Yii 1.1: Create your own Validation Rule


Some times the core validation rules provided by Yii won't satisfy all your needs, so you'll need to create your very own validation rule.

Easy approach: inside-model rule

The easiest way to create a new validation rule is inside the model that is going to use it.

Let's say that you want to check if a user password is safe enough.
Usually you could achieve this result just by using the CRegularExpressionValidator but for the sake of this guide let's pretend that validator does not exist.

first of all in your model class you'll have to add two constants

const WEAK = 0;
const STRONG = 1;

then in your rules method you'll have to set the rule

 * @return array validation rules for model attributes.
public function rules()
    return array(
       array('password', 'passwordStrength', 'strength'=>self::STRONG),

make sure that you won't give the rule the name of an existing one, otherwise you are going to have some troubles later.

Now the only thing you need to do is create a new method inside the model, named after the validation rule you just declared.

 * check if the user password is strong enough
 * check the password against the pattern requested
 * by the strength parameter
 * This is the 'passwordStrength' validator as declared in rules().
public function passwordStrength($attribute,$params)
    if ($params['strength'] === self::WEAK)
        $pattern = '/^(?=.*[a-zA-Z0-9]).{5,}$/';  
    elseif ($params['strength'] === self::STRONG)
        $pattern = '/^(?=.*\d(?=.*\d))(?=.*[a-zA-Z](?=.*[a-zA-Z])).{5,}$/';  
    if(!preg_match($pattern, $this->$attribute))
      $this->addError($attribute, 'your password is not strong enough!');

The new method you just created accepts two arguments:

  • $attribute = is the name of the attribute that the method is validating
  • $params = additional parameters that you could define in the rules

In our rules method we used this rule on the password attribute, so the value of attribute inside our validation model will be password

In the rule we also setted an additional parameter named strength
the value of that parameter will be inside the $params array

As you can see inside the method we are making a call to CModel::addError().
Add Error accepts two parameters: the first one is the name of the attribute that you want to display the error in your form, the second one is the actual error string you want to be displayed.

Complete approach: extending the CValidator class

If you need your custom validation rule in more then one model the best thing to do is extending the CValidator class.
Extending this class you also can take advantage of other features, like CActiveForm::$enableClientValidation, first implemented with Yii 1.1.7 release.

Creating the class file

The first thing that you have to do is create your class file. The best thing is to always name it after your class name, to best use Yii lazy loading feature. Let's create a new directory inside your application extensions directory (which is located inside the protected directory).
Name this directory MyValidators.
Then we create our own file: passwordStrength.php

Inside this file create our CValidator class

class passwordStrength extends CValidator
    public $strength;
    private $weak_pattern = '/^(?=.*[a-zA-Z0-9]).{5,}$/';
    private $strong_pattern = '/^(?=.*\d(?=.*\d))(?=.*[a-zA-Z](?=.*[a-zA-Z])).{5,}$/';

In the class file create one attribute for each additional parameter that you want to use inside your validation rule.
CValidator will take care to populate that attribute with the parameter value all by itself.
We also created two other attributes, each containing the patterns we want to use in our preg_match function.

Now we have to override the parent abstract method validateAttribute

 * Validates the attribute of the object.
 * If there is any error, the error message is added to the object.
 * @param CModel $object the object being validated
 * @param string $attribute the attribute being validated
protected function validateAttribute($object,$attribute)
    // check the strength parameter used in the validation rule of our model
    if ($this->strength == 'weak')
      $pattern = $this->weak_pattern;
    elseif ($this->strength == 'strong')
      $pattern = $this->strong_pattern;
    // extract the attribute value from it's model object
    if(!preg_match($pattern, $value))
        $this->addError($object,$attribute,'your password is too weak!');

The method above is self explanatory i think.
Of course you could use constants in those IF, and I actually recommend it.

Implementing Client Validation

If you want to implement client validation you'll need to override another method inside your class: clientValidateAttribute

 * Returns the JavaScript needed for performing client-side validation.
 * @param CModel $object the data object being validated
 * @param string $attribute the name of the attribute to be validated.
 * @return string the client-side validation script.
 * @see CActiveForm::enableClientValidation
public function clientValidateAttribute($object,$attribute)
    // check the strength parameter used in the validation rule of our model
    if ($this->strength == 'weak')
      $pattern = $this->weak_pattern;
    elseif ($this->strength == 'strong')
      $pattern = $this->strong_pattern;     
    return "
if(".$condition.") {
    messages.push(".CJSON::encode('your password is too weak, you fool!').");

As you can see this method simply returns the javascript that you need to use for your validation

Last step: how to use your validation class inside the module rules

There are several approach you can use here.

