So you want to use CForm (form builder), but need to preload dropdowns in a form? It's simpler than it seems.
You got your CFormModel, CForm and the actual Form, right?
Let's say you have the typical State -> City dependent dropdowns, so you would want to load the from with the State and City selected.
CGridView (or CListView) together with CActiveDataProvider is a very powerful combination of the built-in tools of Yii. But how do they work together to accomplish their fantastic functions? And what are you expected to do to use them and to customize their behaviors? This article explains the very basics of them.