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Is there a standard way to implement this? Any solution would have to make use of AJAX. I am considering two possible methods at the moment:

  1. Try to find a way to use the ASP.NET AJAX Toolkit to do this (can this even be done in SharePoint?)
  2. Use some sort of jQuery plugging for Cascading Dropdowns and find a way to connect it to my data.

Are both of these viable methods? If anyone has tried this before and has any recommendations I would love to hear them.

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I assume you are referring to the CascadingDropDown from the AJAX Control Toolkit. I would advise against using this in your SharePoint web part - and would advise using the client object model to do filtering within jQuery events (ie $('select.class').change(function(){});).

Chris O'Brien's articles mentioned in Matt Taylor's reply are great. You should be able to build cascading drop downs reasonably quickly using this method - and it will be far more performant than using Cascading Drop Down controls or an UpdatePanel.

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SPServices?

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Btw, SPServices does client-side filtering, and does not provide good performance :( so for huge lists or for "deep" cascading it is not the best solution. But anyway, it's the most simple way to implement cascading dropdowns in SharePoint. –  Andrey Markeev Apr 20 '11 at 6:15
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Both of your proposed solutions are viable, SharePoint is just an ASP.NET application after all. I am not aware of a "standard" way to implement either however I have successfully used both.

  1. To ensure I could make use of the ASP.NET AJAX toolkit from any page on my site I added the following directive to my Master Page and ensured my solution deployed the assembly to the GAC: <%@ Register TagPrefix="ajaxToolkit" Namespace="AjaxControlToolkit" Assembly="AjaxControlToolkit, Version=3.0.30930.28736, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=28f01b0e84b6d53e" %>

    You could also try looking at this CodePlex solution by Daniel Larsen (I haven't tried it so not sure if it would be useful for your situation).

  2. Anything you want to know about jQuery in SharePoint then look no further than Jaap Vossers' blog

Finally, I would strongly recommend reading this series of articles that Chris O'Brien wrote on jQuery and AJAX in SharePoint.

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Maybe you can use the cascading drop-down-list web part as discussed in the article - http://datacogs.com/datablogs/archive/2007/08/26/641.aspx

Hope it will help you. :)

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