Layer2 Business Data List Connector V6 for SharePoint

The Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint (BDLC) can connect and sync native SharePoint lists directly with almost any external data source in just minutes codeless using the web browser. But what's the difference compared to out-of-the-box SharePoint external lists (BCS)?

Feature comparision: SharePoint External List (BCS) vs. Layer2 BDLC

Although the SharePoint Business Connectivity Services (BCS) External List is a great step forward with SharePoint data integration, there are still many gaps. An external list is some kind of web part that integrates external data in the SharePoint user interface. But it is still not a native SharePoint list - as the SharePoint BDLC List definitely is. This causes some limitations in case of features and other issues.

First not all BCS features are available with 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:

The next table compares features of a SharePoint BCS external list to a native SharePoint list connected via the Layer2 Business Data List Connector (BDLC)


Feature SharePoint 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)
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
OOB full search capabilities  (not for SharePoint Foundation)
Full Offline capabilities  (with SharePoint 2010 / 2013 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


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 in 2010)
Support for joins as data source  
Support for common SharePoint list types, e.g. contacts, tasks, events etc.  
Exel export feature
Item level permission
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 (documents can be attached to external data)
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 in SharePoint while original data source is not available (e.g. because of maintenance).
There is no row limit or list view threshold.  (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)
​Can connect to almost any external data source, e.g. SQL, SharePoint (on-premises or Online), Dynamics CRM, Exchange, OData, XML/RSS, CSV, SOAP and many others codeless.
​No user licenses are required in the connected systems (e.g. SAP) ​ (SharePoint users directly access the external system)​  (SharePoint users are working with synced data copies only)​


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

Read more about the BCS features compared here:

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Frank Daske

Frank Daske

Business Development Manager
+49 (0) 40 28 41 12 - 30
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