Monday, November 22, 2010

SharePoint 2010 Business Data List Connector

The fast, easy and complete integration of external LOB data is a common requirement in the use of Microsoft SharePoint technology. Existing solutions, such as the Business Data Catalog (BDC) in SharePoint 2007 or the Business Connectivity Services (BCS)  in SharePoint 2010, are often too complex at the facility, require additional tools, bring with them limitations or they are available for certain SharePoint editions only.How to connect SharePoint lists to external data?
The Business Data List Connector for SharePoint 2007 and 2010 offers a SharePoint "External List" by connecting a native SharePoint list (no Web Part) to almost any external business data in just minutes, using a very simple browser-based list settings dialogue. No additional tools are required. It can be configured easily with 3 simple settings only. Every SharePoint admin can do this. The desired data can be populated to the list and presented without any restrictions, with the full functionality of common SharePoint lists made available: views, sorting and grouping, filters, calculated fields, search, lookups can be created as usual. You can add additional internal content columns or attachments to the external data, e.g. documents, comments, ratings, tagging or other Web 2.0 content. All list types are supported, e.g. contacts, tasks, events with optional write-back (CRUD). List workflows and notifications per RSS or email can be used to take business actions in SharePoint, if external business data records are changed. The BDLC additionally makes available any external data source to tag and use with the SharePoint 2010 Knowledge Management and Social Networking features without any restrictions.
You don't have any limitations, that still exists with out-of-the-box BCS external lists in SharePoint 2010. While BDC-based solutions are often difficult to migrate from WSS3.0 / SharePoint 2007 to 2010, BDLC works in the same way with both SharePoint versions. It's very simple to migrate, all connections and settings are kept working. There is a free upgrade available for BDLC from MOSS/WSS to SharePoint 2010 for all customers with Software Assurance (SA).
Slideshare: Business Data List Connector
Fig: To see the SharePoint BDLC presentation full-screen please click this image.
Existing ODBC, OLEDB, and .NET based drivers supported. You can connect to SQL Server, MySQL, Exchange, Active DirectorySharePoint, MS Office Excel, Access or text files, XML, EDI, Oracle, IBM DB2, InformixAS400, Cache, ERP/CRM systems e.g. MS Dynamics CRM / NAV / AX, SAP,, QuickBooks, Peachtree, HL7, Virtual Store, general Web Services, .NET or COM+ objects and many others.

The SharePoint Business Data List Connector is available for Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 (MOSS, all editions) and also for the free Windows SharePoint Services 3.0 (WSS).  Software versions for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 and Windows SharePoint Servicves 4.0 / Microsoft SharePoint Foundation are also currently available.

Whether you are an Systems Integrator or Service Provider, with the BDLC you can dramatically reduce costs, improve business process productivity, and rapidly create the "agile" enterprise for you and your clients.
  • Beat the competition with lower integration cost
  • Complete your integration project in less time
  • Bill a little bit more - but program much less
  • Get 30% discount as a reseller or implementer
Business Data List Connector for SharePoint 2007 and 2010 (BDLC)
Features & Benefits
The SharePoint Business Data List Connector (BDLC) provides the complete read-only or optionally write-back (CRUD) features of any native SharePoint list for almost any external LOB data sources in 3 simple steps only.
Simply connect any SharePoint list to any external data source
  • Simply click "Connect to external data source" in the list settings dialog.
  • In the BDLC settings dialog choose from the installed connection providers and enter the appropriate connection string (e.g. OLEDB, ODBC or custom) and validate it.
  • To select the desired data, please enter a select statement that is supported by your external data source and validate it. Check the result in preview mode and select primary key(s), to make use of advanced features.
  • Create the SharePoint list structure by adding additional columns, check the field / column mapping and update the data using the command buttons with one click. If a primary key is available, only modified data is updated in the list with high performance (background batch update possible).
  • You can optionally activate write-back to data source (CRUD: Create, Update, Delete features), if supported by the used driver.
  • You can additionally use Enterprise Enabler for SharePoint Business Data List Connector to connect SharePoint lists to complex bi-directional aggregations, transformations and manipulatiosn of entities among multiple Line Of Business applications, e.g. Web Services, .NET and COM objects, SAP etc.
So you can enable list workflow or change notifications per RSS or email to take business actions, if your external LOB data records are changed.
SharePoint connect external data to lists in just minutes
Fig.: Sample usage scenario of the SharePoint Business Data List Connector

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