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Figure 6-77: Association editor dialog after drawing an association from Employee to Order
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In the Identifier Mapping section you need to map the identifier of Employee s EmployeeID to the type descriptor in the Orders entity that represents the EmployeeID This is necessary for the BCS runtime to know how those external content types are related Select EmployeeID in the Source ID column and map it to the type descriptor representing the EmployeeID in the Field column (ReadOrderList orderlistOrderListOrderEmployeeID) Figure 6-78 shows the drop-down You need to do this for all type descriptors representing the EmployeeID in the destination external content type Also if the source external content type has more than one identifier you need to do this for all the identifiers In database scenarios the id and foreign key id don t need to have the same name, but the id and foreign key id names do need to exactly match in
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Figure 6-78: Identifier mapping
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BCS scenarios For example, if your id is EmployeeID, the type descriptor representing the fkid cannot be named OrderEmployeeID, it must also be named EmployeeID; keep this in mind when you build fk-based associations In the Methods section we can define the Association Methods Visual Studio creates two methods by default, in our case EmployeeToOrder and OrderToEmployee The methods created are of type AssociationNavigator, which means that one navigates from source to destination entity and the other one from destination to source Visual Studio always chooses the names based on the source and destination external content types in an association The first method created for our sample allows you to navigate from Employee to Order the method will return all orders for an employee The second method allows us to get all employees for an order sometimes referred to as a reverse navigator method Such functionality doesn t make much sense based on the Northwind database schema, because the method will only return one employee We will leave the method as is but this will give us an understanding of a navigator from destination to source external content type You can add and remove additional association methods by using the Add Method and Remove Method buttons Table 6-9 shows all the properties in the Association Editor Click the OK button The dialog disappears and you can see a line between Employee and Order, indicating the external content types are now associated Figure 6-79 shows the association in the designer
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TABLE 6-9: Association Editor Properties
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Property Association Name Source Entity Destination Entity Is Foreign Key Association Source ID Field
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Description Name of the association The source entity of the association The destination entity of the association Indicates whether it is a foreign-key association The identifiers of the Source ID The type descriptors defining the return parameters of the methods in the destination entity Association method type Entity on which the method is to be created Name of the method
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Type Entity Method
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Figure 6-79: EmployeeToOrderAssociation in the designer
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Let s have a closer look at what was created when you hit the OK button A new method was added to both external content types: EmployeeToOrder on the employee external content type and OrderToEmployee on the order external content type For our exploration we focus on the EmployeeToOrder method because both method signatures are identical Select the Employee shape in the BDC designer to show the Method Details window for this method The method has two parameters: employeeID is an in parameter with a type descriptor for EmployeeID and orderList is a return parameter with a type descriptor describing an IEnumerable of Orders We can summarize that an association is basically a method that allows users to navigate from one external content type to another, in our case from Employee to Order Figure 6-80 shows the newly created association methods in the BDC Explorer
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