Yesterday I finally had some time to finish a project I've been working on for some time: the Autocomplete Text Field for SharePoint 2007. Click here for a small demo screencast on Soapbox, or download the high resolution video from the CodePlex site.
The idea is pretty simple: you've got a SharePoint list (or document library) that contains some interesting lookup data, now you can make use of the Autocomplete Text Field to display a textbox to the user that will show a dropdown list of items that start with the text the user already entered. When the user types more (or less) text, the dropdown list will adapt to that and update the contents. All of this is made available as a new column type (aka custom field type) in SharePoint 2007. The beauty of this field is that it doesn't need to do a page postback to refresh the data, the ASP.NET AJAX extensions are used to fetch the data in the background.
When the column is added to a SharePoint list or document library, the user can customize by defining various settings:
- Column name: the name of the column
- Description: the description of the column
- Required: if the column should contain text or if it can stay empty
- Lookup list: the list in which the column should do the lookup, this list can be selected from a dropdown
- Autocomplete interval: the number of milliseconds after which the lookup list will appear
- Items to display: the maximum number of items to display in the lookup list
- Minimum prefix length: the minimum number of charactes which should be typed before the lookup list will appear
- Show animations: enable or disable the fading effects when the lookup list is shown or hidden
For more information, the download and the source code; visit the SmartTools for SharePoint Codeplex site. Be aware that if you want to make use of this column, the ASP.NET AJAX extensions must be installed and configured on your SharePoint sites!! (more info here)