BDC Columns

This is another technique for adding BDC columns in a feature specific manner.

The BDC in SharePoint (which is only available in the paid-for MOSS edition of SharePoint) allows you to add external business data to a SharePoint list.  There are several catches:

  • The document that you need to enable this is complex and really requires an expensive tool (such as Bdc Metaman – which is useful but not ideal).
  • Normally you must add the BDC column to the site via a GUI (I have found a way to do this in code see another post for today).
  • The business data is cached in the sharepoint list until it is explicitly refreshed. The GUI refresh only provides an all the list refresh option (this can be done in code for a specific row).
  • You are limited to data sources that have a .Net 2.0 database driver (Sybase does not have one out of the box and the Data Direct one is very expensive).  Alternatively you can write a web service to fetch the data.
The BDC is powerful but needs a lot of work to get it going – possibly more than a custom solution would require…

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