Jquery – How to return JSON from a 2.0 asmx web service

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I am using .Net framework 2.0 / jQuery to make an Ajax call to a 2.0 web service. No matter what I set the contentType to in the ajax call, the service always returns XML. I want it to return Json!

Here is the call:

      $(document).ready(function() {
         $.ajax({
            type: "POST",
            url: "DonationsService.asmx/GetDate",
            data: "{}",
            contentType: "application/json; charset=utf-8",
            dataType: "json",
            success: function(msg) {
              // Hide the fake progress indicator graphic.
              $('#RSSContent').removeClass('loading');

              // Insert the returned HTML into the <div>.
              $('#RSSContent').html(msg.d);
            }
          });
        });    

Here is what the request header looks like in Fiddler:

POST /DonationsService.asmx/GetDate HTTP/1.1
x-requested-with: XMLHttpRequest
Accept-Language: en-us
Referer: http://localhost:1238/text.htm
Accept: application/json, text/javascript, */*
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
Accept-Encoding: gzip, deflate
User-Agent: Mozilla/4.0 (compatible; MSIE 6.0; Windows NT 5.1; SV1; .NET CLR 1.1.4322; eMusic DLM/4; .NET CLR 2.0.50727)
Host: localhost:1238
Content-Length: 2
Connection: Keep-Alive
Pragma: no-cache

I have tried setting the contentType to 'text/json' and get the same results.

Here is the web service method:

<WebMethod()> _
Public Function GetDate() As String

    'just playing around with Newtonsoft.Json
    Dim sb As New StringBuilder
    Dim sw As New IO.StringWriter(sb)
    Dim strOut As String = String.Empty

    Using jw As New JsonTextWriter(sw)
        With jw
            .WriteStartObject()
            .WritePropertyName("DateTime")
            .WriteValue(DateTime.Now.ToString)
            .WriteEndObject()
        End With
        strOut = sw.ToString
    End Using

    Return strOut

End Function

and here is what it returns:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<string xmlns="http://DMS.Webservices.org/">{"DateTime":"11/13/2008 6:04:22 PM"}</string>

Does anyone know how to force the web service to return Json when I ask for Json?

Please don't tell me to upgrade to .Net Framework 3.5 or anything like that (I'm not that stupid). I need a 2.0 solution.

Best Solution

It's no problem to return JSON from ASMX services in ASP.NET 2.0. You just need the ASP.NET AJAX Extensions installed.

Do be sure to add the [ScriptService] decoration to your web service. That's what instructs the server side portion of the ASP.NET AJAX framework to return JSON for a properly formed request.

Also, you'll need to drop the ".d" from "msg.d" in my example, if you're using it with 2.0. The ".d" is a security feature that came with 3.5.