[hibernate-dev] [Validator] Applying constraints to property objects

Gunnar Morling gunnar at hibernate.org
Tue Sep 3 09:58:15 EDT 2013


Yesterday George Gastaldi from the Forge team approached me regarding the
application of constraints to "wrapped" properties. Their situation is the

    @Size(min=3, max=10)
    UIInput<String> name;

Here, UInput is some kind of UI component, wrapping the actual property
value. As is, validation of this property will fail since there is no
validator for applying @Size to UIInput (only for String).

A similar use case exists in JavaFX where one might want to apply
constraints to the FX *Property types:

    IntegerProperty count = new SimpleIntegerProperty(4);

Again, validation will fail out of the box, as no validator for applying
@Min to IntegerProperty exists (but for int/Integer).

How could this be solved? The following alternatives came to my mind:

a) Create and register validators for these wrapper types, e.g.
ConstraintValidator<Size, UIInput> etc.

Pro: Works with the existing APIs without modification
Con: Lots of code to write, either duplicating code or delegating to
(internal) implementation types; doesn't automatically benefit from new
built-in validators

b) Apply constraints to getters instead of fields:

    IntegerProperty count = new SimpleIntegerProperty(4);

    int getCount() {
        return count.getValue();

Pro: Works with the existing APIs without modification; benefits from any
newly added built-in validators
Con: There may be cases where there is no such getter, e.g. for parameter

c) Provide an SPI which allows to plug in a custom "value processor"
implementation, retrieving the wrapped object and its "declared" type:

    public interface ValidationValueProcessor {
        Object getValidatedValue(Object source);
        Type getDeclaredType(Type sourceType);

For the original example, the methods would return the name value and
String.class, respectively.

Note that validator resolution is done using the static type of a property,
so I think the original example above should be supported, but the
following should not as no validator for @Size/Object exists:

    @Size(min=3, max=10)
    UIInput<Object> name;

Pro: Benefits from any newly added built-in validators, allows directly
annotating "wrapped" properties, requires no implementation by the user
besides the ValidationValueProcessor
Con: new HV-specific (at least for the time being) SPI

I think a) creates prohibitively high efforts for the user/integrator, b)
lacks support for method constraints, so I think c) should be implemented,
possibly making this a spec SPI later on.

Does anyone have other preferences or alternatives? If you also think c)
makes most sense, do you have a good/better idea for the interface and
method names?



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