BDLC Version 2.2

The SharePoint Business Data List Connector (BDLC) is used to connect any type of SharePoint list (no Web Parts) directly to external LOB data in just minutes using the web browser.

How to propagate SharePoint lists with external data? 

What's new with SharePoint BDLC Version 2.0 (released on 2010-04-19)

With BDLC 2.0 now you can connect any existing SharePoint list to external data. That means, you can now link
  • contacts (e.g. from any CRM)
  • tasks (e.g. from some HelpDesk)
  • events (e.g. from a database to display in a calendar view)
  • surveys
  • news 
  • your own content type based list
or any other kind of SharePoint list (except discussion lists or document libraries) to external data sources. Just start with the list settings dialog.

SharePoint external list connect to external data source

Fig.: Simply go to the General List Settings dialog and chose "Connect to external data source".

There is no need, to create a special custom list type BDLC list anymore. But the BDLC list is still supported for compatibility reasons.

You can take lists offline with Outlook (e.g. contacts) if supported by SharePoint. Changes are made in database are replicated to Outlook as well.

Simply click the additional list settings entry: Connect to external data source.

Action Menu

You can now update the list data using an extension of the "Actions" menu. Simply chose: "Update List Items". You no longer have to go to the settings dialog for update.
Additionally updates per URL are supported (see other FAQs).

SharePoint: Update List items with external data source

Fig.: Now there is a new Action Menu available to sync lists with external data sources (one way with BDLC 2.0, bidirectional with BDLC 3.0 - if data source is supported).

Further Improvements

  • Usage of Access Rights was improved: If you update with action menu, "Add Item", "Delete Item", "Update Item" right is required only. To access the settings dialog, "manage Lists" rights are required. That could prevent users from acess to security relevant information like connection strings or select statemenets.
  • The connection string can be stored in the web.config instead of the settings dialog for security reasons. If you define a term myConnectionString in your AppSettings section of web.config, you can use web.config:myConnectionString as BDLC connection string.
  • You no longer have to use the prefix "bdlc" to create a field mapping to data source fields. Simply chose the same name for data source fields and Sharepoint list columns to map. Use the "Check Mapping" feature to verify that, because sometimes Sharepoint choses unexpected internal field names.
    But the prefix "bdlc" in internal field names is still supported for compatibility reasons.
  • There is no "Create" button anymore, to completely re-create the list structure It is replaced by an "Add Columns" button. Any external data source fields, that are not in the SharePoint list, are added. You have to delete unused columns manually as usual in SharePoint, if no longer required.
  • If list data is updated using the update button, a new warning dialogue is displayed. List data could be changed, with respect to your external data source. Take care, if you connect and update an existing SharePoint list the very first time. If, for example, the data source is empty - all SharePoint list items are deleted.
  • There are some improvements with support of certain data types, e.g. float, yes/no, currency, lookup, text, note etc.

The upgrade to BDLC V2.0 is completely FREE for all customers with Software Assurance (SA).

Known issues

  • Licensing issues in some certain configurations with V2.0.0 are solved in V2.01
  • Until V2.01 all list items are deleted, while adding new columns in SharePoint to the BDLC list. That was changed in V2.02. Now no items are deleted while adding a new column to the BDLC list. The items can be updated after adding a new column to fill data into the newly added column.
Current version: V2.02 (2010-04-30)

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