I'm using SPServices with jQuery to collect data from a Sharepoint 2010 list for use in a standalone Javascript powered web application.

EDIT: I've found a little more out while investigating this - the big question now is how can I determine the datatype (eg. Integer, Float, Person, Choice, Lookup etc) of each field from the SOAP response?

I can collect all the data fine, but the data returned isn't very nice to work with. Field names begin with ows_ and have spaces replaced by 0x0020 and other such encodings. Fields representing unusual datatypes (people, lookup fields and so on) have what I assume are IDs and hashes and semicolons seperating them. Arrays seem to be delimited by #; too.

I've written some code to create a decent javascript object from the XML returned, but I'd like some feedback in case there are some use cases where it'll break and I really need to be able to get the user's full account name (with domain) rather than their name when a person field is returned. Any ideas?

function parse_SP(xData) {
    var array = new Array();
    $(xData.responseXML).find("[nodeName='z:row']").each(function() {
        var element = new Array();

        $.each(this.attributes,function(i,attrib) {
            var name = attrib.name.replace(/x0020/ig,' ')
            var val = attrib.value

            /* I need to collect DOMAIN\USERNAME
             * from what's returned for people fields,
             * maybe this needs to be done with a specific
             * CAML query?

            var match = name.match(/^ows_(?!_)(.+?)(?:\ \((.+)\))?(0)?$/)
            if (match != null) {
                name = match[1].replace(/_/g,'')

                if (match[3] == '0') {
                    val = parseFloat(val)
                } else {
                    if (name != 'UniqueId') {
                        var special = val.split(';#');

                        if (special.length > 1) {
                            switch (special[0]) {
                            case '':
                                // Is an array
                                val = special.join(', ');
                element[name] = val;

    return array;

This function is used like this:

    operation: "GetListItems",
    async: false,
    // Next line added, as per edit below, to return expanded user fields
    listName: 'My Sharepoint List',
    completefunc: function (xData, Status) {
        $.each(parse_SP(xData),function(i,p) {


Turns out you can collect the full details of a 'person' field by adding CAMLQueryOptions:'<QueryOptions><ExpandUserField>TRUE</ExpandUserField></QueryOptions>', to the SPServices call (as included above) - the only issue I have now (and the overriding issue from this whole question) is: how can you determine a field's data type from the SOAP data sent back?

Thanks for your time!

  • For the record, "[nodeName='z:row']" doesn't work with jQuery 1.7
    – Christophe
    Nov 18, 2011 at 17:06
  • Everything returned is XML (as you know), so if you did a typeof on your values, you'll see that they are considered "string"'s in JavaScript. You'll have to write functions to convert them to other data types.
    – iOnline247
    Nov 22, 2011 at 20:00
  • I meant determining the Field's datatype on the server, as opposed to the type interpreted by Javascript (which you're correct - will always be a string!) I think I've managed to create a function which can create a usable Javascript object by pulling in the List schema before this, but it's a bit of a pain!
    – JP.
    Nov 23, 2011 at 10:17

1 Answer 1


If you use GetList first, you can find out what type each column is.

I've got an internal function toward the bottom of SPServices which I use to display column values which might be helpful for you to look at.

Finally, as for the [nodeName='z:row'] syntax not working with jQuery 1.7, that is correct. In the latest beta of SPServices, I have a fix for this.

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