When it comes to form validation, it’s hard to have a versatile solution that works with every form. Figuring out how to display errors is not a simple task. This is something I tried to remedy with this script. When an error needs to be displayed, the script creates a div and positions it in the top right corner of the input. This way you don’t have to worry about your HTML form structure. The rounded corner and shadow are done with CSS3 and degrade well in non compliant browsers. There is no images needed.

Download the source code View demo

Validations range from email, phone, url to more complex calls such as ajax processing.
Bundled in several locales, the error prompts can be translated in the locale of your choice.

**Important**: v2 is a significant rewrite of the original 1.7 branch. Please read the documentation as the API has changed! Also the documentation is always more up to date on the github README

Legacy 1.7 documentation and download can be found under package when you hit download on github

Installation

1. Unpack the archive
2. Include the script jquery.validationEngine.closure.js in your page
3. Pick the locale of the choice, include it in your page: jquery.validationEngine-XX.js
4. **Read this manual** and understand the API

Running the Demos

Most demos are functional by opening their respective HTML file. However, the Ajax demos require the use of Java6 to launch a lightweight http server.

1. Run the script `runDemo.bat` (Windows) or `runDemo.sh` (Unix) from the folder
2. Open a browser pointing at [http://localhost:9173](http://localhost:9173)

References

First link jQuery to the page

    <script src="https://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.4.4/jquery.js" type="text/javascript"></script>

Attach *jquery.validationEngine* and its locale

    <script src="js/jquery.validationEngine-en.js" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script>
    <script src="js/jquery.validationEngine.js" type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8"></script>

Finally link the desired theme

    <link rel="stylesheet" href="css/validationEngine.jquery.css" type="text/css"/>

Field validations

Validations are defined using the field’s **class** attribute. Here are a few examples showing how it happens:

    <input value="someone@nowhere.com" class="validate[required,custom[email]]" type="text" name="email" id="email" />
    <input value="2010-12-01" class="validate[required,custom[date]]" type="text" name="date" id="date" />
    <input value="too many spaces obviously" class="validate[required,custom[onlyLetterNumber]]" type="text" name="special" id="special" />

For more details about validators, please refer to the section below.

Instantiation

The validator is typically instantiated by using a call of the following form:

    $("#form.id").validationEngine(action or options);

The method takes one or several optional parameters, either an action (and parameters) or a list of options to customize the behavior of the engine.

Here comes a glimpse: say you have a form is this kind

    <form id="formID" method="post" action="submit.action">
        <input value="2010-12-01" class="validate[required,custom[date]]" type="text" name="date" id="date" />
    </form>

The following code would instance the validation engine:

    <script>
    $(document).ready(function(){
        $("#formID").validationEngine('attach');
       });
    </script>

Actions

init

Initializes the engine with default settings

    $("#formID1").validationEngine({promptPosition : "centerRight", scroll: false});
    $("#formID1").validationEngine('init', {promptPosition : "centerRight", scroll: false});
<pre>
 
<h3>attach</h3>
 
Attaches jQuery.validationEngine to form.submit and field.blur events.
<pre lang="html">
    $("#formID1").validationEngine('attach');
<pre/>
 
<h3>detach</h3>
 
Unregisters any bindings that may point to jQuery.validaitonEngine.
<pre lang="html">
    $("#formID1").validationEngine('detach');

validate

Validates the form and displays prompts accordingly. Returns *true* if the form validates, *false* if it contains errors. Note that if you use an ajax form validator, the actual result will be delivered asynchronously to the function *options.onAjaxFormComplete*.

    alert( $("#formID1").validationEngine('validate') );

showPrompt (promptText, type, promptPosition, showArrow)

Displays a prompt on a given element. Note that the prompt can be displayed on any element an id.

The method takes four parameters:
1. the text of the prompt itself
2. a type which defines the visual look of the prompt: ‘pass’ (green), ‘load’ (black) anything else (red)
3. an optional position: either “topLeft”, “topRight”, “bottomLeft”, “centerRight”, “bottomRight”. Defaults to *”topRight”*
4. an optional boolean which tells if the prompt should display a directional arrow

    <fieldset>
       <legend id="legendid">Email</legend>
       <a href="#" onclick="$('#legendid').validationEngine('showPrompt', 'This a custom msg', 'load')">Show prompt</a>
    </fieldset>

hide

Closes error prompts in the current form (in case you have more than one form on the page)

    $('#formID1').validationEngine('hide')">Hide prompts

hideAll

Closes **all** error prompts on the page.

