Dynamically updating, searchable, sortable datatables with Phoenix LiveView




Build Status hex.pm

Dynamic searchable, sortable datatable that takes a database query and a module, and makes the magic happen. Uses Phoenix Liveview and Postgres. Bootstrap friendly and easily configured for other CSS frameworks.

Documentation can be found at https://hexdocs.pm/exzeitable.


Watch the video


This package requires a Postgres database and Phoenix.

The package can be installed by adding exzeitable and Phoenix Live View to your list of dependencies in mix.exs:

def deps do
    {:exzeitable, "~> 0.3.2"},
    {:phoenix_live_view, "~> 0.7"},
    {:floki, ">= 0.0.0", only: :test}

Please see Phoenix Live View's installation instructions.

Getting Started


Search requires the pg_trgm extension for Postgres.

Create a new migration

mix ecto.gen.migration add_pg_trgm

And add the following code to your migration file

  def up do
    execute("CREATE EXTENSION pg_trgm")

  def down do
    execute("DROP EXTENSION pg_trgm")

Then migrate

mix ecto.migrate


Add the boilerplate to a new module.

defmodule YourAppWeb.Live.File do
  @moduledoc "User's File table"
  alias YourAppWeb.Router.Helpers, as: Routes
  import Ecto.Query

  use Exzeitable,
    # Required
    repo: YourApp.Repo,
    routes: Routes,
    path: :file_path,
    action_buttons: [:show, :edit, :custom_button]
    query: from(f in File)
    fields: [
      image: [virtual: true],
      title: [hidden: true],
      description: [hidden: true],
      category: [hidden: true],
      filesize: [hidden: true, function: true, search: false],
      inserted_at: [hidden: true, function: true, label: "Created"],
      updated_at: [hidden: true, function: true, label: "Updated"]
    # Optional
    debounce: 300

  # The callback that renders your table
  def render(assigns), do: ~L"<%= build_table(assigns) %>"

  # Field functions, called when virtual: true or function: true
  def image(socket, file) do
    img_tag(file.url, class: "w-100")
    |> link(to: Routes.file_path(socket, :show, file))
  # Or heck, lets make another button!
  def super_cool_custom_action(socket, item, csrf_token) do
    link "SUPER AWESOME", to: Routes.super_cool_path(socket, :custom_action, item), "data-confirm": "Are you sure?", csrf_token: csrf_token

  def filesize, do: ...
  def inserted_at, do: ...
  def updated_at, do: ...

Options can be added to either your module (as seen above), or in the template (As seen below) or both. If an option is defined in both the template option will replace the module option. The only exception is :fields which must be specified in the module.

Required options

  • repo The module for your repository. Example: YourApp.Repo
  • routes Your route module. Example: YourAppWeb.Router.Helpers
  • path The base path for your resource. Example: :site_path
  • query A Ecto.Query struct, the part before you give it to the Repo. Example: from(s in Site, preload: [:users

Defining your fields

Under the fields key, you can define a keyword list of atoms with keyword values. The map holds the options for that field.

fields: [
          name: [function: true],
          age: [order: false],
          metadata: [label: "Additional Information", virtual: true, hidden: true],

The following field options are available (with their defaults):

  • label: nil Set a custom string value for the column heading
  • function: false Pass (socket, entry) to a function with the same name as the field
  • hidden: false Hide the column by default (user can click show button to reveal)
  • search: true Whether to include the column in search results.
  • order: true Do not allow the column to be sorted (hide the sort button)
  • virtual: false This is shorthand for [function: true, search: false, order: false] and will override those settings. Intended for creating fields that are not database backed.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Search uses ts_vector, which is performed by Postgres inside the database on string fields. This means that you cannot search fields that are not string type (i.e. integer, datetime, associations, virtual fields). Make sure to set search: false or virtual: true on such fields.

Optional... options (with defaults)

  • action_buttons: [:new, :edit, :show, :delete] A list of atoms representing action buttons avaliable for the user to use. This does not do authorization, the routes will still be available.
  • per_page: 20 Integer representing number of entries per page.
  • debounce: 300 Sets how many miliseconds between responding to user input on the search field. Set in module only
  • assigns: %{} Passes additional assigns to socket.assigns. Can only be passed through the template, keep your payload small!

Options for nested routes

If you dont know what this is then you likely don't need to worry about it. You can look at The official docs if you would like to learn more.

If you define one of the below options you then need to define the other.

For this example we will be using the boring example of users and posts

resources "/users", UserController do
  resources "/posts", PostController

The users Exzeitable does not need the 2 options below, but the posts Exzeitable does. Because all of its routes are different. The following will be needed to make the posts Exzeitable work:

  • belongs_to: :user
  • parent: @user

Make sure that you include the :user_id in your query.

You will need to pass the parent option in from the template.


This is where you can specify the query that forms the default data of the table. Everything the table does is with a subset of this data.

query = from(f in Files)
render(conn, "index.html", query: query)


Call the table from your template

<h1> My Awesome Files </h1>
<%= YourAppWeb.Live.File.live_table(@conn, query: @query, action_buttons: [:show, :edit], assigns: %{user_id: @current_user.id}) %>


Almost no CSS styling is included out of the box. I have added generic classes elements in the table in the hopes of making the table as CSS framwork agnostic as possible.

I have included a Bootstrap SASS example in the HTML Module


Contributions are very welcome! Open an issue or a pull request, the code, tests and documentation can always be improved and I welcome the help :)