SharePoint 2007 Learning Guide: Business Data Catalog Tutorial

Here we link to a 10-part blog series that explains how .NET developers can use and customize SharePoint 2007's Business Data Catalog.




   SharePoint 2007 Quick Start
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   SharePoint 2007 Tutorial 1: General References
   SharePoint 2007 Tutorial 2: Workflow
   SharePoint 2007 Tutorial 3: The Business Data Catalog
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SharePoint 2007 Tutorial 3: The Business Data Catalog

New to SharePoint 2007, the Business Data Catalog, abbreviated BDC, serves as a repository for whatever information pertains to the line-of-business applications have been built within SharePoint. No longer are items separated by file type -- Word documents, multimedia files and PowerPoint presentations all reside in the same place.

To acquaint developers to this new information silo, C# MVP Sahil Malik recently wrote a 10-part blog series on best practices for developing against the Business Data Catalog. After reading this comprehensive series, check out the next section of the SharePoint 2007 Learning Guide, which offers a smattering of video tutorials.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 1: The Business Data Catalog
In this brief introduction, the author offers a succinct definition of the BDC: "If anything is accessible using an ADO.NET provider, or a Web service, that data can be brought into SharePoint, and then you can use it."

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 2: The Hello World example
At a 30,000-foot view, one might think that bringing data into MOSS can be done by writing a custom Web part instead of using the BDC. Admittedly, the latter method does require developers to author a BDC application, and that does require a heavy dose of "XML goo," but, once that goo has been imported into the right shared service provider, the BDC presents itself as a rather attractive no-code solution, Malik writes.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 3: Extending the Hello World example
The Hello World example from Part 2 was a list containing one single item. Since that, well, is not really a list*, Malik expands on his example by turning it into a collection.
(Editor's note: What we wouldn't give for a To-Do List that has one single item…)

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 4: Extending the Hello World example even further by adding specific finders
Here the Hello World example is, well, expanded even further. This time the author uses Profile Pages, which he does by modifying his GetCustomers method, adding a new MethodInstance to the end of the aforementioned "XML goo," changing some parameters and, finally, redeploying the application.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 5: Using BDC Data in lists
At this point it is time to take the Business Data Catalog application's Finder method to fetch data and use it in a list.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 6: Custom actions on your entities
Adding a custom action to an entity, is really, really easy, Malik says -- just take the code snippet he provides here and add it to the entity's definition in that "XML goo" document.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 7: Introducing associations between entities
The task here is adding associations between entities that have been defined in a Business Data Catalog application. The example is a standard one -- adding an entity for Orders and calling up all orders by a particular customer -- and, again, the necessary XML code is there.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 8: Enabling Search on business data
"Now starts the real fun," Malik writes to begin this post. Enabling search within the BDC application is a seven-step process, beginning with the now-standard modification of "XML goo," continuing with the creation of a content crawl and ending with the creation of search scopes.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 9: User Profiles
"BDC cannot act as the primary source for user profile information," the author says sternly. Thus this post focuses on how the Business Data Catalog can serve as a supplementary data source for user profile information.

SharePoint 2007 and the BDC, Part 10: Writing custom code against the runtime object model
In this final post, the BDC app is put to use. This requires a look at the LobSystemInstance, where one will find the application's entity and filters, which are needed to set filter values and execute the Finder method. Now the BDC app is ready to be implemented in a Web service.


*** Go on to the next section of the SharePoint 2007 Learning Guide:  SharePoint 2007 Videos and Webcasts

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