Validate any DOM element with the KendoUI validator

KendoUI’s validator allows declaring rules and easily performing client-side validation for input and textarea elements. It offers great flexibility even when it comes to complex cases, when for example input fields are interconnected. Suppose we want to validate an element other than input or textarea, then calling validate() won’t be enough.

The Problem

Let’s have a form consisting of a textarea and a grid.

<form id="form">
  <textarea name="text">
    Our world is a magical smoke screen
  <div id="grid"></div>
  <button id="validate">Validate</button>

We want to ensure the textarea’s value is not longer than 20 characters and the grid contains at least two rows. To do so, we declare our validation rules in the following way:

var validator = $('#form').kendoValidator({
  messages: {
    text: 'Field must contain at most 20 symbols.',
    grid: 'The grid must contain at least two rows.'
  rules: {
    text: function(item) { 
      if ('[name=text]')) {
        return item.val().length < 20;
      return true;
    grid: function(item) {
      if ('[data-role=grid]')) {
        var grid = item.getKendoGrid();
        return grid.dataItems().length > 1;
      return true;

Calling validator.validate() however checks only the textarea element. So I decided to peek in the KendoUI internals to get a better understanding of how the validator works. You can check the code here.

TL;DR: The validate function traverses all the input fields, apart from “submit”, “reset”, “button”, “disabled” and “readonly” types and applies the validation rules to them. No wonder why the grid gets omitted.

validateInput to the rescue

This function lets us specify explicitly to which element we want to apply our rules. There is no type constraint whatsoever(although it has “input” in its name). We can also see that validate internally delegates the validation logic for each separate field by passing it to validateInput. Therefore we have to add the following line to our validation code.

var isValid = validator.validate() && validator.validateInput('#grid');
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