    $('#formID1').validationEngine('hideAll');

Options

Options are typically passed to the init action as a parameter.
$(“#formID1”).validationEngine({promptPosition : “centerRight”, scroll: false});

validationEventTrigger

Name of the event triggering field validation, defaults to *blur*.

scroll
Tells if we should scroll the page to the first error, defaults to *true*.

promptPosition

Where should the prompt show ? Possible values are “topLeft”, “topRight”, “bottomLeft”, “centerRight”, “bottomRight”. Defaults to *”topRight”*.

ajaxFormValidation
If set to true, turns Ajax form validation logic on. defaults to *false*.
form validation takes place when the validate() action is called or when the form is submitted.

onBeforeAjaxFormValidation(form, options)
When ajaxFormValidation is turned on, function called before the asynchronous AJAX form validation call. May return false to stop the Ajax form validation

onAjaxFormComplete: function(form, status, errors, options)
When ajaxFormValidation is turned on, function is used to asynchronously process the result of the validation.

isOverflown
Set to true when the form shows in a scrolling div, defaults to *false*.

overflownDIV
Selector used to pick the overflown container, defaults to *””*.

Validators

Validators are encoded in the field’s class attribute, as such

required

Speaks by itself, fails if the element has no value. this validator can apply to pretty much any kind of input field.

    <input value="" class="validate[required]" type="text" name="email" id="email" />
    <input class="validate[required]" type="checkbox" id="agree" name="agree"/>
    <select name="sport" id="sport" class="validate[required]" id="sport">
       <option value="">Choose a sport</option>
       <option value="option1">Tennis</option>
       <option value="option2">Football</option>
       <option value="option3">Golf</option>
    </select>

custom[regex_name]

Validates the element’s value to a predefined list of regular expressions.

<input value="someone@nowhere.com" class="validate[required,custom[email]]" type="text" name="email" id="email" />

Please refer to the section Custom Regex for a list of available regular expressions.

function[methodName]

Validates a field using a third party function call. If a validation error occurs, the function must return an error message that will automatically show in the error prompt.

    function checkHELLO(field, rules, i, options){
      if (field.val() != "HELLO") {
         // this allows the use of i18 for the error msgs
         return options.allrules.validate2fields.alertText;
      }
    }

The following declaration will do

<input value="" class="validate[required,funcCall[checkHELLO]]" type="text" id="lastname" name="lastname" />

ajax[selector]

Delegates the validation to a server URL using an asynchronous Ajax request. The selector is used to identify a block of properties in the translation file, take the following example.

    <input value="" class="validate[required,custom[onlyLetterNumber],maxSize[20],ajax[ajaxUserCall]] text-input" type="text" name="user" id="user" />
 
 
 
    "ajaxUserCall": {
        "url": "ajaxValidateFieldUser",
        "extraData": "name=eric",
        "alertText": "* This user is already taken",
        "alertTextOk": "All good!",
        "alertTextLoad": "* Validating, please wait"
    },

* url – is the remote restful service to call
* extraData – optional parameters to sent
* alertText – error prompt message is validation fails
* alertTextOk – optional prompt is validation succeeds (shows green)
* alertTextLoad – message displayed while the validation is being performed

This validator is explained in further details in the Ajax section.

equals[field.id]
Check if the current field’s value equals the value of the specified field.

min[float]
Validates when the field’s value if less or equal to the given parameter.

max[float]
Validates when the field’s value if more or equal to the given parameter.

minSize[integer]
Validates if the element content size (in characters) is more or equal to the given *integer*. integer <= input.value.length maxSize[integer]
Validates if the element content size (in characters) is less or equal to the given *integer*. input.value.length <= integer past[NOW or a date]

Checks if the element’s value (which is implicitly a date) is earlier than the given *date*. When “NOW” is used as a parameter, the date will be calculate in the browser. Note that this may be different that the server date. Dates use the ISO format YYYY-MM-DD

    <input value="" class="validate[required,custom[date],past[now]]" type="text" id="birthdate" name="birthdate" />
    <input value="" class="validate[required,custom[date],past[2010-01-01]]" type="text" id="appointment" name="appointment" />

future[NOW or a date]

Checks if the element’s value (which is implicitly a date) is greater than the given *date*. When “NOW” is used as a parameter, the date will be calculate in the browser. Note that this may be different that the server date. Dates use the ISO format YYYY-MM-DD

    <input value="" class="validate[required,custom[date],future[now]]" type="text" id="appointment" name="appointment" /> // a date in 2009
    <input value="" class="validate[required,custom[date],future[2009-01-01],past[2009-12-31]]" type="text" id="d1" name="d1" />

minCheckbox[integer]

Validates when a minimum of *integer* checkboxes are selected.
The validator uses a special naming convention to identify the checkboxes part of the group.

