Validate data with WPF and Entity Framework using DataAnnotations?

.net data-annotations entity-framework validation wpf


Does WPF & Entity Framework's DataAnnotations support validation?

5/14/2012 3:40:18 PM

Accepted Answer

The DataAnnotations.Validator class is usable, as detailed here:

However, you must record that information before you verify if you're using a "buddy" class for the metadata, as shown here:

  new AssociatedMetadataTypeTypeDescriptionProvider(typeof(myEntity), 

List<ValidationResult> results = new List<ValidationResult>();
ValidationContext context = new ValidationContext(myEntity, null, null)
bool valid = Validator.TryValidateObject(myEntity, context, results, true);

[Added this in response to Shimmy's remark]

To put the above theory into practice, I created a generic method that any object may use:

// If the class to be validated does not have a separate metadata class, pass
// the same type for both typeparams.
public static bool IsValid<T, U>(this T obj, ref Dictionary<string, string> errors)
    //If metadata class type has been passed in that's different from the class to be validated, register the association
    if (typeof(T) != typeof(U))
        TypeDescriptor.AddProviderTransparent(new AssociatedMetadataTypeTypeDescriptionProvider(typeof(T), typeof(U)), typeof(T));

    var validationContext = new ValidationContext(obj, null, null);
    var validationResults = new List<ValidationResult>();
    Validator.TryValidateObject(obj, validationContext, validationResults, true);

    if (validationResults.Count > 0 && errors == null)
        errors = new Dictionary<string, string>(validationResults.Count);

    foreach (var validationResult in validationResults)
        errors.Add(validationResult.MemberNames.First(), validationResult.ErrorMessage);

    if (validationResults.Count > 0)
        return false;
        return true;

I add a call to this function in each object that has to be validated:

public partial class Employee
    private sealed class Metadata
        [Email(ErrorMessage = "Please enter a valid email address.")]
        public string EmailAddress { get; set; }

    public bool IsValid(ref Dictionary<string, string> errors)
        return this.IsValid<Employee, Metadata>(ref errors);
        //If the Employee class didn't have a buddy class,
        //I'd just pass Employee twice:
        //return this.IsValid<Employee, Employee>(ref errors);
2/28/2011 2:17:41 AM

Popular Answer

What Craig's response, in my opinion, leaves out is how to really check for validation issues. For individuals who wish to perform a validation check at a different layer than presentation, Steve Sanderson created DataAnnotation validation runner (the code is in an example project):

public static IEnumerable<ErrorInfo> GetErrors(object instance)
    var metadataAttrib = instance.GetType().GetCustomAttributes
        (typeof(MetadataTypeAttribute), true).
    var buddyClassOrModelClass = 
        metadataAttrib != null ? 
        metadataAttrib.MetadataClassType : 
    var buddyClassProperties = TypeDescriptor.GetProperties
    var modelClassProperties = TypeDescriptor.GetProperties

    return from buddyProp in buddyClassProperties
           join modelProp in modelClassProperties
               on buddyProp.Name equals modelProp.Name
           from attribute in buddyProp.Attributes.
           where !attribute.IsValid(modelProp.GetValue(instance))
           select new ErrorInfo(buddyProp.Name, 
               attribute.FormatErrorMessage(string.Empty), instance);

Although I'm not experienced with WPF, you may be able to utilize it. I'm not sure whether there is an immediate answer to your query.

Additionally, some comments on his blog claim that sometimes the validation rule evaluation does not go as intended, but this has never been the case for me.

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