6: Working with Business Data in VS .NET

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6: Working with Business Data
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In the SharePoint Designer ribbon section entitled List & Forms shown in Figure 6-3, click the button Create Lists & Form A message box comes up telling you that you need to save the external content type before a list and form can be created Click the Yes button to save A progress bar appears saying that the data is now being saved to the Business Data Connectivity Metadata Store The metadata store is a database dedicated to the Business Connectivity Services that stores information about the external content types During runtime the data is accessed by the UI components to determine how an external content type is defined, where to get the data, and which security information needs to be used In the background, SharePoint Designer creates the metadata model that describes the Customer external content type using an LobSystem type An LobSystem type describes the source of the external data In our example it is of type database The LobSystem type also describes connection information The information stored by the LobSystem type is imported into the Business Data Connectivity Metadata Store After the save has successfully finished, the Create List and Form dialog pops up as shown in Figure 6-15 In the List Name enter CustomerList There is only one method in the Read Item Operation drop-down, Read Item The Read Item method is the finder method of this external content type A finder method is a method that returns a collection of external content types that meet a certain requirement For example the Read Item method for Customer will return either all Northwind customers if we don t set the country filter or only the customers for a certain country if we apply the country filter An external content type can have more than one finder method, but because our external content has only one finder method defined we cannot select another one Also there is only Northwind in the System Instance drop-down because we only have one LobSystemInstance defined An LobSystemInstance describes the connection to an external data source, in our case it describes the connection information to the SQL Server hosting the Northwind database An external content type can have more than one LobSystemInstance, for example one for a test database and one for a production database At this point we
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Creating External Content Types Using SharePoint Designer
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leave the Create InfoPath Form check box unchecked The Create List and Form dialog should now look like Figure 6-15
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Figure 6-15: The Create List and Form dialog for Customer
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Click the OK button A progress bar tells us that SharePoint Designer started creating the external list for Customer Once it is done the dialog closes, which tells us that SharePoint Designer has finished the creation of the external list CustomerList Click Lists and Libraries in the Navigation pane on the left-hand side The tab Lists and Libraries comes up and you can locate the external list CustomerList at the bottom in the External Lists section Click the CustomerList link to get to the page that allows you to view and manage settings for the external list CustomerList
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What Is an External List
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An external list is a list that is backed by an external content type An external list has the look and feel of a normal list, as well as the same functionality The columns of the external list are defined by the data source elements or type descriptors of the external content types External lists can be accessed through the SharePoint object model but they don t expose the data through the WCF data service listdatasvc (see 4, SharePoint Lists, for more information on working with lists)
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6: Working with Business Data
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Before we can test our list we need to set the permission for the external content type in the Business Data Connectivity Metadata Store This requires farm admin rights, which you should have already for the account that installed SharePoint on your development machine Go to the SharePoint Central Administration page by selecting All Programs in the Windows start menu > Microsoft SharePoint 2010 Products > SharePoint 2010 Central Administration Figure 6-16 shows the Central Administration page
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