The following example, enforces a minimum of two selected checkboxes

    <input class="validate[minCheckbox[2]]" type="checkbox" name="group1" id="maxcheck1" value="5"/>
    <input class="validate[minCheckbox[2]]" type="checkbox" name="group1" id="maxcheck2" value="3"/>
    <input class="validate[minCheckbox[2]]" type="checkbox" name="group1" id="maxcheck3" value="9"/>

Note how the input.name is identical across the fields.

maxCheckbox[integer]

Same as above but limits the maximum number of selected check boxes.

Selectors

We’ve introduced the notion of selectors without giving much details about them: A selector is a string which is used as a key to match properties in the translation files.
Take the following example:

    "onlyNumber": {
        "regex": /^[0-9\ ]+$/,
        "alertText": "* Numbers only"
    },
    "ajaxUserCall": {
        "url": "ajaxValidateFieldUser",
        "extraData": "name=eric",
        "alertText": "* This user is already taken",
        "alertTextLoad": "* Validating, please wait"
    },
    "validate2fields": {
        "alertText": "* Please input HELLO"
    }

onlyNumber, onlyLetter and validate2fields are all selectors. jQuery.validationEngine comes with a standard set but you are welcome to add you own to define AJAX backend services, error messages and/or new regular expressions.

Ajax

Ajax validation comes in two flavors:

1. Field Ajax validations, which takes place when the user inputs a value in a field and moves away.
2. Form Ajax validation, which takes place when the form is submitted or when the validate() action is called.

Both options are optional.

Protocol

The client sends the form fields and values as a GET request to the form.action url.

Client calls url?fieldId=id1&fieldValue=value1&…etc ==> Server (form.action)

Server responds with a list of arrays: [fieldid, status, errorMsg].

* fieldid is the name (id) of the field
* status is the result of the validation, true if it passes, false if it fails
* errorMsg is an error string (or a selector) to the prompt text

Client receives <== [["id1", boolean,"errorMsg"],["id2", false, "there is an error "],["id3", true, "this field is good"]] Server Note that only errors (status=false) shall be returned from the server. However you may also decide to return an entry with a status=true in which case the errorMsg will show as a green prompt.

Callbacks

Since the form validation is asynchronously delegated to the form action, we provide two callback methods:

**onBeforeAjaxFormValidation(form, options)** is called before the ajax form validation call, it may return false to stop the request

**onAjaxFormComplete: function(form, status, json_response_from_server, options)** is called after the ajax form validation call

Custom Regex

jQuery.validationEngine comes with a lot of predefined expressions. Regex are specified as such:

<input value="" class="validate[custom[email]]" type="text" name="email" id="email" />

Note that the selector identifies a given regular expression in the translation file, but also its associated error prompt messages and optional green prompt message.

phone
a typical phone number with an optional country code and extension. Note that the validation is **relaxed**, please add extra validations for your specific country.

49-4312 / 777 777
+1 (305) 613-0958 x101
(305) 613 09 58 ext 101
3056130958
+33 1 47 37 62 24 extension 3
(016977) 1234
04312 – 777 777
91-12345-12345
+58 295416 7216

url
matched a url such as http://myserver.com, https://www.crionics.com or ftp://myserver.ws

email
easy, an email : username@hostname.com

date
an ISO date, YYYY-MM-DD

number
floating points with an optional sign. ie. -143.22 or .77 but also +234,23

integer
integers with an optional sign. ie. -635 +2201 738

ipv4
an IP address (v4) ie. 127.0.0.1

onlyNumberSp
Only numbers and spaces characters

onlyLetterSp
Only letters and space characters

onlyLetterNumber
Only letters and numbers, no space

Using the engine in a overflown div

The big change in this method is that normally the engine will append every error boxes to the body. In this case it will append every error boxes before the input validated. This add a bit of complexity, if you want the error box to behave correctly you need to wrap the input in a div being position relative, and exactly wrapping the input width and height. The easiest way to do that is by adding float:left, like in the example provided.

Customizations

What would be a good library without customization ?

Adding regular expressions

Adding new regular expressions is easy: open your translation file and add a new entry to the list

    "onlyLetter": {
        "regex": /^[a-zA-Z\ \']+$/,
        "alertText": "* Letters only"
    },

* “onlyLetter” is a sample selector name
* “regex” is a javascript regular expression
* “alertText” is the message to display when the validation fails

You can now use the new regular expression as such

<input type="text" id="myid" name="myid" class="validation[custom[onlyLetter]]"/>

Don’t forget to contribute!

