Home How can I post an array of string to ASP.NET MVC Controller without a form?
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How can I post an array of string to ASP.NET MVC Controller without a form?

rodbv Published in 2008-11-21 15:32:23Z

I am creating a small app to teach myself ASP.NET MVC and JQuery, and one of the pages is a list of items in which some can be selected. Then I would like to press a button and send a List (or something equivalent) to my controller containing the ids of the items that were selected, using JQuery's Post function.

I managed to get an array with the ids of the elements that were selected, and now I want to post that. One way I could do this is to have a dummy form in my page, with a hidden value, and then set the hidden value with the selected items, and post that form; this looks crufty, though.

Is there a cleaner way to achieve this, by sending the array directly to the controller? I've tried a few different things but it looks like the controller can't map the data it's receiving. Here's the code so far:

function generateList(selectedValues) {
   var s = {
      values: selectedValues //selectedValues is an array of string
   $.post("/Home/GenerateList", $.toJSON(s), function() { alert("back") }, "json");

And then my Controller looks like this

public ActionResult GenerateList(List<string> values)
    //do something

All I managed to get is a "null" in the controller parameter...

Any tips?

MrDustpan Reply to 2011-01-21 17:49:24Z

I modified my response to include the code for a test app I did.

Update: I have updated the jQuery to set the 'traditional' setting to true so this will work again (per @DustinDavis' answer).

First the javascript:

function test()
    var stringArray = new Array();
    stringArray[0] = "item1";
    stringArray[1] = "item2";
    stringArray[2] = "item3";
    var postData = { values: stringArray };

        type: "POST",
        url: "/Home/SaveList",
        data: postData,
        success: function(data){
        dataType: "json",
        traditional: true

And here's the code in my controller class:

public JsonResult SaveList(List<String> values)
    return Json(new { Result = String.Format("Fist item in list: '{0}'", values[0]) });

When I call that javascript function, I get an alert saying "First item in list: 'item1'". Hope this helps!

Alastair Pitts
Alastair Pitts Reply to 2010-05-13 05:27:47Z

Don't post the data as an array. To bind to a list, the key/value pairs should be submitted with the same value for each key.

You should not need a form to do this. You just need a list of key/value pairs, which you can include in the call to $.post.

Dustin Davis
Dustin Davis Reply to 2012-01-26 17:09:46Z

FYI: JQuery changed the way they serialize post data.


You have to set the 'Traditional' setting to true, other wise

{ Values : ["1", "2", "3"] }

will come out as


instead of

DavidW Reply to 2011-03-08 11:12:42Z

The answer helped me a lot in my situation so thanks for that. However for future reference people should bind to a model and then validate. This post from Phil Haack describes this for MVC 2. http://haacked.com/archive/2010/04/15/sending-json-to-an-asp-net-mvc-action-method-argument.aspx

Hope this helps someone.

Evgenii Reply to 2011-08-12 08:09:13Z

Thanks everyone for the answers. Another quick solution will be to use jQuery.param method with traditional parameter set to true to convert JSON object to string:

$.post("/your/url", $.param(yourJsonObject,true));
Community Reply to 2017-05-23 11:47:05Z

As I discussed here ,

if you want to pass custom JSON object to MVC action then you can use this solution, it works like a charm.

    public string GetData()
        // InputStream contains the JSON object you've sent
        String jsonString = new StreamReader(this.Request.InputStream).ReadToEnd();

        // Deserialize it to a dictionary
        var dic = 
          Newtonsoft.Json.JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<Dictionary<String, dynamic>>(jsonString);

        string result = "";

        result += dic["firstname"] + dic["lastname"];

        // You can even cast your object to their original type because of 'dynamic' keyword
        result += ", Age: " + (int)dic["age"];

        if ((bool)dic["married"])
            result += ", Married";

        return result;

The real benefit of this solution is that you don't require to define a new class for each combination of arguments and beside that, you can cast your objects to their original types easily.

and you can use a helper method like this to facilitate your job

public static Dictionary<string, dynamic> GetDic(HttpRequestBase request)
    String jsonString = new StreamReader(request.InputStream).ReadToEnd();
    return Newtonsoft.Json.JsonConvert.DeserializeObject<Dictionary<string, dynamic>>(jsonString);
Matas Vaitkevicius
Matas Vaitkevicius Reply to 2015-01-15 12:31:38Z

In .NET4.5, MVC 5


object in JS:

mechanism that does post.

    $('.button-green-large').click(function() {
            url: 'Quote',
            type: "POST",
            dataType: "json",
            data: JSON.stringify(document.selectedProduct),
            contentType: 'application/json; charset=utf-8',



public class WillsQuoteViewModel
    public string Product { get; set; }

    public List<ClaimedFee> ClaimedFees { get; set; }

public partial class ClaimedFee //Generated by EF6
    public long Id { get; set; }
    public long JourneyId { get; set; }
    public string Title { get; set; }
    public decimal Net { get; set; }
    public decimal Vat { get; set; }
    public string Type { get; set; }

    public virtual Journey Journey { get; set; }


public ActionResult Quote(WillsQuoteViewModel data)

Object received:

Hope this saves you some time.

d.popov Reply to 2015-01-23 18:56:37Z

Another implementation that is also working with list of objects, not just strings:


var postData = {};
postData[values] = selectedValues ;

    url: "/Home/SaveList",
    type: "POST",
    data: JSON.stringify(postData),
    dataType: "json",
    contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8",
    success: function(data){

Assuming that 'selectedValues' is Array of Objects.

In the controller the parameter is a list of corresponding ViewModels.

public JsonResult SaveList(List<ViewModel> values)
    return Json(new { 
          Result = String.Format("Fist item in list: '{0}'", values[0].Name) 
mr_squall Reply to 2018-01-10 15:27:26Z

You can setup global parameter with

jQuery.ajaxSettings.traditional = true;
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