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Using the DNN Text Suggest Control

The DNNTextSuggest control is actually a very complex control. You can go to the example website at: where you can test out all the DNN web controls (you can download the source here). The control allows you to type in text and provides matching items from a data source (for example a database). This provides the same  functionality as Google Suggests.

This is an amazingly complex control and you are advised to read the extensive documentation that is provided to fully explore it's features. This is a brief introduction to the control to show how easy it is to get it up and running.

Here are the steps to implement this web control in your own modules. This works with the full version of Visual Studio 2005 and also Visual Web Developer Express.

If you haven't already performed this step, you will want to add the DNN web controls to your Visual Studio toolbox:

  1. Right-Click on the Toolbox in Visual Studio and select Choose Items...

  2. Use the Browse button to browse to DotNetNuke.WebControls.dll (in the /bin folder of your DotNetNuke installation) and click the OK button.
  3. The DotNetNuke web controls will now appear in your toolbox:

  4. Drag the DNNTextSuggest control from the toolbox and drop it on to your DotNetNuke User Control (See my tutorial Creating a  Super-Simple DotNetNuke module for information on how to create a DotNetNuke Web User Control) .
  1. In the properties for the DNNTextSuggest control, click on the yellow lazerbolt to show the events for the control
  2. We see that there are events that we can wireup a method to. Type "MyDNNTextSuggest_PopulateOnDemand" for the PopulateOnDemand event and click away from the box.
  3. Visual Studio switches to code view and your method is all ready for your custom code. Add "PopulateList(e.Nodes, e.Text)" to the method so it appears like this:

    Protected Sub MyDNNTextSuggest_PopulateOnDemand(ByVal source As Object, ByVal e As DotNetNuke.UI.WebControls.DNNTextSuggestEventArgs) Handles MyDNNTextSuggest.PopulateOnDemand
        PopulateList(e.Nodes, e.Text)
    End Sub


  4. Ensure that your User Control has this line toward the top:  Inherits Entities.Modules.PortalModuleBase
  5. Enter this additional code:

    Private Sub PopulateList(ByVal objNodes As DNNNodeCollection, ByVal strText As String)

    o As DNNNode
    Dim dt As DataTable = GetData()
    'strip out troublesome chars for Select below
    strText = strText.Replace("[", "").Replace("]", "").Replace("'", "''")
    dt.CaseSensitive = Me.MyDNNTextSuggest.CaseSensitive
    Dim drs() As DataRow = dt.Select("name like '" & strText & "%'")
    Dim dr As DataRow
    For Each dr In drs
    If Me.MyDNNTextSuggest.MaxSuggestRows = 0 _
    OrElse objNodes.Count < (Me.MyDNNTextSuggest.MaxSuggestRows + 1) Then
    o = New DNNNode(CStr(dr("name")))
    o.ID = CStr(dr("id"))
    End If


    Function GetData() As DataTable

    Dim dt As DataTable = New DataTable
    dt.Columns.Add(New DataColumn("id", GetType(String)))
    dt.Columns.Add(New DataColumn("name", GetType(String)))
    AddRow(1, "name1", dt)
    AddRow(2, "name12", dt)
    AddRow(3, "name123", dt)
    AddRow(4, "name1234", dt)
    AddRow(5, "name12345", dt)
    Return dt

    End Function

    Sub AddRow(ByVal ID As Integer, ByVal Name As String, ByVal dt As DataTable)
    Dim dr As DataRow = dt.NewRow()
    dr("id") = ID
    dr("name") = Name

    End Sub

  6. Save the page and Build the page. When you type "name" in the text box it will show you matching items.
  7. You can download the code here.

This example is so simple it really does not do the control justice. However, you can see that the control is just as easy to use as a Microsoft Atlas control. In addition, all of the web controls work with ASP.NET 1.1 and DotNetNuke 3.

Jon Henning continuously develops web controls and provides excellent documentation on the DotNetNuke site. I hope to introduce you to this incredible resource and demonstrate yet another reason why web development is faster and easier when you use the DotNetNuke Framework.


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