Module 5: Creating the SearchBar Component

In this module, you create a SearchBar component that allows the user to search contacts by name. You could add the search bar to the ContactList component, but that would limit the reusability of the component: depending on specific UI requirements, you may want the search bar to be directly on top of the list (like you’ll do here), integrated in the header, or somewhere else. You also want the ContactList component to be able to display a list of contacts independently of the type of search bar you use: regular input field with search button, type ahead search, etc. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to decouple the search UI, from the display UI, and create two components: ContactList and SearchBar.

What you will learn

  • Create custom Lightning Events
  • Communicate between components using events

Step 1: Create the SearchKeyChange Event:

Now that we decided to build SearchBar and ContactList as two separate components, we need a way for ContactList to know when the search key changes so that it can retrieve and display the matching contacts. Lightning Events enable that kind of communication between components. In this step, you create a Lightning Event used by the SearchBar component to notify other components when the search key changes.

  1. In the Developer Console, click File > New > Lightning Event. Specify SearchKeyChange as the bundle name and click Submit

  2. Implement the event as follows:

     <aura:event type="APPLICATION">
         <aura:attribute name="searchKey" type="String"/>

    ### Code Highlights:

    • The event holds one argument: the new searchKey
  3. Click File > Save to save the file

Step 2: Create the SearchBar Component

  1. In the Developer Console, click File > New > Lightning Component. Specify SearchBar as the bundle name and click Submit

  2. Implement the component as follows:

             <input type="text" class="form-control"
                     placeholder="Search" onkeyup="{!c.searchKeyChange}"/>

    ### Code Highlights:

    • This is a simple component with a single input field.
    • When the user types in a character (onkeyup), the searchKeyChange() function is executed in the component’s client-side controller (you’ll code that function in the next step). Using this approach the search is refined every time the user types in a character.
  3. Click File > Save to save the file

Step 3: Implement the Controller

  1. Click CONTROLLER (upper right corner in the code editor)

  2. Implement the Controller as follows:

         searchKeyChange: function(component, event, helper) {
             var myEvent = $A.get("e.c:SearchKeyChange");

    ### Code Highlights:

    • The function first gets an instance of the SearchKeyChange event
    • It then sets the event’s searchKey parameter to the input field’s new value
    • Finally, it fires the event so that registered listeners can catch it
  3. Click File > Save to save the file

Step 4: Style the Component

  1. Click STYLE

  2. Implement the following styles:

     .THIS {
         width: 100%;
         padding: 8px;
     .THIS input {
         width: 100%;
         padding: 8px;
         -webkit-appearance: none;
         border: solid 1px #dddddd;
  3. Click File > Save to save the file

Step 5: Listen for the SearchKeyChange Event in ContactList

  1. In the Developer Console, go back to the ContactList component

  2. Add an event handler for the SearchKeyChange event (right after the init handler):

     <aura:handler event="c:SearchKeyChange" action="{!c.searchKeyChange}"/>

    ### Code Highlight:

    • The handler is set up to execute the searchKeyChange() function in the controller
  3. Click CONTROLLER (upper right corner in the code editor)

  4. Add the searchKeyChange() function implemented as follows:

     searchKeyChange: function(component, event) {
         var searchKey = event.getParam("searchKey");
         var action = component.get("c.findByName");
           "searchKey": searchKey
         action.setCallback(this, function(a) {
         	component.set("v.contacts", a.getReturnValue());

    Make sure you separate the doInit() and the searchKeyChange() functions with a comma

    ### Code Highlights:

    • You first get the value of the new searchKey available in the event object.
    • You then invoke the findByName() method in the Apex controller you created in module 3.
    • When the asynchronous call returns, you assign the list of contacts returned by findByName() to the component’s contacts attribute.
  5. Click File > Save to save the file

Step 6: Add SearchBar to the QuickContacts Component

  1. In the developer console, go back to the QuickContacts component

  2. Add the SearchBar component before the ContactList component:

     <aura:component implements="force:appHostable">
  3. Click File > Save to save the file

  4. Go back to the Salesforce1 app and reload Quick Contacts from the menu to see the changes. Type a few characters in the search bar to search for contacts.

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