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Chapter 6. Integration with other frameworks

6.1. Database schema-level validation
6.2. ORM integration
6.2.1. Hibernate event-based validation
6.2.2. JPA
6.3. Presentation layer validation

Hibernate Validator is intended to be used to implement multi-layered data validation, where constraints are expressed in a single place (the annotated domain model) and checked in various different layers of the application.

Out of the box, Hibernate Annotations (as of Hibernate 3.5.x) will translate the constraints you have defined for your entities into mapping metadata. For example, if a property of your entity is annotated @NotNull, its columns will be declared as not null in the DDL schema generated by Hibernate.

If, for some reason, the feature needs to be disabled, set hibernate.validator.apply_to_ddl to false. See also Table 2.2, “Built-in constraints”.

You can also limit the DDL constraint generation to a subset of the defined constraints by setting the property org.hibernate.validator.group.ddl. The property specifies the comma seperated, fully specified classnames of the groups a constraint has to be part of in order to be considered for DDL schema generation.

Hibernate Validator integrates with both Hibernate and all pure Java Persistence providers.

Hibernate Validator has a built-in Hibernate event listener - org.hibernate.cfg.beanvalidation.BeanValidationEventListener - which is part of Hibernate Annotations (as of Hibernate 3.5.x). Whenever a PreInsertEvent, PreUpdateEvent or PreDeleteEvent occurs, the listener will verify all constraints of the entity instance and throw an exception if any constraint is violated. Per default objects will be checked before any inserts or updates are made by Hibernate. Pre deletion events will per default not trigger a validation. You can configure the groups to be validated per event type using the properties javax.persistence.validation.group.pre-persist, javax.persistence.validation.group.pre-update and javax.persistence.validation.group.pre-remove. The values of these properties are the comma seperated, fully specified class names of the groups to validate. Example 6.1, “Manual configuration of BeanValidationEvenListener” shows the default values for these properties. In this case they could also be omitted.

On constraint violation, the event will raise a runtime ConstraintViolationException which contains a set of ConstraintViolations describing each failure.

If Hibernate Validator is present in the classpath, Hibernate Annotations (or Hibernate EntityManager) will use it transparently. To avoid validation even though Hibernate Validator is in the classpath set javax.persistence.validation.mode to none.


If the beans are not annotated with validation annotations, there is no runtime performance cost.

In case you need to manually set the event listeners for Hibernate Core, use the following configuration in hibernate.cfg.xml:

If you are using JPA 2 and Hibernate Validator is in the classpath the JPA2 specification requires that Bean Validation gets enabled. The properties javax.persistence.validation.group.pre-persist, javax.persistence.validation.group.pre-update and javax.persistence.validation.group.pre-remove as described in Section 6.2.1, “Hibernate event-based validation” can in this case be configured in persistence.xml. persistence.xml also defines a node validation-mode while can be set to AUTO, CALLBACK, NONE. The default is AUTO.

In a JPA 1 you will have to create and register Hibernate Validator yourself. In case you are using Hibernate EntityManager you can add a customized version of the BeanValidationEventListener described in Section 6.2.1, “Hibernate event-based validation” to your project and register it manually.

When working with JSF2 or JBoss Seam and Hibernate Validator (Bean Validation) is present in the runtime environment validation is triggered for every field in the application. ??? shows an example of the f:validateBean tag in a JSF page. For more information refer to the Seam documentation or the JSF 2 specification.