Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Creating custom ActionResult

It is possible to inherit the ActionResult class and create a custom ActionResult.
The following class creates a new kind of ActionResult for spewing out the serialized string of an inputted data contract instance.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Linq;
using System.Web;
using System.Web.Mvc;
using System.Runtime.Serialization;

namespace TestActionMethodSelectorAttribute.ActionResult

public class DataContractSerializedResult : System.Web.Mvc.ActionResult

private object data;

public DataContractSerializedResult(object data)
{ = data;

public override void ExecuteResult(ControllerContext context)
var response = context.HttpContext.Response;
response.ContentType = "text/xml";
DataContractSerializer serializer = new DataContractSerializer(data.GetType());
serializer.WriteObject(response.OutputStream, data);


You will need to add a reference to the System.Runtime.Serialization assembly and namespace. We use DataContractSerializer to serialize the object to a string value. The stream in use is the context.HttpContext.Response.OutputStream, where context is the ControllerContext (current).

It is required to set the ContentType to "text/xml" to output xml.

Usage, adding a test method to homecontroller (ignore Hungarian notation, this is for demonstration purposes..) :

public DataContractSerializedResult About2()
return new DataContractSerializedResult(
new AgeNameDataContract
Age = 93,
Name = "Gamla Olga"

Then we get the xml outputted of the data contract passed in:

The morale of the story, to create a new kind of ActionResult:

- inherit from ActionResult
- implement abstract method ExecuteResult


  1. An almost similar method could try deserializing a string value into an object. Make sure that the object passed into this method is a datacontract. We could probably include some fail-safe code to check that the class in use got a custom attribute set of data contract or similar, I will leave that refinment to you, TypeDescriptor is a good start here..

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