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Server Mode

If you need to display a large amount of records in a GridControl or any grid lookup editor (GridLookUpEdit and SearchLookUpEdit), you can use server data-binding modes. These are specifically designed to work with large datasets that cause slow data loading under certain circumstances.

The main feature of server data binding modes is that data-related operations are performed on the server side, while in regular data binding modes, these operations are performed on the client side (by grid controls or grid lookup editors).

In server modes, even if a bound control is connected to a data store containing one million records, the initial data will be displayed immediately, and subsequent data will be loaded rapidly on scrolling. The secrets of this are 1) loading records in small portions, and 2) performing data-aware operations on the server side. This ensures quick response and improved performance for large data sources.

As in regular data-binding modes, in server modes, bound controls allow data to be edited, sorted, grouped and filtered. All the features supported in server modes are described in Grid Features Supported in Server Mode. To learn about the limitations of server modes, see Server Mode Limitations.

Expanded Regular Server Mode and Instant Feedback Mode

In server modes, a data-aware control sends requests to a bound data source to retrieve appropriate portions of data when required. There are two distinct server modes that differ in the way controls interact with bound data sources.

  • Regular Server Mode (or synchronous server mode)

    In a regular server mode, the control, after sending a request, always waits until the bound data source returns data. Therefore, the GUI may freeze momentarily, and may not respond to an end-user's actions until data is retrieved.

  • Instant Feedback Mode (or asynchronous server mode)

    After sending a request to a data source, a control doesn't wait, doesn't freeze the GUI, and continues responding to user actions. Thus, users are able to work with the control (e.g. sort, filter and group data, resize columns, etc.) and other controls on the form, while data is being retrieved in a background thread.


    Instant Feedback Mode is supported by the GridControl and SearchLookUpEdit controls. The GridLookUpEdit does not support this binding mode.

Expanded Server Mode Data Sources

To enable a specific server mode for your data-aware control, you need to use an appropriate data source. You can use data sources provided by the eXpress Persistent Objects (XPO) library, or use dedicated data sources tailored to work with 'LINQ to SQL Classes'. Thus, choose one of the following data sources for your control.

Data Access TechnologyServer Mode Data SourceInstant Feedback UI Data Source
Entity Framework 4+EntityServerModeSourceEntityInstantFeedbackSource
eXpress Persistent ObjectsXPServerCollectionSourceXPInstantFeedbackSource
LINQ to SQLLinqServerModeSourceLinqInstantFeedbackSource
Parallel LINQ to ObjectsPLinqServerModeSourcePLinqInstantFeedbackSource
WCF Data ServicesWcfServerModeSourceWcfInstantFeedbackSource
OData v4ODataServerModeSourceODataInstantFeedbackSource

Expanded Concepts

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