Aide provides an abstraction for validating entities using 3rd party validation libraries. Out of the box Aide supports Laravel’s validator from the illuminate/validation package. The example below will use the Deefour\Aide\Validation\IlluminateValidator.


To validate an entity, a new instance of the validator must be created. This typically will be done within a service provider.

use Illuminate\Validation\Factory;
use Symfony\Component\Translation\Translator;
use Deefour\Aide\Validation\IlluminateValidator as Validator;
use Symfony\Component\Translation\MessageSelector;

$translator = new Translator('en', new MessageSelector);
$validator  = new Factory($translator);

$validator  = new Validator($factory);


With this new $validator instance, any class that extends Deefour\Aide\Validation\ValidatableInterface can be validated easily. For example, given the following User entity

// AbstractEntity implements the Deefour\Aide\Validation\ValidatableInterface
use Deefour\Aide\Persistence\Entity\AbstractEntity;

class Article extends AbstractEntity {

  // attributes
  public $title;
  public $body;

  // validation rules
  public function validations() {
    return [
      'title' => 'required',
      'body'  => 'required',


validation on a Article instance could be done as follows

$entity = new Article([ 'title' => 'A Great Title', 'body' => 'Lots of text...' ]);


$validator->isValid(); // boolean whether the entity passes validation rules or not

$validator->errors(); // array, keyed by attribute names, with array values containing list of errors for each attribute

The raw validation instance behind the abstraction Aide provides can also be accessed.

$validator->getValidator(); // returns the \Illuminate\Validation\Factory instance

Validation Rules

Part of the Deefour\Aide\Validation\ValidatableInterface contract is the following

 * List of rules to use in the validation abstraction layer to ensure all required
 * information has been provided in the expected format.
 * @param  array  $context  [optional]
 * @return array
public function validations(array $context = []);


This is a strict requirement. The Deefour\Aide\Persistence\Entity\AbstractEntity class that all entity classes are to extend defines an implementation of this validations() method that will throw a \BadMethodCallException in an attempt to prevent the developer from forgetting to set up proper validation rules.

The User entity Aide provides contains a simple set of default rules.

public function validations(array $context = []) {
  return [
    'first_name' => [ 'required', 'between:3,30' ],
    'last_name'  => [ 'required', 'between:3,30' ],
    'email'      => [ 'required', 'email' ],

The keys match attribute names. The values are arrays of strings matching the format Laravel’s validator expects. See the basic usage for Laravel’s Validator to learn more about the above syntax.


When there is a need to validate against external data, configuration, etc..., a special context can be built up on the validator. The context is passed into every validations() method, and as the 2nd argument to all Closure validation rules.

With the context being passed into the validations() method, rules can be conditionally set.

First, set the entity and context on the validator

$user = new User([ 'first_name' => 'Jason', 'email' => '' ]);

          ->setContext([ 'last_name_max' => 20 ]);

Then refer to the context and make the validation rule dependent on it’s value.

public function validations(array $context = []) {
  $lastNameMax = array_key_exists('last_name_max', $context) ? $context['last_name_max'] : 30;

  return [
    'first_name' => [ 'required', 'between:3,30' ],
    'last_name'  => [ 'required', 'between:3,' . $lastNameMax ],
    'email'      => [ 'required', 'email' ],

Rule Callbacks

There are times where more complex validation is required for a rule. PHP Closures can be appended to the rules. The same context is passed to each Closure rule too.

> Note: Both within the validations() method itself and the Closure rules, $this can be used to access attributes or other methods on the entity instance.

For example, to do a dns lookup against the domain used for the email address on the User entity above, the example could be expanded as follows

public function validations(array $context = []) {
  $rules = [
    'first_name'  => [ 'required', 'between:3,30' ],
    'last_name'   => [ 'required', 'between:3,30' ],
    'email'       => [ 'required', 'email' ],

  $rules['dns-lookup'] = function() {
    $email  = $this->email;
    $domain = substr($email, mb_strpos($email, '@'));

    if (dns_get_record($domain) === false) {
      return 'invalid-hostname';

  return $rules;

The validation Closure will be considered failing if a string is returned. The returned string should match a key for a message template. The Closure rules are not keyed in the validation rules do not have ot be keyed by a specific attribute on the entity. It is important the developer be aware of this, Because the string 'dns-lookup' does not match any attributes on the entity

Message Templates

The base Deefour\Aide\Validation\AbstractValidator instance has a currently-very-limited-but-growing set of error message templates.

protected $messageTemplates = array(
  'required'       => '%s is required',
  'email'          => '%s must be a valid email address',
  'date'           => '%s is not a valid date',
  'digits_between' => '%s is out of bounds',

The collection of error messages returned when calling $validator->errors() is composed of message templates like those above after having their sprintf tokens replaced by data from the validator. This token replacement currently does not leverage translation/localization or other sophisticated message replacement strategies. The single %s is replaced with the attribute name related to each error message. An attributes name like first_name will be transformed into first name by removing the snake case.

Entity Message Templates

Any entity can define it’s own additional message templates. Since there is no default 'invalid-hostname' message template defined, it can be defined directly on the User entity.

protected $messageTemplates = array(
  'invalid-hostname' => '%s contains an invalid/unknown domain',

An Example

Let’s look at a full example within the context of a Laravel controller action.

public function update($id) {
  $user      = User::find($id)->toEntity(); // toEntity() is an Aide method
  $input     = Input::get('user');
  $validator = $this->validator;

  $errors = $validator->setEntity($user)->errors();

  if ( ! empty($errors)) {
    // error: invalid data
    return View::make('user.edit', compact('user', 'input', 'errors'));

  // success
  return Redirect::to('home');