Tuesday, June 15, 2010

doctrine: delete object but leave it in database

I've a website where I make a page from a doctrine object which is taken from a database. Nothing special there. For adding the data to the database I have a form that goes to a preview page then a confirm button that actually writes it. For the preview page I share the same display logic, so I construct a doctrine object and simply don't save it. For editing, I do the same: I load the doctrine object from the database, make the changes specified on the form, and then either show the preview page or save to the database (depending on if preview or confirm was clicked).

The problem came with editing a one-to-many relation. As a concrete example let's say the user is registering multiple email addresses. I was doing this:

Then doing this for each address the user gave:
   $User->Emails[]=new Email(...);

It nicely handles when the user has removed an email address, changed one, or added an extra one. But when I realized the flaw I slapped my forehead so hard I gave myself whiplash. Do you see it? Have a moment...

Yep, if they click cancel (or leave before clicking confirm) they're expecting nothing has changed, whereas in fact all the email addresses they'd previously input have vanished.

The problem is that delete() happens immediately, rather than waiting for me to call save(). I hunted high and low for a way to stop that. My final solution was:
   else $User->unlink('Emails');

I.e. unlink() appears to be the delete-that-does-not-touch-database I was searching for. (Of course, don't do something silly like go and call save() now, or the user will lose their email addresses and you'll have some orphaned records in your Emails table.)

Incidentally this did not work:

I'd hoped it would, after reading the description in the manual. But in fact it did nothing at all.

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