Java Platform, Enterprise Edition (Java EE) 8
The Java EE Tutorial

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Validating Constructors and Methods

Bean Validation constraints may be placed on the parameters of nonstatic methods and constructors and on the return values of nonstatic methods. Static methods and constructors will not be validated.

public class Employee {
  public Employee (@NotNull String name) { ... }

  public void setSalary(
      @Digits(integer=6, fraction=2) BigDecimal salary,
      String currencyType) {

In this example, the Employee class has a constructor constraint requiring a name and has two sets of method parameter constraints. The amount of the salary for the employee must not be null, cannot be greater than six digits to the left of the decimal point, and cannot have more than two digits to the right of the decimal place. The currency type must not be null and is validated using a custom constraint.

If you add method constraints to classes in an object hierarchy, special care must be taken to avoid unintended behavior by subtypes. See Using Method Constraints in Type Hierarchies for more information.

Cross-Parameter Constraints

Constraints that apply to multiple parameters are called cross-parameter constraints, and may be applied at the method or constructor level.

public Employee (String name, String officePhone, String mobilePhone) {

In this example, a custom cross-parameter constraint, @ConsistentPhoneParameters, validates that the format of the phone numbers passed into the constructor match. The @NotNull constraint applies to all the parameters in the constructor.


Cross-parameter constraint annotations are applied directly to the method or constructor. Return value constraints are also applied directly to the method or constructor. To avoid confusion as to where the constraint applies, parameter or return value, choose a name for any custom constraints that identifies where the constraint applies. For instance, the preceding example applies a custom constraint, @ConsistentPhoneParameters, that indicates that it applies to the parameters of the method or constructor.

When you create a custom constraint that applies to both method parameters and return values, the validationAppliesTo element of the constraint annotation may be set to ConstraintTarget.RETURN_VALUE or ConstraintTarget.PARAMETERS to explicitly set the target of the validation constraint.

Validating Type Arguments of Parameterized Types

In Bean Validation 2.0, you can apply constraints to the type arguments of parameterized types. For example: List<@NotNull Long> numbers; Constraints can be applied to elements of container types such as List, Map, Optional, and others.

List<@Email String> emails;
public Map<@NotNull String, @USPhoneNumber String> getAddressesByType() { }

In this sample, @Email is an in-built constraint supported by Bean Validation, and @USPhoneNumber is a user-defined constraint. See Using the Built-In Constraints to Make a New Constraint.

@USPhoneNumber has ElementType.TYPE_USE as one of its @Target, and therefore it is possible to use @USPhoneNumber constraint for validating type arguments of parameterized types.

Identifying Parameter Constraint Violations

If a ConstraintViolationException occurs during a method call, the Bean Validation runtime returns a parameter index to identify which parameter caused the constraint violation. The parameter index is in the form `arg`PARAMETER_INDEX, where PARAMETER_INDEX is an integer that starts at 0 for the first parameter of the method or constructor.

Adding Constraints to Method Return Values

To validate the return value for a method, you can apply constraints directly to the method or constructor declaration.

public Employee getEmployee() { ... }

Cross-parameter constraints are also applied at the method level. Custom constraints that could be applied to both the return value and the method parameters have an ambiguous constraint target. To avoid this ambiguity, add a validationAppliesTo element to the constraint annotation definition with the default set to either ConstraintTarget.RETURN_VALUE or ConstraintTarget.PARAMETERS to explicitly set the target of the validation constraint.

public Employee getManager(Employee employee) { ... }

See Removing Ambiguity in Constraint Targets for more information.

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