appending array to FormData and send via AJAX

I'm using ajax to submit a multipart form with array, text fields and files.

I append each VAR to the main data as so

var attachments = document.getElementById('files'); 
var data= new FormData();

for (i=0; i< attachments.files.length; i++){
    data.append('file', attachments.files[i]);
    console.log(attachments.files[i]);

    data.append ('headline', headline);
    data.append ('article', article);
    data.append ('arr', arr);
    data.append ('tag', tag);

then I use the ajax function to send it to a PHP file to store inside sql DB.

$.ajax({    
    type: "post",
    url: 'php/submittionform.php',
    cache: false,
    processData: false,
    contentType: false,
    data: data,
    success: function(request) {$('#box').html(request); }
})

But on the PHP side, the arr variable, which is an array appears as a string.

When I don't send it with ajax as Form data but use the simple $.POST option I do get it as an array on the PHP side, but then I can't send the files as well.

any solutions?

Answers:

Answer

You can also send an array via FormData this way:

var formData = new FormData;
var arr = ['this', 'is', 'an', 'array'];
for (var i = 0; i < arr.length; i++) {
    formData.append('arr[]', arr[i]);
}

So you can write arr[] the same way as you do it with a simple HTML form. In case of PHP it should work.

You may find this article useful: How to pass an array within a query string?

Answer

Typescript version:

export class Utility {      
    public static convertModelToFormData(model: any, form: FormData = null, namespace = ''): FormData {
        let formData = form || new FormData();
        let formKey;

        for (let propertyName in model) {
            if (!model.hasOwnProperty(propertyName) || !model[propertyName]) continue;
            let formKey = namespace ? `${namespace}[${propertyName}]` : propertyName;
            if (model[propertyName] instanceof Date)
                formData.append(formKey, model[propertyName].toISOString());
            else if (model[propertyName] instanceof Array) {
                model[propertyName].forEach((element, index) => {
                    const tempFormKey = `${formKey}[${index}]`;
                    this.convertModelToFormData(element, formData, tempFormKey);
                });
            }
            else if (typeof model[propertyName] === 'object' && !(model[propertyName] instanceof File))
                this.convertModelToFormData(model[propertyName], formData, formKey);
            else
                formData.append(formKey, model[propertyName].toString());
        }
        return formData;
    }
}

Using:

let formData = Utility.convertModelToFormData(model);
Answer

If you have nested objects and arrays, best way to populate FormData object is using recursion.

function createFormData(formData, data, key) {
    if ( ( typeof data === 'object' && data !== null ) || Array.isArray(data) ) {
        for ( let i in data ) {
            if ( ( typeof data[i] === 'object' && data[i] !== null ) || Array.isArray(data[i]) ) {
                createFormData(formData, data[i], key + '[' + i + ']');
            } else {
                formData.append(key + '[' + i + ']', data[i]);
            }
        }
    } else {
        formData.append(key, data);
    }
}
Answer

Next version valid for model containing arays of simple values:

function convertModelToFormData(val, formData = new FormData(), namespace = '') {
    if((typeof val !== 'undefined') && (val !== null)) {
        if(val instanceof Date) {
            formData.append(namespace, val.toISOString());
        } else if(val instanceof Array) {
            for(let element of val) {
                convertModelToFormData(element, formData, namespace + '[]');
            }
        } else if(typeof val === 'object' && !(val instanceof File)) {
            for (let propertyName in val) {
                if(val.hasOwnProperty(propertyName)) {
                    convertModelToFormData(val[propertyName], formData, namespace ? namespace + '[' + propertyName + ']' : propertyName);
                }
            }
        } else {
            formData.append(namespace, val.toString());
        }
    }
    return formData;
}
Answer

add all type inputs to FormData

const formData = new FormData();
for (let key in form) {
    Array.isArray(form[key])
        ? form[key].forEach(value => formData.append(key + '[]', value))
        : formData.append(key, form[key]) ;
}
Answer

Based on @YackY answer shorter recursion version:

function createFormData(formData, key, data) {
    if (data === Object(data) || Array.isArray(data)) {
        for (var i in data) {
            createFormData(formData, key + '[' + i + ']', data[i]);
        }
    } else {
        formData.append(key, data);
    }
}

Usage example:

var data = {a: '1', b: 2, c: {d: '3'}};
var formData = new FormData();
createFormData(formData, 'data', data);

Sent data:

data[a]=1&
data[b]=2&
data[c][d]=3
Answer

You have several options:

Convert it to a JSON string, then parse it in PHP (recommended)

JS

var json_arr = JSON.stringify(arr);

PHP

$arr = json_decode($_POST['arr']);

Or use @Curios's method

Sending an array via FormData.


Not recommended: Serialize the data with, then deserialize in PHP

JS

// Use <#> or any other delimiter you want
var serial_arr = arr.join("<#>"); 

PHP

$arr = explode("<#>", $_POST['arr']);
Answer

This is an old question but I ran into this problem with posting objects along with files recently. I needed to be able to post an object, with child properties that were objects and arrays as well.

The function below will walk through an object and create the correct formData object.

// formData - instance of FormData object
// data - object to post
function getFormData(formData, data, previousKey) {
  if (data instanceof Object) {
    Object.keys(data).forEach(key => {
      const value = data[key];
      if (value instanceof Object && !Array.isArray(value)) {
        return this.getFormData(formData, value, key);
      }
      if (previousKey) {
        key = `${previousKey}[${key}]`;
      }
      if (Array.isArray(value)) {
        value.forEach(val => {
          formData.append(`${key}[]`, val);
        });
      } else {
        formData.append(key, value);
      }
    });
  }
}

This will convert the following json -

{
  name: 'starwars',
  year: 1977,
  characters: {
    good: ['luke', 'leia'],
    bad: ['vader'],
  },
}

into the following FormData

 name, starwars
 year, 1977
 characters[good][], luke
 characters[good][], leia
 characters[bad][], vader

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