BCS External Lists

February 3, 2010 at 10:09 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

SharePoint 2010 has introduced a new type of List called the External List.  The External List is used for displaying content that comes from Business Connectivity Services (BCS) Enterprise content types.  Business Connectivity Services is the replacement in SharePoint 2010 for The Business Data Catalog (BDC) in SharePoint 2007.

The BDC provided a read only view of your line of business data allowing you to display the data in Web Parts, Search Line of Business data, and use it within lists and libraries via the Business Data Column.  It was possible to right back to the data source using BDC via your own custom web parts or by using BDC Meta Man.

Business Connectivity Services allows you to work with your Line of Business Data within SharePoint as though it was a SharePoint List.  External Lists provide you with full CRUD functionality meaning you can Create, Read, Update and Delete data all the way back to the data source.  If you are familiar with using SharePoint Lists, you will be at home with an External List.

Read more on EndUserSharePoint:  http://www.endusersharepoint.com/2010/02/01/sharepoint-2010-external-lists/


Philly Usergroup session

January 12, 2010 at 4:10 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Tonight Paul Schaeflien  (SharePoint MVP) and myself are presenting at the Philly usergroup.  I will be presenting Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010 discussing the improvements that have been made over the Business Data Catalog.  We will discuss each of the 3 pillars that BCS has to offer and also provide a demonstration on some of the new features including External Content Types and External Lists.  Paul will be presenting on VS2010 tools for SharePoint 2010.  The recording of the meeting will be available from the Philly usergroup web site: http://www.phillysharepoint.org/Pages/Default.aspx


January 12, 2010 at 4:04 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

February 10-12 2010 is SPTechCon in San Francisco.  I will be presenting on the Business Data Catalog and concentrating specifically on how to create BDC solutions within SharePoint and Office and the benefits of doing so.  Initially we will have a quick overview of the BDC before creating an invoice solution using VSTO and Word 2007 which obtains a list of customer and product information from the BDC.  We will also explore the advantages of using the BDC API to create web part solutions over using ADO.NET or Linq.  Finally we will be exploring a pre built WCF Web Service which exposes BDC data that can then be used in any application while using SharePoint as a central hub for BDC data.  I will be representing Lightning Tools at SPTechCon and can be found on the Lightning Tools booth if anyone has any BDC or BCS related questions.

Business Connectivity Services Authentication

January 12, 2010 at 4:00 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Business Connectivity Services Authentication

Business Connectivity Services is the new SharePoint 2010 replacement for the Business Data Catalog (BDC) which was introduced with Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 Enterprise. Business Connectivity Services provides many improvements over the BDC including the ability to write back to the data source, offline capabilities through the office suite such as SharePoint Workspace, improved tooling and additional features such as External Lists. Our site provides several articles introducing the BCS which can be found here:

Business Connectivity Services Introduction 

Within this article we are going to explore how Business Connectivity Services Authentication works and how to configure it successfully, some of the issues that you will face and how to overcome or work around them.

Read more: http://www.lightningtools.com/blog/archive/2010/01/11/business-connectivity-services-authentication.aspx

Modify Alert Notifications

October 15, 2009 at 10:20 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

I’ve had several requests for a few of my old posts including one that demonstrates how to create your own custom alert notifications by modifying the XML.  This whitepaper is still hosed on Combined Knowledge’s web site for anyone interested.


1 Day unil vegas!!!

Orlando User Group 10th November – BCS

October 6, 2009 at 8:57 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

On  November 10th  – a few days before SharePoint Saturday, I will be presenting Business Connectivity Services at the SharePoint User Group in Orlando.  Since I will be presenting BCS twice in the same week, my plan is to provide an overview of the BCS (SharePoint 2010)  at the Orlando Usergroup providing a demo of every aspect of it and giving solid business reasons for its use within SharePoint.  At SharePoint Saturday we’ll be taking things slightly further than an overview.  Once BCS has been introduced we will take a dive into some of the developer aspects of BCS and how you can create custom solutions.

Presenting on the same evening is Sara Windhorst who is a senior support engineer for SharePoint in Orlando.  Sara will be providing some solid SharePoint troubleshooting techniques.

Anyone wishing to attend these two sessions should sign up via the following site: http://www.orlandosharepoint.com/Pages/Default.aspx

The date and location is:

Tuesday November 10th, 2009 at 6:30pm

University Tower, Room 650a
12201 Research Parkway
Orlando, FL 32816

SharePoint Saturday Tampa

October 6, 2009 at 8:45 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

So, it has been a pretty busy few months getting ready for the SharePoint Conference in October whilst also further developing our Lightning Tools web parts.

From the 19th of October this year, everyone is going to start seeing a lot of content surrounding SharePoint 2010.  There is already the odd snippet of public information released by Microsoft on some of the new features of SharePoint 2010.  On  Saturday 14th November this year, when the NDA is lifted, I will be giving a full blown demo of The Business Connectivity Services at SharePoint Saturday here in Tampa, FL.  This will actually be my first SharePoint Saturday, but already I am looking forward to it, and also looking forward to presenting the BCS.

