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Tech Tips, Tricks & Trivia

by 'Anil' Radhakrishna
An architect's notes, experiments, discoveries and annotated bookmarks.

Search from over a hundred HOW TO articles, Tips and Tricks


My experiments with the ASP.NET AJAX AutoComplete Extender

"..the Colonel, seeing his mistake, turned to fluent and picturesque Urdu and Kim was contented. No man could be a fool who knew the language so intimately..." Kim (Rudyard Kipling)

Bollywood movies owe their popularity to the mandatory song & dance routine. Many of the popular Bollywood songs are in Hindustani/Urdu & understanding them requires a good grasp of the language. This was not however the reason I was overjoyed when I found a Urdu to English mini dictionary IN ENGLISH compiled by a Urdu enthusiast at NASA & converted it into a Windows app for easy personal reference in my VB6 days. Although I'm not a native speaker, I just fell for the language's charm.

I have been following the ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit developments with interest and I like the convenience they offer in enhancing the UI & web applications without complicated code. With the code examples online, learning about the AutoComplete Extender was easy & I decided to put it to practice by hooking it to the Dictionary database. The mini dictionary is in plain text format & it wasn't difficult to port it into SQL Server format with DTS (Data Transformation Services). I have put up the source code for a minimalistic web based interface to the Dictionary with auto complete functionality online & welcome feedback on it.

The AutoComplete Extender expects its "auto suggest" list through a web service. It has over 10 properties including client side caching & a CompletionSetCount property that decides the number of suggestions to be retrieved from the web service. The actual working of the CompletionSetCount property was not immediately obvious & after I gathered some info on it, I specified a "TOP clause" that uses the "count" parameter of the ServiceMethod in my "SELECT query" to fetch just as many matches.

The blogs of ASP.NET AJAX Control Toolkit Team members Shawn, David & Kirti contain useful notes on the Toolkit.

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