Create an Angular 2 Custom Validator Directive for Whitespace and Empty Strings

How do we create a custom validator directive to treat whitespace as invalid in Angular (Angular 2)? The built in angular required input is easily fooled by a run of spaces so lets create our own validator. I read the Custom Validator docs for you.

We can use this rather simple idea to demonstrate a validator with unit testing, wrapped in a simple directive.

Jump to the code:

Custom Validator Function for Whitespace

The tricky part here is returning a ValidatorFn function that returns null on valid state and a {key: value} on an invalid state.

Check out the Angular source code for the required validator

The no-whitespace.validator.ts file:

import { AbstractControl, ValidatorFn } from '@angular/forms';

export function NoWhitespaceValidator(): ValidatorFn {

  return (control: AbstractControl): { [key: string]: any } => {

     // messy but you get the idea
    let isWhitespace = (control.value || '').trim().length === 0;
    let isValid = !isWhitespace;
    return isValid ? null : { 'whitespace': 'value is only whitespace' }


How to Write Tests for our Custom Validator Function

The no-whitespace.validator.spec.ts file using Jasmine.

import { AbstractControl } from '@angular/forms';
import { NoWhitespaceValidator } from './no-whitespace.validator';

describe('Whitespace Validator', () => {

  let validatorFn = NoWhitespaceValidator();

  it('empty string is invalid', () => {
    let control = { value: '' }
    let result = validatorFn(control as AbstractControl)
    expect(result !== null).toBe(true);
    expect(result['whitespace']).toBe('value is only whitespace')

  it('spaces only are invalid', () => {
    let control = { value: '    ' }
    let result = validatorFn(control as AbstractControl)
    expect(result !== null).toBe(true);

  it('null is invalid', () => {
    let control: any = { value: null }
    let result = validatorFn(control as AbstractControl)
    expect(result !== null).toBe(true);

  it('text is not considered invalid', () => {
    let control = { value: 'i have whitespace on the inside' }
    let result = validatorFn(control as AbstractControl)


Directive for our Custom Validator function

We can wrap our validator in a simple directive for use as an HTML attribute.

  • it is best practice to prefix your own directives. I used my for myNoSpaces
  • be sure you are providing NG_VALIDATORS in the directive providers array. Nothing will happen without it.

The no-whitespace.directive.ts file:

import { Directive, Input, OnChanges, SimpleChanges } from '@angular/core';
import { Validator, AbstractControl, Validators, NG_VALIDATORS } from '@angular/forms';

import { NoWhitespaceValidator } from './no-whitespace.validator';

 * This validator works like "required" but it does not allow whitespace either
 * @export
 * @class NoWhitespaceDirective
 * @implements {Validator}
    selector: '[myNoSpaces]',
    providers: [{ provide: NG_VALIDATORS, useExisting: NoWhitespaceDirective, multi: true }]
export class NoWhitespaceDirective implements Validator {

    private valFn = NoWhitespaceValidator();
    validate(control: AbstractControl): { [key: string]: any } {
        return this.valFn(control);

Example Usage in HTML

  • Be sure to include a reference to the directive in the necessary module declarations array.
  • It can be used in substitution of required because it also treats an empty string as invalid.
<input type="text" id="name" myNoSpaces name="name" [(ngModel)]="" #name="ngModel">