async-validate

Asynchronous validation for object properties.

npm install async-validate
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async-validate

Asynchronous validation for node.

Installation

npm install async-validate

Unit Tests

npm test

Synopsis

None of the existing validation packages met the requirement to asynchronously validate user input. The validator package is a helpful utility while validate was closer as it took a more declarative approach but does not support asynchronous operations such as checking for existence of a database or validating that an email address already exists in a database.

So this package was created to allow for asynchronous validation of user input using a declarative schema based approach.

Usage

Basic usage involves defining a descriptor, assigning it to a schema and passing the object to be validated and a callback function to the validate method of the schema:

var schema = require('async-validate');
var descriptor = {
  name: {type: "string", required: true}
}
var validator = new schema(descriptor);
validator.validate({name: "muji"}, function(errors, fields) {
  if(errors) {
    // validation failed, errors is an array of all errors
    // fields is an object keyed by field name with an array of
    // errors per field
    return handleErrors(errors, fields);
  }
  // validation passed
});

Validate

function(source, [options], callback)
  • source: The object to validate (required).
  • options: An object describing processing options for the validation (optional).
  • callback: A callback function to invoke when validation completes (required).

Options

  • first: Invoke callback when the first validation rule generates an error, no more validation rules are processed. If your validation involves multiple asynchronous calls (for example, database queries) and you only need the first error use this option.
  • single: Only ever return a single error. Typically used in conjunction with first when a validation rule could generate multiple errors.
  • keys: Specifies the keys on the source object to be validated. Use this option to validate fields in a determinate order or to validate a subset of the rules assigned to a schema.
  • parallel: A boolean indicating that the validation should be executed in parallel.

Consider the rule:

{name: {type: "string", required: true, min: 10, pattern: /^[^-].*$/}}

When supplied with a source object such as {name: "-name"} the validation rule would generate two errors, as the pattern does not match and the string length is less then the required minimum length for the field.

In this instance when you only want the first error encountered use the single option.

Rules

Rules may be functions that perform validation.

function(rule, value, callback, source, options)
  • rule: The validation rule in the source descriptor that corresponds to the field name being validated. It is always assigned a field property with the name of the field being validated.
  • value: The value of the source object property being validated.
  • callback: A callback function to invoke once validation is complete. It expects to be passed an array of Error instances to indicate validation failure.
  • source: The source object that was passed to the validate method.
  • options: Additional options.
  • options.messages: The object containing validation error messages.
  • options.exception: A reference to the ValidationError class.
  • options.error: A helper function for generating validation errors.

THe options passed to validate are passed on to the validation functions so that you may reference transient data (such as model references) in validation functions. However, some option names are reserved; if you use these properties of the options object they are overwritten. The reserved properties are messages, exception and error.

var schema = require('async-validate');
var ValidationError = schema.error;
var descriptor = {
  name: function(rule, value, callback, source, options) {
    var errors = [];
    if(!/^[a-z0-9]+$/.test(value)) {
      errors.push(
        new ValidationError(
          util.format("%s must be lowercase alphanumeric characters",
            rule.field)));
    }
    callback(errors);
  }
}
var validator = new schema(descriptor);
validator.validate({name: "Firstname"}, function(errors, fields) {
  if(errors) {
    return handleErrors(errors, fields);
  }
  // validation passed
});

It is often useful to test against multiple validation rules for a single field, to do so make the rule an array of objects, for example:

var descriptor = {
  email: [
    {type: "string", required: true, pattern: schema.pattern.email},
    function(rule, value, callback, source, options) {
      var errors = []; 
      // test if email address already exists in a database
      // and add a validation error to the errors array if it does
      callback(errors);
    }
  ]
}

Type

Indicates the type of validator to use. Recognised type values are:

  • string: Must be of type string.
  • number: Must be of type number.
  • boolean: Must be of type boolean.
  • regexp: Must be an instance of RegExp or a string that does not generate an exception when creating a new RegExp.
  • integer: Must be of type number and an integer.
  • float: Must be of type number and a floating point number.
  • array: Must be an array as determined by Array.isArray.
  • object: Must be of type object and not Array.isArray.
  • enum: Value must exist in the enum.
  • date: Value must be valid as determined by moment().isValid().

Required

The required rule property indicates that the field must exist on the source object being validated.

Pattern

The pattern rule property indicates a regular expression that the value must match to pass validation.

Range

A range is defined using the min and max properties. For string and array types comparison is performed against the length, for number types the number must not be less than min nor greater than max.

Length

To validate an exact length of a field specify the len property. For string and array types comparison is performed on the length property, for the number type this property indicates an exact match for the number, ie, it may only be strictly equal to len.

If the len property is combined with the min and max range properties, len takes precedence.

Enumerable

To validate a value from a list of possible values use the enum type with a enum property listing the valid values for the field, for example:

var descriptor = {
  role: {type: "enum", enum: ['admin', 'user', 'guest']}
}

Date Format

Validating dates can be complex but using moment date validation is substantially easier.

If no format is specified for a rule that is a date type then it is assumed the date is ISO 8601. If a format is specified then the date is validated according to the specified format.

It is recommended you read the moment documentation on the isValid method to understand what validation is performed.

The important part is:

Note: It is not intended to be used to validate that the input string matches the format string. Because the strictness of format matching can vary depending on the application and business requirements, this sort of validation is not included in Moment.js.

