Advanced Flutter Forms (part 2)-img

Advanced Flutter Forms (part 2)

Create advanced forms with typeaheads, automatic text field population, spinners and snack bars
Welcome back to those of you who have read part one. If you just landed here, here’s a quick look at what the last guide was about and what’s covered in this one.
  • Text fields with different input types (Text, numbers, etc..) (Part 1)
  • Drop downs and check boxes (Part 1)
  • Local and server validations (Part 1)
  • Typeaheads for local and server auto completing. (Part 2)
  • Automatic text field population (Part 2)
  • Loading indeicators and snack bars once the form is submited. (Part 2)

Here’s a link to part one.

If you want to follow through with this feel free to get the part_one code from the repo

Typeahead (auto completion)

Let’s add some auto completion to our post code form field. When a user types in the field we make a call to the backend or get a local list to suggest some options to choose from.

Flutter does not support typeaheads out of the box so we’re going to use a package called flutter_typeahead. Please add this to your pubspec file and save it.
flutter_typeahead: ^1.8.0
a newer version will probably be out by the time you read this to please get the right one from here. Don’t forget to import it!

Now we need to replace the TextFormField with the TypeAheadFormField widget, that has all the properties of TextFormField.
  onSaved: (val) => _paymentAddress.postCode = val,
  textFieldConfiguration: TextFieldConfiguration(
    decoration: InputDecoration(
      labelText: 'Post Code',
      icon: Icon(Icons.location_on),
  suggestionsCallback: (pattern) {},
  itemBuilder: (context, Address address) {},
  onSuggestionSelected: (Address address) {},
  • textFieldConfiguration is where most of the properties that belong to to TextFormField are added.
  • suggestionsCallback takes a function that’s called when the user edits the field and uses the string as the argument. It returns a list to be used. It can be both synchronous and asynchronous.
  • itemBuilder buildes a widget for each value in the list that’s returned from suggestionsCallback
  • onSuggestionSelected a call back that is called once a suggestion is tapped

We should now have something that looks identical to what we had.

Now let’s start adding functionality to the typeahead starting with suggestionCallback.
suggestionsCallback: (pattern) {
  List<Address> addresses = [
    new Address(postCode: 'E4 9PS', addressLine: 'some address 1'),
    new Address(postCode: 'E4 9PS', addressLine: 'some address 1.1'),
    new Address(postCode: 'W11 1DZ', addressLine: 'some address 2'),
    new Address(postCode: 'N1 8YF', addressLine: 'some address 3')
  return addresses.where((a) => a.postCode == pattern);
  • We create a list of addresses to search through, filter them based on the entry and return the corect list.

To perform an async call you would need an async function. It would look something like this.
suggestionsCallback: (pattern) async {
  addresses = await someApiCall(pattern);
  // any other code
  return addresses;
Once you add that, it still won’t work as our item builder is empty. We’re going to create a simple ListTile to present each address.
itemBuilder: (context, Address address) {
  return ListTile(
    leading: Icon(Icons.location_city),
    title: Text(address.addressLine),
    subtitle: Text(address.postCode),
  • the itemBuilder takes in a function that has context and an address (or whatever type you’re using) as arguments.
  • ListTile is a simple way to present a list. More on it here

Now you should have a working autocomplete, that does not do anything once a suggestion is chosen. Let’s take a look at auto filling in the next section.

Automatic text field population (auto fill)

Now let’s fill the address line automatically based on what the user clicks. In order to do that we need to create a TextEditingController.

Add this to the declarations at the top of the class
final _addressLineController = TextEditingController();
Now let’s link our address line text field to the controller by adding the controller to our text field. It should look like this
  onSaved: (val) => _paymentAddress.addressLine = val,
  controller: _addressLineController, // add this line
  decoration: InputDecoration(
    labelText: 'Address Line',
    icon: Icon(Icons.location_city),
Now we need to fill out the onSuggestionSelected callback with a simple assigning line of code
onSuggestionSelected: (Address address) {
  _addressLineController.text = address.addressLine;
  • We use the text property on the addressLineController to assign the address line to the text field.

more on TextEditingController functionality here

Once the suggestion is clicked it will automatically fill in the field with the appropriate address line.

Spinner & Snack Bar

To make things as close to a real world example let’s finish everything up by adding a spinner and a snack bar to alert us when the payment is complete.

I like using flutter_spinkit for spinners as they have a few option and it’s very easy to integrate.

Add this to you pubspec file and save. Don’t forget to import it!
flutter_spinkit: "^4.1.2"
Let’s add a loading boolean to our class.
bool loading = false;
We also need to change the of the button to a spinner once the button is clicked
  child: loading
    ? SpinKitWave(
        color: Colors.white,
        size: 15.0,
    : Text('Process Payment'),
    //rest of the button code
  • We’re using an inline if statement to check if loading is set to true. If it is we show our SpinKit
  • The SpinKitWave is an indicator that looks like a wave and takes a color and a size.

Now let’s edit our onPressed functionality of the proccess payment button to enable the spinner and show the SnackBar. It should look like this
onPressed: () {
  if (_formKey.currentState.validate()) {
    setState(() {
      loading = true;
    Timer(Duration(seconds: 4), () {
      Payment payment = new Payment(
          address: _paymentAddress,
          cardDetails: _cardDetails);
      setState(() {
        loading = false;
      final snackBar =
        SnackBar(content: Text('Payment Proccessed'));
  • Once the button is pressed we set the loading state to true and that triggers the spinner
  • We use a timer to mimic an async call and show the spinner for 4 seconds.
  • Once the timer is done we return the state to false and trigger the snack bar.

  • Timer needs to be imported from dart:async
  • If you would like to show the snack bar on a different page then take a look at this cook book provided on the flutter website.


We now have a fully functional real life example form, with all the major fields and a few added bells and wistles. I hope you find this helpful or it helped you figure something out. If you find anything wrong or think you can add to these posts please feel free to send me a pull request.

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