Dec 31, 2011

Displaying Role Hierarchy on Visualforce Page - Tree View

Ever thought of building a tree like data structure for the users based on role hierarchy and displaying it in the form of a JavaScript tree with node selection capability on the Visualforce page?

So recently I came across a functionality where a third party javascript calendar was used on the VisualForce page and all events were fetched programmatically through Apex and plotted on the calendar. The UI looked good along with other custom developed functionality. All was fine until client asked if it was possible to select some of the logged in user's subordinates through custom VF page and plot events on the calendar for the selected users only. In other words, fetch and display only those events which were owned by users who worked below the logged in user in the role hierarchy.

It got me thinking and I did some research to check if there was an easier way to get this done, but soon realized that this required custom  and tricky Apex/VF code. There's a nice little script written by Jeff Douglas that was closest to what I actually wanted.

So I came up with this handy utility which fulfils my requirements. Getting user IDs of subordinates could also be useful in situations where, for example, you want to do a comparative analysis of performance for all users reporting to a manager.

There are mainly two parts to the solution I designed:

1. RoleUtil (Apex Class): Utility class which exposes the following API

a. public static RoleNodeWrapper getRootNodeOfUserTree (Id userOrRoleId) - function creates the tree data structure for the requested user or role ID and returns the root node to the caller
b. public static List<User> getAllSubordinates (Id userId) - function returns the list of all subordinate users for the requested user ID
c. public static String getTreeJSON (Id userOrRoleId) - function returns the JSON string for the requested user or role ID
d. public static String getSObjectTypeById(Id objectId) - general utility function to return the string representation of the object type for the requested object ID
e. public static Boolean isRole (Id objId) - internally uses the getSObjectTypeById (#d above) to check whether the requested object ID is of UserRole type
f. public class RoleNodeWrapper (inner class) - wrapper for user role, represents a node in the tree data structure mentioned above and exposes boolean properties like hasChildren, hasUsers, isLeafNode, etc

public class RoleUtil {

    /********************* Properties used by getRootNodeOfUserTree function - starts **********************/
    // map to hold roles with Id as the key
    private static Map <Id, UserRole> roleUsersMap;

    // map to hold child roles with parentRoleId as the key
    private static Map <Id, List<UserRole>> parentChildRoleMap;

    // List holds all subordinates
    private static List<User> allSubordinates {get; set;}
    // Global JSON generator
    private static JSONGenerator gen {get; set;}

    /********************* Properties used by getRootNodeOfUserTree function - ends **********************/
    /********************* Properties used by getSObjectTypeById function - starts ********************* */
    // map to hold global describe data
    private static Map<String,Schema.SObjectType> gd;
    // map to store objects and their prefixes
    private static Map<String, String> keyPrefixMap;

    // to hold set of all sObject prefixes
    private static Set<String> keyPrefixSet;
    /********************* Properties used by getSObjectTypeById function - ends **********************/
    /* // initialize helper data */ 
    static {
        // initialize helper data for getSObjectTypeById function
        // initialize helper data for getRootNodeOfUserTree function
    /* // init1 starts <to initialise helper data> */
    private static void init1() {
        // get all objects from the org
        gd = Schema.getGlobalDescribe();
        // to store objects and their prefixes
        keyPrefixMap = new Map<String, String>{};
        //get the object prefix in IDs
        keyPrefixSet = gd.keySet();
        // fill up the prefixes map
        for(String sObj : keyPrefixSet) {
            Schema.DescribeSObjectResult r =  gd.get(sObj).getDescribe();
            String tempName = r.getName();
            String tempPrefix = r.getKeyPrefix();
            keyPrefixMap.put(tempPrefix, tempName);
    /* // init1 ends */

    /* // init2 starts <to initialise helper data> */
    private static void init2() {
        // Create a blank list
        allSubordinates = new List<User>();
        // Get role to users mapping in a map with key as role id
        roleUsersMap = new Map<Id, UserRole>([select Id, Name, parentRoleId, (select id, name from users) from UserRole order by parentRoleId]);
        // populate parent role - child roles map
        parentChildRoleMap = new Map <Id, List<UserRole>>();        
        for (UserRole r : roleUsersMap.values()) {
            List<UserRole> tempList;
            if (!parentChildRoleMap.containsKey(r.parentRoleId)){
                tempList = new List<UserRole>();
                parentChildRoleMap.put(r.parentRoleId, tempList);
            else {
                tempList = (List<UserRole>)parentChildRoleMap.get(r.parentRoleId);
                parentChildRoleMap.put(r.parentRoleId, tempList);
    /* // init2 ends */

