Calling Generic HTTPHandler from Client side

In my last blog post I explain what an HTTPHandler was, and how to implement it. In this post I will explain to you how to call your HTTPHandler using JavaScript. Please note this solution uses jQuery and assumes this is already being loaded in your page. Please follow my blog inserting jquery into your sharepoint site as a feature, to ensure that jQuery is available within your SharePoint site every time, if you currently don’t load jQuery.

This demo will allow a user to enter a name of a list on the site and return some properties regarding this list. By following the initial steps from the last blog post, create your ashx file and called it ListHandler.ashx.

  • First create a ListDetails.cs class. This class will hold the properties of the SPList we wish to pass back from the handler. Right Click the Project > Add> New Item… and create the class called ListDetails.cs
  • In ListDetails.cs class we will set up 4 properties. Title, DefaultViewURL, Description, ItemCount.

public class ListDetails


        public String Title { get; set; }

        public String DefaultViewURL {get;set;}

        public String Description {get;set;}

        public String ItemCount {get;set;}


  • Save the ListDetails.cs file.
  • Now open the ListHandler.ashx file. From following the last blog post you should have already implemented the IHttpHandler Interface. When implementing the IHttpHandler interface we need both IsReusable and ProcessRequest. Set the IsReusable as the following.

public bool IsReusable




                return true;



  • The ProcessRequest method is going to check for query string name called listname. Then get the SPList object, retrieve the details we want in the ListDetails class, then JavaScriptSerialize our class to write back our results out as JavaScript.

  public void ProcessRequest(HttpContext context)


            var listName = string.Empty;

            //Obtain the Query String

            if (context.Request.QueryString["listName"] != null)


                listName = context.Request.QueryString["listName"];


            string results = String.Empty;



                if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(listName))


                    //Get the SPList object.

                    SPList list = SPContext.Current.Web.Lists.TryGetList(listName);

                    if (list != null)

                        //Pass SPList to get details and convert to JSON string.

                        results = GetJSON(list);



                        throw new Exception("List Not Found!");




            catch (Exception ex)


                throw ex;




        private string GetJSON(SPList list)


            //Initialise the JavaScript initializer

            System.Web.Script.Serialization.JavaScriptSerializer serializer = new System.Web.Script.Serialization.JavaScriptSerializer();

            //Get ListDetails Class and obtain values.

            var curList = new ListDetails();

            curList.Title = list.Title;

            curList.Description = list.Description;

            curList.DefaultViewURL = list.DefaultViewUrl;

            curList.ItemCount = list.ItemCount.ToString();

            //Return Class Serialized for JavaScript.

            return serializer.Serialize(curList);


If you save and deploy your project as is, and navigate to <Site>/_layouts/GenericHandler/ListHandler.ashx?listName=<listName>, replacing site and listName with your details you should see some results. For example I have passed in the list name Shared Documents as I’m using a TeamSite for the below results.

To create the front end, we are going to create a simple application page. Create a page called ListCaller.aspx.

  • Within the Content PlaceHolderMain put a Label, TextBox and Button. Below we will display the 4 values Title, Description, DefaultURL and ItemCount.

<asp:Content ID="Main" ContentPlaceHolderID="PlaceHolderMain" runat="server">

    <asp:Label ID="lblInstructions" runat="server" Text="Please enter a name of a list"></asp:Label>

    <asp:TextBox ID="txtName" runat="server"></asp:TextBox>

    <asp:Button ID="btnGetList" runat="server" Text="Get List Details" />

    <div id="listTitle"></div>

    <div id="listDescription"></div>

    <div id="listDefaultURL"></div>

    <div id="listItemCount"></div>


  • Create a JavaScript file. I have called mine ListCaller.js, this file is stored in layouts directory too.

  • Open this file. We are going to create a simple ajax call to our handler. On success it will return data from the handler, or it will throw an error. Create a function called getListDetails that is expecting the list name.

function getListDetails(listName) {


        url: '/_layouts/GenericHandler/ListHandler.ashx',

        data: 'listName=' + listName,

        dataType: "json",

        contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8",

        method: 'GET',

        success: function (data) {

            jQuery('#listTitle').html('<b>Title: </b>' + data.Title);

            jQuery('#listDescription').html('<b>Description: </b>' + data.Description);

            jQuery('#listDefaultURL').html('<b>Default URL: </b>' + data.DefaultViewURL);

            jQuery('#listItemCount').html('<b>Item Count: </b>' + data.ItemCount);


        error: function (jqXHR, textStatus, errorThrown) {








  • Now we need to call this JavaScript method from our aspx page. Open up your aspx page. Within the PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead we need to add a link to the ListCaller.js file. Also here I’m going to add a JavaScript function that gets the value from within textbox and calls getListDetails().

<asp:Content ID="PageHead" ContentPlaceHolderID="PlaceHolderAdditionalPageHead" runat="server">

<script type="text/javascript" src="/_layouts/GenericHandler/js/ListCaller.js"></script>


        function details() {

          getListDetails(jQuery('#' + '<%=txtName.ClientID%>').val())




  • Lastly add an OnClientClick to your Button. Your <asp:Button will now look like below.

<asp:Button ID="btnGetList" runat="server" Text="Get List Details" OnClientClick="javascript:details();return false;"/>

By navigating to the application page, and type in a name of a library or list can click Get List Details it will return the details of that list.