The fast, easy and complete integration of external corporate data is a common requirement in the use of Microsoft SharePoint technology. Existing solutions, such as the Business Data Catalog (BDC) in SharePoint 2007 or the Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint 2010, are often too complex at the facility, bring with them limitations or they are available for certain editions only.
The SharePoint Business Data List Connector connects ANY native SharePoint list (no Web Part) to almost any external business data source, using a very simple list settings dialogue. It can be configured very easy:
1. Select connection provider 2. Enter Connection String and SQL query 3. Enter primary keys (if any)
The SharePoint list structure is created automatically and modified data is updated very fast in background or manually. Optionally bi-directional operation with full write-back (CRUD) to data source. The desired data can be presented with the full features of native SharePoint lists: views, sorting and grouping, filters, calculated fields, search, offline etc. Workflows and notifications can be used, to take business actions directly in SharePoint, if external business data records are changed.
The BDLC can be used to connect native SharePoint lists to databases, such as MS SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, Sybase Advantage Database Server, Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, Informix, Postgre SQL, IBM UniData, IBM UniVerse, AS/400 (IMB iSeries), Progress and more. With the BDLC you can pull data to SharePoint lists directly from data files, e.g. XML, MS Excel, MS Access, Visual Foxpro, DBF, Filemaker, Text-/HTMLfiles.You can also link SharePoint lists directly to services like OData, OLAP, Active Directory, MS Project, SharePoint 2007/2010, Lotus Notes, Navision, ODBC/OLEDB.
The feature is available for WSS 3.0, SharePoint Foundation and SharePoint Server 2007 / 2010 / 2013. A similar tool is available for SharePoint Online.
What's new in this version: Version 5.0 comes with support for OData, XML/RSS, CSOM, and SharePoint 2013.
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"Easyly connect external data to your sharepoint site"
Version: SharePoint Business Data List Connector 1.0
Easy to install the solution; connecting the database was simple, just use Oledb connectionstring to access a sql server db; connectionstrings and selects stored encrypted
no duplex sync; update-Interval in seconds or minutes? (no explanations there, so i guess its minutes);
Nice tool, i´m looking forward to the next version with full duplex updating possibilities.
At the moment I'm connecting some other Lists / Webparts to this bdlc list, to pull out all the stops of sp functionality...
"Easy to manage compared to Business Data Catalog (BDC)"
Version: SharePoint Business Data List Connector 1.0
Avoids the complexity of the Business Data Catalog (BDC), every admin can configure this BDLC, No additional tools required, uses lists (not web parts) with all this great features we like in SharePoint. Very fast background update.
No way to edit external data sources directly in lists (in current release)
No oob support for folders in lists
While the Business Data Connector (the default way to integrate external data into SharePoint) is available for SharePoint Enterprise edition only and generally not for the free Windows SharePoint Services, the BDLC is an interesting solution for all portals based on SharePoint technology.Version 1.5 is out now with support of much more data sources and some issues fixed. Just take a look what's new:
No problems with installation and feature activation for experienced SharePoint admins. You start with creating a custom list of type BDLC. Good idea to enter the (few) configuration data directly in the list's settings.
You don't have to deal with lots of configuration XML-files or SharePoint Designer. It reminds me at the early days ODBC: Really simple to connect with connection string, select statement. Because it uses a very generic, provider-based layer it can handle almost any external data sources (with providers available, such as
MS SQL Server, Oracle, IBM DB2, MySQL, Sybase Advantage Database Server, Sybase Adaptive Server Enterprise, Informix, Postgre SQL, IBM UniData, IBM UniVerse, AS/400 (IMB iSeries), Progress, data files, e.g. MS Excel, MS Access, Visual Foxpro, DBF, Filemaker, Text-/HTMLfiles, services like OLAP, AD, MS Project, MS SharePoint, MS Exchange, MS Index Server, IBM Lotus Notes, ODBC/DSN/UDL etc.)
The list data structure is automatically created, you can change it afterwards as usual in SharePoint. But please keep in mind your data definition in the data source! I've mofified most of the automatically created multi-line text fields to simple string fields with fixed length (so that they can used as filter).
From my point of view, the most interesting feature is to have a REAL list. With primary keys given, only changed data is modified in the list. Thats why you can use alerts and workflows. Imagine, you can automatically run an approval workflow directly in SharePoint, if the order table in your external data source has a new entry.
Well done, so far.
Whats leftover to do? It would be great to have the list working in both directions with the possibility to edit the data source if required. And some add-ons for large lists, like folder support.
In summary it's a very efefctive SharePoint Add-On for everyone, that has to integrate external data in SharePoint (and thats nearly everyone ;-).
Updated on Jan 22, 2010
Updated on Jan 31, 2010Version 1.5 is out with more data source types supported and connection provider select. Just try it out.