Thursday, April 7, 2016

Spring MVC: Trgger manual validation of a form object

Sometimes it may be needed to use manual validation in Spring MVC @Controller. This is very simple with Spring’s org.springframework.validation.ValidationUtils class. Learn how to invoke a validator in two different scenarios.

Scenario 1 - invoke validation

In this scenario, I have a user form with username field. Username field is validated with custom validator in order to verify the existance in e.g. database.

public class User {

    private String username;


In controller class I have a method that handles POST method of that object:

private org.springframework.validation.Validator validator;

@RequestMapping(value = "/user", method = RequestMethod.POST)
public String validate(@ModelAttribute User user, Errors errors) {

    ValidationUtils.invokeValidator(validator, user, errors);

    if (errors.hasErrors()) {
        // error, show errors to the user

    // success, form is valid!

org.springframework.validation.ValidationUtils is a class for invoking a org.springframework.validation.Validator.

Please note that user parameter is followed by org.springframework.validation.Errors object. Spring initializes this object but it is empty and can be be passed to a invokeValidator method.

Scenario 2 - invoke validation with hints

In this scenario, user form gets a bit more complicated:

@GroupSequence(value = {ValidationOrder.First.class, ValidationOrder.Second.class})
interface ValidationOrder {
    interface First {}
    interface Second {}

public class User {

    @UserExists(groups = ValidationOrder.First.class)
    @UserIsEntitledToDiscount(groups = ValidationOrder.Second.class)
    private String username;


Thanks to @GroupSequence I could decide about the order of validation. To trigger validation I need to pass an additional argument to invokeValidator method so the groups are correctly used:

ValidationUtils.invokeValidator(validator, user, errors, ValidationOrder.class);

Source code

The source code contains all three approaches, so that you can quickly compare them:

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