You could first use Yii::import in the rules method before returning the rules array, or you can just use Yii dot notation:

 * @return array validation rules for model attributes.
public function rules()
    return array(
       array('password', 'ext.MyValidators.passwordStrength', 'strength'=>self::STRONG),


Total 14 comments

#20058 report it
pegas1981 at 2017/03/24 05:59am
Simple validation rule
/* model code */
public function rules()
    return array(
        array('DateEnd', 'validatorCompareDateTime', 'compareAttribute' => 'DateStart', 'condition' => '>'),
public function validatorCompareDateTime($attribute, $params)
        $compareAttribute = $params['compareAttribute'];
        $condition = $params['condition'];
        if ($this->hasErrors($attribute) || $this->hasErrors($compareAttribute) || empty($this->$compareAttribute)) {
        $validateValue = new DateTime($this->$attribute, new DateTimeZone(Yii::app()->getTimeZone()));
        $compareValue = new DateTime($this->$compareAttribute, new DateTimeZone(Yii::app()->getTimeZone()));
        switch ($condition) {
            case '>=':
                if (($validateValue >= $compareValue) === false) {
                    $this->addError($attribute, sprintf('The value in the "%s" field must be greater than or equal to the value in the "%s" field', $this->getAttributeLabel($attribute), $this->getAttributeLabel($compareAttribute)));
            case '>':
                if (($validateValue > $compareValue) === false) {
                    $this->addError($attribute, sprintf('The value in the "%s" field must be greater than the value in the "%s" field', $this->getAttributeLabel($attribute), $this->getAttributeLabel($compareAttribute)));
#19000 report it
Carlos Ramos at 2015/02/20 06:29pm
I could make my own validator thanks to this guide!

Thanks to this tutorial I could make my own validator, now rresiding at https://github.com/ktaris/yii-mexvalidators

Again, thanks for the guide!

#18491 report it
b3wii at 2014/11/06 08:52am
Simple validation component

I created a simple component to handle date validation without the need to define additional constants in the model:

/* model code */
public function rules()
    return array(
/* file: components/CDateValidator.php */
class CDateValidator extends CValidator
    public $dateFormat;
    private $datetime_pattern = '~^[0-9]{4}-[0-9]{2}-[0-9]{2} [0-9]{2}\:[0-9]{2}\:[0-9]{2}$~';
    private $date_pattern = '~^[0-9]{4}-[0-9]{2}-[0-9]{2}$~';
    protected function validateAttribute($object,$attribute)
        if ($this->dateFormat == 'datetime')
            $pattern = $this->datetime_pattern;
        elseif ($this->dateFormat == 'date')
            $pattern = $this->date_pattern;
        if(!preg_match($pattern,$object->$attribute) and $object->$attribute!='' and $object->$attribute!=null)
            $attrLabels = $object->attributeLabels();
            $object->addError($attribute, Yii::t('/models/global','model.validator.date', array('{attributeName}'=>$attrLabels[$attribute])));
#16812 report it
Trejder at 2014/03/31 04:00am
Ternary operator

I think, that first four lines of passwordStrength code (in the easy approach) can be reduced to one, using ternary operator:

$pattern = ($params['strength'] === self::WEAK) ? '/^(?=.*[a-zA-Z0-9]).{5,}$/' : '/^(?=.*\d(?=.*\d))(?=.*[a-zA-Z](?=.*[a-zA-Z])).{5,}$/';
#15807 report it
Arslan Butt at 2013/12/19 01:41am
Good Approach

nice work

#13589 report it
Ibrar Turi at 2013/06/09 06:04am

Thanks for this nice article... helped me alot.

#12032 report it
Luiz at 2013/02/21 10:17pm
Thank you!

Very good approach, thanks!

#5479 report it
codesutra at 2011/10/15 06:20am
Need to optimize thise code for reusabilitiy.

i am much agree with this.

rudiedirkx at 2011/03/31 01:47pm best practice

i am also planning to create a this kind of validator class in which we can define a some global functions for more model validation rules.

if anybody is already gone for this approach .then it would be great for this community.

#4913 report it
pligor at 2011/08/28 09:53am

On the matter of reusability, does anyone believe that attaching a behavior to the model would be a good practice? Of course I mean that the behavior contains the public methods that are going to be used as custom validators. Note: I haven't tested it yet to see if it is possible..

#4552 report it
RusAlex at 2011/07/20 07:36am

what means self::STRONG ? i didn't find that constant in code

#3780 report it
mike81 at 2011/05/07 08:40pm
valid JavaScript patterns

When using patterns other than the ones described in this article, make sure you have them in this format '/ .... /' (e.g. private $pattern = '/#.^(?=.{6,45})(?=.[a-z])(?=.[A-Z])(?=.[0-9]).*$#/'; ) if you want to implement client validation.

#3741 report it
Draga at 2011/05/04 05:10am
multiple attributes

How can I make and inside-model validation function that takes more than one attributes? In my case I have to pass hours and minutes and check that at least one of them is a positive number (the time is more than 00:00).

#3292 report it
nickcv at 2011/03/31 03:17pm
more validation rules in one class

well you could, just use one of the rule parameters to decide which rule apply from time to time.

I did that in the above example, but keep in mind that while it's fine for the wiki example that's not always a good practice.

if you use that kind of system to put together a bunch of totally different rules the rule name won't be intuitive and you lose one of the key advantages of lazy loading.

You use one class for validation rule for the sake of modularity

#3288 report it
Dudie Rirkx at 2011/03/31 01:47pm
best practice

Is there no way to globally create 5 validation methods in 1 class? It seems like such a waste to create 5 classes to get 5 reusable validation methods...

I'd like the exact same format as you would create a validation method within your Model/AR. Only more and reusable.

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