    /* // public method to get the starting node of the RoleTree along with user list */
    public static RoleNodeWrapper getRootNodeOfUserTree (Id userOrRoleId) {
        return createNode(userOrRoleId);
    /* // createNode starts */
    private static RoleNodeWrapper createNode(Id objId) {
        RoleNodeWrapper n = new RoleNodeWrapper();
        Id roleId;
        if (isRole(objId)) {
            roleId = objId;
            if (!roleUsersMap.get(roleId).Users.isEmpty()) {
                n.myUsers = roleUsersMap.get(roleId).Users;
                n.hasUsers = true;
        else {
            List<User> tempUsrList = new List<User>();
            User tempUser = [Select Id, Name, UserRoleId from User where Id =: objId];
            n.myUsers = tempUsrList;
            roleId = tempUser.UserRoleId;
        n.myRoleId = roleId;
        n.myRoleName = roleUsersMap.get(roleId).Name;
        n.myParentRoleId = roleUsersMap.get(roleId).ParentRoleId;

        if (parentChildRoleMap.containsKey(roleId)){
            n.hasChildren = true;
            n.isLeafNode = false;
            List<RoleNodeWrapper> lst = new List<RoleNodeWrapper>();
            for (UserRole r : parentChildRoleMap.get(roleId)) {
            n.myChildNodes = lst;
        else {
            n.isLeafNode = true;
            n.hasChildren = false;
        return n;
    public static List<User> getAllSubordinates(Id userId){
        return allSubordinates;
    public static String getTreeJSON(Id userOrRoleId) {
        gen = JSON.createGenerator(true);
        RoleNodeWrapper node = createNode(userOrRoleId);
        return gen.getAsString();
    private static void convertNodeToJSON(RoleNodeWrapper objRNW){
            gen.writeStringField('title', objRNW.myRoleName);
            gen.writeStringField('key', objRNW.myRoleId);
            gen.writeBooleanField('unselectable', false);
            gen.writeBooleanField('expand', true);
            gen.writeBooleanField('isFolder', true);
            if (objRNW.hasUsers || objRNW.hasChildren)
                    if (objRNW.hasUsers)
                        for (User u : objRNW.myUsers)
                                gen.writeStringField('title', u.Name);
                                gen.writeStringField('key', u.Id);
                    if (objRNW.hasChildren)
                        for (RoleNodeWrapper r : objRNW.myChildNodes)
    /* // general utility function to get the SObjectType of the Id passed as the argument, to be used in conjunction with */ 
    public static String getSObjectTypeById(Id objectId) {
        String tPrefix = objectId;
        tPrefix = tPrefix.subString(0,3);
        //get the object type now
        String objectType = keyPrefixMap.get(tPrefix);
        return objectType;
    /* // utility function getSObjectTypeById ends */
    /* // check the object type of objId using the utility function getSObjectTypeById and return 'true' if it's of Role type */
    public static Boolean isRole (Id objId) {
        if (getSObjectTypeById(objId) == String.valueOf(UserRole.sObjectType)) {
            return true;
        else if (getSObjectTypeById(objId) == String.valueOf(User.sObjectType)) {
            return false;
        return false;
    /* // isRole ends */
    public class RoleNodeWrapper {
        // Role info properties - begin
        public String myRoleName {get; set;}
        public Id myRoleId {get; set;}
        public String myParentRoleId {get; set;}
        // Role info properties - end
        // Node children identifier properties - begin
        public Boolean hasChildren {get; set;}
        public Boolean isLeafNode {get; set;}
        public Boolean hasUsers {get; set;}
        // Node children identifier properties - end
        // Node children properties - begin
        public List<User> myUsers {get; set;}
        public List<RoleNodeWrapper> myChildNodes {get; set;}
        // Node children properties - end   
        public RoleNodeWrapper(){
            hasUsers = false;
            hasChildren = false;

