I was writing some view code today where jQuery would pick-up values of button data attribute (array of ids) and make Ajax calls to to server based on values.

What that Ajax call is is not important. The important part was how to actually render array to a data html attribute.

I was thinking about doing something like:

<button data-document-ids="abcefg,efgabcd" />

…and on JS side just parse like:


But why to reinvent the wheel again. There is already an established JavaScript data format, …you know, … JSON :)

So I’ll just put JSON to button data attribute and do something like


I’ll show you the HTML piece soon, before that I want to point out that jQuery is clever enough to actually translate the JSON string to Array without me manualy saying JSON.parse.

All I have to do is:


So here is my ruby code that is generating HTML

# app/helpers/application_helper.rb
module ApplicationHelper
  def button_of_ids
    ids = ['abcefg', 'efgabcd']
    content_tag :button, 'Choose Files', data: { "document-ids" => ids}
<%= button_of_ids %>

…and it was working in browser ! :)

The shock came to me when I was writing a test for this. The HTML output was like:

<button data-document-ids="[&quot;abcdefg&quot;,&quot;efgabcd&quot;]" />

It appears that jQuery is correctly translating the &quot to " and then parsing the JSON

Try it here http://jsfiddle.net/estuqq26/1/ (tested with jQuery 1.9.1)

Code works, it seems reasonable (althought one my say it’s rendering ugly HTML)

After few months from now (having this on production) I’ll update this article when I discover if it was a good idea or not

…anyway here are some references of people using it: