Be selective about how you get items from an SPList

Just read an interesting article from Waldek Mastykarz called ‘Performance of various methods to retrieve one list item’. It’s well worth a look – go and read it.

So, the interesting thing I took away from it was just how slow the GetItemById() method was compared to an SPQuery. Why? Wouldn’t it make sense to use and SPQuery within the GetItemById() method?

Well a bit of Reflector digging (again) shows that it does! But it isn’t just a query for the item with that Id – it also specifies that the

SPQuery.ViewAttributes = "Scope="RecursiveAll" ModerationType="Moderator" ";

Hmm. So it’s probably a more complicated query. Depending on your solution, you might not need “RecursiveAll” – I try to avoid folders in lists, preferring views to break down my content.

So, the lesson that I took away was that if you are doing a LOT of getting items from lists, it is worth considering how you want to. There isn’t a right answer, unfortunately, and testing is key. The problem is, there are many factors:

  • Can you use caching?
  • Do you know the list you’re getting items from?
  • Are you getting items from more than one list?
  • Do you have folders?
  • What other parameters might your query have?

It’s difficult to know, hence I think Waldek is right – give it a test so you have some idea!

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Be selective about how you get items from an SPList

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