jQuery autocomplete example using Java Servlet Ajax request and JSON response

Autocomplete, when added to an input field, enables users to quickly find and select from a pre-populated list of values as they type, leveraging searching and filtering. By giving an Autocomplete field focus or entering something into it, the plugin starts searching for entries that match and displays a list of values to choose from. By entering more characters, the user can filter down the list to better matches.

This can be used to enter previous selected values, for example you could use Autocomplete for entering tags, to complete an address, you could enter a city name and get the zip code, or maybe enter email addresses from an address book.

You can pull data in from a local and/or a remote source: Local is good for small data sets (like an address book with 50 entries), remote is necessary for big data sets, like a database with hundreds or millions of entries to select from.

Autocomplete can be customized to work with various data sources, by just specifying the source option. A data source can be:
  • an Array with local data
  • a String, specifying a URL
  • a Callback

The local data can be a simple Array of Strings, or it contains Objects for each item in the array, with either a label or value property or both. The label property is displayed in the suggestion menu. The value will be inserted into the input element after the user selected something from the menu. If just one property is specified, it will be used for both, eg. if you provide only value-properties, the value will also be used as the label.

When a String is used, the Autocomplete plugin expects that string to point to a URL resource that will return JSON data. It can be on the same host or on a different one (must provide JSONP). The request parameter "term" gets added to that URL. The data itself can be in the same format as the local data described above.

jQuery autocomplete Ajax JSON example using Java Servlet

jQuery autocomplete Ajax JSON example using Java Servlet

HTML Source code for jQuery autocomplete Ajax

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">
<meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=ISO-8859-1">
<title>jQuery Autocomplete</title>
<script src="http://code.jquery.com/jquery-1.7.js"
    rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />
<STYLE TYPE="text/css" media="all">
.ui-autocomplete { 
    position: absolute; 
    cursor: default; 
    height: 200px; 
    overflow-y: scroll; 
    overflow-x: hidden;}

<script type="text/javascript">
$(document).ready(function() {
        width: 300,
        max: 10,
        delay: 100,
        minLength: 1,
        autoFocus: true,
        cacheLength: 1,
        scroll: true,
        highlight: false,
        source: function(request, response) {
                url: "/JSON/AjaxRequest",
                dataType: "json",
                data: request,
                success: function( data, textStatus, jqXHR) {
                    console.log( data);
                    var items = data;
                error: function(jqXHR, textStatus, errorThrown){
                     console.log( textStatus);

    <h1>jQuery Autocomplete Example</h1>
    <p>In this example we will have an input box that will provide
        suggestions using autocomplete( url or data, options ) and Ajax
    <form name="as400samplecode" action="" method="get">


                <td><input id="autoText" maxlength="20" />



Source code for Ajax JSON request using Java Servlet

package com.as400samplecode;

import java.io.IOException;
import java.io.PrintWriter;

import javax.servlet.ServletException;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServlet;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletRequest;
import javax.servlet.http.HttpServletResponse;

import net.sf.json.JSONArray;

