Knockoutjs with MVC4

Posted by in ASP.NET MVC category on for Advance level | Points: 250 | Views : 10544 red flag

Knockout.js - is a popular JavaScript library that allows easy creation of feature-rich applications based on Model-View-View Model (MVVM) pattern: user interface can be bound to a separate existing data model. And any change of the model will result in dynamic refresh of the interface.

 Download source code for Knockoutjs with MVC4


Knockout (KO) is a JavaScript library that helps you to create rich, responsive display and editor user interfaces with a clean underlying data model. Any time you have sections of UI that update dynamically (e.g., changing depending on the user’s actions or when an external data source changes), KO can help you implement it more simply and maintainable.

Headline features

Elegant dependency tracking - automatically updates the right parts of your UI whenever your data model changes.

Declarative bindings - a simple and obvious way to connect parts of your UI to your data model. You can construct complex dynamic UIs easily using arbitrarily nested binding contexts.

Trivially extensible - implement custom behaviors as new declarative bindings for easy reuse in just a few lines of code.

Additional benefits:

Pure JavaScript library - works with any server or client-side technology.

Can be added on top of your existing web application without requiring major architectural changes.

Compact - around 13kb after zipping.

Works on any mainstream browser (IE 6+, Firefox 2+, Chrome, Safari, others)

Comprehensive suite of specifications (developed BDD-style) means its correct functioning can easily be verified on new browsers and platforms.

Knockout MVC is a library for ASP.NET MVC4 that is a wrapper for Knockout.js that helps to move entire business logic to the server side: the complete JavaScript code necessary on the client side will be generated automatically based on the described C# (or VB.NET) model. Binding of the page interface to business model is done MVVM-style with the help of C#/VB.NET expressions (not separate properties, but expressions over them that will be translated to JavaScript code) using IntelliSense. If complex operations should be done to the model, it is possible to address to any model method on the server using one short string (ajax query will be automatically generated; and when the client will get the updated model, the whole interface will automatically refresh).


To learn binding of data to the UI using knockoutjs. Data is returned from the controller and UI will update automatically.

Using the code


Code File

In home controller there are two methods. Index() is the startup method and return Index view if there is no form key has found. In case of JSON key it will return JSON data to the UI. GetPerson() method return model in form of JSON serialized string.
   public class HomeController : Controller
        public ActionResult Index()
            ViewBag.Message = "Sample Application - Knockoutjs with MVC4";
            string viewKey = string.Empty;
            if (Request.Form.AllKeys.Count() > 0)
                if (Request.Form.AllKeys.Contains("viewName"))
                    viewKey = Request.Form["viewName"].ToString();
                if (viewKey.Equals("JSON"))
                    return GetPerson();
                    return null;
            return View();
        public JsonResult GetPerson()
            List<Person> persons = new List<Person>
                                  new Person(){Name="James", Address="Delhi"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Scott", Address="Bangalore"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Dennish", Address="Australia"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Victor", Address="England"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Adam", Address="Kolkata"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Kate", Address="Delhi"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Christan", Address="Bangalore"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Milanda", Address="Australia"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Thayo", Address="England"},
                                  new Person(){Name="Bjorn", Address="Kolkata"},
            System.Web.Script.Serialization.JavaScriptSerializer jSearializer = new System.Web.Script.Serialization.JavaScriptSerializer();
            string jsonString = jSearializer.Serialize(persons);
            return Json(jsonString, JsonRequestBehavior.AllowGet);


UI include js files of jquery and knockout. Both files are available in the MVC bundle itself.

Data-bind is a property of knockoutjs to bind data to the UI. In tbody “persons” is an observable array which contains value for Name and Address. 


<script type="text/javascript" src=""></script>
<script type="text/javascript" src="../../Scripts/knockout-2.1.0.js"></script>
@using (Html.BeginForm("Index", "Home", FormMethod.Post, new { @id = "myForm" }))
    <div id="jsonDiv">
        <input id="btnGetJSON" type="button" value="Get JSON Data and bind to UI using Knockoutjs" onclick="javascript:GetJSONData('JSON','myForm')" /><br />
        <table border="1">
            <tbody data-bind="foreach: persons">
                    <td data-bind="text: Name">
                    <td data-bind="text: Address">
<script type="text/javascript" src="../../Scripts/MyScript.js"></script>

MyScript.js is the file where data return from the controller is bind to the UI.

Function personVM() contain property name bind to the UI. Object persons is an observable array the getPersons is an internal method called when data is received from the UI.

In GetJSONData() method an ajax call has been made to the controller and received JSON data. Now to bind this data to the UI it’s important to get the context of the div where you have to bind data. After getting the context object call internal method getPersons() of personVM. getPersons() method iterate through the received JSON data and insert that data to the observable array. As the data is getting inserted to the observable array UI will get updated. That’s how knockoutjs will work.



function GetJSONData(hiddenValue, formID) {
    var form = $('#' + formID)
        url: form.attr('action'),
        type: "POST",
        data: form.serialize(),
        success: function (response) {
            if (hiddenValue == 'JSON') {
                // parseJSON
                response = $.parseJSON(response);
                //Get div context and Call knockout method
                var dn = document.getElementById('jsonDiv');
                var x = ko.contextFor(dn);
        error: function (error) {
            alert(error.status + "<--and--> " + error.statusText);

function Person(pname, paddress) {
    this.Name = pname;
    this.Address = paddress;

function personVM() {
    var self = this;
    self.Name = ko.observable();
    self.Address = ko.observable();
    self.persons = ko.observableArray([]);
    self.getPersons = function (data) {
        $.each(data, function (key, val) {
            self.persons.push(new Person(val.Name, val.Address));
$(document).ready(function () {
    var dn = document.getElementById('jsonDiv');
    ko.applyBindings(new personVM(), dn);

Point to Note

It’s much easier with KO. It lets you scale up in complexity without fear of introducing inconsistencies. Just represent your items as a JavaScript array, and then use a foreach binding to transform this array into a TABLE or set of DIVs. Whenever the array changes, the UI changes to match (you don’t have to figure out how to inject new TRs or where to inject them).


Knockoutjs doesn’t compete with jQuery or similar low-level DOM APIs. Knockoutjs provides a complementary, high-level way to link a data model to a UI. Knockoutjs itself doesn’t depend on jQuery, but you can certainly use jQuery at the same time,


Page copy protected against web site content infringement by Copyscape

About the Author

Full Name: Prabhat Kumar
Member Level:
Member Status: Member
Member Since: 12/21/2012 5:30:10 AM
Country: India
Regards, Prabhat Kumar
Prabhat is a programmer and having 5+ years of developing experience in IT field. Major strength are C#, WPF, and SQL server 2008. He is also having good exposure in WCF.

Login to vote for this post.

Comments or Responses

Login to post response

Comment using Facebook(Author doesn't get notification)