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Changes in BDC in SharePoint 2013

Posted by Ayshwarya Ramakrishnan Articles | SharePoint December 26, 2012
Overview of changes in BDC in SharePoint 2013.
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With every new version of SharePoint, Microsoft is improving the Business Connectivity space of the product. As with any product, expectations grow with progressive versions. New versions do not always fulfill the expectations. Here are a few things that are changing in SP 2013 from SP2010 and MOSS 2007:

SharePoint 2013

SharePoint 2010

MOSS 2007

BCS included in Office 13 apps

NA

NA

External Data sources can be:

  • Open Data (OData) (
    to get
    data from HTTP, ATOM, JSON etc)

  • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) endpoints

  • Web services

  •  Cloud-based services

  • .NET assemblies

  • Custom connectors

 

External Data sources can be:

  • Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) endpoints

  • Web services

  • .NET assemblies

  • Custom connectors

 

External Data Sources can be:

  • Microsoft SQL Server

  • Web service

 

BDC Models for OData are created using Visual Studio only. BDC Models for the rest are through SPDesigner

BDC Models are defined through SPDesigner / Visual Studio

Manual definition of BDC Metadata XML file

Event listeners for External Data have been introduced.

This enables SharePoint users and custom code to receive notifications of events that occur in the external system.

Notifications not supported

Notifications not supported

Subscription based data retrieval from external systems is introduced.

The developers can target a particular entity in the external system, such as the Stock entity, and receive notifications about events that are published on that entity. This enables developers to write custom code for external lists that trigger SharePoint events when data is changed - e.g: alert an user, start a workflow

Subscriptions not supported

Subscriptions not supported

BDC models can be scoped to apps for SharePoint, with an option to store connection information in Secure Store, isolated from the model for manageability and security reasons

No concept of Apps

No concept of Apps

Managing the result set is now the responsibility of the external system e.g. Paging, filtering, and sorting of the external list data needs to be taken care by the source system before it is sent to SharePoint. The claim is that this would improve the performance of external lists

Filtering needs to be defined in the External Content Type definition

Sorting is done on the entire result set within SharePoint

Paging is managed in a roundabout way by using a filter

Methods, which contain the T-SQL or Web service methods that retrieve the entity data. Entities can contain multiple methods and can optionally have parameters and filters defined that Business Data Catalog users can use to filter results

By defining data source filter on BDC model, the filtering is expected to happen at source side

Filtering needs to be defined in the External Content Type definition

Filtering is to be specified in T-SQL / Web Service method parameters

Similar to filters, sorting can also be configured to happen at source by specifying in the BDC model. This sorting is expected to happen on the external source

Sorting needs to be managed in a roundabout way by using a filter

 

Sorting is to be specified in T-SQL / Web Service method parameters

External Lists can be exported to Excel with the following limitations:

  • Only the data that is
    displayed on the screen can be exported - which means only the chosen column, chosen view and the filtered (if any) items be exported

  • The link between Excel and the SharePoint list is unidirectional (from SP to Excel)

  • Whenever the data in Excel is refreshed, the latest data from SharePoint list is pushed to Excel, thereby over-writing any changes, as expected

 

 

No ability to Export to Excel, Create Visio Diagram, Open with Access or Open with Project

No ability to Export to Excel, Create Visio Diagram, Open with Access or Open with Project

External Data Sources for SharePoint online include the following:

  • WCF services

  • SQL Azure data services

  • OData endpoints

  • Web services

 

External Data Sources for SharePoint online supports only WCF connections

Not Supported

REST APIs for apps (web and mobile) as standard interface

No REST access through ListData.svc to External Lists

Not applicable

Business Connectivity Services Client Runtime supports simultaneous installation of Office 2010 and Office 2013 on the same client computer.

For example, if Outlook 2010 and Lync 2013 are installed on the same client computer, this new feature enables Office 2010 and Office 2013 to continue to work without breaking.

Not applicable

Not applicable

 
There are still a few items, such as those below, on which the picture is not clear. Hope for some good news in the final version of SP 2013.

  • Information Management Policies on External Lists

  • Version History of External Lists

  • Inline editing

  • Ratings

  • RSS Feeds

  • Item level permissions

  • Lookups in External Lists

  • Attachments in External Lists

 

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