Bean Validation specification
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Bean Validation specification

This repository contains the Bean Validation specification. For more information on Bean Validation and the work in progress, go to

Building docs

The specification is written in the AsciiDoc format. In order to convert this into nicely rendered output, you need to have Apache Ant installed on your system and available on your classpath. The build file build.xml is located in this directory and all commands are relative to this directory.

  • Running ant all.doc builds both PDF and HTML output in the target/ directory. all.doc is also the default target.
  • Running ant clean will clean up output HTML and PDF files.
  • Running ant render-html will only build the HTML output (much faster).

Tagging phrases for the TCK

The Bean Validation TCK is a suite of unit tests for validating the compliance of Bean Validation implementations with the specification.

The tests of the TCK are based on assertions representing sentences and phrases in this specification. Labels on specific text elements of the specification are used to mark those which should lead to an assertion in the TCK. The following values are allowed:

  • tck-testable: The tagged element must be represented by a testable assertion in the TCK
  • tck-not-testable: The tagged element must be represented by a non-testable assertion in the TCK (e.g. assertions regarding thread safety)
  • tck-ignore: The tagged element must be excluded when creating a TCK assertion for an outer element. Can be used to exlude explanatory phrases contained in an element marked as tck-testable.
  • tck-needs-update: The tagged element must be marked with a note in the TCK audit file saying that the tests for this assertion need to be updated, e.g. due to a spec update. Can be used together with tck-testable and tck-not-testable: [tck-testable tck-needs-update]#Some sentence...#.

Updating the TCK audit file

The TCK audit file is an XML file containing all assertions of the TCK. This file is generated with help of an XSL transformation (for that purpose the spec is converted into DocBook).

The generation is executed by running ant createTckAuditFile. This is required whenever tagged elements have been added, updated, removed or changed their position within all tagged elements of a section.

The generated file target/tck-audit.xml should not be re-formatted and must be checked into the TCK project. If an update changed the section numbers of existing assertions, the corresponding tests need to be adapted as well since they reference the section numbers in the @SpecAssertion annotation.

Contributing to the specification

By submitting a "pull request" or otherwise contributing to this repository, you agree to license your contribution under the Apache Software License 2.0.

The recommended approach to contribute to the spec is via GitHub pull requests. More on contribution at

Make sure to not go beyond 80 columns per line.

Style rules

  • use [...] for omissions, prefer it on a dedicated line rather than inlined. For declaration, use a ; after User user = [...];
  • remove email in @author
  • use @author on classes or interfaces (non inner)
  • use {@link} for method reference (the first in the JavaDoc of the element) except if it references external classes and if it references the class or element at bay.
  • reference methods with a trailing () but be careful that some methodname are actually annotation attributes and thus should not have ()
  • in the spec use [methodname]`` and in the JavaDoc {@link Foo#bar()}
  • no import statement
  • add package statement
  • use <p/> to separate paragraphs but do not use <p>blah blah</p>
  • empty line between the @param, @return, @throws group and the other @tag elements
  • @throws does not use {@link } for the exception
  • import classes used by {@link} and @throws exceptions so that the unqualified name works
  • something is true but a method returns <literal>true</literal>
  • use <ul> for lists
  • <li> are indented by 4 spaces compared to <ul>
  • multiline @param, @return etc are indented to align with the beginning of the text of the element
  • the core of the JavaDoc uses capital letters and punctuation like in plain English
  • @tag attributes do not use capital letters for the beninning of a sentence nor use dots in the end, prefer ; to separate sentences in this situation
  • use verbs at the third person instead of the imperative tense (?!): Returns foo instead of Return foo.
  • use <pre> </pre> for multiline code example. <pre> elements should be on a separate line
  • use an empty line between a class / interface declaration and the first element in the block

Here is an example

 * Returns the complementary elements related to {@link FooBar#baz()}.
 * This allows to break things apart.
 * <p/>
 * Demolition mileage may vary depending on the robustness
 * of {@code FooBar} when using {@code List}:
 * <ul>
 *     <li>This is a beginning</li>
 *     <li>This is the end</li>
 * </ul>
 * <pre>
 * Some code = new Some();
 * if (size >12) {
 *     code.doStuff();
 * }
 * </pre>
 * @param test this is a long description that needs
 *        to be done on several lines, yep
 * @param foo this is another param
 * @return the result
 * @throws IllegalArgumentException when things happen
 * @since 1.1
 * @deprecated
public void someMethod() {
    User user = [...];

 * Welcome to this element related to {@link FooBar}.
 * This allowed to break things apart.
 * <p/>
 * Demolition mileage may vary depending on the robustness
 * of {@code FooBar} when using {@code List}
 * @author Emmanuel Bernard
 * @since 1.1
 * @deprecated
public class GoodStuff {

     * [...]

For the API, in particular the JavaDoc, follow the conventions described at

Showing tck assertion coverage

TODO: This information refers to the previous DocBook version of the spec. Can we have something similar for AsciiDoc?

You can update the CSS file to show what is covered and what is not covered by the TCK assertion coverage.

.tck-testable, .tck-testable tt { color: blue; }
.tck-not-testable, .tck-not-testable tt { color: BlueViolet; }
.tck-ignore, .tck-ignore tt { color: black; }