Validation groups for ActiveRecord
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spec Allow repeated definitions of groups Sep 29, 2013
.gitignore refactored for full ActiveModel support only Oct 29, 2010


Grouped Validations

Allows you to define ActiveModel validation groups for more control over what validations you want to run.

This can be useful for multi-page forms or wizard style data entry.

Works with Rails 3.

For Rails 2.x support, try version 0.2.2.


Just install the gem

gem install grouped_validations

Add it to your Rails environment gems

config.gem 'grouped_validations'


Define validations as you would normally but inside a validation_group block which you pass a group name to.

class Person < ActiveRecord::Base
  validation_group :name do
    validates_presence_of :first_name
    validates_presence_of :last_name

  validates_presence_of :sex

You can define validations outside the group as normal.

To check for errors for only a certain group of validations

p =
p.group_valid?(:name) # => false
p.first_name = 'John'
p.last_name = 'Smith'
p.group_valid?(:name) # => true

If you run the normal valid? method all validations, inside and outside validation groups, will be run.

p.valid? # => false because sex is not present

You can also check validation for multiple groups

p.groups_valid?(:group1, :group2)

To define validation blocks just use the respective group validation method, like so

class Person < ActiveRecord::Base
  validation_group :name do
    validates_presence_of :first_name
    validates_presence_of :last_name

  validate_name           {|r| # something custom on save }
  validate_name_on_create {|r| # something custom on create }
  validate_name_on_update {|r| # something custom on update }

Group Options

You can use a validation group like similar to the with_options method, but for validation methods only.

If you pass in an options hash, those options will be applied to each valiation method in the block.

validation_group :name, :if => :ready? do
  validates_presence_of :first_name
  validates_presence_of :last_name

Which effectively the same as doing the following:

validates_presence_of :first_name, :if => :ready?
validates_presence_of :last_name, :if => :ready?

If you set an option for a specific validation method, it will not be overriden with the validation group options.

validation_group :name, :if => :ready? do
  validates_presence_of :first_name
  validates_presence_of :last_name, :if => {|r| !r.popstar? }

The last_name attribute will be required unless the person is a popstar.

The options should work for any validation method which calls the validate class method internally. This includes all the default validations.

For more precision on when to merge the groups options you can pass an argument to the block and use it like a with_options call. Then only those validation methods call on the argument will have the options merged in.

validation_group :name, :if => :ready? do |options|
  # Options merged
  options.validates_presence_of :first_name

  # No options merged
  validates_presence_of :last_name

Grouped Errors

The errors for the model can be returned as hash with the group names as the keys. If you have a number of groups you can deal with the error messages in specific ways per group.

validation_group :name do
  validates_presence_of :first_name
  validates_presence_of :last_name

validates_presence_of :sex

To access all errors outside of a validation group, use nil as the key:


Use the group name as the key for all errors in that group:


Be aware that the validations will all be run. If you have just called valid? then the same validations will be run again and the current state of the object is used. This is for consideration if the validations are expensive, time sensitive or you have changed the object after calling valid?.

You can use the grouped_errors method instead of valid? to check on a valid object like so:

# Validations all run
if person.grouped_errors.empty?
  # object is valid


Copyright © 2010-2011 Adam Meehan, released under the MIT license