Autocomplete textbox with JavaScript CSOM

I have searched on the internet about how to create an auto-complete functionality in SharePoint. Of course, jQuery UI was the solution with an Ajax request to REST service. For some reason, I cannot understand it, the examples I have seen are based on synchronous Ajax request. So I simply said no way. I needed something asynchronous to avoid page freeze.

Normally to create an auto-complete is a simple thing.

        minLength: 3,
        source: function(request, response) {
         // At the and of the async operation call response with obtained results

Asynchronous operation will be placed inside source function, but instead using classic Ajax examples, I will use JavaScript CSOM. It is not better, but I like it more. So is more a personal choice.

For getting data from SharePoint, you can use classical example from MSDN website, but I prefer to reorganize the code a little bit. After all I still have Microsoft Ajax library available so I can put classes in namespaces or I can validate parameters type.

/// <Reference Name="MicrosoftAjax.js" />


Shp.Lists = function () {
    throw 'Cannot instantiate Shp.Lists static class';

Shp.Lists.GetItems = function (listName, query, web, success, fail) {
    /// <summary>Get list items based on provided CAML query</summary>
    /// <param name="listName" type="String" optional="false" mayBeNull="false">List name</param>
    /// <param name="query" type="String" optional="false" mayBeNull="false">Query</param>
    /// <param name="web" type="SP.Web" optional="false" mayBeNull="true">Web</param>
    /// <param name="success" type="Function" optional="false" mayBeNull="false">Success callback</param>
    /// <param name="fail" type="Function" optional="true" mayBeNull="false">Fail callback</param>

    var e = Function.validateParameters(arguments, [{ name: 'listName', type: String, mayBeNull: false, optional: false },
                                                   { name: 'query', type: String, mayBeNull: false, optional: false },
                                                   { name: 'web', type: SP.Web, mayBeNull: true, optional: false },
                                                   { name: 'success', type: Function, mayBeNull: false, optional: false },
                                                   { name: 'fail', type: Function, mayBeNull: false, optional: true }], true);
    if (e) throw e;

    var fail = fail || function (error) { alert(error); };
    var ctx = (web === null) ? SP.ClientContext.get_current() : web.get_context();
    var web = (web === null) ? ctx.get_web() : web;

    Shp.Lists._GetItems(listName, query, ctx, web, success, fail);

Shp.Lists._GetItems = function (listName, query, ctx, web, success, fail) {

    var oList = web.get_lists().getByTitle(listName);
    var camlQuery = new SP.CamlQuery();
    var oListItems = oList.getItems(camlQuery);
    ctx.executeQueryAsync(function () {
    }, function (sender, args) {


“Shp.Lists.GetItems” should be called with the following parameters:

  • List name, as string, not optional and cannot be null.
  • CAML query as string, not optional and cannot be null.
  • Web as SP.Web, not optional but can be null. In this case web associated with the current context is used.
  • Success as function, not optional and cannot be null. It is executed if operation is a success.
  • Fail function, optional and cannot be null. If not specified and operation fails, code will alert the error message.

Now as I created a reusable function for reading list items, everything should be much easier. I just need to call “Shp.Lists.GetItems” with correct parameters inside auto-complete source and, if operation is successfully, to add suggestions based on list items.

    minLength: 3,
    source: function (request, response) {
        var term = request.term;
        var query = '<View><Query><Where><Contains><FieldRef Name="Title" /><Value Type="Text">' + term + '</Value></Contains></Where></Query></View>';
        Shp.Lists.GetItems("list name", query, null, function (items) {
            var suggestions = [];
            var listItemEnumerator = items.getEnumerator();
            while (listItemEnumerator.moveNext()) {
            // Add suggestions



This was my approach of creating the auto-complete functionality. As I said, is a personal option to use JavaScript CSOM because looks for me more organized and structured. Of course code can be extended and you can even create an Ajax client side control to incorporate this functionality.

Thank you for reading my post!