Document Information


Part I Introduction

1.  Overview

2.  Using the Tutorial Examples

Part II The Web Tier

3.  Getting Started with Web Applications

4.  JavaServer Faces Technology

5.  Introduction to Facelets

6.  Expression Language

7.  Using JavaServer Faces Technology in Web Pages

8.  Using Converters, Listeners, and Validators

9.  Developing with JavaServer Faces Technology

10.  JavaServer Faces Technology: Advanced Concepts

11.  Using Ajax with JavaServer Faces Technology

12.  Composite Components: Advanced Topics and Example

13.  Creating Custom UI Components and Other Custom Objects

Determining Whether You Need a Custom Component or Renderer

When to Use a Custom Component

When to Use a Custom Renderer

Component, Renderer, and Tag Combinations

Understanding the Image Map Example

Why Use JavaServer Faces Technology to Implement an Image Map?

Understanding the Rendered HTML

Understanding the Facelets Page

Configuring Model Data

Summary of the Image Map Application Classes

Steps for Creating a Custom Component

Creating Custom Component Classes

Specifying the Component Family

Performing Encoding

Performing Decoding

Enabling Component Properties to Accept Expressions

Saving and Restoring State

Delegating Rendering to a Renderer

Creating the Renderer Class

Identifying the Renderer Type

Implementing an Event Listener

Implementing Value-Change Listeners

Implementing Action Listeners

Handling Events for Custom Components

Defining the Custom Component Tag in a Tag Library Descriptor

Using a Custom Component

Creating and Using a Custom Converter

Creating a Custom Converter

Using a Custom Converter

Binding Component Values and Instances to Managed Bean Properties

Binding a Component Value to a Property

Binding a Component Value to an Implicit Object

Binding a Component Instance to a Bean Property

Binding Converters, Listeners, and Validators to Managed Bean Properties

14.  Configuring JavaServer Faces Applications

15.  Java Servlet Technology

16.  Uploading Files with Java Servlet Technology

17.  Internationalizing and Localizing Web Applications

Part III Web Services

18.  Introduction to Web Services

19.  Building Web Services with JAX-WS

20.  Building RESTful Web Services with JAX-RS

21.  JAX-RS: Advanced Topics and Example

Part IV Enterprise Beans

22.  Enterprise Beans

23.  Getting Started with Enterprise Beans

24.  Running the Enterprise Bean Examples

25.  A Message-Driven Bean Example

26.  Using the Embedded Enterprise Bean Container

27.  Using Asynchronous Method Invocation in Session Beans

Part V Contexts and Dependency Injection for the Java EE Platform

28.  Introduction to Contexts and Dependency Injection for the Java EE Platform

29.  Running the Basic Contexts and Dependency Injection Examples

30.  Contexts and Dependency Injection for the Java EE Platform: Advanced Topics

31.  Running the Advanced Contexts and Dependency Injection Examples

Part VI Persistence

32.  Introduction to the Java Persistence API

33.  Running the Persistence Examples

34.  The Java Persistence Query Language

35.  Using the Criteria API to Create Queries

36.  Creating and Using String-Based Criteria Queries

37.  Controlling Concurrent Access to Entity Data with Locking

38.  Using a Second-Level Cache with Java Persistence API Applications

Part VII Security

39.  Introduction to Security in the Java EE Platform

40.  Getting Started Securing Web Applications

41.  Getting Started Securing Enterprise Applications

42.  Java EE Security: Advanced Topics

Part VIII Java EE Supporting Technologies

43.  Introduction to Java EE Supporting Technologies

44.  Transactions

45.  Resources and Resource Adapters

46.  The Resource Adapter Example

47.  Java Message Service Concepts

48.  Java Message Service Examples

49.  Bean Validation: Advanced Topics

50.  Using Java EE Interceptors

Part IX Case Studies

51.  Duke's Bookstore Case Study Example

52.  Duke's Tutoring Case Study Example

53.  Duke's Forest Case Study Example



Creating and Using a Custom Validator

If the standard validators or Bean Validation don’t perform the validation checking you need, you can create a custom validator to validate user input. As explained in Validation Model, there are two ways to implement validation code:

  • Implement a managed bean method that performs the validation.

  • Provide an implementation of the javax.faces.validator.Validator interface to perform the validation.

Writing a Method to Perform Validation explains how to implement a managed bean method to perform validation. The rest of this section explains how to implement the Validator interface.

If you choose to implement the Validator interface and you want to allow the page author to configure the validator’s attributes from the page, you also must specify a custom tag for registering the validator on a component.

If you prefer to configure the attributes in the Validator implementation, you can forgo specifying a custom tag and instead let the page author register the validator on a component using the f:validator tag, as described in Using a Custom Validator.

You can also create a managed bean property that accepts and returns the Validator implementation you create, as described in Writing Properties Bound to Converters, Listeners, or Validators. You can use the f:validator tag’s binding attribute to bind the Validator implementation to the managed bean property.

Usually, you will want to display an error message when data fails validation. You need to store these error messages in a resource bundle.

After creating the resource bundle, you have two ways to make the messages available to the application. You can queue the error messages onto the FacesContext programmatically, or you can register the error messages in the application configuration resource file, as explained in Registering Application Messages.

