Rehmani Consulting, Inc offers a set of video training content on Business Connectivity Services (BCS) for SharePoint 2010, Enterprise Edition. This set of video training content includes a video course on external content types, which is titled An Introduction to External Content Types. As an entry to the MSDN Library, How to Create an External Content Type makes clear, “[c]reating external content types that connect to Microsoft SQL Server is very easy with Microsoft Business Connectivity Services (BCS). The External Content Type Designer in Microsoft SharePoint Designer 2010 supports Microsoft SQL Server databases. You can simply discover your database, point to the table, view, or stored procedure that will perform the operations you want, and then return the required data and use it to create your external content type without writing any code or XML.” (quoted from the MSDN library entry for which a link has been provided).”
If what MSDN purports to be the case is actually true, than power users, and information workers can actually use SharePoint as the presentation layer for all sorts of line of business (LOB) data. Of course, there are substantial cost savings inherent to this approach, which equips individuals without formal programming skills with the tools they need to build automated procedures that can be managed with no more than a browser and reside on an Intranet built on SharePoint 2010.
It should be noted that this MSDN entry identifies SharePoint Designer 2010 as the recommended tool for creating external content types. Our video training class on the subject, which we referenced above, is full of specific instructions on how to use SharePoint Designer, specifically for the purpose of reviewing exiting external content types and even creating new ones. The video course is approximately 8 minutes in length. The computer procedures demonstrated are easily replicated locally with SharePoint Designer 2010, SharePoint 2010 Enterprise Edition and some repository of structured data (usually an instance of SQL Server 2008 R2 or SQL Server 2012).
For organizations committed to lowering the cost of exposing data specific to LOBs across an enterprise Intranet, this course will likely deliver substantial value. In some cases, where users have a high degree of enthusiasm about learning methods of building automated procedures without software coding, it may be possible to dispense altogether with an in person training class, and simply provision this set of training content. Please contact us to discuss your particular organization and its requirements. We welcome opportunities to engage directly with readers.
© IMB Enterprises, Inc. & Ira Michael Blonder, 2012 All Rights Reserved
on behalf of Rehmani Consulting, Inc.