Review: eBusiness Applications Web ComboBox, Version 3
page 3 of 4
by Alexei White
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Working with the Control

Installation

The 30-day fully-functional trial of the control is available from the EBA website. A full name and email address are required to receive a download link, which is then immediately available. Download options include special versions for ASP.NET, Classic ASP, PHP, and JSP.

The installation procedure is quick and doesn't require special keys or other additional information. The software is available from the Windows Start menu, under the eBusiness Applications folder, and includes several sample projects.

ASP.NET Interface

Creating a basic ComboBox is straightforward.

  1. Start with a new ASP.NET Web Application. In the folder where your application resides, copy the eba.Web.dll assembly to the bin directory, the ebacombo.js file to the root directory, and the style folder to the root directory.
  2. Drag the ComboBox eba.Web.dll file onto your toolbox. Alternatively, you can use Visual Studio's toolbox editor: from the Tools menu, select Add/Remove Toolbox Items, click Browse, and locate the Web ComboBox DLL.
  3. Choose a preconfigured style, a search mode, and set up your databinding.

One of the nice things about the ASP.NET version of Web ComboBox is its ability to bind to all sorts of data types, including DataSet, DataTable, DataView, IDictionary, IDataReader, and IEnumerable (e.g., Array and ArrayList) objects--just about anything that derives from IListSource. Also, EBA provides recommended SQL statement templates for popular databases including MySQL, SQL Server, Oracle, DB2, and Access.

The Designer

While many developers prefer code view, the designer included with Web ComboBox is a handy tool that reveals many configurable properties. In addition to the standard databinding properties, there are many properties associated with each element, such as width and height for the textbox (especially useful for SmartList), font colors, and highlight colors.

Some key properties and their meanings:

  • List.PageSize - the number of records to retrieve from the database at a time.
  • SmartListSeparator - the character to use in SmartList mode to separate list items (comma, semicolon, etc.).
  • TabIndex - on web forms, the index of this control in the tab order.
  • InitialSearch - enables the developer to specify a search string by which to select a record. Confused? It's actually quite ingenious. If you specify "bett" for InitialSearch, and in your data you have a record called "Betty Smith", it will pre-select it when the control loads.
  • PreconfiguredStylesheet - Web ComboBox comes with many preconfigured styles, some of which are quite cool. These include styles like Windows XP Blue and Silver, Outlook, Ice, and several styles with little icons that indicate a searchbox.
  • Mode - the search mode to be used on this ComboBox control. There are six modes, which were discussed earlier. The default is Classic mode, which includes the use of paging.

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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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