Simple Picklist – Enabling Picklist manager options for the web client
Posted By: nicocrm on October 5th, 2009 in Uncategorized
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One missing feature of the SLX web client some of our users have been very vocal about is the ability to manage picklist options (multi-select, alphabetical sort, etc) from the good old picklist manager.  What makes it even more confusing is that there is no indication in the picklist manager that the options are not actually going to take effect… but in fact in the web client these options are only taken from the picklist control itself (i.e., set via the App Architect or in the page’s code). 

Fortunately it is a reasonably simple problem to resolve since those picklist options are readily accessible from the database.  All we have to do really is wrap the creation of the picklist control with something that will know how to pull that info and set it on the control.  The simplest way to do that would probably be to subclass the control, but I decided to go with a decorator pattern instead (the idea was that this would let me change a bit more of the behavior, for example, replace the stock picklist with a regular dropdown).  So instead of using:

<SalesLogix:PickListControl runat="server" ID="pklType" PickListName="Account Type" AutoPostBack="true"  AlphaSort="true" MustExistInList="true" AllowMultiple="true"  />

I use:

<SSS:SimplePickList runat="server" ID="pklType" PickListName="Account Type" AutoPostBack="true"   />

Behind the scene the SimplePicklist controls reads the attributes from the database and create a Saleslogix picklist control with the proper settings, something like this:

_picklist = new PickListControl();
if ((_storageMode & PicklistStorageMode.Id) != 0)
    _picklist.StorageMode = Sage.Platform.Controls.StorageModeEnum.ID;
else if ((_storageMode & PicklistStorageMode.Code) != 0)
    _picklist.StorageMode = Sage.Platform.Controls.StorageModeEnum.Code;
_picklist.PickListName = _picklistName;
_picklist.AllowMultiples = _attr.AllowMultiples;
_picklist.AlphaSort = _attr.AlphaSorted;
_picklist.NoneEditable = _attr.NoneEditable;
_picklist.Required = _attr.Required;
_picklist.MustExistInList = _attr.ValueMustExist;
_picklist.PickListValueChanged += delegate
    if (TextChanged != null)
        TextChanged(this, EventArgs.Empty);

This works fine for custom smart parts, how about for QuickForms?  Well, it is possible to change the template there too, but as it is global (will affect nearly every picklist in the client) it is a bit scarier :)

In the ModelQuickFormsWebQFSLXPickList.WebControlRenderingTemplate.vm I changed the control to use my “SimplePickList” instead of a PickListControl

## Simple Picklist alternative (to automatically determine the sort etc)
    <SSS:SimplePickList Compatible="true" runat="server" ID="${qfcontrol.ControlId}" #if($qfcontrol.IsReadOnly)ReadOnly="true" #end
#if(!$qfcontrol.Enabled)Enabled="false" #end
#if($qfcontrol.ToolTip != "") ToolTip="<%$ resources: ${qfcontrol.ControlId}.ToolTip %>" #end
#if($qfcontrol.HotKey != "")AccessKey="$qfcontrol.HotKey" #end
#if($qfcontrol.PickListName != "")PickListName="$qfcontrol.PickListName" #end
#if($qfcontrol.HasActionCode || $qfcontrol.AutoPostBack)AutoPostBack="true" #end
#if($qfcontrol.Required)Required="true" #end 
#if($qfcontrol.MaxLength > 0)MaxLength="$qfcontrol.MaxLength" #end 
#if($qfcontrol.TabIndex > 0)TabIndex="$qfcontrol.TabIndex" #end
#if($qfcontrol.StorageMode != "Text")StorageMode="$qfcontrol.StorageMode" #end
#if($qfcontrol.StyleScheme != "")CssClass="$qfcontrol.StyleScheme" #end
#if(!$qfcontrol.Visible)Visible="false" #end  />

The “Compatible=true” setting is something I added to avoid bad surprises – it forces the list to display as a standard Saleslogix picklist, instead of e.g. a dropdown.

Now because it is a custom control, it requires a change to web.config too, something like this (under system.web/pages/controls):

<add tagPrefix="SSS" namespace="SSSWorld.Slx75.Web.Controls" assembly="SSSWorld.Slx75"/>

I think it works great, but haven’t tried on a production system yet – I am going to save it for a next big project when I can get a resource to QA the entire app!  I do already use the “small” version in production in my custom smart parts, though.  I saved the code under here, if interested feel free to rip it up (though it probably has some extra dependencies so it will require a bit of cleanup).

So although I think the PickListControl should support this out of the box it is nice to see that it is not too hard to add the functionality ourselves.

2 Responses to “Simple Picklist – Enabling Picklist manager options for the web client”

  1. Jason HuberNo Gravatar says:

    Nice post. Great idea and some pretty slick code. Great job Nick.

  2. Nicolas GallerNo Gravatar says:

    Same type of approach should be possible with lookups as well (to make them derive the properties from the lookups designed in the Lookup Manager). It’s a bit trickier because we have to convert database fields to NHibernate property names and the NHibernate metadata API kind of sucks. Will post it if I ever get it working though.

    Oh and I have been using the SimplePicklist for a while now – they work great.

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