ViewModel validation for a List

I have the following viewmodel definition

public class AccessRequestViewModel
{
    public Request Request { get; private set; }
    public SelectList Buildings { get; private set; }
    public List<Person> Persons { get; private set; }
}

So in my application there must be at least 1 person for an access request. What approach might you use to validate? I don’t want this validation to happen in my controller which would be simple to do. Is the only choice a custom validation attribute?

Edit: Currently performing this validation with FluentValidation (nice library!)

RuleFor(vm => vm.Persons)
                .Must((vm, person) => person.Count > 0)
                .WithMessage("At least one person is required");

Answers:

Thank you for visiting the Q&A section on Magenaut. Please note that all the answers may not help you solve the issue immediately. So please treat them as advisements. If you found the post helpful (or not), leave a comment & I’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

Method 1

If you are using Data Annotations to perform validation you might need a custom attribute:

public class EnsureOneElementAttribute : ValidationAttribute
{
    public override bool IsValid(object value)
    {
        var list = value as IList;
        if (list != null)
        {
            return list.Count > 0;
        }
        return false;
    }
}

and then:
[EnsureOneElement(ErrorMessage = "At least a person is required")]
public List<Person> Persons { get; private set; }

or to make it more generic:
public class EnsureMinimumElementsAttribute : ValidationAttribute
{
    private readonly int _minElements;
    public EnsureMinimumElementsAttribute(int minElements)
    {
        _minElements = minElements;
    }

    public override bool IsValid(object value)
    {
        var list = value as IList;
        if (list != null)
        {
            return list.Count >= _minElements;
        }
        return false;
    }
}

and then:
[EnsureMinimumElements(1, ErrorMessage = "At least a person is required")]
public List<Person> Persons { get; private set; }

Personally I use FluentValidation.NET instead of Data Annotations to perform validation because I prefer the imperative validation logic instead of the declarative. I think it is more powerful. So my validation rule would simply look like this:
RuleFor(x => x.Persons)
    .Must(x => x.Count > 0)
    .WithMessage("At least a person is required");

Method 2

Following code works in asp.net core 1.1.

[Required, MinLength(1, ErrorMessage = "At least one item required in work order")]
public ICollection<WorkOrderItem> Items { get; set; }

Method 3

Another possible way to handle the count validations for view model object’s collection members, is to have a calculated property returning the collection or list count. A RangeAttribute can then be applied like in the code below to enforce count validation:

[Range(minimum: 1, maximum: Int32.MaxValue, ErrorMessage = "At least one item needs to be selected")]
public int ItemCount
{
    get
    {
        return Items != null ? Items.Length : 0;
    }
}

In the code above, ItemCount is an example calculated property on a view model being validated, and Items is an example member collection property whose count is being checked.
In this example, at least one item is enforced on the collection member and the maximum limit is the maximum value an integer can take, which is, for most of the practical purposes, unbounded. The error message on validation failure can also be set through the RangeAttribute’s ErrorMessage member in the example above.

Method 4

Darin’s answer is good but the version below will automatically give you a useful error message.

public class MinimumElementsAttribute : ValidationAttribute
{
    private readonly int minElements;

    public MinimumElementsAttribute(int minElements)
    {
        this.minElements = minElements;
    }

    protected override ValidationResult IsValid(object value, ValidationContext validationContext)
    {
        var list = value as IList;

        var result = list?.Count >= minElements;

        return result
            ? ValidationResult.Success
            : new ValidationResult($"{validationContext.DisplayName} requires at least {minElements} element" + (minElements > 1 ? "s" : string.Empty));
    }
}

Usage:
[MinimumElements(1)]
public List<Customer> Customers {get;set}

[MinimumElements(2)]
public List<Address> Addresses {get;set}

Error message:
  • Customers requires at least 1 element
  • Addresses requires at least 2 elements

Method 5

You have two choices here, either create a Custom Validation Attribute and decorate the property with it, or you can make your ViewModel implement the IValidatableObject interface (which defines a Validate method)

Hope this helps 🙂

Method 6

It would be very clean and elegant to have a custom validation. Something like this:

public class AccessRequestViewModel
{
    public Request Request { get; private set; }
    public SelectList Buildings { get; private set; }
    [AtLeastOneItem]
    public List<Person> Persons { get; private set; }
}

Or [MinimumItems(1)].

Method 7

One approach could be to use a private constructor and a static method to return an instance of the object.

public class AccessRequestViewModel
{
    private AccessRequesetViewModel() { };

    public static GetAccessRequestViewModel (List<Person> persons)
    {
            return new AccessRequestViewModel()
            {
                Persons = persons,
            };
    }

    public Request Request { get; private set; }
    public SelectList Buildings { get; private set; }
    public List<Person> Persons { get; private set; }
}

By always using the factory to instantiate your ViewModel, you can ensure that there will always be a person.

This probably isn’t ideal for what you want, but it would likely work.


All methods was sourced from stackoverflow.com or stackexchange.com, is licensed under cc by-sa 2.5, cc by-sa 3.0 and cc by-sa 4.0

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