Customizing the look and feel

Edit the file *validationEngine.jquery.css* and customize the stylesheet to your likings. it’s trivial if you know CSS.

Adding more locales

You can easy add a locale by taking *jquery.validationEngine-en.js* as an example.
Feel free to share the translation 😉

Rules of thumb

* field.id are **unique** across the page
* for simplicity and consistency field.id and field.name should match (except with minCheckbox and maxCheckbox validators)
* spaces or special chars should be avoided in field.id or field.name
* use lower cases for input.type ie. *text, password, textarea, checkbox, radio*
* use the Ajax validator last ie. validate[custom[onlyLetter],length[0,100],**ajax[ajaxNameCall]**]
* use only one Ajax validator per field!
* JSON services should live on the same server (or you will get into browser security issues)
* in a perfect RESTful world, http **GET** is used to *READ* data, http **POST** is used to *WRITE* data: which translates into -> Ajax validations should use GET, the actual form post should use a POST request.

Contribution

Contributions are always welcome, you may refer to the latest stable project at [GitHub](https://github.com/posabsolute/jQuery-Validation-Engine)
We use [Aptana](http://www.aptana.com/) as a Javascript editor and the Rockstart JSLint & Closure plugins http://update.rockstarapps.com/site.xml

License

Licensed under the MIT License

Authors

Copyright(c) 2010 Cedric Dugas
v2.0 Rewrite by Olivier Refalo


If you like and use this script, please consider buying me a beer, it’s cheap and a simple way to give back!





Version 1.7.1 Online
October 20 2010, release v1.7.1: Compatibility release for jQUery 1.4.3
July 1 2010, release v1.7: div overflown support + small fix to inline ajax validation + small code overhaul
Feb 1 2010, release v.1.6.3: bugfixs from forum + exempString rule addition, update to jQuery 1.4
November 23, release v.1.6.2: bugfix script loaded via ajax,
November 23, release v.1.6.1: Refactoring, external loadvalidation() is back working, languages are now ALL loaded externally, added setting to not unbind form on success,
October 29, release v.1.6: unbind validation when success function is called, option returnIsValid added
October 27, release v.1.5: Added debug mode, event triggerer can be specified in setting and checkbox bug with cakephp corrected
September 17, release v.1.4: More frameworks support, changes with the minCheckbox and maxCheckbox
August 25, release v.1.3.9.6: Ajax submit, prompt positioning, bug correction with multiple forms
August 13, release v.1.3: Ajax validation, prompts usable outside the plugin, minor CSS corrections
July 12, release v.1.3: Validation with ids instead of name, minor CSS corrections, optional inline validation.
June 5, release v.1.2.1: Added optional validation
June 5, release v.1.2: Less error prone reg Ex, corrected an error with multiple form on the same page
June 4, release v.1.1: added date validation and select required validation, corrected errors with group radio input
June 1, release v.1.0

Comments are closed due to the overwhelming number, please use the forums for support.

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491 thoughts on “A jQuery inline form validation, because validation is a mess

  1. If you can make this work with multiple validation groups…

    Even the idea would be great 🙂

  2. Your email validation is overly restrictive. Valid email adresses can contain + signs and other characters.
    This often used when doing automatic filtering based on the +keyword part of the email in gmail.
    ex. myname+keyword@gmail.com

  3. @ernesto internationalisation = localisation, you can localize to any language you like

  4. It’s nice but what if I disable javascript ? Validation truly must be done on server side in order for it to work. Client side can only help.

  5. @tony , This is not intended to replace a server side validation,

    This is intended as a nice way to guide your users or if you are doing ajax applications

  6. Love it! Well done. My one caveat is the use of the class attribute for this. A custom attribute I think would be better, say

    That way you can avoid cluttering up the class attribute and actually it would give you more flexibility in the validation notation. I bet it could be reduced to something like:

  7. @trans you cannot put code in comments sorry, the problem with custom attributes, is that the w3c will never validate them.

    I understand the cluttering issue, but this is really an html validation choice I took. And I don’t say it is the right choice, it was the right choice for me.

  8. Really nice jquery plugin i was looking for it there is one for mootools but not for jquery

  9. Very well done. Thank you for your contribution to opensource world.

    My only question is: could you re-work those nice blurred shadows for CSS 2.1? It is nice to have CSS 3 effects ready on hand, but I think it will take some time until they will be accepted widely.

