Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Sharepoint 2010 Top 10 : Business Connectivity Services

Business Connectivity Services(BCS/BDC)



  1. BCS allow developers to connect capabilities to line-of-business data or Web services in SharePoint Server and the Office client. The core function of BDC is to provide connectivity support to the following types of external systems:
    • Databases
    • Web/WCF services
    • .NET connectivity assemblies
    • Custom data sources
  2. Both read and write capability is included, which is an improvement over the BDC capability in Office SharePoint Server 2007.
  3. In Office SharePoint Server 2007, BDC supported only single item operations, such as search. BDC now provides batch and bulk operation support which enable you to read multiple items in a single call thus reducing round trips to the backend dramatically. BDC now supports reading blob data. This is useful for streaming blobs of data from the external system.
  4. BDC now supports dot notation in field names and therefore enables you to read and write complex types.
  5. A new Business Data Connectivity Service application is created by using one of the following methods:
    • Selecting services while running the Initial Configuration Wizard and choosing the Business Connectivity Service.
    • Adding the Business Data Connectivity service application by using the New button on the Manage Service Applications Web page ribbon in the Central Administration site as illustrated earlier.
    • Using Windows PowerShell.

    After the application has been created, the administrator will associate the application with a database and a service account.
  6. An application model describes an external data source. The external data source instance specifies particular connection and authentication information for an external data system. The application model contains the XML descriptions of one or more external content types.
  7. External Content Type -
    • External content types represent data that is stored in an external data source, such as Microsoft SQL Server™ and other relational databases, SharePoint Server, and Web services.
    • An external content type represents a reusable description of an object that can be used in a composite application, such as “Customer,” “Order,” or “Contact” (formerly called BDC entities).
    • The external content type includes the object’s data fields; the methods to create, read, update, or delete that object; actions that users can take on the object; and information that supports connecting to the external data source where the object is stored.
    • External content types are created by using SharePoint Designer 2010, Visual Studio 2010, and by importing an application model that contains one or more external content types into a BCS service application.
    • External content types can be consumed natively by Microsoft InfoPath® 2010, Microsoft Access™ 2010, and other Office applications via custom code.
    • External content types provide SharePoint behaviors (such as lists, Web Parts, and profile pages) to external data and services. As a result, users can work in their familiar work environments without needing to learn different (and often proprietary) user interfaces.
  8. External Lists - you can now create (using SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010) External Content Types which are really just a definition of an external database table (or web service). Once an External Content Type is defined for the external database table, an External List can be created (using the SharePoint 2010 browser UI, SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio 2010). Anything you can do with a native List in SharePoint 2010 (workflows, permissions, views, etc.) can be done with External Lists.But, the data that is displayed and stored for an External List is not stored in the SharePoint 2010 content database. The data in the External Lists lives in the external database table - and, only there. Therefore, if it is updated by a non-SharePoint application (think an ERP system or CRM system for instance), the data that is displayed in the SharePoint External List will update immediately.
    This is totally different from the way the MOSS 2007 Business Data Catalog worked. In the MOSS 2007 BDC, the business data brought into SharePoint was stored in a List column(s) in the SharePoint Content Database. So, if the data changed in the external database, the values in the corresponding SharePoint List did not get updated immediately.Futhermore, in the MOSS 2007 BDC it was not really possible to update data in the external database from within SharePoint. With External Content Types and External Lists in SharePoint 2010, all of that has changed. If you change a value of a column in a SharePoint 2010 External List, the new value is immediately written to the external database.
  9. Consumption -
    • BCS data can be accessed by using a Web browser and displayed inside SharePoint sites by using Web Parts and external lists.
    • Business data can be exposed as Office Word document properties and inserted into documents.
    • Users can interact with business data by using the familiar Microsoft Office Outlook® interface, and take the data offline by using the new SharePoint Workspace (the new Groove application).
    • SharePoint search can also use the BCS to index external data;
  10. Development –
    • BCS provides a pluggable framework with which developers can plug in connectors for new external system types, thus enabling these new data source types to be accessed via the BDC.
    • BCS provides a set of tools to facilitate creation of models and Office 2010 application artifacts, declaratively and by writing code.
    • You can use Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 to rapidly create composite solutions that meet external unit needs without writing code.
    • You can use Visual Studio to create or extend solutions with sophisticated workflows and data that spans structured line-of-external (LOB) systems, unstructured SharePoint applications or Microsoft Office applications, and Web 2.0 services.
    • Developers can use the BDC Runtime object model to write generic applications by using the stereotyped APIs as building blocks. Such generic applications are then assured to work against any external system, including those that are preexisting and those that are yet to be built.
    • Developers can also write specific applications that make assumptions about the abstract entity model (the fields exposed by these, and the types of the fields).
    • With the .NET Assembly Connector, Custom Connector and the pluggable Secure Store Provider, it provides a rich extensibility mechanism for software developers.


More - SharePoint 2010 Top 10 Features

Source - SharePoint 2010 Resources

1 comment:

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Harry