Workflow Driven Attribute Validation

The SimpleWorkflow behavior provides a way to apply a specific set of validation rules to model attributes, depending on the way the model is moving inside a workflow. This allows you for instance to apply a set of validation rules only when the model goes from a specific status to another one.


The Workflow Driven Attribute Validation is making use of standard Yii2 features : "User Input Validation" and "Scenario".

To implement Workflow Driven Attribute Validation you must :

  1. declare the WorkflowValidator validation rule for the attribute used to store the status (by default status)
  2. declare the validation rules you need and set the workflow scenario name for which they should be applied.

The Workflow Scenario Name is a formatted string identitying the event that occurs on the model inside its workflow.

Below is a list of currently supported scenario names :

Scenario name template Description
`from {W1/S1} to {W1/S2}` the model goes from status S1 to status S2 in workflow W1
`leave status {W1/S1}` the model leaves the status S1 in workflow W1
`enter status {W1/S1}` the model enters into the status S1 in workflow W1
`enter workflow {W1}` the model enters into workflow W1
`leave workflow {W1}` the model leaves workflow W1

As you can see, scenario names are quite self explanatory ! To assist you in using workflow scenario names, you can use the class raoul2000\workflow\validation\WorkflowScenario.

For instance :

echo WorkflowScenario::changeStatus('W1/S1','W1/S2');   // "from {W1/S1} to {W1/S2}"
echo WorkflowScenario::leaveStatus('W1/S1');            // "leave status {W1/S1}"
echo WorkflowScenario::enterStatus('W1/S1');            // "enter status {W1/S1}"
echo WorkflowScenario::enterWorkflow('W1');             // "enter workflow {W1}"
echo WorkflowScenario::leaveWorkflow('W1');             // "leave workflow {W1}"

Usage example

In the example below we are defining several validation rules applied to the model during its life-cycle through the workflow it is assigned to.

use raoul2000\workflow\validation\WorkflowValidator;
 * @property integer $id
 * @property string $col_status
 * @property string $title
 * @property string $body
 * @property string $category
 * @property string $tags
class Post extends \yii\db\ActiveRecord
    public function behaviors()
        // declare the SimpleWorkflowBehavior.
        return [
            'workflow' => [
                'class' => \raoul2000\workflow\base\SimpleWorkflowBehavior::className(),
                'defaultWorkflowId'      => 'post',
                'statusAttribute'        => 'col_status',
                'propagateErrorsToModel' => true

    public function rules()
        return [

            // rule 1 :  the 'title' is always required

            // rule 2 : the 'body' is required when the post is about to enter to 'post/correction'
                'on' => 'enter status {post/correction}'],

            // rule 3 : 'category' is set during correction and before publication
            ['category', 'required',
                'on' => 'from {post/correction} to {post/published}'

            // rule 4 : 'tags' and 'category' are required before being published or archived.
            [['tags', 'category'], 'required',
                'on' => ['enter status {post/published}', 'enter status {post/archived}']

In the above example we have defined a Post model and configured validation rules to implement the following (imaginary) business rules :

  • rule n°1 : a post must always have a title : that's a standard one, no workflow magic here
  • rule n°2 : redactors are not allowed to send a empty post to correction : attribute body is required when the post enters into status post/correction
  • rule n°3 : correctors are responsible for setting a category to all post before publishing it : when a post leaves the 'post/correction status to go to post/published* it must have the category attribute set.
  • rule n°4 : it is forbidden to publish or archive a post with no tags or no category : attributes tags and category cannot be empty when the post enter into status post/published or post/archived.


So how does this works ? As you may have guessed, the entry point is the WorkflowValidator validator configured for the status attribute. This validator is not actually going to validate the attribute it is configured for ! Yes, believe it or not, this validator doesn't care about the current status value or if the model is about to perform a transition that is not permitted : validating transitions is done by the SimpleWorkflowBehavior itself, when the model is saved (or when you explicitly invoke sendToStatus() on the model) and not by the WorkflowValidator validator.

When a model is validated, following occurs :

  • WorkflowValidator identifies the pending transition by looking at the status attribute value and the current Status
  • Based on the pending transition, get a scenario sequence
  • for each scenario in the scenario sequence, apply corresponding validating rules