Online Training On SharePoint

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Sandboxed Solutions are not Enabled in SharePoint 2010

I was trying to write a simple browser enabled InfoPath form with code behind and like to get this run as Sandboxed solution in SharePoint 2010. When I was publishing this form following error was thrown:
"The form template cannot be published to the server: ServerName. Sandboxed Solutions are not enabled on the SharePoint Server Farm."

On further investigation I found that "Microsoft Sharepoint Foundation User Code Service" is required to run for the Sandboxed solutions to work. To enable this service go to Central Administration and in Manage Services on Server, Start “Microsoft Sharepoint Foundation User Code Service” :

Monday, 21 December 2009

Federated Search in SharePoint 2010 - Part 2

In the Federated Search Part 1 we covered how to use Federated Search. In this Part we will see how to custmoize the pre defined locations and how to create new locations. Location defines from where the Federated Search Web Part will show the results. We can also customize the result presentation using the locations.

To access predefined locations we need to go to Central Administration and go to Query SSA. There the Federated locations are defined.

Here are the predefined locations which are available for SharePoint:

Now we will create a new location to show the top news results from Google for the keyword specified in SharePoint search. Here are the steps to create a new location:
1. Click on the New Location.
2. We need to provide the name, Display Name, Location and Author of the Location. The Display name will be available in the web part to select this location name.
3. The next two parameters are important and define the Type of the location and Query Template. The type of the location specifies the nature of the location. We can have the results from the Search index stored on the server farm or from the Search Engines supporting the OpenSearch protocals.
4. The Query Template is the query in which we specify the query used to search the data. To get the top google news result we will use the following query:{SearchTerms}&output=rss
so in this query we will be passing the query parameter using the q.

5. Other fileds we can leave for now. They can help to customize the UI of the results and the data returned from the engine. We will see this in the Part 3 of this post.
6. Now we need to select this location in the Federated Results Web Part:.

7. Now the Google News Results are displayed like:

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Federated Search in SharePoint 2010 - Part 1

There are new set of capablities added in SharePoint 2010 for Federated Search. Before diving into that lets try to understand what is Federated Search. Federated Search is a way to get data from different sources to create single search experience in SharePoint. Though it is very simple to do yet very powerful. With this we can display the data from several sources without really indexing them. So as an example with Federated search we can display results from Bing or Google in our SharePoint site without doing much effort. Federated Search is based upon OpenSearch which is a standard used in Search.

Federated Search is helpfil in the scenario where the data is stored in multiple repositories and we can not crawl this data to create our own index. There is a OOB web part called Federated Results given in SharePoint which can be used to display the Federated results from various Locations. Now lets try to use this web part and display results from Bing in our SharePoint pages. Bing will show the results based on the query given by the user in search text box. First we need to add this web part to our page. Once this Web Part is added we need to select the Location. Locations helps to configure the federated results. There are some preconfigured locations are there and one of this location we will be using to show results from Bing. We can also create our own locations. We will do this in Part 2 of this post on Creating Locations for Federated Search in SharePoint.

To show the results from Bing on SharePoint pages select Interent Search Results as Location.

This is all we need to do to show the results. Now based on the search keyword the results will be shown in the Federated Results Web Part. I am doing a search on SharePoint and the top 3 results are returned from Bing as well other than the results along the results from SharePoint.

We can change some settings through this web part like number of results which we want to show and the number of characters in the description. We can also provide Fixed Keyword Query. With this we can hardcode the query which will be passed to the Bing search engine and result will be returned always for with this keyword.

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Logging Improvement in SharePoint 2010

Log files are an important medium to find what is really happening within the SharePoint Farm. There are quite a few improvements are done in SharePoint 2010 with respect to Log Files retention. In SharePoint 2007, the default log file retention policy was to set log files to generate once every 30 minutes with a total of 96 log files at any given time. This equates to 48 (30*96/60) hours.

in SharePoint 2010 ULS logging has been improved by reducing log file size significantly. This allows a  new approach to setting log file retention policy. The default setting is now at number of days. So we can specify directly for how many days we want to keep the log files. The default setting for this is 14. Also a new option exists to restrict trace logs to a fixed disk size. This is unchecked by default. With this option we can define how much disk space we want to assign to the logs.

