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Defining Models

Alpha Status

The Cloud Firestore ODM is currently in alpha. Expect breaking changes, API changes and more. The documentation is still a work in progress. See the discussion for more details.

A model represents exactly what data we expect to both receive and mutate on Firestore. The ODM ensures that all data is validated against a model, and if the model is not valid an error will be thrown.

To get started, assume we have a collection on our Firestore database called "Users". The collection contains many documents containing user information such as a name, age, email (and so on!). To define a model for this data, create a class:

import 'package:json_annotation/json_annotation.dart';
import 'package:cloud_firestore_odm/cloud_firestore_odm.dart';
// This doesn't exist yet...! See "Next Steps"
part 'user.g.dart';
@JsonSerializable()
class User {
User({
required this.name,
required this.age,
required this.email,
});
final String name;
final int age;
final String email;
}

The User model defines that a user must have a name and email as a String and age as an int.

Model validation#

Defining a model with standard Dart types (e.g. String, int etc) works for many applications, but what about more bespoke validation?

For example, a users age cannot be a negative value, so how do we validate against this?

The ODM provides some basic annotation validators which can be used on model properties. In this example, we can take advantage of the Min validator:

@JsonSerializable()
class User {
User({
required this.name,
required this.age,
required this.email,
}) {
// Apply the validator
$assertUser(this);
}
final String name;
final String email;
// Apply the `Min` validator
@Min(0)
final int age;
}

The Min annotation ensures that any value for the age property is always positive, otherwise an error will be thrown.

To ensure validators are applied, the model instance is provided to the generated $asserUser method. Note the name of this class is generated based on the model name (for example a model named Product with validators would generate a $asserProduct method).

Available validators#

int#

The following annotations are available for int properties:

AnnotationDescription
MinValidates a number is not less than this value.
MaxValidates a number is not greater than this value.

Custom validators#

In some cases, you may wish to validate data against custom validation. For example, we may want to ensure the string value provided to email is in-fact a valid email address.

To define a custom validator, create a class which implements Validator:

class EmailAddressValidator implements Validator<String> {
const EmailAddressValidator();
@override
void validate(String value) {
if (!value.endsWith("@google.com")) {
throw Exception("Email address is not valid!");
}
}
}

Within the model, you can then apply the validator to the property:

@JsonSerializable()
class User {
User({
required this.name,
required this.age,
required this.email,
}) {
// Apply the validator
$assertUser(this);
}
final String name;
final int age;
@EmailAddressValidator()
final String email;
}

Creating references#

On their own, a model does not do anything. Instead we create a "reference" using a model. A reference enables the ODM to interact with Firestore using the model.

To create a reference, we use the Collection annotation which is used as a pointer to a collection within the Firestore database. For example, the users collection in the root of the database corresponds to the Users model we defined previously:

@JsonSerializable()
class User {
// ...
}
@Collection<User>('users')
final usersRef = UserCollectionReference();

If you are looking to define a model as a reference on a Subcollection, read the Working with Subcollections documentation.

Next Steps#

Some of the code on this page is created via code generation (e.g. $assertUser, UserCollectionReference) - you can learn more about how to generate this code via the Code Generation documentation!