Writing and testing custom form validators

Custom form validators are a powerful feature in Angular.

Say I’ve got a form, and an input for a name. I want the name to be unique from a list of pre-existing names. Shout out to Beatles fans:

//- form.html
<form name="nameform">
    <input name="nameinput" ng-model="fifthMember" unique-name-validator current-names="theBeatles" />
//- controller.js
$scope.theBeatles = ['John', 'George', 'Paul', 'Ringo'];

Creating a validator

Take a look at the attribute unique-name-validator and current-names. That’s a reference to the custom validator, which wraps itself in a directive:

angular.module('addABeatle').directive('uniqueNameValidator', function(){
    return {
        require: 'ngModel',
        scope: {
            currentNames: '='
        link: function($scope, _e, _a, modelController){
            modelController.$validators.uniqueName = function(newName){
                return !_.contains($scope.currentNames, newName);

Requiring ngModel gives you access to the model controller that handles the ng-model="fifthBeatles". On that controller, a validator is added. All it is is a function that returns true if the input is valid, false if it’s invalid.

From there, I use the current-names attribute, that gets attached to $scope when I isolate it on the directive, to test if the name is unique (lodash used here).


Testing, after some setup work, is pretty straight forward.

You create an element and $compile it. To get a reference to the input, I leveraged Angular’s behavior of attach forms onto the current $scope.

describe('directive: uniqueNameValidator', function(){
    var $scope, input;

    beforeEach(inject(function($compile, $rootScope){
        $scope = $rootScope.$new();
        $scope.theBeatles = ['John', 'George', 'Paul', 'Ringo'];
        var element = '<form name="nameform"><input name="nameinput" ng-model="fifthMember" unique-name-validator current-names="theBeatles" /></form>';
        input = $scope.nameform.nameinput;

Then the tests become a matter of setting the view’s value, and testing for $valid or $invalid:

    it('marks a unique name $valid', function(){
        input.$setViewValue('Pete Best'); // Beatles dropout!

    it('marks a not unique name $invalid', function(){


And now you’re a hero.