public class AjaxRequest extends HttpServlet {
    private static final long serialVersionUID = 1L;
    private static final String[] COUNTRIES = new String[] {
          "Afghanistan", "Albania", "Algeria", "American Samoa", "Andorra",
          "Angola", "Anguilla", "Antarctica", "Antigua and Barbuda", "Argentina",
          "Armenia", "Aruba", "Australia", "Austria", "Azerbaijan",
          "Bahrain", "Bangladesh", "Barbados", "Belarus", "Belgium",
          "Belize", "Benin", "Bermuda", "Bhutan", "Bolivia",
          "Bosnia and Herzegovina", "Botswana", "Bouvet Island", "Brazil", "British Indian Ocean Territory",
          "British Virgin Islands", "Brunei", "Bulgaria", "Burkina Faso", "Burundi",
          "Cote d'Ivoire", "Cambodia", "Cameroon", "Canada", "Cape Verde",
          "Cayman Islands", "Central African Republic", "Chad", "Chile", "China",
          "Christmas Island", "Cocos (Keeling) Islands", "Colombia", "Comoros", "Congo",
          "Cook Islands", "Costa Rica", "Croatia", "Cuba", "Cyprus", "Czech Republic",
          "Democratic Republic of the Congo", "Denmark", "Djibouti", "Dominica", "Dominican Republic",
          "East Timor", "Ecuador", "Egypt", "El Salvador", "Equatorial Guinea", "Eritrea",
          "Estonia", "Ethiopia", "Faeroe Islands", "Falkland Islands", "Fiji", "Finland",
          "Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia", "France", "French Guiana", "French Polynesia",
          "French Southern Territories", "Gabon", "Georgia", "Germany", "Ghana", "Gibraltar",
          "Greece", "Greenland", "Grenada", "Guadeloupe", "Guam", "Guatemala", "Guinea", "Guinea-Bissau",
          "Guyana", "Haiti", "Heard Island and McDonald Islands", "Honduras", "Hong Kong", "Hungary",
          "Iceland", "India", "Indonesia", "Iran", "Iraq", "Ireland", "Israel", "Italy", "Jamaica",
          "Japan", "Jordan", "Kazakhstan", "Kenya", "Kiribati", "Kuwait", "Kyrgyzstan", "Laos",
          "Latvia", "Lebanon", "Lesotho", "Liberia", "Libya", "Liechtenstein", "Lithuania", "Luxembourg",
          "Macau", "Madagascar", "Malawi", "Malaysia", "Maldives", "Mali", "Malta", "Marshall Islands",
          "Martinique", "Mauritania", "Mauritius", "Mayotte", "Mexico", "Micronesia", "Moldova",
          "Monaco", "Mongolia", "Montserrat", "Morocco", "Mozambique", "Myanmar", "Namibia",
          "Nauru", "Nepal", "Netherlands", "Netherlands Antilles", "New Caledonia", "New Zealand",
          "Nicaragua", "Niger", "Nigeria", "Niue", "Norfolk Island", "North Korea", "Northern Marianas",
          "Norway", "Oman", "Pakistan", "Palau", "Panama", "Papua New Guinea", "Paraguay", "Peru",
          "Philippines", "Pitcairn Islands", "Poland", "Portugal", "Puerto Rico", "Qatar",
          "Reunion", "Romania", "Russia", "Rwanda", "Sqo Tome and Principe", "Saint Helena",
          "Saint Kitts and Nevis", "Saint Lucia", "Saint Pierre and Miquelon",
          "Saint Vincent and the Grenadines", "Samoa", "San Marino", "Saudi Arabia", "Senegal",
          "Seychelles", "Sierra Leone", "Singapore", "Slovakia", "Slovenia", "Solomon Islands",
          "Somalia", "South Africa", "South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands", "South Korea",
          "Spain", "Sri Lanka", "Sudan", "Suriname", "Svalbard and Jan Mayen", "Swaziland", "Sweden",
          "Switzerland", "Syria", "Taiwan", "Tajikistan", "Tanzania", "Thailand", "The Bahamas",
          "The Gambia", "Togo", "Tokelau", "Tonga", "Trinidad and Tobago", "Tunisia", "Turkey",
          "Turkmenistan", "Turks and Caicos Islands", "Tuvalu", "Virgin Islands", "Uganda",
          "Ukraine", "United Arab Emirates", "United Kingdom",
          "United States", "United States Minor Outlying Islands", "Uruguay", "Uzbekistan",
          "Vanuatu", "Vatican City", "Venezuela", "Vietnam", "Wallis and Futuna", "Western Sahara",
          "Yemen", "Yugoslavia", "Zambia", "Zimbabwe"

    public AjaxRequest() {

    protected void doGet(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
        PrintWriter out = response.getWriter();
        response.setHeader("Cache-control", "no-cache, no-store");
        response.setHeader("Pragma", "no-cache");
        response.setHeader("Expires", "-1");
        JSONArray arrayObj=new JSONArray();
        String query = request.getParameter("term");
        query = query.toLowerCase();
        for(int i=0; i<COUNTRIES.length; i++) {
            String country = COUNTRIES[i].toLowerCase();
            if(country.startsWith(query)) {

    protected void doPost(HttpServletRequest request, HttpServletResponse response) throws ServletException, IOException {
        //Do something       


How to pass extra parameters in the AJAX request

data: {
 term : request.term,
 param1 : "param1 Value",
 param2 : "param2 Value"

If you want mouse click for choice selection then change the select function

select: function(event, ui) {

Please Note: The java program depends on the json-lib-2.4-jdk15.jar. You can download it from the following website http://sourceforge.net/projects/json-lib/files/json-lib/

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