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SharePoint 2010 External lists with BCS for external LOB systems

Written By: Hesham Saad -- 9/8/2011 -- join -- contribute -- (5721) comments -- printer friendly version

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Categories: Business Connectivity Services, Integration with other products , Programming and Customizations, SharePoint 2010, SharePoint Designer 2010

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Problem

SharePoint 2007 enabled the ability to read external LOB (Line Of Business) systems like SQL Server, Web services or .Net Assemblies, but in SharePoint 2010 we'll see how to create full CRUD (Create - Read - Update & Delete) operations.

Solution

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint 2010 is all about connecting to external data. BCS enhances the SharePoint platform’s capabilities with out-of-box features, services and tools that streamline development of solutions with deep integration of external data and services.

A quick overview about key components that comprise BCS is shown in the "BCS Architecture" diagram below:

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Let's see how to connect to a SQL Server LOB system and create full CRUD operations via BCS:

Assume that we have a database called "EmpDep" with related tables "Departments & Employees":

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Open SharePoint Designer 2010, then open the SharePoint Site:

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Click on the "External Content Types" item in the left hand side tool pane, then click on New -> "External Content Type" in the Ribbon and type "Name: EmpDep , Display Name: EmpDep & Click on the 'Click here to discover external data sources and define operations'  link of the "External System" field":

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