Review: eBusiness Applications Web ComboBox, Version 3
page 1 of 4
Published: 21 Jun 2005
Unedited - Community Contributed
Abstract
If you have ever used Google Suggest or Gmail, you will have noticed the impressive lookup functionality of some textbox controls. With Web ComboBox, you can add the same AJAX-based technology to your own ASP.NET web applications.
by Alexei White
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Introduction

Web ComboBox V3 is the most recent release of an AJAX-based lookup control for classic ASP, PHP, JSP, and of course ASP.NET. Developed by eBusiness Applications, this control represents the commercialization of some popular new AJAX functionality seen lately on the web (for example, in Google Suggest and Gmail). Web ComboBox does it all, and does it well.

Feature highlights of the product include:

  1. Browser compability - Internet Explorer 5.5, Firefox 1.0, Netscape 7, Mozilla 1.7, Camino 0.8.
  2. Six distinctive search modes - Filter, Classic, SmartSearch, SmartList, Compact, and Unbound. This list includes modes that replicate Google Suggest and Gmail lookup functionality.
  3. Data entry - Includes type-ahead, paging, and "intelligent autocomplete" (fuzzy search).
  4. Section 508 compliant - completely keyboard navigable.

AJAX - Asynchronous JavaScript and XML

For those who are unfamiliar with the concept, the term AJAX was coined by Adaptive Path, and merely refers to the use of JavaScript (ECMAScript) and a combination of XML and DHTML to deliver more powerful user interfaces in a web browser. While the ability for component vendors to use AJAX techniques has existed for years, only recently has the development community begun to lay out standards and best practices for its use.

Ideally, an AJAX-based component will have the following workflow:

  1. A client request results in a standard HTML page response.
  2. A client-side event triggers an asynchronous callback to the server (using XMLHttp).
  3. The server outputs an XML Data Island which is transformed via XSLT to HTML. No page refresh occurs at all.

Web ComboBox seems to take advantage of all the browser has to offer, with virtually flawless presentation across browser platforms.


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User Comments

Title: Looks like they listened   
Name: Alexei
Date: 2005-08-25 11:10:36 PM
Comment:
They've added full support for the ASP.NET datagrid and usercontrols as ov 3.15.
Title: Room for Improvement   
Name: Jason White
Date: 2005-07-18 9:17:58 PM
Comment:
As was the case with Version 2, Version 3 still lacks support for the .NET datagrid AND .NET user controls. If you're content to simply use this control in an aspx page alone, then it's everything this review says it is.

However, I don't really understand how you can market a control as being ASP.NET compatible when it doesn't support the most basic building block of an ASP.NET application.

Also, it doesn't appear that they're going to fix this anytime soon. During the beta 2, "Usercontrol Support" was listed as a feature and it is no longer found on the list.
Title: Great Article   
Name: Gerard
Date: 2005-07-15 11:18:45 AM
Comment:
Great article. Looks like a well rounded product. Updates without page refreshes especially interests me.

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