ASP.NET MVC XML Action Result

Wednesday, Jun 16, 2010 2 minute read Tags: c# xml
Hey, thanks for the interest in this post, but just letting you know that it is over 3 years old, so the content in here may not be accurate.

For my Location Service in F# I needed a way to be able to return XML from MVC (which powers my site), but I couldn’t find a way to do this out of the box with XML.

Luckily creating your very own ActionResult is really quite easy in MVC.

First you need to implement the ActionResult class:

public class XmlActionResult : ActionResult
    public override void ExecuteResult(ControllerContext context)


I’m going to add a couple of public properties:

    public XDocument Xml { get; private set; }
    public string ContentType { get; set; }
    public Encoding Encoding { get; set; }

I’ve put the ContentType publicly settable so you can customize the content type which will be set on the response. And I’ll have a constructor which takes the XDocument:

    public XmlActionResult(XDocument xml)
        this.Xml = xml;
        this.ContentType = "text/xml";
        this.Encoding = Encoding.UTF8;

Here I’ve set the default ContentType as text/xml so that’s what’ll generally be returned from the ActionResult.

And implementing ExecuteResult is really quite simple:

    public override void ExecuteResult(ControllerContext context)
        context.HttpContext.Response.ContentType = this.ContentType;
        context.HttpContext.Response.HeaderEncoding = this.Encoding;
        XmlTextWriter writer = new XmlTextWriter(context.HttpContext.Response.OutputStream, Encoding.UTF8);

All you have to do is to write the XML into the Response stream (you can’t just return the XML, if you do you’ll strip out the XML declaration).

To then use it in your View it’s just like this:

        var kml = AaronPowell.FindMe.KmlGenerator.TwitterToKml("@" + twitterUser + " tracking", statuses);

        return new XmlActionResult(kml)
            ContentType = "application/"

And that’s why I left the ContentType as modifiable, it means I can say that I’m sending out KML instead of standard XML. You can easily use this for RSS, Atom, etc. In fact I should probably port the RSS feed within this site :P.