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showing data in HTML drop-down box

 
Alex Kravets
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I have an application that displays data from a table that has over 4,000 records in HTML drop-down box. Sometimes data comes back in a second, sometimes 3-4 seconds. Is putting such a big data in a drop-down box a good idea since there is no guarantee that data will be returned in time? How are other people deal with displaying/searching reference tables with 4,000+ records?

thanks,
Alex
 
Jeanne Boyarsky
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Alex,
I prefer keeping that volume on the server. Especially if any of your users are on dial-up or have slow network connections.
 
William Brogden
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That sounds like a job for a "virtual" list box that is only populated by a small subset of the total at any given point. I can't see how it might be done as a drop-down, but you might be able to do it with JavaScript or with an applet.
Bill
 
Alex Kravets
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how does this "virtual box" work? And if it's possible to it as a list, why is there a problem as a drop-down?
 
William Brogden
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In a virtual list box there must be extra code (JavaScript or Java applet) to rebuild the contents of the list as you get close to the end of available data. I think rebuilding would cause user confusion with a drop-down since it would probably un-drop on being rebuilt.

Think of the list box as a sort of sliding window on the real list that resides on the server. Some sort of additional control(s) to jump to a particular part of the list is a good idea so your user won't have to scroll from the A's to the Z's by hand. I used to use them for large vocabulary display.

A google search for "virtual listbox" turned up VB, TCL and C++ references.

Let us know if you find any Java examples.
Bill
 
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