Validating Request Data with Annotations

In a RESTful API, it is crucial to ensure the validity of the incoming request data to maintain the integrity of the application. Spring Boot provides a simple and efficient way to validate request data using annotations.

Why Validate Request Data?

Validating request data is important because it helps in preventing invalid or inconsistent data from entering the system. By validating user inputs, you can catch and handle errors effectively, ensuring the data meets the requirements defined by the application.

Using Annotations for Request Data Validation

In Spring Boot, you can use various annotations from the javax.validation.constraints package to validate request data. Let's look at some commonly used annotations:


The @NotNull annotation validates that a field is not null.

public class User {
    private String name;

    // getters and setters


The @Size annotation validates the size or length of a field.

public class User {
    @Size(min = 5, max = 15, message = "Name must be between 5 and 15 characters")
    private String name;

    // getters and setters


The @Email annotation checks if a field has a valid email format.

public class User {
    @Email(message = "Invalid email address")
    private String email;

    // getters and setters


The @Positive annotation ensures that a field has a positive value.

public class Product {
    @Positive(message = "Price must be positive")
    private BigDecimal price;

    // getters and setters

Custom Annotations

Besides the built-in annotations, you can also create your custom annotations for more complex validations. By creating custom annotations, you can define reusable validation rules throughout your application.

@Target({ ElementType.FIELD, ElementType.METHOD })
@Constraint(validatedBy = { PhoneNumberValidator.class }) // Custom validator class
public @interface PhoneNumber {
    String message() default "Invalid phone number";
    Class<?>[] groups() default {};
    Class<? extends Payload>[] payload() default {};

Applying Validation to Request Data

To apply validation to the request data, you need to add the @Valid annotation alongside the request parameter or in the method argument that you want to validate.

public class UserController {

    public ResponseEntity<User> createUser(@Valid @RequestBody User user) {
        // Process the validated user data
        return ResponseEntity.ok(user);

By adding the @Valid annotation, Spring Boot will automatically validate the request data before the method execution. If any validation error occurs, Spring Boot will throw a MethodArgumentNotValidException that you can handle for error responses.

Handling Validation Errors

To handle validation errors, you can use Spring Boot's exception handling mechanism to customize error responses. By using @ExceptionHandler, you can catch MethodArgumentNotValidException and return appropriate error messages.

public class CustomExceptionHandler {

    public ResponseEntity<ErrorDetails> handleValidationException(MethodArgumentNotValidException exception) {
        // Extract validation error details and create a custom error response
        return ResponseEntity.status(HttpStatus.BAD_REQUEST)
                .body(new ErrorDetails(exception.getMessage()));


Validating request data with annotations in Spring Boot is a powerful way to ensure the integrity and consistency of the application. By utilizing the built-in annotations and creating custom ones, you can easily validate different aspects of the incoming data. Additionally, handling validation errors allows you to provide meaningful responses to end-users, enhancing the overall user experience.

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