ASP.NET Core 2.0 MVC Model Binding

Problem

How does model binding work in ASP.NET Core MVC.

Solution

In an empty project change Startup class to add services and middleware for MVC:

Add following code to HomeController, demonstrating binding of simple types:

Add following code to HomeController, demonstrating binding of complex types:

Add following code to HomeController, demonstrating binding of collections:

Add following code to HomeController, demonstrating binding from multiple sources:

Discussion

In a previous post on Routing I showed how MVC map URLs to controller and action to execute. We touched on the topic of model binding; mechanism through which MVC binds routing template tokens to action parameters.

Routing middleware deconstructs the HTTP request into RouteData class and then bind its values to action parameters by name. Below is a screenshot showing the Keys and Values contained within RouteData class:

route data

The action parameters can be simple or complex types. For complex types, model binding uses reflection to bind data using . convention. The type must contain a default constructor and public writable properties. See how query string values populate a complex type:

header 2

Note that failure in binding doesn’t throw exception. Also the process of binding stops as soon as a match is found for a parameter (see Multiple Sources section below).

Binding with Attributes

Attributes on action parameters can be used to override the default binding behaviour:

  • Override binding behaviour
    • [BindRequired]: add model state error if binding fails
    • [BindNever]: ignore the binding of parameter
  • Override binding source
    • [FromHeader]: use HTTP header
    • [FromQuery]: use URL query string
    • [FromRoute]: use routing values
    • [FromForm]: use form values (via HTTP POST)
    • [FromServices]: inject value using dependency injection
    • [FromBody]: use HTTP request body, based on configured formatter (e.g. JSON, XML). Only one action parameter can have this attribute.
  • Supply custom binding
    • [ModelBinder]: provide custom model binder

Binding Behaviour

When binding attributes are not supplied the default behaviour is:

  • Simple Types: binding source can be route values, query string and form data.
  • Complex Types: binding source can be query string and form data.

Binding Header

When binding to HTTP headers, few points to note are:

For complex types, the [FromHeader] attribute is applied to the type’s properties. If the HTTP header contain characters illegal for variable names, they can be supplied via attributes Name property:

header 1

For simple types:

header 2

Binding Body

HTTP response body can be read into a complex type. By default JsonInputFormatter class is used to handle binding of request body. The input formatters are used based on Content-Type property of HTTP request header. Below is a sample request with JSON body:

binding body

In order to use XML as input formatters modify ConfigureServices:

Now in addition to JSON, you could send XML in request body (remember to change the Content-Type to application/xml):

binding body 2

Binding Collections

Binding works with collection too:

Multiple Sources

MVC tries to bind data from other parts of HTTP request in the following sequence:

  1. Form: form data submitted via HTTP POST
  2. Route: route values deconstructed by routing middleware
  3. Query: query string segment of URL

sources

Source Code

GitHub: https://github.com/TahirNaushad/Fiver.Mvc.ModelBinding

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