As an example On 15th Day, log files from day 1 are pruned. If restrict trace log setting is also enforced to a fixed disk size, then both settings are enforced and the order on which the settings are enforced is dependent upon which condition is hit first. So if we have set 5 GB for these logs and this limit is reached on 10th day then the log files are cleaned to satisfy these settings. If we hit the 15 th day without consuming the log disk space still the files are cleaned.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Showing Specific Result Set in Search Result Core Web Part in SharePoint

I had a strange issue while working with my Search application build on SharePoint 2007. Whatever query user provide in the search query box the result set always displayed a fixed set of results. It never get changes whatever parameters are provided. All the index and logs were not showing any unexpected behavior. On further investigation I found that one user has mistakenly changed the Cross-Web Part Query Id from User Query to Query 2 in the Search Result Core Web Part:

This is an interesting property with this web part. It allows the user to show search results based on a fixed keyword which we can provide with this query. In that case always the results will be shown based on this keyword rather than based on the query what users have done on the Search Center Site. We can define up to 4 queries of this sort on a page. This can be very useful feature if on a specifc SharePoint page we want to display results based from search index on a some fixed keyword.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

FAST Search Links are not appearing on a site base don FAST Search Template

Now in SharePoint Administration we see some additional links for FAST search administration.

These links are:
1. FAST Search Keyword
2. FAST Search site Promotion and Demotion
3. FAST Search User Contenxt

I have created a site based on FAST Search Center Site Template and strangely this site does not show these links.

That was very strange as these links are related to FAST implementation and a site based on FAST Template does not show these. On further investigation I found that the SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection Feature is not activated by default when we create a site based on FAST Search Center Template.

This feature is required to be activated to show these links. These links are shown once we activate this feature.

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Adding Visual Best Bets in SharePoint 2010

There is a very cool feature introduced in SharePoint 2010 using Fast Search. We can show Visual Best Bets to the users while searching for a particular key word. The Visual Best Bets are enhanced version of Best Bets which were introduced in SharePoint 2007. Here we can show a image or a URL to the users. But the Visual Best Bets are available only with Fast Search for SharePoint 2010.
Now lets try to add a Visual Best Bets. It is very easy!! For our example I will show the SharePoint 2010 image when ever somebody search with SharePoint as a Visual Best Bet. First we need to add a keyword for SharePoint. For this go to Site Settings and Look for Fast Search Keywords under Site Collection Administration. Add a Keyword for SharePoint.

Now Click on Add Keyword Link:

We can leave other fields for simplicity. With this a Keyword is created. Now once the Keyword is created we can create a Visual Best Bet by right clicking the Keyword.

I have uploaded SharePoint 2010 Logo in Image Library. I will use the URL for that show in the visual best bet:

The other cool features are we can apply start date and end date and based on that Best Bet would be activated and Deactivated. We can also apply the User Contex to Best Bet so that it will be shown to a particular set of users.

With this we are done. Now once we search SharePoint from the Fast Search site we will get like this and we can see that logo of SharePoint 2010 is displayed as visual best bet.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Error while accessing the Web Application in SharePoint 2010

After installing the SharePoint 2010 on Windows Server 2008 R2 some time I am getting this error:

Retrieving the COM class factory for component with CLSID {BDEADF26-C265-11D0-BCED-00A0C90AB50F} failed due to the following error: 800703fa.

Description: An unhandled exception occurred during the execution of the current web request. Please review the stack trace for more information about the error and where it originated in the code.

Exception Details: System.Runtime.InteropServices.COMException: Retrieving the COM class factory for component with CLSID {BDEADF26-C265-11D0-BCED-00A0C90AB50F} failed due to the following error: 800703fa.

This problem is not frequent and comes some time. To solve this problem we need to change the Load User Profile Property and set it to true in IIS. To do this follow these steps:

1. Open IIS 7.0 and go to the Application pool associated with the Web Application.
2. Click on Advanced Settings.
3. Under Process Model you will find "Load User Profile". Set this property to true.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Monday, 30 November 2009

Designing Large Content Databases with SharePoint

I was working on a project where we need to migrate a very big content repository to SharePoint. We have come up with some points which are useful to be thought upon in such situations while migrating large File Shares or the existing data to SharePoint Content DB's:

1. What is the content growth over a period of time. So we should consider how much content is added per day, Week and per month. This growth rate will help to calculate storage requirements and do database sizing calculations.
2. We should find how much of this content will be available while launching the sites. It may happen that all content is not required to be migrated. This will help to determine initial sizes of content databases, temp db, search database.
3. The next thing to consider is how much data needs to be active and available and how much can go to the archived state. This helps to find the number of content db required.
4. What are the average and maximum sizes for each distinct type of document content? This helps to design the storage in SQL Content DB v/s File System.
5. What is the time available for the SQL Backup's and restoration. Helps to find the size of Content DB's.

