Microsoft Office Tutorials and References
In Depth Information
Figure 4-34. Creating a new external list
Return to your SharePoint site, and find the list with the name (External List Created from SPD ECT) you provided
in the previous step. Launch the external list, and you’ll see this new list with view and edit functionality; it is similar to
the lists created using other techniques.
Again, even with Visual Studio and writing a custom .NET assembly connector, you haven’t seen or edited
any XML file so far, either while creating the model or when defining your entity. I’d say this is one of the biggest
advantages when compared with the BDC in MOSS 2007.
Another important improvement of this version over the prior one is in the runtime object model. There have
been phenomenal changes and more capabilities added in the new version. Let’s take a look at them.
Do you recall the question 9 I asked in the “Introduction” section of this chapter? I’d say the BDC runtime is one of the
answers for it. With BDC runtime, you now have the ability to represent the external system using either the server-side
object model or the client-side object model. The server-side and client-side object models are both symmetrical; this
means that what you can do with the server object model can also be done using the client object model and, in fact,
the assembly is the same for both.
Using the BDC runtime, you not only can read from the external system, but also write back to it. There’s also a
batch-read process by which you can send multiple inputs as a batch and get the corresponding results in a single
request and response. This should improve performance and latency phenomenally.
There are many other improvements, including streaming support, an extensibility mechanism with .NET
assembly connectors, custom connectors, secure store providers, and so on. But what is most compelling here is that
whenever you develop a custom object using the BDC runtime against an ECT or external system deployed to your
farm, it’s a one-time deal. As long as the ECT isn’t updated, your custom object need not be changed.
What this also means is that if your data source changes but your ECTs are untouched, your application will not
be affected. Great, isn’t it? Let’s perform a simple example to help you understand in more detail.
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