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Exposing External Data as a SharePoint 2010 List

In a video titled External Lists, Raymond Mitchell presents the technical procedure to expose external data to SharePoint 2010 users as a SharePoint List. This video course is available for unlimited viewing by anyone with a subscription to our web site content. As well, this video is included in our SharePoint 2010, Business Connectivity Services DVD. Please contact us for further information about purchasing our video training content, either for individual use, or for use by an enterprise or comparably large group of users in the public and/or not for profit sectors.

We wrote a bit about this same set of technical procedures in a post that we published yesterday, to this blog. The difference here is that we wrote our prior post based upon technical information included in a video recording of a public webinar on Business Connectivity Services for SharePoint 2010 that is available for viewing on Youtube. This post will provide a commentary of some of the procedures discussed on this video training course on External Lists to provide contrast with the free to the public video on Youtube.

While much of the “browser only” procedure demonstrated in the “External List” is consistent with the presentation on Youtube, Raymond Mitchell notes in this video that the “Version History” and “Manage Permissions” processes for “viewing items” from a SharePoint 2010 list are not available for items in an external list. Further, he points out each of the functions otherwise available for SharePoint 2010 users working with lists that are not available to users working with external lists. Knowing this information in advance can be very valuable. For example, knowing that accessing version history for specific items in an external list is not possible should be useful for organizations that need to have access to all versions of items in a list, which will likely be the case for heavily regulated businesses that must report on a regular basis as to their compliance with mandated procedures. Our quick search of the web did not indicate a workaround for this limitation.

Another valuable feature of this video on external lists, as contrasted with the webinar on Youtube is that our training demonstrates how to use the browser in conjunction with SharePoint Designer 2010. The presentation on Youtube is much more a matter of either/or. Once again, it should be helpful to organizations planning to implement Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in order to incorporate external data into SharePoint 2010 computing to gain an understanding of where these two no-code development tools can be used together.

In the next post to this blog we will comment on another video in this training set on BCS, which introduces users to the concept of external content types in SharePoint 2010.

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