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Error Free DropDownList for Cascading DropDowns

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3.46 (5 votes)
24 Aug 2007
Only for Solution of databinding methods such as Eval(), XPath(), and Bind() can only be used in the context of a databound control


If the solution is posted by some Author in CodeProject and if this is duplicate, I am sorry, but I found the work around to above problem and I am just displaying here for your help.


We always need cascading DropDowns, like Selection of Country DropDown and then Selection of State DropDown (Dependent on selected country). And in FormView Templates or any UserControls, cascading DropDowns fail with an error "databinding methods such as Eval(), XPath(), and Bind() can only be used in the context of a databound control".

Now DropDownList's DataBind method calls an Event defined by CodeGenerator of ASPX page, which calls Page.GetDataItem() and which raises an exception if it is not called by a Data Binding Container.

Eventually ASPX's DataBinding is designed in such a way that it can only be called by DataBinding Container (FormView etc), if you call FormView's DataBind that will not raise exception.

However, forget about the history, and lets get to solution.

Using the code

Instead of using asp:DropDownList, we suggest use a Web Custom Control "DataBoundDropDownList" derived from DropDownList and has few additional code in it. Which is below...

public class DataBoundDropDownList : DropDownList
    #region Method protected override void  OnDataBinding(EventArgs e)
    protected override void OnDataBinding(EventArgs e)
        catch (InvalidOperationException)
                new DataSourceViewSelectCallback(DoSelect));
    private void DoSelect(IEnumerable data)

Thats it guys, Enjoy and forget about this annonying error, which has filled all discussion forums with this problem without any solution !!!!!! and Bug reported at Microsoft always cleared out by saying "Resolved by Design" this means, well there is no solution, just forget it !!! and change your code, change your clients, change your way of living, but we will not give solution !!!!!

When an Exception is raised of type InvalidOperationException, it catches and ReBinds the DropDownList as defined in traditional ListControl class.

I did use Reverse Engineering but only for solving this code.

Warning !!!!

After databind, your old selection will get lost, after calling DataBind you must set Selection Manually, because your new Data Items may not have the old selection which may raise another exception so I decided selection to be left on your choice.


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About the Author

Akash Kava
Web Developer
United States United States
Programmer with WILL

Comments and Discussions

GeneralSelected value does not exist in the list Pin
boster_s27-Dec-10 6:44
memberboster_s27-Dec-10 6:44 
Generalsource code Pin
Brad Oyler1-May-09 8:55
memberBrad Oyler1-May-09 8:55 
GeneralTHANK YOU!!! Pin
Member 238286813-Mar-09 5:31
memberMember 238286813-Mar-09 5:31 
GeneralAdds the items twice Pin
BDheepa14-Nov-07 4:55
memberBDheepa14-Nov-07 4:55 
GeneralRe: Adds the items twice Pin
Akash Kava14-Nov-07 11:03
memberAkash Kava14-Nov-07 11:03 
GeneralRe: Adds the items twice Pin
BDheepa15-Nov-07 2:45
memberBDheepa15-Nov-07 2:45 
Questionfurther explanation please? Pin
riixx9-Oct-07 10:37
memberriixx9-Oct-07 10:37 
AnswerRe: further explanation please? Pin
Akash Kava13-Oct-07 5:49
memberAkash Kava13-Oct-07 5:49 
GeneralRe: further explanation please? Pin
Jalle19-Apr-12 11:09
memberJalle19-Apr-12 11:09 
GeneralFinally an elegant solution Pin
CoolfinPartnership29-Aug-07 4:13
memberCoolfinPartnership29-Aug-07 4:13 
GeneralRe: Finally an elegant solution Pin
Akash Kava29-Aug-07 6:58
memberAkash Kava29-Aug-07 6:58 

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Posted 24 Aug 2007


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