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Microsoft Office SharePoint Services MOSS is Microsoft’s innovative tool that provides the infrastructure to advance collaboration and communication within organizations based on the smooth flow of documents and information. There are two approaches for working with BDC: Because the BDC definition is based in an XML schema, apart from general knowledge of XML, no specialized understanding of programming or software development is required to access data from databases to display in SharePoint.
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For the first time, in a relatively undemanding manner, database administrators are able to present information buried in tables and views in a web interface. Likewise, SharePoint’s Model Object provides the tools to work programmatically with schemas, giving developers control over all aspects of the Data Catalog.
This enables companies to ensure that their business information is more accessible, thus saving money, time, and human resources. Dotnetmannia Intranet is the ideal platform to share all types of information within a business or enterprise. But, information is not restricted to structured materials as in Microsoft Office files Word documents, Excel spreadsheets or non-structured data as in lists of any sort, but also information originating from back-end systems and applications.
SharePoint is Microsoft’s Intranet solution, and until recently, it was only capable of conserving and dotnetmaniaa its own structured and non-structured materials. To display back-end information, it was necessary to make custom-built, specialized software. Although only the most advanced and expensive version of SharePoint MOSS Enterprise is equipped to utilize the BDC, individuals interested in testing and experimenting with the product can download a day trial version from the Microsoft site.
The following are the standard WebParts:. Users with appropriate rights inside a site page also can apply the WebParts to display BDC data individually or for a subset of users.
The final XML definition file describes all the necessary elements to connect with the LOB system type and localization of the provider, dotnetmanla about the DataBase servers, authorization and authenticationto consult it queries or Stored Procedures, input parametersdefinition of the subsystems actions, associationsand some metadata to describe the BDC name, title.
The BDC does not copy the data from the business application, but captures the data directly each time it needs to be displayed.
To avoid delays in rendering the data, SharePoint uses a software caching mechanism that is refreshed each minute: If the data has been changed, the cache is deleted and refilled; the consequence is that rapidly libro data is restricted to one-minute snapshots. As a counterbalance, by utilizing the BDC Object Model, the caching of parts of the BDC can be shut down programmatically, permitting no-caching and accelerating the data display for fast-changing systems or releasing server resources for never-changing systems.
No specialized skills or knowledge of programming are required to design a BDC definition; a basic knowledge of XML is all that is needed. Likewise, no compilation is necessary and the registration in SharePoint can be done by using the system’s user interface.
Although no programming knowledge is essential, a firm grasp of the back-end structure and an awareness of business requirements is indispensable: To illustrate this point, a Business Data Catalog will be defined dotnrtmania a simple DataBase of a hypothetical zoo. The schema of the DataBase is displayed in Figure 2 and consists of two linked tables one for the animals and another of their perceived danger to humans.
One LobSystem object contains at least one instance, but if it is necessary to define different systems, more than one instance is allowed. The properties of the LobSystemInstance define the data provider as well as the connection configuration and security for the LOB system to be used. An Entity is an element of the process. An Entity consists of Identifier, Methods and Actions. The following is a possibility:.
Methods are the operations that allow the Entity to be realized in the application. In the example, this element suggests how dangerous the animal is perceived to be. The metadata of the Method delineates the operation to render DataBase query, StoredProcedure, method dognetmania a WebService as well as the parameters and filters as shown below:. Actions provide an avenue to the original application or any chosen resource.
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In the Action for the case in point, the user will be redirected to the site of the San Francisco Zoo http: The code for the Action element is:. Associations reflect the relationship between Entities in the BDC. For instance, a dotnstmania will have a series of “users”, each of which generates a string of medical records which in turn indicate recommended treatments.
The Association correlates users with records and treatments. This page prepares a text box and “Browse” button to select the physical locale of the XML definition, selection boxes to choose whether the file will be the Model definition of the Librod or other Resources pictures, localizations, and so on for a predefined BDCand indicates the selection of properties and permissions to be imported with the definition.
After initializing the import, SharePoint will validate the XML file, and if something is amiss, an error message will indicate the type of problem and the line where it is dootnetmania. When all systems have been approved, the definition is ready to be used and the properties can be viewed or altered in the respective pages inside the Central Administration.
To employ the Business Data Catalog, a SharePoint Administrator can position the default BDC WebParts in one or more pages in the portal to be viewed collectively or an individual user with the appropriate rights can employ the WebPart and pass access to a subset of users. To continue the implementation, proceed to the SharePoint page where the data will be displayed, go to “Site Actions,”. Carry on by opening the Tool Lirbos of the WebPart to configure it. Using the “Display” button, located next to the “Type” BDC, the installed Catalogs will materialize and one of them can be selected.
The other options permit configuring the display of the WebPart; the input parameters if there are any ; finally, using the XSL editor, change the default SharePoint uses to display data.
After applying the configuration, the data will be recovered from the back-end system and revealed in the page refer to Figure 1 for the output of the example. WebParts are not the only means of utilizing data from the BDC. Imagine a scenario where a DataBase is implemented using the default data from AD names, IDs, telephone numbers, email, and the like and business data from SAP or PeopleSoft class data for students in a university, client contact data from a CRM system, and so forth.
In the same way, the non-structured information contained in SharePoint Lists can be supplemented with external data.
This opens up the possibility to make a full-text search of back-end data and, because security is configured in the BDC definition, only users with appropriate rights may retrieve the required information. As illustrated in the article, the Business Data Catalog system has many advantages.
However, as with many systems, there also are drawbacks. Microsoft is working to make it a “two-lane highway” and has announced that this modification will be introduced in the next version of SharePoint.
Business Data Catalog in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007: Architecture and Schemas
The second point of contention is that the metadata schema is difficult to implement manually, even with very simple systems such as those used in the example. Microsoft Office SharePoint Server Business Data Catalog offers an elegant means of accessing information contained in external, back-end enterprise systems.
The BDC represents a major improvement in how information can be employed in an effective and efficient manner to enhance business processes within an enterprise. He has many years experience in developing Dotnemania and Office applications, and more than five years of daily programming experience with SharePoint. The author’s articles, in English, Dutch, and Spanish, can be found in many of the leading trade magazines and he’s pleased to be Webmaster of http: Spanish-language readers may want to consult the author’s new book.
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