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I would like to be able to have a BDC entity setup such that when you create a list from the external content type the new item form automatically comes setup with a lookup field for one of the entries. Lets say as an example we have Stock items that we want to associate to a category. So if I have an RC car item I would want to be able to have a drop down for category and then select toy from that list. I have tried associations between two ECTs and that doesn't seems to do...well anything from what I can tell. Perhaps I'm doing it wrong? Anyway I realize I could do this with a custom web part for entries or maybe it's also possible to manually edit the new item form and create this but I was hoping there was a built in way to make this work right now any fields I add to the new item method just get added a text entries.

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I am on the same page. I have 200,000 vendors. I am planning on implementing cascading drop-downs so I can narrow the drop down options for vendors and also not hose the server. –  Maria Burton Apr 17 '12 at 12:41
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2 Answers

Not sure its possible OOB but, BCS Meta Man from lightning tools has this sort of functionality.

Are you looking for something like this ?

http://lightningtools.com/bcs_meta_man/sharepoint-external-list-using-the-picker-for-foreign-keys/

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I had a similar issue and while I hope you can find a better solution mine was as follows:

  • I created an external content type for just the values/ID's that should be in the drop down.
  • I then created an external list for just these values/ID's (call this the "Drop down List")
  • I then modified the new and edit aspx forms (for my actual external list containing my records) in designer to make the text fields needing pulldowns into actual select input.
  • Finally, I used SPServices to get the values from my Drop Down List (using the list web service) and stuff them in as select options on the select input using a tiny bit of jQuery.

It felt a bit "kludegy" but in all fairness it wasn't too bad of a model (expose data as a list, consume through built in web service, change the HTML of the new/edit form using jQuery/SPServices to connect everything together).

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