Business Data Catalog - Follow-up from Convergence
So I know that this way overdue. Way. After Convergence, I came back and went on vacation and then Beth was in the hospital for an unexpected week. There is a decent summation of the event from Brian Willson of the Microsoft Chemicals Team. http://blogs.msdn.com/chemicals/archive/2008/03/13/a-good-dynamics-crm-blog.aspx
I have since seen that Simon has posted some code on creation of MOSS Sites using Workflow. http://blogs.msdn.com/ukcrm/archive/2008/04/27/creating-sharepoint-sites-with-crm-workflow.aspx so I am not going to spend any time on that as he did a killer job documenting it.
One of the biggest areas I got a ton of questions on was the Business Data Catalog, which is a new feature introduced in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, provides an easy way to integrate business data from back-end server applications, such as Microsoft, within Office SharePoint Server 2007 without writing any code. This link contains overview information and step-by-step, how-to procedures for programming with the Business Data Catalog.
SharePoint Server 2007 ships with four out-of-the-box Business Data Web Parts: Business Data List, Business Data Items, Business Data Related List, and Business Data Actions. These Web Parts rely on the Business Data Catalog, and their main purpose is to display business data in a portal application without the need for any programming. Moreover, these Web Parts are generic and can show any type of data (entity) registered in the Business Data Catalog.
These Web Parts support Web Part Connections, which enable Master-Detail types of data display – again, without any programming. For example, you can display customers and their details using the BusinessDataList and BusinessDataItems Web Parts. (An Awesome overview of BDC can be found here.)
Hand writing the BDC Definitions can mentally taxing. A cool tool to do this for you is: BDC Meta Man. http://www.bdcmetaman.com/Pages/microsoftpage.aspx
If you want to practice your skills before trying them on a client, you may want to check out the Virtual Labs, where you will learn how to build the metadata file that will connect SharePoint Server 2007 to the SQL Server 2005 AdventureWorksDW database. You will also learn how to register the AdventureWorksDW metadata file with SharePoint Server 2007. http://msevents.microsoft.com/CUI/WebCastEventDetails.aspx?EventID=1032331910&EventCategory=3&culture=en-US&CountryCode=US
A Nice Step by Step as published by Rehman Gul is located here.
Attached is a sample BDC you can use to Demo.