Rails 3: Multiple Select with has_many through associations

Final solution to organize categories in your posts, I hope it will be useful.

To use multiple we need select_tag:

<%= select_tag "categories", options_from_collection_for_select(Categories.all, 'id', 'name'), :multiple => true %>

Or f.select (many thanks to Tigraine and Brent!), it's more elegant way:

<%= f.select :categories, Category.all.collect {|x| [x.name, x.id]}, {}, :multiple => true %>

In create action of our controller we need:

def create
   @post = Post.new(params[:post])

if @post.save

  params[:categories].each do |categories|
     categories = PostCategory.new(:category_id => categories, :post_id => @post.id)
     if categories.valid?
       @errors += categories.errors
  redirect_to root_url, :notice => "Bingo!"
  render "new"

What you need is a list of options for the select:

<%= f.select :category_id, Category.all.collect {|x| [x.name, x.id]}, :multiple => true %>

Sorry to resurrect the dead, but I found a much simpler solution that lets one use the default controller action code and use the ActiveModel setter logic for a has_many. Yes, it's totally magic.

<%= f.select :category_ids, Category.all.collect {|x| [x.name, x.id]}, {}, :multiple => true %>

Specifically, using the :category_ids (or :your_collection_ids) param name will automagically tell Rails to call @post.category_ids = params[:post][:category_ids] to set the categories for that post accordingly, all without modifying the default controller/scaffold #create and #update code.

Oh, and it works with has_many :something, through: :something_else automatically managing the join model. Freaking awesome.

So from the OP, just change the field/param name to :category_ids instead of :categories.

This will also automatically have the model's selected categories populate the select field as highlighted when on an edit form.


From the has_many API docs where I found this.

Also the warning from the form helpers guide explains this "type mismatch" when not using the proper form-field/parameter name.

By using the proper form-field/param name, you can dry up new and edit forms and keep the controllers thin, as encouraged by the Rails way.

note for rails 4 and strong parameters:

def post_params
  params.require(:post).permit(:title, :body, category_ids: [])