• Model Binding
  • Binding errors and model validation
  • Model state

Model Binding

  • It occurs once a request has been rooted to a controller action.
  • It is responsible for binding data from HTTP requests to the action method parameters.
  • It tries to bind request data to the action parameters by name, in order from the following:
    • Form values
    • Route values
    • Query string

Note if the model data should come from the body of a request that is not x-www-url-formencoded then you need to stipulate that the model binder uses the body explicitly with the [FromBody] attribute. There will need to be an IInputFormatter registered that supports the request format, by default there is just a JSON formatter. If the [FormBody] attribute is specified and the request is x-www-url-formencoded then the model will not have any properties bound as by default there is not a formencoded IInputFormatters ( Presumably you could add one ).

public class PersonController
              : Controller  {

    public IActionResult Index
                          ( [FromBody] Person person ) {

        return Json(

For the model binder to be able to support creating a class it must:

  • Have a pubic default constructor
  • All bound members must be publicly writable ( Note need to check if they can be fields as we tried that once and it all went horribly wrong. )

Customising model binding behaviour

  • [BindRequired] - This attribute adds a model state error if binding can not occur.
  • [BindNever] - Tells the model binder not to bind this property.
  • [FromHeader]
  • [FromQuery]
  • [FromRoute]
  • [FromForm] - Specifies the scope of a binding, i.e. where to get the data from.
  • [FromService] - Dependency injection to bind parameter ( Note need to see how this works )
  • [FromBody] - Use the configured formatters to bind the date from the request body. The formatter is selected based on content type.
  • [ModelBinder] - Used to override the default model binder ( Note need to see how this works )

Binding errors and model validation

Validation is performed as part of the model binding process. There are three types of errors:

  • Binding error missing data, non nullable fields not supplied.
  • Binding error incompatible data, e.g. a value that can not be converted to a date.
  • Validation error where the supplied data does not conform to a validation attribute.

After the model binder has finished binding data to the properties if at least one value was bound to the model then all validators are run. The model’s metadata is used to identify the validators, any error messages from failed validation rules are placed into the model state.

Note On a project with complex validation scenarios the Mvc validation system did not seam to be sufficient. We needed to validate:

  • that the fields in the request were valid in themselves.
  • that the request was valid in itself ( e.g. if its a date range the start date is before the end date )
  • that the request is valid against the context of the world. ( e.g. you are allowed to apply that request to the world in its current state )

It was also required that any validation that could be performed was. So if you a request that had a missing name property but the date range was valid you then needed to see if the date range could have been applied to the world.

As such we abandoned the standard model validation and accepted that all validation was the responsibility of the service layer which returned a Result monad.

Custom validators

The ValidationAttribute class can be used to create custom validation, you just need to inherit from it and override the IsValid method.

using System.ComponentModel.DataAnnotations;

public class CustomAttribute
              : ValidationAttribute {

    private readonly string _other;

    public CustomAttribute
            ( string other ) {

         = other;

    protected override ValidationResult IsValid
                                         ( object value
                                         , ValidationContext validationContext )

        var property
             = validationContext

        if ( property == null ) {

            return new ValidationResult(
                     "Unknown property: {0}"

        var otherValue
             = property

        // at this stage you have "value" and "otherValue" pointing
        // to the value of the property on which this attribute
        // is applied and the value of the other property respectively
        // => you could do some checks
        if ( !object.Equals( value, otherValue ) ) {

            // here we are verifying whether the 2 values are equal
            // but you could do any custom validation you like
            return new ValidationResult(
        return null;

Model state

Contains all the values that were bound to model properties as well as all the errors associated with with the model and its properties.

namespace Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.ModelBinding {

    /// <summary>
    /// Represents the state of an attempt to bind values from an HTTP Request
    /// to an action method, which includes validation information.
    /// </summary>
    public class ModelStateDictionary
                  : IReadOnlyDictionary<string, ModelStateEntry> {



namespace Microsoft.AspNetCore.Mvc.ModelBinding {

    /// <summary>
    /// An entry in a <see cref="ModelStateDictionary"/>.
    /// </summary>
    public abstract class ModelStateEntry { ... }

The model state is passed to the view so that it can access model values and error messages etc.