'required'=>true… the source of major confusion

In all the time I’ve been following cake on IRC (almost daily), it has become very clear that other than ACL and maybe Auth, ‘required’=>true in the model validation is the most confusing part of CakePHP for many people.

On IRC it comes up, probably, once a week… even from people who’ve “been around”.
And I can imagine that there are a lot of apps out there, where ‘required’=>true is used, without fully understanding as to what it really does.

The problem is that people are quick to assume that ‘required’ means ‘notEmpty’.
Even after pointing people to RTFM, they still come back confused as to the real meaning of ‘required’.

Who cares, right?

Well… we often hear a complain about save() failing (very often) without any apparent reason.
The issue boils down to people having ‘required’=>true in the validation rules, while in reality they only wanted ‘rule’=>’notEmpty’.

When first creating the Model such setup has no ill effects, because all fields are in the data array and the record can be successfully added and even edited (assuming some basic forms).
Then at some point the app becomes a little more complex and people decide to save only a few fields at a time… and of course the validation fails.

This leads to debauchery on IRC, dents in the wall from banging the head, and other nasty side-effects.

My proposal… rename ‘required’ to something else. Doesn’t matter what, just not ‘required’.

The reality of the situation is that, if the key was named ‘mustBeInDataSet’, people would never even bother to include it, unless it was really needed… and lots of mess and confusion would be avoided.

Looking at the code, it doesn’t seem like a major change… although I’ve not done any testing (but I promise that I will).
Just wanted to get some feedback on this issue first….

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