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SharePoint Designer 2010 is a Useful Tool to Exploit Business Connectivity Services for SharePoint 2010 Presentation Requirements

This post follows our current thread on Business Connectivity Services (BCS) for SharePoint 2010. Rehmani Consulting Inc offers video training content on BCS through a variety of content that is available for purchase on SharePoint-Videos dot com, including:

  • a DVD of the entire BCS set of training content (1.5hrs spread over 11 video training topics) for either individual or enterprise viewing
  • and unlimited site subscriptions for either individuals, groups, or even entire enterprise viewing

Please contact us for further information on our various purchase offers for this training content on BCS.

Now that we have some sense of the importance of BCS as a fundamental component of SharePoint 2010, Enterprise Edition, it is worth taking a post to look at how users access BCS and work with it within SharePoint, itself. In fact, our preferred method of working with BCS in SharePoint is to be found in SharePoint Designer 2010. In a webinar entitled “Leveraging the Power of Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010” Asif Rehmani, SharePoint MVP and Raymond Mitchell present solid training material on working with BCS with SharePoint Designer, 2010.

Before we dive a bit deeper into how SharePoint Designer 2010 is particularly well suited as a BCS tool, it is worth recapping a short presentation of the importance of BCS and its relationship with SharePoint, as depicted by Asif Rehmani in this webinar. As Asif points out, it is very important to understand BCS as a “huge bet for Microsoft” (quoted from this webinar, which can be accessed on YouTube), which has paid off handsomely. In fact, BCS is the conduit for the process of incorporating external data into SharePoint. As Asif again points out, once SharePoint is equipped with enterprise data, it can then be used successfully as the presentation layer for “all . . . enterprise data” (ibid). In this process “you get the information from Oracle, SQL Server, etc. You use SharePoint as the consummate presentation layer, and then you present the information as you want to present it in terms of style, etc.

What makes SharePoint Designer 2010 (SPD) particularly useful in this endeavor is the fact that SPD includes a section on “external content types.” In fact, as Raymond Mitchell points out very early on in this video, “external content types” is “where the BCS lives.” (quoted from Raymond Mitchell’s presentation in the aforementioned webinar on Youtube). By using this “external content types” feature of SPD, users can, effectively, map external systems into data repositories which SharePoint can be used to call upon, as required.

In the next post to this blog we will take a deeper dive into using SPD for this external content types application.

© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.