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High Level

At a high level, Changesets are used to track creation and mutation of data models in LiveView projects and synchronize them with HTML Forms and the user input that drives them.

Changeset are built on top of Zod which is a "Typescript-first schema validation with static type inference" library.

Let's go through the steps of creating a changeset helper for a Book data model.


The basics of Zod are pretty easy to pick up especially if you are familiar with Typescript. Even if you are not too familiar with Zod or Typescript, the concept is Zod is pretty straight forward. Essentially you are defining a schema and then parsing the input data against the schema. If the input data matches the schema then the data is valid. If the input data does not match the schema then the data is invalid and you can use the error messages to display validation errors to the user.

Create a Zod Schema

First, we need to define a Zod schema for the data model:

import { z } from "zod";

// Use Zod to define the schema for the Book model
const BookSchema = z.object({
id: z.string().default(nanoid),
name: z.string().min(2).max(100),
author: z.string().min(2).max(100),
checked_out: z.boolean().default(false),

As you can see the BookSchema has an id, name, genre and checked_out property. The id is a string and is generated using the nanoid function by default. The name and author are strings and must be at least 2 characters long and no more than 100 characters long. The checked_out property is a boolean and is set to false by default.

Infer the Type based on the Schema

// infer the Book type from the schema
type Book = z.infer<typeof BookSchema>;

Now, we have a schema and a type for the Book data model. The z.infer function is used to infer a valid type from the schema.

So far this is basic Zod usage. Now that we have the schema and type we can use them to create a LiveViewChangesetFactory.

Generate a LiveViewChangesetFactory

import { newChangesetFactory } from "liveviewjs";

// generate changeset factory
const bookCSF = newChangesetFactory<Book>(BookSchema);

The newChangesetFactory function takes a Zod schema (and type annotation) and returns a LiveViewChangesetFactory for that schema and type. The LiveViewChangesetFactory is used to create LiveViewChangesets for the Book model.

Using a LiveViewChangesetFactory

Despite it's long name, a LiveViewChangesetFactory is simply a function that takes two Partials and an (optional) action string and returns a LiveViewChangeset. The first Partial is the starting data model and the second Partial is the changes to the data model.

Here is the signature of the LiveViewChangesetFactory:

* A factory for creating a changeset for a given existing data model, updated data model, and optional action.
export type LiveViewChangesetFactory<T> = (
existing: Partial<T>,
newAttrs: Partial<T>,
action?: string
) => LiveViewChangeset<T>;

When you generate a LiveViewChangesetFactory for a given schema and type, the LiveViewChangesetFactory is created (and "typed") for that schema and type. So, if you generate a LiveViewChangesetFactory for a Book schema and type, then the LiveViewChangesetFactory will be typed to a LiveViewChangeset for a Book model and will only accept Partial<Book>s as the first and second arguments.

Use a LiveViewChangesetFactory to create a LiveViewChangeset

Now that we have a LiveViewChangesetFactory for the Book model, we can use it to create a LiveViewChangeset for a Book data.

const bookData: Partial<Book> = {
name: "The Hobbit",
author: "J.R.R. Tolkien",
// create a new changeset for a new book
const bookCS = changeset({}, bookData, "create");

The bookCS object is a LiveViewChangeset for a Book model. Zod parsed and validated the bookData we passed in.

A LiveViewChangeset has the following properties:

  • valid: boolean - does the resulting merged data model pass all validation rules?
  • changes: Partial<T> - just the parts of the model that have been changed relative to the existing model
  • data: T - the data model after the changeset has been applied (which may be invalid or valid depending on the validations)
  • errors: { [Property in keyof T]?: string | undefined; } - an object that maps property names to error messages if the changeset has invalid data
  • action?: string - the changeset action (or undefined if unset)

So now that we've created a LiveViewChangeset for the book data we can ask it if the data is valid or not:

bookCS.valid; // => true

Then we can ask it for the new data:; // => { id: "some-random-id", name: "The Hobbit", author: "J.R.R. Tolkien", checked_out: false }

Invalid Data

Let's create a new LiveViewChangeset for a book with invalid data:

const invalidBookData: Partial<Book> = {
name: "a",
author: "b",
// create a new changeset for this book
const invalidBookCS = changeset({}, invalidBookData, "create");

Now, we can ask the invalidBookCS if it is valid:

invalidBookCS.valid; // => false

And we can ask it for the errors:

invalidBookCS.errors; // => { name: "Must be at least 2 characters", author: "Must be at least 2 characters" }

What about the action string?

The value of the action string has no significance in an of itself. The presence of the action string however does impact the valid property of the LiveViewChangeset returned by the LiveViewChangesetFactory. If the action string is NOT set the valid property will always return true. If the action string IS set the valid property will return true if the data is valid and false if the data is invalid.


We pass "empty" (i.e., no action string) changesets to form helpers in the render function otherwise there would be errors on the form when the page is first loaded. "Empty" changesets are always valid.

Next Steps

Now that you understand "Changesets", we can show you how they are powerful partners with the Form Events we discussed earlier.