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

How to propagate SharePoint lists with external data?

Feature comparision: SharePoint 2010 External List vs. SharePoint BDLC List

Although the SharePoint 2010 BCS External List is a great step forward with SharePoint data integration, it is not a REAL SharePoint list - as the SharePoint BDLC List definitely is. That causes some limitations.

First not all BCS features are available in all SharePoint editions:

BCS Feature SharePoint Foundation Standard Edition Enterprise Edition
External List
External Data Column
BDC Service
Connector Framework
Secure Store Service
External Data Search
Profile Pages
Business Data Web Parts
Rich Client Integration

Read more about this here:
http://www.chakkaradeep.com/post/What-is-Included-in-BCS-e28093-BCS-Feature-Comparison-Table.aspx

The next table compares a SharePoint BCS external list to a real SharePoint list, that is connected via BDLC

Feature SharePoint 2010 External List SharePoint BDLC List
Integrate external data from various sources into SharePoint
A complete SharePoint list with all list features is implemented
OOB almost any type of data source is supported  (.NET Type / WCF Service / SQL Server)  (more info)
Full SharePoint 2007 / WSS 3.0 support  (SharePoint Foundation 2010 supported)
No additional tools, modelling or programming are required to create a list  (SharePoint Designer has to be installed and used)
Connection can be established in just some minutes  (more info)
OOB full search capabilities  (not for SharePoint Foundation)
Full Offline capabilities (2010 Enterprise only)  (with SharePoint 2010 only, SharePoint 2007 supports certain list types only, e.g. contacts)
Full Info Path support to customize forms
OOB-support for the SharePoint Client Object Model
OOB-support  for REST-services web part connectivity

OOB-support for making associations to other SharePoint lists

Event-triggering

Alerts will be fired on data change
Email notification on data change
RSS notification on data change

Workflows can start business actions on external data change (SPD, Visio, VS and Nintex-based)

Datagrid editing supported

Lookups can display any column (ID Only)
Support for joins as data source  
Support for common SharePoint list types, e.g. contacts, tasks, events etc.  
Exel export feature
Item level permission
Versioning
Item history
LINQ support
Site column support
Rating support
Commenting support
Tagging support, Activity Streams etc.
Managed Metadata and Enterprise Keyword Columns
Metadata Navigation
Attachments enabled
Anonymous Login support (for public facing sites)
Office 2007 support (2010 required)
Works with all 3rd party Add-Ons
Original data source is not queried every time the list is displayed with performance side effects  (some kind of cache seems to be implemented)
Data is available on site while original data source is not available (e.g. for maintainence)
OOB there is no row limit  (it seems to be a row limit of 2000 preconfigured, more info)
Data source can be updated (if primary key available)  (for a very few data sources only)  (if supported by data source)

- feature included out-of-the-box
- feature partially included
- feature not supported

Read more about the BCS features compared here:
http://www.chakkaradeep.com/post/BCS-Limitations.aspx

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"The SharePoint 2010 external list via BCS is a great step forward with data integration. But it's not a REAL SharePoint list. And that's why it hasn't ALL list features - as the BDLC list has"

Related Contacts
Frank Daske

Frank Daske

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sales@layer2.de

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Start NINTEX Workflows while external data changes.

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