Custom validation

Custom validation functions can be applied to elements in a form. However, it’s best to avoid their use if at all possible, so that the JSON specification remains the entire description of the form.

Creating a custom validation has two parts.

Form specification

Firstly, the form elements need to include the validationCustom property, which specifies the name and any additional data required to perform the validation. Specifications have two properties:

name The name of the validation function.
data Any additional configuration data that needs to be passed to the validation function.

Validation function

The validation function needs to be registered with the plugin globalFormsCustomValidationFunction() method. Global registration is especially convenient when using the std_document_store plugin, or when a function is reused across many forms.

Alternatively, if global registration is not possible, the function can be declared locally to the form instance with customValidation().

Validation functions take five arguments:

value The value of this form element, as stored in the document.
data Function specific configuration data, obtained from the element’s specification.
context The current context within the document. If the element is in a section, this will be the sections position in the document. Generally you should access other elements through the context.
document The root of the document. Avoid using this to make sure your functions are as general as possible.
externalData The external data set on this form instance. std_document_store will set the "std_document_store:key" property within externalData.

The validation function is only called when the value is not undefined.

If validation does not pass, the function returns an error message to display to the user.

Testing values

Custom validation functions need to be written carefully, taking into account the way the elements are read from submitted data and the order of updating the document.

You must test the value argument of the function, not retrieve it from the context or document. When the function is called, the document might not have been updated with the new value.

The values for other elements in the context or document will only have been updated for elements which precede this element in the specification. This means a custom validation function which operates on the values of more than one element must be applied to the element that is last in the specification.


This example shows how to create a custom validation function that checks that two number elements sum to a given total, writing the validation function in as general a style as possible.

The two elements are described with "required":true to ensure the values are present in the document, and the validation function doesn’t need to worry about checking they exist. The data property is used to pass information to the function about the required total and the other element’s path.

    "type": "number",
    "label": "First number",
    "path": "firstNumber",
    "required": true
    "type": "number",
    "label": "Second number",
    "path": "secondNumber",
    "required": true,
    "validationCustom": {
      "name": "example:sum-value",
      "data": {
        "otherValue": "firstNumber",
        "requiredSum": 100

The validation function is defined and registered with the instance as:

  function(value, data, context, document, externalData) {
    if(value + context[data.otherValue] !== data.requiredSum) {
        return "Must add up to "+data.requiredSum;