Fork me on GitHub

Validation with Server-side call in AngularJS

I've been playing with AngularJS for a little while, and in trying to understand how to validate a user's data as it's being entered, it didn't take long to find that to check with the server for some validation rules, like uniqueness constraints.

This presented a problem since the built-in validators know nothing about the data on the server. I looked into the issue and found that creating my own directive was the way to go. Difficult when I'm an AngularJS newbie and I barely understand such things, but luckily the AngularJS online community was helpful. To validate the uniqeness of an "ICP" (don't ask) when the user stops typing, it's not overly difficult.

app.directive('uniqueIcpName', function($http, $timeout) {
    var promise;
    return {
        restrict: 'A',
        require: 'ngModel',
        link: function(scope, elem, attrs, ctrl) {
            //when the scope changes, check
            scope.$watch(attrs.ngModel, function(value) {
                // if there was a previous attempt, stop it.


                // Determine the url based on whether this is an add or a
                // modify.
                var url;
                if (attrs.uniqueIcpName === "add") {
                    url = '/valid/icp/add/name/' + value + '/';
                } else {
                    url = '/valid/icp/modify/name/' + value + '/';

                // start a new attempt with a delay to keep it from
                // getting too "chatty".
                promise = $timeout(function() {
                    // call to some API that returns { isValid: true } or
                    // { isValid: false }
                            function(data) {
                }, 500);

The timeout is a neat trick someone taught me, so you launch the event on every keypress, but on the next keypress you cancel the previous one, and put in a 500ms delay on the ReST call, so you don't really make the request until the user stops typing for a full half second. Meanwhile I put in a little attribute check based on creation vs. modification of the data, since uniqueness checks must exclude the current object on a modification.

Then all you need is the server-side returning an isValid attribute, which should have a boolean value. Simple, and it works.

Comments !