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Getting started with Hibernate Validator

Getting started with Hibernate Validator

Welcome to Hibernate Validator. The following paragraphs will guide you through the initial steps required to integrate Hibernate Validator into your application.

Prerequisites

Project set up

In order to use Hibernate Validator within a Maven project, simply add the following dependency to your pom.xml:

<dependency>
   <groupId>org.hibernate</groupId>
   <artifactId>hibernate-validator</artifactId>
   <version>5.1.0.Final</version>
</dependency>

This transitively pulls in the dependency to the Bean Validation API (javax.validation:validation-api:1.1.0.Final).

Unified Expression Language (EL)

Hibernate Validator also requires an implementation of the Unified Expression Language (JSR 341) for evaluating dynamic expressions in constraint violation messages. When your application runs in a Java EE container such as WildFly, an EL implementation is already provided by the container. In a Java SE environment, however, you have to add an implementation as dependency to your POM file. For instance you can add the following two dependencies to use the JSR 341 reference implementation:

<dependency>
   <groupId>javax.el</groupId>
   <artifactId>javax.el-api</artifactId>
   <version>2.2.4</version>
</dependency>
<dependency>
   <groupId>org.glassfish.web</groupId>
   <artifactId>javax.el</artifactId>
   <version>2.2.4</version>
</dependency>

CDI

Bean Validation defines integration points with CDI (Contexts and Dependency Injection, JSR 346). If your application runs in an environment which does not provide this integration out of the box, you may use the Hibernate Validator CDI portable extension by adding the following Maven dependency to your POM:

<dependency>
   <groupId>org.hibernate</groupId>
   <artifactId>hibernate-validator-cdi</artifactId>
   <version>5.1.0.Final</version>
</dependency>

Adding this dependency is not required for applications running on a Java EE application server.

Applying constraints

Lets dive into an example to see how to apply constraints:

package org.hibernate.validator.referenceguide.chapter01;

import javax.validation.constraints.Min;
import javax.validation.constraints.NotNull;
import javax.validation.constraints.Size;

public class Car {

@NotNull
private String manufacturer;

@NotNull
@Size(min = 2, max = 14)
private String licensePlate;

@Min(2)
private int seatCount;

   public Car(String manufacturer, String licencePlate, int seatCount) {
      this.manufacturer = manufacturer;
      this.licensePlate = licencePlate;
      this.seatCount = seatCount;
   }

   // getters and setters ...
}

The @NotNull, @Size and @Min annotations are used to declare the constraints which should be applied to the fields of a Car instance:

  • manufacturer must never be null

  • licensePlate must never be null and must be between 2 and 14 characters long

  • seatCount must be at least 2

You can find the complete source code of all examples used in this getting started guide in the Hibernate Validator source repository on GitHub.

Validating constraints

To perform a validation of these constraints, you use a Validator instance. To demonstrate this, let’s have a look at a simple unit test:

package org.hibernate.validator.referenceguide.chapter01;

import java.util.Set;
import javax.validation.ConstraintViolation;
import javax.validation.Validation;
import javax.validation.Validator;
import javax.validation.ValidatorFactory;

import org.junit.BeforeClass;
import org.junit.Test;

import static org.junit.Assert.assertEquals;

public class CarTest {

private static Validator validator;

   @BeforeClass
   public static void setUp() {
      ValidatorFactory factory = Validation.buildDefaultValidatorFactory();
      validator = factory.getValidator();
   }

   @Test
   public void manufacturerIsNull() {
      Car car = new Car( null, "DD-AB-123", 4 );

      Set<ConstraintViolation<Car>> constraintViolations =
      validator.validate( car );

      assertEquals( 1, constraintViolations.size() );
      assertEquals(
         "may not be null",
         constraintViolations.iterator().next().getMessage()
      );
   }

   @Test
   public void licensePlateTooShort() {
      Car car = new Car( "Morris", "D", 4 );

      Set<ConstraintViolation<Car>> constraintViolations =
      validator.validate( car );

      assertEquals( 1, constraintViolations.size() );
      assertEquals(
         "size must be between 2 and 14",
         constraintViolations.iterator().next().getMessage()
      );
   }

   @Test
   public void seatCountTooLow() {
      Car car = new Car( "Morris", "DD-AB-123", 1 );

      Set<ConstraintViolation<Car>> constraintViolations =
      validator.validate( car );

      assertEquals( 1, constraintViolations.size() );
      assertEquals(
         "must be greater than or equal to 2",
         constraintViolations.iterator().next().getMessage()
      );
   }

   @Test
   public void carIsValid() {
      Car car = new Car( "Morris", "DD-AB-123", 2 );

      Set<ConstraintViolation<Car>> constraintViolations =
      validator.validate( car );

      assertEquals( 0, constraintViolations.size() );
   }
}

In the setUp() method a Validator instance is retrieved from the ValidatorFactory. Validator instances are thread-safe and may be reused multiple times.

The validate() method returns a set of ConstraintViolation instances, which you can iterate in order to see which validation errors occurred. The first three test methods show some expected constraint violations:

  • The @NotNull constraint on manufacturer is violated in manufacturerIsNull()

  • The @Size constraint on licensePlate is violated in licensePlateTooShort()

  • The @Min constraint on seatCount is violated in seatCountTooLow()

If the object validates successfully, validate() returns an empty set as you can see in carIsValid().

Note that only classes from the package javax.validation are used. These are provided from the Bean Validation API. No classes from Hibernate Validator are directly referenced, resulting in portable code.

The above unit test makes use of the Validator instance directly. Many frameworks, however, offer integration with Bean Validation out of the box, e.g. JPA and JSF. In this case it is enough to annotate you POJOs with constraint annotations. Validation will occur automatically at the appropriate life cycle phase of the used technology. Refer to the reference guide for more information.

Where to go next?

That concludes the 5 minute tour through the world of Hibernate Validator and Bean Validation. If you want a more complete introduction, it is recommended to read the Hibernate Validator reference guide.

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