For example, an e-commerce application might use a general-purpose custom validator called to validate input data against a format pattern that is specified in the custom validator tag. This validator would be used with a Credit Card Number field on a Facelets page. Here is the custom validator tag:

    formatPatterns="9999999999999999|9999 9999 9999 9999|9999-9999-9999-9999"/>

According to this validator, the data entered in the field must be one of the following:

  • A 16–digit number with no spaces

  • A 16–digit number with a space between every four digits

  • A 16–digit number with hyphens between every four digits

The f:validateRegex tag makes a custom validator unnecessary in this situation. However, the rest of this section describes how this validator would be implemented and how to specify a custom tag so that the page author could register the validator on a component.

Implementing the Validator Interface

A Validator implementation must contain a constructor, a set of accessor methods for any attributes on the tag, and a validate method, which overrides the validate method of the Validator interface.

The hypothetical FormatValidator class also defines accessor methods for setting the formatPatterns attribute, which specifies the acceptable format patterns for input into the fields. The setter method calls the parseFormatPatterns method, which separates the components of the pattern string into a string array, formatPatternsList.

public String getFormatPatterns() {
    return (this.formatPatterns);
public void setFormatPatterns(String formatPatterns) {
    this.formatPatterns = formatPatterns;

In addition to defining accessor methods for the attributes, the class overrides the validate method of the Validator interface. This method validates the input and also accesses the custom error messages to be displayed when the String is invalid.

The validate method performs the actual validation of the data. It takes the FacesContext instance, the component whose data needs to be validated, and the value that needs to be validated. A validator can validate only data of a component that implements javax.faces.component.EditableValueHolder.

Here is an implementation of the validate method:

public class FormatValidator implements Validator, StateHolder {
    public void validate(FacesContext context, UIComponent component, 
                         Object toValidate) {

        boolean valid = false;
        String value = null;
        if ((context == null) || (component == null)) {
            throw new NullPointerException();
        if (!(component instanceof UIInput)) {
        if ( null == formatPatternsList || null == toValidate) {
        value = toValidate.toString();
        // validate the value against the list of valid patterns.
        Iterator patternIt = formatPatternsList.iterator();
        while (patternIt.hasNext()) {
            valid = isFormatValid(
                ((String), value);
            if (valid) {
        if ( !valid ) {
            FacesMessage errMsg =
                new FacesMessage(FORMAT_INVALID_MESSAGE_ID);
            FacesContext.getCurrentInstance().addMessage(null, errMsg);
            throw new ValidatorException(errMsg);

The @FacesValidator annotation registers the FormatValidator class as a validator with the JavaServer Faces implementation. The validate method gets the local value of the component and converts it to a String. It then iterates over the formatPatternsList list, which is the list of acceptable patterns that was parsed from the formatPatterns attribute of the custom validator tag.

While iterating over the list, this method checks the pattern of the component’s local value against the patterns in the list. If the pattern of the local value does not match any pattern in the list, this method generates an error message. It then creates a javax.faces.application.FacesMessage and queues it on the FacesContext for display during the Render Response phase, using a String that represents the key in the Properties file:

public static final String FORMAT_INVALID_MESSAGE_ID =

Finally, the method passes the message to the constructor of javax.faces.validator.ValidatorException.

When the error message is displayed, the format pattern will be substituted for the {0} in the error message, which, in English, is as follows:

Input must match one of the following patterns: {0}

You may wish to save and restore state for your validator, although state saving is not usually necessary. To do so, you will need to implement the StateHolder interface in addition to the Validator interface. To implement StateHolder, you would need to implement its four methods: saveState(FacesContext), restoreState(FacesContext, Object), isTransient, and setTransient(boolean). See Saving and Restoring State for more information.

Specifying a Custom Tag

If you implemented a Validator interface rather than implementing a managed bean method that performs the validation, you need to do one of the following:

  • Allow the page author to specify the Validator implementation to use with the f:validator tag. In this case, the Validator implementation must define its own properties. Using a Custom Validator explains how to use the f:validator tag.

  • Specify a custom tag that provides attributes for configuring the properties of the validator from the page.

To specify a custom tag, you need to add the tag to the tag library descriptor for the application, bookstore.taglib.xml.


The tag-name element defines the name of the tag as it must be used in a Facelets page. The validator-id element identifies the custom validator. The validator-class element wires the custom tag to its implementation class.

Using a Custom Validator explains how to use the custom validator tag on the page.

Using a Custom Validator

To register a custom validator on a component, you must do one of the following:

  • Nest the validator’s custom tag inside the tag of the component whose value you want to be validated.

  • Nest the standard f:validator tag within the tag of the component and reference the custom Validator implementation from the f:validator tag.

Here is a hypothetical custom formatValidator tag for the Credit Card Number field, nested within the h:inputText tag:

<h:inputText id="ccno" size="19"
        formatPatterns="9999999999999999|9999 9999 9999 9999|9999-9999-9999-9999" />
<h:message styleClass="validationMessage" for="ccno"/>

This tag validates the input of the ccno field against the patterns defined by the page author in the formatPatterns attribute.

You can use the same custom validator for any similar component by simply nesting the custom validator tag within the component tag.

If the application developer who created the custom validator prefers to configure the attributes in the Validator implementation rather than allow the page author to configure the attributes from the page, the developer will not create a custom tag for use with the validator.

In this case, the page author must nest the f:validator tag inside the tag of the component whose data needs to be validated. Then the page author needs to do one of the following:

The following tag registers a hypothetical validator on a component using a validator tag and references the ID of the validator:

<h:inputText id="name" value="#{}"
            size="10" ... >
    <f:validator validatorId="customValidator" />