These are some of the considerations needs to be taken care while designing the large content DB's in SharePoint.

Monday, 23 November 2009

Assigning Document ID to the Documents in SharePoint 2010

I was working on a SharePoint 2010 site which was build on Team Site Template. I was not able to find the Doument Ids for the document uploaded into the Document Library in this site. Even the Document ID column was not appearing in the document libarary. On further investigation I found that we need to enable the Document ID Feature to use the Document ID's in the library. If we use a Document Center template to create a site collection the Document ID feature is enabled by default. To enable Document ID feature go to Site Actions --> Site Settings --> Under Site Collection Administration --> Site Collection Feature

and enable the Document ID Service Feature. Once this feature is activated the Document ID column will start to appear:

I have uploaded couple of documents in the Document in the document library. Still these documents does not have any Document Id's associated even after enabling the Document ID Service and it shows blank.

If I upload a new document it was getting associated with a Document ID:

Now the question is how to get the Document Id's for these existing documents. On some investigation I found there are 2 jobs which runs on a daily basis. These job are
1. Document ID enable/disable job: Work item that propagates content type changes across all sites when the Document ID feature is reconfigured.
2. Document ID assignment job: Work item that assigns Document ID to all items in the site collection.
Now I executed Document ID assignment Job from the Central Admin and my all the documents in the Document Library got a Document ID :)

Since this job is scheduled to run daily it means if enable the Document ID Service all the existing documents will get a Document ID when this job executes.

There is also another feature with Document ID that we can change the characters in the Document ID. To do this go to Site Actions --> Site Settings --> Under Site Collection Administration --> Document ID Settings

I have modified the string here to start with ABCD and all my new documents are getting the Document ID starting with ABCD:

We can also select to change all the existing documents to be assigned with this customized Document ID's. This also is taken care by the Document ID assignment job. I have exextued this job again and it has changed all the documents ID's in the document library.

Friday, 20 November 2009

Error while working with PowerShell

I was trying to put my hands around PowerShell and I was encounring a strange error. I was running one cmdlet Get-SPWebApplication in Windows Server 2008 Server and it was throwing this error:
"Cannot access the local farm. Verify that the local farm is properly configured, currently available, and that you have the appropriate permissions to access the database before trying again."

I tried all the cmdlets but the same error keep coming. After some more investigation I found that the solution and it was that the PowerShall needs to be executed as Administrator. While running powershell it shows 2 option:

If we just click the open it will open a PowerShell window and this message will come:

and all the cmdlets will show the error message as shown. To run the PowerShell scripts we should use the second option of running as Administrator.

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Finding the size of Document Library using SharePoint Object Model

I was working on a SharePoint site where lot of document libraries were there. We had a task to get the size of all these document library. We can do this using the following Object Model Code:
using (SPSite testsite = new SPSite("http://localhost")) 
       DataTable datatbl; 
       datatbl = testsite.StorageManagementInformation( 
       SPSite.StorageManagementSortedOn.Size, 100); 
       foreach (DataRow drow in datatbl.Rows) 
          foreach (DataColumn column in datatbl.Columns) 
          MessageBox.Show("Doc Lib Name :" + drow["Title"].ToString() + "  Size (bytes): " + drow["Size"].ToString()); 

Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Customizing the Document Sets in SharePoint 2010

In SharePoint 2010 Document Sets are introduced which is a flexible way to manage a related set of content. To read more about the document Sets and how to enable document set in a Document Library refer to What is Document Sets in SharePoint 2010access various details for DocSet using SharePoint Object Model

The document set has lot of flexibility and provide easy ways to customize it. Some of the feature of Documents Sets are:

1. Customizing the Welcome Page for Document Set:
We can customize the welcome page of the document sets. The Welcome Page of the Document Set is a Web Part Page and by default contain following Web Parts:
a. A Image Web Part: This shows a icon of folder. Since it is a Web Part we can place a image of our wish.
b. Document Set Properties: This Web Part shows specified properties of the Document Set. These properties can be customized and we can decide what we want to show.
c. Document Set Contents: This shows the content of the Document Set. So if we have a bunch of documents they will appear in this web part.

To customize the Document Set Welcome Page go to Library Settings and select the Document Set Content Type.

