Check which rule is not fullfiled in jQuery validate plugin

Recently, I have encountered a situation where I used jQuery validation plugin and needed to know which of validation rules are failing. After asking this question on and receiving no answers for 15 days, I have spent some time to solve it by myself.

It turned out quite easy, after inspecting source code of plugin on, I have found out that this can be done by adding my own function to it:


$.validator.prototype.ruleValidationStatus = function( element ) {
    element = $(element)[0];
    var rules = $(element).rules();
    var errors ={};
    for (var method in rules ) {
        var rule = { method: method, parameters: rules[method] };
        try {
            var result = $.validator.methods[method].call( this, element.value.replace(/\r/g, ""), element, rule.parameters );
            errors[rule.method] = result ;
        } catch(e) {
    return errors;

This function returns list of validation rules with their results, and usage is simple:


Deserialize form from JSON data using jQuery

Recently, I got task to make feature which will make possible for user to update form data based on some unique “search” field (like VIN or SSN). I wanted to make this short and simple, and above all reusable. So, I made some investigation this weekend and came up with simple solution to use same model object that is used as type of view in mvc. It is simple javascript function:


var formPrefix = 'myFormPrefix';
$('sometextbox').change(function () {
 var myValue = $(this).val()
 $.ajax({ type: 'POST',
  url: 'ajaxcontroller/getcarbysomething',
  data: { something: myValue },
  success: function (data) {
  if (data){
   $("input[name*='" + formPrefix +"'],select[name*='" + formPrefix + "']").each(function () {
    var itemName = $(this).attr("name");
    var prop = itemName.substring(itemName.indexOf(formPrefix) + formPrefix.length);
    var itemValue = data.person[prop];
    if (itemValue && itemValue.substring &&
      itemValue.substring(0, 1) == "/" &&
      itemValue.substring(itemValue.length - 1) == "/") {
         itemValue = "new" + itemValue.substring(1, itemValue.length - 1);
         itemValue = eval(itemValue);
         $(this).datepicker("setDate", eval(itemValue));
    else if (itemValue) {

So, to use this you need to make controller action that returns JsonResult and Json(model) instead of View(model). If form is partial view (preffered) or has explicit prefix, formPrefix is place to set it. Each form input element’s name is used to index json object returned from controller and value (if any) is set back into input element.

Autocompleting cascading dropdowns


Starting point for this post is source code for last one, available on bitbucket.

I want to replace dropdown list with jQuery autocomplete, like in this example. There are two reasons for this:

  • When there is very large number of records to choose from, then standard dropdown list is not very user friendly
  • When user is entering name of item, besides autocompleting from known items, we can implement addition of new item if item user needs to enter is not present in codebook. This will be done in next post.

For start, I will copy example from jQuery demo, and add textbox in which I will implement this functionality.


I have added this code to Index.chtml, which is label for manufacturer, hidden field with id for chosen value from dropdown, and textbox for autocomplete. I have added three attributes for this textbox:
– autocomplete-for is target (hidden field) into which I want to place chosen value
– from-url is address where I will get items for autocomplete
– parent is field for cascading functionality (this will be optional)

Client side code for autocomplete is based on jsonp example from jQuery ui demo:


I have added this init function to document ready event. What is happening here is simple: for each input element that has “autocomplete-for” attribute, jQuery autocomplete is added, with custom function as data provider. This function is using ajax to request data for dropdown from from-url specified in view. Parameters are MaxItems (amount of items to show in autocomplete), ParentFilterId (selected value of parent field – for cascading support) and NameStartsWith, which is text entered into dropdown which is autocompleted.

Success function maps “items” collection in response to label, value and id. label and value are automatically used by autocomplete plugin to show label for item in dropdown and to set textbox value when item is selected, and I added id to set hidden field in select event.

To make this work, there is one thing left: controller action which will return items. As you can see in first screenshot, I decided to use Manufacturer controller and action named Autocomplete.

To make parameter passing easier, I have created model for data passed in request:


I will receive this object as parameter in my action.

