Select2 With Simple Form in Rails

Select2 is a great JQuery plugin that customizes your select boxes to give a better user interface and experience.

Recently while working on a Rails project, I was experiencing some problems when using Select2 and Simple Form in my view.

In the view, I want to use Select2 to search for people in a Person table in the application's database. Select2 should use AJAX to hit a controller's action that performs the search. The user can then select one of the results found and it will be added to the field as a token (this is a multiple select field).

The controller action looks something like this:

def search
  @people = Person.all.where('name LIKE ? OR last_name LIKE ?',
    "%#{params[:q]}%", "%#{params[:q]}%")

  respond_to do |format|
    format.json { render json: { |p| { id:, full_name: p.full_name } } }

As you can see, we are returning full_name, which is a model instance method that combines both name fields and returns it into a single string.

Let's assume that the endpoint can return the following data:

  { id: 1, full_name: "Pablo Escobar" },
  { id: 2, full_name: "Enrique Iglesias" }

In my view, I use Simple Form association helper to create the field.

= f.association :plaintiffs, input_html: { 'data-endpoint': people_search_path, class: 'select2-field' }

I then implement Select2 using CoffeScript like this:

$ ->
    theme: 'bootstrap'
    minimumInputLength: 1
    maximumInputLength: 20
      url: $('.select2-field').data('endpoint')
      dataType: 'json'
      delay: 250
      data: (params) ->
          q: params.term

      processResults: (data) ->
          results: $.map(data, (item) ->
              text: item.full_name

The problem was that after selecting the result, only the first name would appear in the field. In other words, only the part before the space in the full name.

Simple Form Token Issue

Initially I thought this was a Select2 issue, but then I realized that it was actually a Simple Form issue. So I made this post specifically for future reference.

The Solution

This solution is super simple. We need to add the label_method attribute to the Simple Form select field. Like this:

= f.association :plaintiffs, label_method: :full_name, value_method: :id, input_html: { 'data-endpoint': people_search_path, class: 'select2-field' }

Note how I specify the full_name field of the returned JSON data. I also added value_method in the example above, but it is not necessary.

The tokens should now look the way they were supposed to:

Correct tokens

rails ruby javascript coffeescript web dev


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