Skip to main content
Home  ›  Blog

FormAndList DataSource as Standalone DNN Extension

FormAndList was a popular Dynamic / Structured Data system in the old days. You can now use the data in VisualQuery, Razor and JavaScript with a standalone DNN Extension. 

What is FnL or UDT

Before 2sxc various open-source modules already provided some kind of structured content mechanisms. The most popular was UDT (Universal Data Table), which was later renamed to FnL (Form and List). The author Stefan Cullmann is a bit of a DNN rock star, helping thousands of developers to create dynamic solutions. 

After Stefan handed over the project to others a few years back, FnL has been dead, but there are still more than 10'000 websites running FnL, who sometimes wish to use newer templating systems like Razor, but simply can't without migrating the entire solution. Well now they can :)

Install the FnL DataSource Extension

This extension is available as source code on Github, but you can simply download the installable zip extension from the releases. This is what it looks like once installed:

Using the FormAndList DataSource

Once installed, the source becomes available in the dropdown:

Now it won't do much, till you configure it. Here's an example:

...and here is the result that came out of that:

Working with Large Amounts of FnL Data

Sometimes you may have thousands of items - which of course can be slow - like this example:

Because this had almost 10'000 records, the server processing took 4 seconds and the browser needed more than 40 seconds to handle. This is a typical case where you should add the Paging DataSource and / or the CacheAllStreams to optimize for your use case. Here's the same situation, now with paging:

It's not perfect yet, but much better. For further optimization, you'll probably want to optimize the FnL DataSource and add more features / parameters. It's open source, so you're free to optimized ;)

Here's where you can find the Github repo for the FormAndList (UDT) DataSource Extension.

Love from Switzerland,

Daniel Mettler grew up in the jungles of Indonesia and is founder and CEO of 2sic internet solutions in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, an 20-head web specialist with over 800 DNN projects since 1999. He is also chief architect of 2sxc (see github), an open source module for creating attractive content and DNN Apps.

Read more posts by Daniel Mettler