really matter what you set EditableText.useMethods to -- you still need to lock down your collections using appropriate allow and deny rules. A malicious user can just type EditableText.useMethods=false into the browser console and this package will start making client side changes whose persistence to the database are subject only to your allow and deny rules.


  • Factor out the wysiwyg editor and let it be added optionally via another package

  • Make updates via methods rather than on the client using allow/deny rules

  • Sanitize all html that comes through method calls (assume every string field is html)

  • Add support for fields like author.firstName

  • Clean up and document code base

  • Put in error messages to help developers use the widget successfully

  • Write some tests