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Tuesday, 31 August 2010

The difference between validation and verification

This one is kind of a rant.  There is a subtle difference between the two key words validation and verification. They are not the same thing, and the difference is taught as low as GCSE IT level.

I just felt like I needed to say that as there is a lot of "validate this" and "validate that" knocking around when in fact verification is what is required.  Don't know the difference?

Lets clear this up:

  • Validation: The process of checking of data to ensure that it is acceptable for it or not.
  • Verification: The process of checking of data to ensure that it is the correct value

So when you go down to the ATM and enter your PIN to get cash out its important to understand that any four digit number you type on the keyboard is in fact valid, whereas after checking it is actually yours means it has been verified.

Just so that no one gets this mixed up here are some more examples:

Validation Verification
Password Any text at least 7 characters Comparison with actual password
Phone number Correct amount of numbers between 0 - 9 Dialling gets through to the right person
Television channel Any number of correct length Selecting the channel you wanted

For those who should know better Regular Expressions are for validation (thats all they do) and not verification!

I finally have somewhere to point those people who mean one thing, but say another...

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