I currently have some VisualForce which uses an <apex:repeat/> element and inserts commas in between the items like so:

<apex:variable var="idx" value="{!0}"/>
<apex:repeat value="{!items}" var="item">
    <apex:outputPanel rendered="{!NOT(idx == 0)}">, </apex:outputPanel>
        <apex:outputText value="{!item.Name}" />
    <apex:variable var="idx" value="{!idx + 1}" />

However, today I noticed in the documentation that this is explicitly unsupported and is a case of undefined behavior:

<apex:variable> does not support reassignment inside of an iteration component, such as <apex:dataTable> or <apex:repeat>. The result of doing so, e.g., incrementing the <apex:variable> as a counter, is unsupported and undefined.

(Source: https://www.salesforce.com/us/developer/docs/pages/Content/pages_compref_variable.htm)

So my question is this: if the syntax I'm using is not supported (even though it does work), then how can I render this comma-delimited data in a way that is supported, using only VisualForce? Is this possible?

  • Ideally I'm looking for a way to detect if an item is first or last in an apex:repeat without relying on the controller to do that, since i would like to be able to do things such as apply CSS styles to the first item, emit different markup, etc., in addition to comma-delimiting the items. However, I understand that this may not be possible using only visualforce. If that's the case then a solution involving the controller is ok. Jun 5 '14 at 17:02
  • how is the items list being populated is it a list<sobject> that you are returning?
    – Rao
    Jun 5 '14 at 17:05
  • The list is a property on the controller populated by a SOQL select Jun 5 '14 at 17:07
  • 2
    Apexonauts unite and vote for having officially index support:success.salesforce.com/… Jul 24 '14 at 17:54

I rethought and this seems the best way so deleting the previous contents:

  1. Create a map<account,index>

  2. Put the account, index and also populate the last index in your method, and check if the index = last index and render the ,


<apex:page controller="testing_repeat_controller" sidebar="false">
<apex:repeat value="{!Itemsforuser}" var="item">    
    <apex:outputPanel >
        <apex:outputText value="{!item.Name}"/>
        {!IF(account_index_map[item] == lastindexofaccount,'',',')}


public class testing_repeat_controller {
    public integer indexofaccount {get;set;}
    public integer lastindexofaccount {get;set;}
    public map<account,integer> account_index_map {get;set;} 
    public testing_repeat_controller(){
        indexofaccount      = 0;
        lastindexofaccount  = 0;
        account_index_map = new map <account,integer>();
    public List<account> getItemsforuser(){
        list<account> acc_list = [select id,name from account limit 10];
        lastindexofaccount = acc_list.size();
        for(account a: acc_List){        
            indexofaccount = indexofaccount +1;
        return acc_List;


abc ,abc ,TEST ,test123 ,abc ,abc ,abc ,TEST ,Test_Pass ,abc
  • The first method doesn't seem to work unfortunately (I don't get any commas in the output at all). I think my best bet is probably to use a wrapper class as in method 4 Jun 5 '14 at 17:57
  • dang it i used my custom list my bad i will delete that solution, the wrapper is the only way then
    – Rao
    Jun 5 '14 at 17:58
  • The option you removed gave me the idea to do something like this inside the loop: {!IF(item != items[0], ', ', '')}, however salesforce threw this error when I tried it: "Incorrect parameter type for subscript. Expected Text, received Number". Next I tried using this: {!IF(item != items[items.size-items.size], ', ', '')} which, strangely, worked as expected... However, I'd still like to figure out a way to avoid relying on behavioral quirks like this Jun 5 '14 at 18:15
  • 3
    Without adding any methods to the controller, this seems to work: <apex:outputPanel rendered="{!item != items[items.size - 1]}">, </apex:outputPanel>... however, VF's subscripting appears to have some strange behavior with lists. I opened another question about that here: salesforce.stackexchange.com/questions/38811/… Jun 5 '14 at 18:39
  • categories.size = 10 say when you do categories.size-1 it pulls categories[9] which is the 10th account in the list. you are simply saying VF do not display , for the 10th account from the {!categories} list.
    – Rao
    Jun 5 '14 at 18:43

I think a more elegant solution would be to render items as an unordered list and then use css to render the commas.

<style type="text/css">
    .cs-list {
      display: inline;
      list-style: none;
      padding-left: 0px;

    .cs-list li {
      display: inline;
      margin-left: 3px;

    .cs-list li:after {
      content: ", ";
    .cs-list li:last-child:after {
        content: "";

<ul class='cs-list'>
<apex:repeater var='item' value='{!myStringList}'>

You might need to tweak margin and padding a bit to get it to look perfect (this example came from an project that was loading bootstrap css).


Another way slightly different to Jennifer and without a controller, is to count each time it loops, and check if the last one is the same size as the list size:

<apex:variable var="cnt" value="{!0}" /> 
<apex:repeat value="{!items}" var="item">
    <apex:variable var="cnt" value="{!cnt+1}"/>

    <apex:outputPanel rendered="{!cnt == items.size}">
        Display Empty
    <apex:outputPanel rendered="{!cnt != items.size}">
        Equal display empty

You could do it without a controller with help of the ID of the record.

<apex:repeat value="{!items}" var="item">
  <apex:outputPanel rendered="{!items[0].id != item.id}">, </apex:outputPanel>
     <apex:outputText value="{!item.Name}" />

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