Once we click this link the Document Set Welcome page will open in a new browser. Here once we click the Edit Page will be shown having some zones and the web parts as mentioned. Now we can add or remove any Web Part and customize this welcome page as required.

2. Displaying the Document Set Properties:
We can customize which Document Set Properties should be displayed on the Document Set Welcome Page. To change these properties go to Document Set Settings as explained and look for Welcome Page Columns. This will show all the Site Columns which are added to the Document Set. We can select what are the Site Columns should be displayed. In my document set I have added 5 site columns and I want to display only 3 then select the columns like this:

Now once we do that and go to Document Set Welcome page it will show like this:

3. Sharing the Data with the Documents in the Document Sets:
The another very good feature of Document Set is that they can share the data with the documents contained in the Doc Set. So if we want that some of the documents should be synchronized with the data given for the Document Set we can specify. All the Documents within the Document Set will be synchornized with that data. To do this go to Document Set Settings as explained and look for Shared Columns. So now in our case if I want that all my documents should get the values for City, Phone, Company and Country from the Doc Set values I will select these Shared Columns:

Now for each individual document whatever values we have given for these columns they will be assigned and user will not be able to modify them.

4. Welcome Page View:
The column/data in the Document Content Web Part is shown based on the View Selected for the Document Set. So if we do not want to show all the columns of data for the Document Set in the Welcome Page we can create a new view and associate this view for the document Set Welcome Page. To do this go to Document Set Settings as explained and look for Welcome Page View.

Now whatever data we have selected in this view, only that columns of data will be shown in the welcome page.

5. Creating Default Content With Document Set
The another great feature of the Document Set is that we can provision some documents by default when ever a new Doc Set is created. So if are managing a IT Project within Document Sets, we can provision a Functional Spec , Technical Spec , Design Document evrey time we create a Document Set for a new Project. To do this go to Document Set Settings as explained and look for Default Content.

We can multiple files based on templates and these files will always be created whenever a new Document Set is created based on these specific templates. Since we can multiple content type with a Document Set it allows to add files based on whatever content type has been added within the Document Set.
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SharePoint 2010 Beta is Announced

After lot of wait and excitement Microsoft has released the public beta. The Beta is avaialble to be downloaded into two version:

1. SharePoint Server 2010 (Enterprise Client Access License features)
2. SharePoint Server 2010 for Internet Sites, Enterprise

The public beta can be downloaded at Download the Public Beta of SharePoint 2010

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Various Search Solutions for SharePoint 2010

With SharePoint 2010 Search capability is enhanced dramatically and various options for Search Solution are available to cater different needs. The different solutions which are avialable:

1. SharePoint Foundation 2010 search
2. Microsoft Search Server Express
3. Microsoft Search Server 2010
4. Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010
5. FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint

The first two would be free but they have their own limitations. SharePoint Foundation 2010 Search can not index external data and can only search the data into a single site collection. We can not schedule any crawls neither we can control this. Most of the configuration is done automatically. The Microsoft Seach Server Express is also a free download but it can crawl external content such as External Web Sites, Windows File Share, Exchange Public Folder, BDC Connections and Lotus Notes. It can use SQL Server Express or SQL Server. Both of these can index and crawl 10 Million Items.

Microsoft Search Server 2010 provides similar kind of search capabilites what SharePoint 2010 will provide. Search Server can be deployed across multiple servers for increasing redundancy, performance and capacity. It can scale up to 100 million times.

SharePoint Server 2010 search has all the search features what is there in Microsoft Search Server 2010 but it is tightly integrated with the features of SharePoint 2010 such as managed metadata and social networking feature. It can index people results and MySites. This solution also leverages the new Managed Taxonomy Features and this influences search rankning and experience.

FAST Search Server 2010 for SharePoint is enterprise solution for search capabilites and provides advanced content processing capabilites. Fast Search can read the content and provide the filtering based on these property. Also with FAST users can see the preview of the documents with the search results which is very helpful. Also with FAST Server the scale of content which can be indexed is enormous. FAST also provides the capability to tune the relevancy and Navigation.

The table summarizes below these 5 solutions:

SharePoint Foundation 2010
Search Server 2010 Express
Search Server 2010
SharePoint Server 2010
FAST Search Server
Basic Search
Need to buy
Need to buy
Need to buy
Number of Items to be indexed
10 Million Per Search Server
10 Million with SQL Server
Upto 100 Million Item
Upto 100 Million Item
Almost unlimited
People Search
Query Suggestion
Taxonomy Integration
Property Extraction
Visual Best Bets

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Customizing the List Forms using InfoPath 2010 in SharePoint 2010

With SharePoint 2010 it is amazingly easy to customize the OOB forms for the SharePoint List. Let me show how easy it is to do this.

