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Using the BCS to Pull External Data into SharePoint 2013 with Visual Studio

Microsoft is attempting to rebrand its code editor, Visual Studio, as a preferred method for developers to product Apps conforming to the Office 2013 App model. In a set of three video tutorials, Fabian Williams, a SharePoint MVP and widely acknowledged subject matter expert, demonstrates how the BCS can be used, via Visual Studio, to pull external data into SharePoint 2013.

All three of these video tutorials are included in a new set of training content titled SharePoint 2013: Working with external data in SharePoint 2013 using BCS and Workflows. This set is available, exclusively, on SharePoint-Videos.com.

In the first of the three videos, titled “BCS External Data, Visual Studio, Rest and OData – Part 1” we demonstrate how to build the development environment, including:

  • Configuring OData End Points URI
  • Create and Configure a BDC Service Application
  • Create and Configure a Secure Store Service Application
  • Add a Set of Permissions to the BCS Metadata Store (optional)

An added benefit to viewers is the demonstration Fabian Williams provides of how Microsoft Azure can be used as a cloud IaaS, for OData, to support the development examples included in this set of tutorials. Anyone with an interest in rapidly putting together a working example of one of the applications included in this set will likely want to consider using Azure, so the tips on how to get servers, and sites set up quickly and correctly will likely come in handy. As to the rationale for using OData, Fabian Williams remarks on several occasions, throughout the entire set of videos, on the comparative ease of building each of the examples he demonstrates with the OData protocol (even in comparison to the approaches supported by SharePoint Designer 2013).

Included in this video tutorial, as well, is a discussion about “auto hosted” vs “provider hosted” app development options for SharePoint, including a note on how Microsoft is deprecating the “auto hosted” option. Steve Fox also spent sometime on this topic in his set on SharePoint 2013: Beginning Development, which is also exclusively available from SharePoint-Videos.com.

Ira Michael Blonder

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