If you haven’t already signed up for SharePoint Saturday Tampa, make sure you visit the following link and get registered asap!


Best Practices Conference – Washington DC 2009

August 30, 2009 at 11:15 am | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

WOW – All I can say is Wow! This was a fantastic conference which started for me with a road trip from Anna Maria, FL to Washington DC via Nashville! Having wanted to to explore a little bit of the US from the ground, plus having the Lightning Tools booth and brochures to carry, I decided to drive ane not fly. I made a strategic stop at Rob Fosters house on the way where he prepared the best bbq food i’ve ever eaten (Ping Rob for the recipe).  The following day I went to work with Rob and presented the Buiness Data Catalog to his co-workers and others who had dialed in to the conference.  

On the friday evening we recorded the intro/outro to Cathy Dews podshow episode whilst sat in his back yard 11pm at night drinking Mojito’s.  Saturday morning I set off to Washington DC through countryside that was absolutely georgeous.  Somehow, I managed to pick up my colleague from Dulles airport in Washington arriving only two minutes late after my 700 mile drive.

Rob & Brett recording the Pod Show

Rob & Brett recording the Pod Show

The conference got off to a good start in the bar at The Hyatt in Reston, VA.  Joined by Richard (Lightning Tools), Laura Rogers, Paul Culmsee, Dan Usher, Andrew Woodward and Ruven Gotz, we were all pretty tired but also eager for the conference to start.  I spent most of my time on the Lightning Tools booth at the conference, but the feedback from the attendees regarding the presentations was great.  I did manage to interupt Paul Culmsee in mid flow during his presentation on Reporing Services which led to a walk-off comparing BDC & RS. 🙂


 Manning Publishing sponsored 50 copies of the long awaited book on the BDC which we gave out from the Lightning Tools booth.  I hope everyone that received a copy will enjoy the book ( and also tweet/blog about it! :)).

Developers Guide to the SharePoint 2007 Business Data Catalog

Developers Guide to the SharePoint 2007 Business Data Catalog

On the final day, I presented the Best Practices for the Business Data Catalog which seemed to go down well.  I intro’d the BDC and also discussed topics such as Authentication, Authorization, Customizing the BDC Web Parts and getting the most out of the Search.  This week I received my scores averaging 4.2 which was great but next time I need to knock Woody out of first place.

Having dropped Richard & Sara Windhorst at the airport, it was now time for the long drive home.  Heather Waterman was kind enough to put me up for a night at her amazing house in Laurens, SC and treat me to dinner! Thanks Heather!!!  Thanks also to Rob Foster for making the odd phone call to me on the drive which kind of kept me sane at times.

Thanks to Ben Curry, Mark Elgersma and Bill English for putting on the conference, and definately looking forward to the next one: @stevesmithck!!!!

This was definately one of the best conferences I have been to for networking, as a vendor and for the quality of the presentations.  Well done to everyone that made it a success.

Book Launch

August 14, 2009 at 1:30 am | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

It is now official!!! The long awaited “SharePoint 2007 Developers Guide to the Business Data Catalog” is now off to press.  We will be lauching the book on 24th August 2009 from the Lightning Tools booth at the Best Practices conference in Washington DC.  We have 50 copies to give away, so please ensure you come and get your free copy quickly before they all go.  The book will also be available from Amazon on September 4th 2009.


July 14, 2009 at 11:19 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Hi, I’m Dude, Brett’s 7 year old Pug (49 in doggy years).  For the past fourty nine years, I’ve sat by my masters (Brett) feet in his office whilst he totally ignores me and just sits at his laptop typing away. Occasionally he may remember I am there and he’ll drop me the last bite of his sandwich whist keeping 99% of it to himself. Little does he know that I’ve listened to every conversation and I’m pretty smart on this SharePoint stuff myself now!

Anyway – Brett has been pretty busy today and was away from his PC for a small while.  They do say you should never use your pets name as a password! Dumbass L  I was checking out his skype and noticed he was chatting to Rob & Nick about some geeky pod show.  Apparently there will be a new one available tonight, something to do with an ASP.NET developer and how to develop with SharePoint 2007.  I guess I’ll have to listen to it tomorrow whilst he sits there chuckling to himself at Rob’s daft jokes which usually involves digs at the British.  At least he isn’t a cat lover like Nick.

Tonight Brett let out a huge sigh, got himself a beer and gave me the rest of his dinner. I guess at long last he has finished that damn book on the BDC.  I should think so!?!?!? I heard that there is something new coming out, BCS or something.  Brett was listening to some sort of sneak preview about SharePoint 2010 where he just repeatedly replayed the bit about BCS.

If I get chance and if I can be bothered I’ll post again this week.  For the time being, I’m going to take one of Rio’s prams for a stroll.  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdLVLPoRXR4

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