# User-defined keywords

You can extend keyword available in Ajv by defining your own keywords.

The advantages of defining keywords are:

  • allow creating validation scenarios that cannot be expressed using pre-defined keywords
  • simplify your schemas
  • help bringing a bigger part of the validation logic to your schemas
  • make your schemas more expressive, less verbose and closer to your application domain
  • implement data processors that modify your data (modifying option MUST be used in keyword definition) and/or create side effects while the data is being validated

If a keyword is used only for side-effects and its validation result is pre-defined, use option valid: true/false in keyword definition to simplify both generated code (no error handling in case of valid: true) and your keyword functions (no need to return any validation result).

User-defined keywords make schemas non-portable

When extending JSON Schema standard with additional keywords, you have several potential concerns to be aware of:

  • portability of your schemas - they would only work with JavaScript or TypeScript applications where you can use Ajv.
  • additional documentation required to maintain your schemas.

Avoid using non-standard keywords with JTD schemas

While it is possible to define additional keywords for JSON Type Definition schemas (these keywords can only be used in metadata member of the schema), it is strongly recommended not to do it - JTD is specifically designed for cross-platform APIs.

You can define keywords with addKeyword method. Keywords are defined on the ajv instance level - new instances will not have previously defined keywords.

Ajv allows defining keywords with:

  • code generation function (used by all pre-defined keywords)
  • validation function
  • compilation function
  • macro function

Example. range and exclusiveRange keywords using compiled schema:

  keyword: "range",
  type: "number",
  schemaType: "array",
  implements: "exclusiveRange",
  compile: ([min, max], parentSchema) =>
    parentSchema.exclusiveRange === true
      ? (data) => data > min && data < max
      : (data) => data >= min && data <= max,

const schema = {range: [2, 4], exclusiveRange: true}
const validate = ajv.compile(schema)
console.log(validate(2.01)) // true
console.log(validate(3.99)) // true
console.log(validate(2)) // false
console.log(validate(4)) // false

Several keywords (typeof, instanceof, range and propertyNames) are defined in ajv-keywords (opens new window) package - they can be used for your schemas and as a starting point for your own keywords.

See User-defined keywords reference for more details.