This limitation may be overcome by combining a pattern in a date rule, for example:

var descriptor = {
  active: {
    type: "date",
    format: "YYYY-MM-DD",
    pattern: /^([\d]{4})-([\d]{2})-([\d]{2})$/
  }
}

Whitespace

It is typical to treat required fields that only contain whitespace as errors. To add an additional test for a string that consists solely of whitespace add a whitespace property to a rule with a value of true. The rule must be a string type.

You may wish to sanitize user input instead of testing for whitespace, see transform for an example that would allow you to strip whitespace.

Deep Rules

If you need to validate deep object properties you may do so for validation rules that are of the object or array type by assigning nested rules to a fields property of the rule.

var descriptor = {
  address: {
    type: "object", required: true,
    fields: {
      street: {type: "string", required: true},
      city: {type: "string", required: true},
      zip: {type: "string", required: true, len: 8, message: "invalid zip"}
    }
  },
  name: {type: "string", required: true}
}
var validator = new schema(descriptor);
validator.validate({ address: {} }, function(errors, fields) {
  // errors for street, city, zip and name
});

Note that if you do not specify the required property on the parent rule it is perfectly valid for the field not to be declared on the source object and the deep validation rules will not be executed as there is nothing to validate against.

Deep rule validation creates a schema for the nested rules so you can also specify the options passed to the schema.validate() method.

var descriptor = {
  address: {
    type: "object", required: true, options: {single: true, first: true},
    fields: {
      street: {type: "string", required: true},
      city: {type: "string", required: true},
      zip: {type: "string", required: true, len: 8, message: "invalid zip"}
    }
  },
  name: {type: "string", required: true}
}
var validator = new schema(descriptor);
validator.validate({ address: {} }, function(errors, fields) {
  // now only errors for street and name
});

The parent rule is also validated so if you have a set of rules such as:

var descriptor = {
  roles: {
    type: "array", required: true, len: 3,
    fields: {
      0: {type: "string", required: true},
      1: {type: "string", required: true},
      2: {type: "string", required: true}
    }
  }
}

And supply a source object of {roles: ["admin", "user"]} then two errors will be created. One for the array length mismatch and one for the missing required array entry at index 2.

Transform

Sometimes it is necessary to transform a value before validation, possibly to coerce the value or to sanitize it in some way. To do this add a transform function to the validation rule. The property is transformed prior to validation and re-assigned to the source object to mutate the value of the property in place.

var schema = require('async-validate');
var sanitize = require('validator').sanitize;
var descriptor = {
  name: {
    type: "string",
    required: true, pattern: /^[a-z]+$/,
    transform: function(value) {
      return sanitize(value).trim();
    }
  }
}
var validator = new schema(descriptor);
var source = {name: " user  "};
validator.validate(source, function(errors, fields) {
  assert.equal(source.name, "user");
});

Without the transform function validation would fail due to the pattern not matching as the input contains leading and trailing whitespace, but by adding the transform function validation passes and the field value is sanitized at the same time.

Register

To extend the recognised validation types you may register your own validation functions by type.

function register(type, validator)

The type arguments should be a string indicating the type property of the validation rule and validator must be a function with the correct signature.

var schema = require('async-validate');
var ValidationError = schema.error;
var validator = function(rule, value, callback, source, options) {
  var errors = [];
  var re = /^[^-][a-zA-Z0-9-]+$/;
  if(!re.test(value)) {
    errors.push(new ValidationError(
      util.format("%s is not a valid identifier", rule.field)));
  }
  callback(errors);
}
schema.register('id', validator);

You can then use validation rules such as {type: "id"}.

Messages

Depending upon your application requirements, you may need i18n support or you may prefer different validation error messages.

The easiest way to achieve this is to assign a message to a rule:

{name:{type: "string", required: true, message: "Name is required"}}

If you just want to change the default messages:

var schema = require('async-validate');
schema.messages.required = "%s is a required field";  // change the message
...

Potentially you may require the same schema validation rules for different languages, in which case duplicating the schema rules for each language does not make sense.

In this scenario you could just require your own messages file for the language and assign it to the schema:

var schema = require('async-validate');
var es = require('messages-es');
var descriptor = {name:{type: "string", required: true}};
var validator = new schema(descriptor);
validator.messages(es);
...

Or you could clone a default messages instance and then assign language specific messages to the schema using the messages method.

var schema = require('async-validate');
var es = schema.messages.clone();
es.required = "%s es un campo obligatorio";  // change the message
var descriptor = {name:{type: "string", required: true}};
var validator = new schema(descriptor);
validator.messages(es); // ensure this schema uses the altered messages
...

If you are defining your own validation functions it is better practice to assign the message strings to a messages object and then access the messages via the options.messages property within the validation function.

Standard Rules

Some standard rules for common validation requirements are accessible via schema.rules.std. You may wish to reference these rules or copy and modify them.

Field

A typical required field:

{type: "string", required: true, whitespace: true}

Email

A basic email validation rule using a pattern:

{type: "string", required: true, pattern: pattern.email}

Note validating email addresses with a regular expression is fraught with pitfalls, use this with caution.

URL

A simple http(s) URL rule:

{type: "string", required: true, pattern: pattern.url}

Hex

A rule for hexadecimal color values with optional leading hash:

{type: "string", required: true, pattern: pattern.hex}

License

Everything is MIT. Read the license if you feel inclined.

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