# Examples of formulas

## Testing on a Yes No Answer field

Say you have a Yes/No Answer field (before 2016.1 called Boolean Input), named yes-no, and if the answer is Yes, you would like to show another field. In the Visibility expression for this other field, you should write:

\$yes-no/string() = 'true'
• Why not just write \$yes-no? If you do, the expression will always evaluate to true, because Orbeon Forms evaluates boolean(\$yes-no): since \$yes-no points to a node, the boolean function always returns true.
• Why not write \$yes-no = true()? In this case, since \$yes-no compared to boolean value, it is atomized. The node pointed to by \$yes-no is of type boolean, so the atomization process takes the node typed value. When the node contains the string true or false, this expression works as expected. However, if it contains an empty string, which up to Orbeon Forms 2017.2 is the default value for that field, then the expression fails. For the purpose of determining whether a field is valid, read-only, or visible, when the expression fails the result will be considered to be false, so it will work if the expression is used on its own. However, if the expression is used in an or clause (\$yes-no = true() or something), if the \$yes-no = true() part is evaluated first, the expression as a whole will fail and return false, which is incorrect in case the other part of the or clause is true. Also, in the case of a calculated value, the result will be the empty string, instead of false.

## Sum of values in a repeat

### With Orbeon Forms 4.5 and newer

Scenario: compute the sum of values in multiple repeat iterations. Say you have:

• a repeated grid
• a decimal field called price on each row
• an integer field called quantity on each row
• a decimal text output field called row-total on each row
• a decimal text output field called total below the grid

You want to compute the row totals and athe general total.

Calculated value expression for row-total:

\$price * \$quantity

Calculated value expression for total:

sum(\$row-total[string() castable as xs:decimal], 0.0)

Explanation:

• when accessing control values with variables, the "closest" variables are found
• this means that the row-total control calculation applies to the closest price and quantity controls, that is, those on the same row, and each row gets its own total
• the total calculation is outside the repeat, and when it refers to \$row-total, all row-total values are returned
• sum() is a standard XPath function to compute the sum of a sequence of items
• the predicate [string() castable as xs:decimal] excludes values that are blank or not a decimal number
• see this blog post for the use of string() within the predicate
• sum() supports a second argument which is the value to return in case no value satisfies the predicate (this makes sure that we return a decimal value, as we are using a literal decimal 0.0)

See also:

### From Orbeon Forms 4.0 to 4.4.x

Scenario: compute the sum of values in multiple repeat iterations.

Say you have:

• a repeat called my-repeat
• with a decimal field called number on each row

Calculated value expression:

sum(\$my-repeat/number[string() castable as xs:decimal])

Explanation:

• \$my-repeat points to the repeat data's enclosing XML elements
• the nested /number path points to the number field within each iteration
• [string() castable as xs:decimal] excludes values that are blank or not a decimal number
• sum() is a standard XPath function to compute the sum of a sequence of items *

## Constrain a number between two values

Scenario: Make the current integer number field valid only if its value is between two values, say 12 and 17 included.

Expression:

. >= 12 and . <= 17

Explanation:

• . refers to the current value of the control
• >= or ge means "greater than or equals to"
• <= or le means "less than or equals to"
• and is the logical "and" operator

If you want to refer to a specific control by name, you can use:

\$my-control >= 12 and \$my-control <= 17

## Constrain the length of a string between two values

Scenario: Make the current field valid only if its length is between two values, say 2 and 140.

Expression:

string-length(.) >= 2 and string-length(.) <= 140

Explanation:

• . refers to the current value of the control
• The standard string-length() function returns the length of its argument
• >= or ge means "greater than or equals to"
• <= or le means "less than or equals to"
• and is the logical "and" operator

If you want to refer to a specific control by name, you can use:

string-length(\$message) >= 2 and string-length(\$message) <= 140

[SINCE Orbeon Forms 4.10]

The same can be expressed, for the current control, as:

xxf:min-length(2) and xxf:max-length(140)

## Validating with a regular expression

Scneario: check that a given value matches a regular expression, for example "only ASCII letters and digits, the dash, and underscore character".

matches(., '^[A-Za-z0-9\-_]+\$')

Explanation:

• the standard matches() function applies the regular expression passed as second argument to the first argument, and returns true if it does match

## Make a control read-only based on the value of another control

Scenario: Make a control read-only if the value of the first-name control is blank:

Expression:

normalize-space(\$first-name) = ''

Explanation:

• \$first-name returns the value of the control with name "first-name"
• normalize-space() is a standard XPath function which removes all leading and trailing white space and combine internal white space. Using this function ensures that, even if the value contains spaces, it resolves to an empty string.
• = '' compares the result of the function to the empty string

## Setting a dynamic initial value

Scenario: As a form author, you can set a static initial value for a control simply by setting that value at design time. For example:

• Enter a value in an input field
• Select an item in a dropdown list

But not all initial values can be static. For example, you might want a date selection control to contain the current date until the user changes it. In this case, you can use an "Initial Value" expression.

