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I have absolutely struggled in creating a custom control to use an external data source to populate a dropdown combo list. Does anyone have any good examples of how to implement this? Is a custom control the best way to go about this?

Note: I have created some ECT's using the .net bdc model. I just think the ECT field is a bit non-userfriendly compared to a dropdownlist.

many thanks!

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Have you considered using InfoPath to customize the list form and connected to an External list as a data source to populate a drop-down list?

  • Lori, I have not heard of InfoPath? I'll do some research on this option today. Thanks! – JR_ATLDev Apr 22 '11 at 15:12
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If you are comfortable creating a webpart that does this I would recommend giving this article a read. Databind from a SQLDataSource or ObjectDataSource to a DropDownList is a fairly common task and there are many resources out there that cover it. The above link is a good place to start though.

This would also give you the ability to have a custom web part property where you set the datasource for each instance of the web part.

  • Abe, I need to populate a dropdown list in the Edit form for a custom list. I don't think a web part inside of an edit form would be the best way to update a listitem. Thanks for the suggestion, though. – JR_ATLDev Apr 22 '11 at 15:08

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