I need a specialized scrolling list
October 18, 2007 6:50 AM   Subscribe

I need to create scrolling list, with something a bit extra.

I need to create a scrolling list. It's for a list of about 300 servers, which we currently have in a drop-down menu, but is really hard to scroll through manually. So I need to change this drop down list to a scrollable list and add functionality to the list to enable me to type out the name of a server, then be taken to that server name in the list, a la what Windows Explorer does when you start typing a file or folder name. (i.e., I start typing a file name, and it takes me to the files that start with what I've typed so far, and then finally takes me to the file I want once I've typed enough or all of the filename.)

How can I do this? I'll take any suggestions, whether in html, java, or whatever. I'm an IT dork, but not a web designer by any stretch of the imagination, so explanations that are detailed will be appreciated.
posted by omnipotentq to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Your current HTML drop-down is created with a SELECT tag, probably <SELECT NAME="server"> or similar. If you add MULTIPLE (<SELECT MULTIPLE NAME="server">), it will become a scrolling list with the search-as-you-type functionality you describe. The form will still work the same way, so you won't have to change the way the backend gets the data.

Caveat: doing this will also allow people to select multiple servers from the list, which the backend won't be expecting, so you may have to change it to accommodate for that.
posted by pocams at 6:55 AM on October 18, 2007

Something like this or this might be easier for people to use.
posted by kirkaracha at 7:20 AM on October 18, 2007

Can't you do this with any drop-down menu? I do it all the time. Open the menu by clicking or tabbing to select it, start typing.
posted by loiseau at 7:22 AM on October 18, 2007

Response by poster: Thanks, pocams. I just talked to my boss and he wants to try some other techniques before we go to a search-as-you-type box, but I think that'll work.

Kirkaracha, thanks for the info as well. I'm not sure if we're going to implement Ajax on our portal, though.

loiseau, no, that standard search-as-you-type is limited to the first letter of the word, only. With 300+ servers, each having long names and 200 of them having the same first 6-7 letters, it's a difficult thing to sort through.
posted by omnipotentq at 8:52 AM on October 18, 2007

I guess it must depend on browser.
For example in this form (specifically "month") you can type as long as it takes to get a match.
posted by loiseau at 9:02 AM on October 18, 2007

(I use that example just because it was one I used recently that I could remember. I don't think it's uncommon though. I use FF/OSX/PPC )
posted by loiseau at 9:04 AM on October 18, 2007

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