  10. @Serrirre well I could, but I really didn’t want to add 8 png, but it would not be to hard for you to add them in the css I think

  11. Any chance of a minified version of the script? I tried running it through a minifier myself, but it no longer works…

  12. Nice form validation. Thanks for sharing.

    One point – Internationalization is not the same as localization. Localization is the translation of strings, resizing of UI to accomodate different language versions of your product. Internationalization or globalization is the ability of your code to support multiple input/display characters to name but one area.

  13. @shay, Thanks to point me that out, there is no internationalization planned currently

  14. Very well done. Thank you for your contribution to opensource world.

    But, i miss the validation of a dropdown box and the validation vor date (dd.mm.jjjj). Is there a way to include my wishes?

  15. @Maschi, date validation should be up this weekend, I have problems with my server, and optimizing it take me too much time..

    required select is on my list, but I cannot give a release date, should be not too far tho

  16. For validation on select boxes…

    Just add this after line 191:

    if (callerType == “select-one”) { // added by paul@kinetek.net for select boxes
    callerName = $(caller).attr(“name”);

    if(!$(“select[name=”+callerName+”]”).val()) {
    isError = true;
    promptText += settings.allrules[rules[i]].alertText+””;
    }
    }

    Note: Your empty option in the select box must have the value attribute or this won’t work.

    Example:
    Select One

  17. Also, you just need to add ; on the end of lines that don’t have them to minify it. Remember to do them after the closing } after functions and if statements. My file is just one line now and 6.2kb.

    Btw, thanks for the great plugin Cedric. Best validation plugin i’ve seen so far.

  18. Oops, I guess your stripping html so my example didn’t work…

    Let’s try again
    <option value=””>– Select One –&lt/option>

  19. Np. Glad I could contribute. I’m fairly new to jquery so that type (select-one) threw me off. I didn’t think it was correct but it looks like it is.

  20. Arh sorry, please ignore the above. I just saw Paul’s code and it’s working now. thanks.

  21. Bit intrusive, might be an idea to have an option to only show messages on error.

    Also, when you have entered in a few fields and go back to edit one of the earlier fields, the message for the previously focused field still shows and the one for the newly focused field doesn’t.

  22. Great plugin
    but there is issue when using
    ” [ ” ” ] ”

    characters in name attribute eg data[name] .
    error tooltip wont disappear when using mentioned characters.

  23. @Sajid, True you cannot use ‘ in the name input, I guess you could just put required, that was just an example of letters only.

  24. @Cedric

    what i meant was [ ] characters
    which normally used to handle multiple selections etc

    what i got from studying plugin code is you used NAME attribute as className for error tooltip and [ and ] characters wont work in fetching element via $(“.”) function of jquery

    $(“.data [Member] [favs]”) wont return anything and whats why

    $(“.”+closingPrompt).remove(); not removing tooltip.

    although i did changed the plugin code to use input element’s ID as className for error Tooltip and it works

  25. Thanks for the tip, I added normal select ad multiple select in the script, using id for the multiple select

  26. Hello – Great Plugin!

    I’m experiencing same issue as Cedric… I have field arrays in my form, so end up with, for example, >input name=”fname[]” … $gt; , which breaks jQuery calls… should I modify script to use IDs like Cedric, or do you expect to have an official released fix sometime in the near future?

    Thanks agin!

  27. rjking could you put your example online, I already corrected the behavior in the multiple select using ids,

    But yeah ultimately I will have to change name by id, wich is sad because I will break the html compatibility with earlier versions.

  28. Hi Cedric-

    Yeah, not ideal to use IDs, but was required in my case. I made 12 edits to your code, and got it working. Now, I am still adding the validation rules to the class attribute of the element (like your original method), however for the new div that your JS creates, I switched to defining its class from the ID of the form element instead, so all I have to do is make sure there’s a unique ID on each element in my form (which of course isn’t a problem for validation). I didn’t necessarily have an ID assigned to all my form elements before, so this was the only modification I made to my code.

    Here’s a sample input element from my form:

    <input type=”text” id=”field_id_42″ name=”emp_array[6][fname][]” class=”validate[required,custom[onlyLetter],length[4,100]]” value=”James” />

    Which now works with the modifications I made to your JS code (I can send you my modifications if it would help at all).

  29. p.s. – I just realized I used your name, Cedric, in my original post… 🙂 I meant I was seeing the same thing as Sajid.

    Anyways, one other minor note, possibly intentional on your part, but the “onlyLetter” and “noSpecialCharacters” don’t allow spaces. No biggie of course since using regex, but just thought I’d share. Couldn’t figure out for a few minutes why it didn’t like “John Smith” in a name field, with “onlyLetter” applied… kept telling me “Letters Only”… lol

Comments are closed.