2. TreeView (Visualforce component): Dynatree based reusable VF component that exposes input parameters like

a. roleOrUserId - required string type input attribute
b. selectable - boolean attribute to indicate whether you want to display checkboxes against nodes in the tree for user selection
c. JsonData - optional string type input attribute, if supplied to the component ignores the "roleOrUserId" attribute and displays the tree structure for the input JSON string
d. value - a string type output attribute which returns the IDs/Keys of the selected nodes in the CSV format, which can then be utilised by the page controller

<apex:component controller="TreeViewController">
    <apex:attribute name="roleOrUserId" required="true" type="String" assignTo="{!roleOrUserId}" description="Enter Role or User Id to build the hierarchy. Pass null if you are passing JSON data as a parameter" />
    <apex:attribute name="selectable" type="Boolean" assignTo="{!selectable}" description="Do you want nodes to be selectable?" />
    <apex:attribute name="value" type="String" description="IDs of selected Nodes in CSV format" />
    <apex:attribute name="JsonData" type="String" assignTo="{!JsonData}" description="JSON input for the tree component" />
    <apex:inputHidden id="selectedKeys" value="{!value}" />
    <apex:includeScript value="{!URLFOR($Resource.DynaTree, 'jquery/jquery.js' )}" />
    <apex:includeScript value="{!URLFOR($Resource.DynaTree, 'jquery/jquery-ui.custom.js' )}" />
    <apex:includeScript value="{!URLFOR($Resource.DynaTree, 'jquery/jquery.cookie.js' )}" />
    <apex:includeScript value="{!URLFOR($Resource.DynaTree, 'src/jquery.dynatree.js' )}" />
    <apex:stylesheet value="{!URLFOR($Resource.DynaTree, 'src/skin/ui.dynatree.css')}" />

    <!-- Add code to initialize the tree when the document is loaded: -->
    <script type="text/javascript">
        // Attach the dynatree widget to an existing <div id="tree"> element
        // and pass the tree options as an argument to the dynatree() function:
            onActivate: function(node) {
                // A DynaTreeNode object is passed to the activation handler
                // Note: we also get this event, if persistence is on, and the page is reloaded.
                //alert("You activated " +;
            persist: false,
            checkbox: {!selectable},
            generateIds: false,
            classNames: {
                checkbox: "dynatree-checkbox",
                expanded: "dynatree-expanded"
            selectMode: 3,
            children: {!JsonString},
            onSelect: function(select, node) {
                // Get a list of all selected nodes, and convert to a key array:
                var selKeys = $.map(node.tree.getSelectedNodes(), function(node){
                jQuery(document.getElementById("{!$Component.selectedKeys}")).val(selKeys.join(", "));
                // Get a list of all selected TOP nodes
                var selRootNodes = node.tree.getSelectedNodes(true);
                // ... and convert to a key array:
                var selRootKeys = $.map(selRootNodes, function(node){
    <!-- Add a <div> element where the tree should appear: -->
    <div id="tree"> </div>


You can see a working demo of the functionality here:

The code is available as unmanaged package ( if you want to use it in your org. The code has been written assuming positive use cases and exceptional situations have not much been handled. It is advised to review and tweak the code before you use it in your org.


  1. Excellent post Ankit! From the RoleUtil code, it seems that in the tree that you have published, folder nodes represent user roles whereas file nodes represent users. Is that correct?

  2. Great post! One bit of feedback - I would move

    gen = JSON.createGenerator(true);

    to the static initializer. As things are right now, you may be leaking JSONGenerators.

  3. sir, is it possible to add command link in dyna tree view. as standard role tree Hierarchy have edit, delete links for editing and deleting roles???

  4. sir is it possible to show image of contact in formula field in contact detail page(image is stored in notes and attachments) whenever image is saved /changed/multiple image(only customisation - no coding) is stored(takes only first image)

  5. It is working in Chorme but the same is not working in IE; some javascript erros any idea?

  6. Firgured out what is the issue, you have an extra , (comma) at the end of the fucntion onSelect: function(select, node) by removing this it works in IE as well. Thanks!

  7. Hey Ankit,

    Is it possible to Edit or Delete a role through a visualforce page using this approach?

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    i think this is useful for all of us..i am really enjoying when i reading.thanks for updating this informative article..
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  13. Hi Ankit ,
    This application is great, how ever i am not getting check boxes only tree renders can u help me out please?

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  27. hi, is there any chance of getting view state error, if there are large number of Role hierarchy record..if so how to optimize that
    please suggest

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