Skip to main content


The vulcan:forms package provides a SmartForm component that lets you easily generate new document and edit document forms.


This package can generate new document and edit document forms from a schema. Features include:

  • Error handling.
  • Bootstrap-compatible.
  • Cross-component communication (prefill a field based on another).
  • Callbacks on form submission, success, and failure.
  • Support for basic form controls (input, textarea, radio, etc.).
  • Support for custom form controls.
  • Submission to Meteor methods.


Example schema:

import BodyFormControl from './components/BodyFormControl.jsx';

const isLoggedIn = (user) => !!user;
const isOwner = (user, document) => user._id === document.userId;
const isAdmin = (user) => user.isAdmin;

const PostsSchema = new SimpleSchema({
postedAt: {
type: Date,
optional: true
// no canCreate or canUpdate means this field won't appear in forms
title: {
type: String,
optional: false,
max: 500,
canCreate: isLoggedIn,
canUpdate: isOwner,
control: "text",
order: 1
body: {
type: String,
optional: true,
max: 3000,
canCreate: isLoggedIn,
canUpdate: isOwner,
control: BodyFormControl,
order: 2
sticky: {
type: Boolean,
optional: true,
defaultValue: false,
canCreate: isAdmin,
canUpdate: isAdmin,
control: "checkbox",
order: 3

Creating Forms​

New Document​

Just pass the collection or collectionName props to the SmartForm component:


// or


Edit Document​

Same as the New Document form, but also passing the documentId to edit.



Here are all the props accepted by the SmartForm component:

Basic Props​


The collection in which to edit or insert a document.


Instead of passing collection you can pass the name of the collection.


If present, the document to edit. If not present, the form will be a β€œnew document” form.


An array of field names, if you want to restrict the form to a specific set of fields.


The text inside the submit button of the form.


A layout property used to control how the form fields are displayed. Defaults to horizontal.


Whether to show a "delete document" link on edit forms.


A set of props used to prefill the form.


Whether to repeat validation errors at the bottom of the form.



A callback called on form submission on the form data. Should return the data object as well.


A callback called on mutation success.

errorCallback(document, error)​

A callback called on mutation failure.


If a cancelCallback function is provided, a "cancel" link will be shown next to the form's submit button and the callback will be called on click.


A callback to call when a document is successfully removed (deleted).


A callback called when the form is initialized.


A callback called a every change or blur event inside the form.



A GraphQL fragment used to specify the data to fetch to populate edit forms.

If no fragment is passed, SmartForm will do its best to figure out what data to load based on the fields included in the form.


A GraphQL fragment used to specify the data to return once a mutation is complete.

If no fragment is passed, SmartForm will only return fields used in the form, but note that this might sometimes lead to discrepancies when compared with documents already loaded on the client.

An example would be a createdAt date added automatically on creation even though it's not part of the actual form. If you'd like that field to be returned after the mutation, you can define a custom mutationFragment that includes it explicitly.

Field-Specific Data Loading​

Sometimes, a specific field will need specific data in addition to its own value. For example, you might have a category field on a Post that stores a category's _id, but simply showing users an empty text-field where they can manually type in that _id isn't very user-friendly.

Instead, you'll probably want to populate a dropdown with all your existing categories' names (and maybe also images, descriptions, etc.) to make it easier to pick the right one. This in turns means you need a way to load all these categories in the first place.

This is where field-level data loading comes in. This gives you an easy way to tell Vulcan Forms that you need an extra bit of data whenever that field is displayed:

categoryId: {
type: String,
control: 'checkboxgroup',
optional: true,
canCreate: ['members'],
canUpdate: ['members'],
canRead: ['guests'],
query: `
categories(input: { limit: 999 }){
options: props => => ({
value: category._id,
resolveAs: ...

We're doing two things here. First, we're setting the query property and passing it an additional bit of GraphQL query code that will be executed when the form is loaded.

Because the extra query code calls the categories resolver, whatever the resolver returns will then be available on once our data is done loading.

This lets us set the options property in order to populate our dropdown. Essentially, we're just translating a list of categories into a list of { value, label } pairs.

Note that it's usually a good idea to pass a high limit to field queries, since you usually want to load the entirety of your collection (since the categoryId could point to any category in your database). This does mean that this pattern is currently not ideal for collections with large number of items.

Using documentId​

Field-specific queries work by adding β€œextra” query parts to a specially created formNewExtraQuery HoC when inserting new documents; or to the withSingle HoC when editing an existing document.

When editing a document, you can reuse the documentId in your extra query parts since it will already have been made available to the main query.

For example, you might want to restrict a list of users to those having the ability to moderate a given document:

moderatorId: {
type: String,
control: 'select',
optional: true,
canCreate: ['members'],
canUpdate: ['members'],
canRead: ['guests'],
query: `
listDocumentModerators(documentId: $documentId){
options: props => => ({
value: user._id,
label: user.displayName,
resolveAs: ...

Of course, you'll also have to write your own listDocumentModerators custom resolver that takes in a documentId argument and returns the corresponding list of users.

Note that although currentUser is not passed as an argument to your resolvers, it's available on the context object on the server.


The main SmartForm components makes the following objects available as context to all its children:


An object containing optional autofilled properties.

addToAutofilledValues({name: value})​

A function that takes a property, and adds it to the autofilledValues object.

throwError({content, type})​

A callback function that can be used to throw an error.


A function that lets you retrieve the current document from a form component.

Handling Values​

The component handles three different layers of input values:

  • The value stored in the database (when editing a document).
  • The value being currently inputted in the form element.
  • An β€œautofilled” value, typically provided by an other form element (i.e. autofilling the post title from its URL).

The highest-priority value is the user input. If there is no user input, we default to the database value provided by the props. And if that one is empty too, we then look for autofilled values.


This package uses React Intl to automatically translate all labels. In order to do so it expects an intl object to be passed as part of its context. For example, in a parent component:

getChildContext() {
const intlProvider = new IntlProvider({locale: myLocale}, myMessages);
const {intl} = intlProvider.getChildContext();
return {
intl: intl

Alternative Approach​

If you prefer, you can also code your own forms from scratch, either using withCreate, withUpdate, and withDelete, or with your own custom mutation HoCs.