In a video training course, Creating External Systems Raymond Mitchell demonstrates how to use SharePoint Designer 2010 to create External Systems for Business Connectivity Services (BCS) for SharePoint 2010, Enterprise Edition.
It is important to note that the point of adding external systems is to establish a data connection that meets security (meaning authentication) requirements for reliable and secure data communications between SharePoint 2010 and the external computing systems that produce external content. In turn, this external content is incorporated within the SharePoint computing environment in the form of external site columns, and more.
As Raymond Mitchell demonstrates, SharePoint Designer 2010 provides users with a simple point and click method, as well as form boxes, to add required information to SharePoint 2010 to establish a secure data communications connection. Of course, building this type of connection ought to be mandatory for any/all organizations looking to implement BCS functionality for SharePoint 2010.
Once the secure data connection has been established, then an external data repository, for example, SQL Server 2008 R2 or 2012 can be incorporated within the SharePoint 2010 computing environment. Once incorporated, all of the tables in the repository, as well as all of the views provided for the data, can be exposed to the user for further configuration, once again, directly from SharePoint Designer 2010. All of this information about the external data source can be used as the basis for building operations within SharePoint 2010.
The second half of this video tutorial will be valuable to users who need to enable Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Services in a manner that does not require the use of Visual Studio. For a definition of WCF please click on the link just provided to visit MSDN and read about this service. In fact, once again, Raymond adds a connection type for a WCF service to Sharepoint 2010 with SharePoint Designer 2010, with no more than a series of mouse clicks. Once a connection to a WCF service is successfully added to SharePoint 2010, then the corresponding set of web methods are all exposed to users for incorporation in operations with external content types, as required.
The second half of this video also includes a tutorial on establishing a dot net connection type. As is the case with all of the procedures demonstrated in this video course, this dot net content type is added with SharePoint Designer 2010. As Raymond notes, however, there are not a lot of configuration operations for the user via this method. In fact, the dot net content type will have to be written in Visual Studio and then added to SharePoint via Central Administration. Once the content type has been added, however, SharePoint Designer 2010 can be successfully used (as Raymond demonstrates) to add the connection as an External System for BCS.
In the final section to this video course, Raymond Mitchell demonstrates how SharePoint Designer 2010 can be used to change the External System used to support an External Content Type in SharePoint 2010. In needs to be noted that alternative External Systems will only be available for the purpose of reassigning the support for content types if they have already been added to SharePoint Designer 2010 as alternates.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.