Dependent / Cascading Select List with jQuery Select2

Select2 is one of the most popular select list plugin for jQuery. It has beautiful features and powerful customization options.

One missing feature of Select2 is built-in support for making select boxes cascading/dependent. In simple words, loading/refreshing options of a select2 list box using ajax based on selection of another select2 list box. So, I’ve written a reusable class for this purpose.

Get it here – Select2 Cascade (for v4.x)

Looking for a demo?

Here is it – live demo.

Thanks to Codepen, JSON Blob and Twitter Bootstrap for making demonstration so easy!

How to use

Simple.. just need to create a new instance of Select2Cascade by passing the following 3+1 things –

  1. Parent select2 listbox
  2. Child select2 listbox
  3. URL to load child items from
  4. (OPTIONAL) select2 options

To set the parent selected value in ajax request, keep :parentId: as a placeholder in url. The selected value of parent select2 listbox will replace the :parentId: string in url. For example –

Query string: /path/to/api?type=childType&parent_id=:parentId:
RESTful url: /path/to/api/items/:parentId:/sub-items

Another important point is, the response of ajax call MUST be a flat json object of value:label pairs. e,g,

  "20150415" : "Chittagong Zila",
  "20190901" : "Comilla Zila",
  "20221601" : "Cox's Bazar Zila",
  "20301401" : "Feni Zila"

Otherwise, you have to adjust populating of options as per your response data.


Let’s say, our requirement is – when selection of #parentList is changed, send ajax call to path/to/api/categories?parent_id=SELECTED-PARENT-VAL and set the options of #childList from the ajax response. Then sample usages will be –

var select2Options = { width: 'resolve' };
new Select2Cascade($('#parentList'), $('#childList'), '/api/categories?parent_id=:parentId:', select2Options);

That’s all! The childList values will now load based on the selection of parentList instantly. Even, you can chain the dependency like this –

new Select2Cascade($('#district'), $('#zilla'), '/api/geocode/district/:parentId:/zilla');
new Select2Cascade($('#zilla'), $('#thana'), '/api/geocode/zilla/:parentId:/thana');

Oh wait.. there’s more!

If you want to do something with the response data or select boxes (after loading options), you can set (any number of) callbacks to be executed after the child listbox refreshed –

var cascadLoading = new Select2Cascade($('#parentList'), $('#childList'), '/api/categories?parent_id=:parentId:');
cascadLoading.then( function(parent, child, items) {
    // Open the child listbox immediately
    // or Dump response data

BTW, if you like this anyway, don’t forget to star the gist.

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