Laravel ships with some good validation capabilties. Form request validation is a nice way to make sure http requests pass valid data. To validate stuff that enters the application in some other way validators can be created manually. Unfortunately this is kinda verbose:

$validator = Validator::make(['myDate' => '201502028'], ['myDate' => 'date']);

$isValidDate = $validator->passes();           

We can do better than that by defining our own helper function:

/**
 * Validate some data.
 *
 * @param string|array $fields
 * @param string|array $rules
 * @return bool
 */
function validate($fields, $rules)
{
    if (! is_array($fields)) {
        $fields = ['default' => $fields];
    }

    if (! is_array($rules)) {
        $rules = ['default' => $rules];
    }

    return Validator::make($fields, $rules)->passes();
}     

Take a look at this Stack Overflow question if you're wondering where the function could be stored.

Once the function is loaded the validation from the previous example can be written like this:

validate('20150230', 'date'); //returns false   
validate('20150227', 'date'); //returns true            

Nice, 'n' easy! Because the function hooks into Laravel's validator almost anything can be validated:

validate('freek@spatie.be', 'email'); //returns true   
validate('192.168.10.10', 'ip'); //returns true
...