This is how implementation of autocomplete action looks:


This is fairly simple – query is filtered by name for NameStartsWith parameter, and I used ToLower method of string, to compare case insensitive, as StartsWith with string comparison options parameter is not supported in linq to entities.

If request contains parent filter id or max items number, then these are taken into account, and response is formed as collection of items with Text, Value and Id properties, which are used in success function of ajax request.

Time to see how it works:


As this is working nicely, time for little makeup, as I want this more reusable, and not having to remember html attributes that need to be used. So, that smells like html helper:


Actually, it is two helpers – one for cascading case, and one for “normal”. It is the same code as in cshtml view, but creating hidden and text field in one method, and when I add comments here (removed to make screenshot smaller), I will have nice intellisense to use this function whenever I need, only having to copy and adjust controller action, which also can be made pretty generic.



This is how autocomplete is used now. I’m ready to call this a day, and source code from this post is in this changeset on bitbucket.

ASP.NET MVC3 app (part 2) – ajax cascading dropdown


To make cascading dropdowns in application from part 1, I created ProductFilter:


I will use this class as model for my home controller Index method:


Here you can also see Manufacturers JsonResult method, which is used for asynchronous refresh of second dropdown:


Manufacturer dropdown is loaded with manufacturers which produce models of chosen product type. This is made possible with simple jquery function:


This function accepts url of method which provides json list of items for dropdown, passes formData parameter with id, and places results into target for which selector “target” is provided.

This is how my view from which this method is called looks:


Two dropdowns are created using standard MVC helpers, and onchange event function is attached using jquery. More dropdowns can be chained in the same way, there is only necessary to add change function in the same manner. However, this is no good, as event attachment is manual, and script must be written, and included into view as selectors are generated here. My goal is to make these event attachments unobtrusive, and I will write about that in part 3.

For now, you can download project source code here.

Back to part 1

ASP.NET MVC3 app (part 1) – Entity Framework and code first

How often you need to have cascading choices on UI in order to make your application user friendly? In my experience, almost every modern application has some form of hierarchy, and that is where cascading dropdowns are used. But, I want to make this less repetitive and more elegant. So, let’s begin. In first part (this) I will create an simple web app using entity framework code-first and make simple model which will be used for creating this functionality. It is one speedy run-through of new features, without advanced topics, so mind some bad practices, this blog post is not about good programming, first part is for MVC3/.NET 4 beginners with experience with older versions of MVC and .NET.

It will be an mvc3 razor internet application:


With latest MVC tools update there are already almost all necessary NuGet packages installed in new project:


I will just update all of jQuery packages as they have updates at the moment, and add EntityFramework.SqlServerCompact (NuGet will add dependencies), so SQL server won’t be needed.

As this is demo app, I will put everything into single project. It will be an product catalogue.

This is data model:


Central object will be product model (I will use vehicles domain), which has type, version, trim level and manufacturer. Simple enough. Objects on diagram are simple POCO objects with collection properties marked as virtual, so entity framework can override them and inject DynamicProxy objects for lazy loading.

This will be my repository:


For this DbContext to work, I need to do one more thing – to put connection string into my web.config:


As I don’t want to create test data every time I change my model, I can use database initializer class to create test data (this is useful for unit testing):


And this is it. I now have database and data. Actually, I will have it when I start my application, if I add this to global.asax:


To test this, I will use controller autoscaffold feature of new MVC tools update:


This will autocreate controller and all views Smile. After this action, starting app and visiting http://localhost:57095/Manufacturer will give:


Note that only manufacturers for which I created Models are in database. This is because I only added Models, and EF added all related objects, and BMW was not among them.

Using auto scaffold I created controllers for all model objects in couple of minutes.

This is end of part 1, I now have application which will I use to create unobtrusive cascading dropdowns. In the next part I will make cascading dropdown loading using standard methods (jQuery and ajax).

For more info about EF Code First, visit


UPDATE: Added part 2