Initial Value expression:

current-date()

Explanation:

• current-date() is a standard XPath function returning the current date.

## Simple calculated values

Scenario: compute the sum of two numbers entered by the user in two fields, "quantity1" and "quantity2".

Calculated Value expression:

if (\$quantity1 castable as xs:integer and \$quantity2 castable as xs:integer)
then \$quantity1 + \$quantity2
else ''

Explanation:

• if (...) then ... else ... evaluates a condition and then returns one of two alternatives
• the condition quantity1 castable as xs:integer checks that the value from the field "quantity1" is an integer
• quantity1 + \$quantity2 simply adds the two values
• the value '' represents an empty string This can be specified for example on a Text Output control.

NOTE: If the value of a control is calculated, by default it is also marked as read-only. If you want a calculated control to be still editable by the user, set its Read-Only property explicitly to false().

## Access a control in a particular repeat iteration

Given this form and a control called name within a repeat:

• \$name[2]: return the value of the control in the second iteration
• string-join(\$name, ', '): join all values with commas
• count(\$name): return the number of values

NOTE: This works when the expression is outside repeat iterations. For expressions within the same repeat, \$name returns the closest control.

See also Model bind variables and this StackOverflow question.

See Form Fields.

## Check the Form Runner mode

### Modes

The Form Runner detail page can have the following modes:

• new
• edit
• view
• pdf
• email
• 'test' (when you are testing a form within Form Builder)

### With Orbeon Forms 2016.2 and newer

You can use the fr:mode() XPath function exposed by Form Runner to all XPath expressions.

fr:mode() = 'edit'

### With Orbeon Forms 2016.1.x and earlier

A special XPath variable named \$fr-mode is exposed by Form Runner to all XPath expressions.

You can test the mode as follows, for example in a Visibility expression:

\$fr-mode = 'edit'

## Access HTTP request parameters and HTTP headers

It can be useful to access HTTP headers to set default values upon form initialization, for example when single sign-on systems use HTTP headers as a way of communicating information to an application.

XPath expressions have access to a special function, xxf:request-header(), which allows retrieving a header by name. Example of setting the default value of a field using an initial value:

xxf:get-request-header('full-name')

NOTE: With Orbeon Forms 3.8 and 3.9, headers cannot be reliably accessed after the form is initialized, so this function should be used for setting initial values on controls only. See the next scenario for a workaround.

## Check the type of an attachment

Scenario: field my-attachment must be a PDF file.

Constraint expression:

ends-with(lower-case(\$my-attachment/@filename), '.pdf')

Explanation:

• Form Runner stores information about a file into XML attributes:
• @filename accesses the file name as sent by the user's browser
• @mediatype accesses the file type as sent by the user's browser
• @size accesses the file size
• \$my-attachment/@filename returns the file name associated with attachment "my-attachment"
• The lower-case() function converts that name to a lower case value
• The ends-with() function checks whether its first argument ends with the second argument

Similarly, you can test the file type:

\$my-attachment/@mediatype = 'application/pdf'

NOTE: Because the file name and file type are sent by the client's browser, they cannot be trusted. This should only be considered a first level of data validation, and further validation based on the content must be performed at a later time if needed. See also issue #1838.

## Set the value of a field from a URL parameter

Scenario: We want to set the value of a field from a URL parameter, but only if that parameter exists. If it doesn't, we want to leave the value of the field as it is.

(xxf:get-request-parameter('my-parameter'), .)[1]

Explanation:

• If the parameter exists
• xxf:get-request-parameter() returns a single string
• so you get a sequence containing that string following by the current value of the field
• we take the first value of the sequence, so the value of the parameter is used
• if the parameter doesn't exist
• xxf:get-request-parameter() returns an empty XPath sequence
• so you get a sequence containing only the current value of the field
• we take the first value of that sequence, so we get the current value of the control

## Constraint the number of selected checkboxes

Scenario: For a given set of checkboxes, make sure the number of selected checkboxes is at most 3.

count(xxf:split(.)) le 3

Explanation:

• xxf:split(.) tokenizes the space-separated values selected by the checkbox
• the number of tokens obtained with count() corresponds to the number of selected checkboxes
• then this makes sure the number of tokens is lower than or equal to 3