I have created a list with some fields. The orignal form looks like this:

We can quickly customize this form. I will change the colors of this form and add an additional row in the bottom of this form. To do this Go to the List --> List Tools --> Customize Form

This will open the form into the InfoPath 2010 directly. We can just change the color like we can do in other Office Apps and save it. I just made the color purple and added one row with Static Text in the bottom. After that just did a Quick Publish and the form got published with the list. For this we dont need to do anything. Once the form is published it is looking like. All the form for the View, Edit and New are customized like this.

Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Comparision between the different ways of displaying data in SharePoint Web Parts

With SharePoint 2010 new XSLT Web Parts are introduced. These XSLT Web Parts are much better in terms of performance and flexiblity they provide. Certainly they have an edge over the Data View Web Part in 2007. The table below shows the comparision between different OOB web parts available in SharePoint 2007 and SharePoint 2010 to render the data and their benefits over each other:

List View
List Form
Data Form
XSLT List View
Rendering Method
Display List

Display Items

Aggregate Data

Display External Data

Browser Editing

SPD Editing


Conditional Formatting



Monday, 9 November 2009

"10" New Features with SharePoint Designer 2010

SharePoint designer is the tool for building powerful application on top of SharePoint. With SharePoint Designer no code is required to make rich solution on SharePoint Server. SharePoint designer 2010 has come a long way ahead from its predecessors like SharePoint Designer 2007 and Front Page 2003. Though the sad news is SharePoint Designer 2010 is not compatible with the applications build on SharePoint 2007.

Here are some new important features and capabilities of SharePoint Designer 2010 which will make it much power full tool to create no code solution on SharePoint Server 2010:

1. Since SharePoint designer is a very powerful tool some time this resulted in making the changes in the sites which were not desirable. Now we can restrict SharePoint designer, the way we want users should be using this. This can be done at the Web Application level or individual Site Collection level in SharePoint 2010. These settings provide the following capabilities:
  • Disable the SharePoint designer completely at the Web Application level and at the Site Collection level.
  • Disable the Site Admins to detach pages from Site Template.
  • Stopping the Site Admins to modify and customize the Master Pages and Layout Pages.
  • Disabling Site Admins to see the URL Structure of the SharePoint Site.
 To do these settings at the Web Application level go to:
        Central Admin -> Application Management --> Manage Web Application --> Select The Correct Web App --> General Settings --> SharePoint Designer Settings


 And for the Site Collection level go to

       Site Collection Site Settings -> SharePoint Designer Settings

2. Earlier while working with SharePoint apps we need to shuffle between the SharePoint UI and designer a lot as we can not create SharePoint content from SharePoint Designer. Now we can create SharePoint Content  like Sites, Sub sites, List, Columns, Web Pages directly from SharePoint Designer 2010.

3.  Also now we can create Site Columns and Content Types directly from designer and add it to the list. Content Types can directly be attached to a lists from SharePoint Designer 2010.

4. The security also can be configured directly from SharePoint Designer 2010. So now we can create groups, add the users and modify the user permissions directly.

5. Create XSLT View Web Parts. This is best of both the Data View Web Parts and the List View Web Parts. Earlier the DataView Web Parts placed from SPD can not be edited from the browser which is not the case any more.

6. One of the coolest feature is to Create Business Connectivity Services External Content Types directly from SharePoint designer. So no further tools are required to work with External Data. This will surly add lot of productivity to the SharePoint developers. We will be saved from a big Application definition file!!!

7. From the workflow perspective lot of improvements are there. We can now create the reusable workflows and the workflow at the site level. The reusable workflows are attached to a Content Type and are not hard bounded to a list. Site Workflow can be used at the site level. 
A Summary Page is available for any actions.

8.  We can now connect to Data Sources outside of SharePoint such as XML Files, Web Services, Server Side Scripts and Databases from SharePoint Designer 2010.

9. A new dash board page which shows important information and actions about the selected items. So when we open the site this is the page opens.

It shows plenty of useful information and also we can do lot many things from here which was earlier not possible and we have to go to SharePoint site for doing them.
10. New UI with Ribbon which aligns with other SharePoint 2010 and other Office Products. Helps to increase the productivity.

These feature are going to add lot of power to SPD 2010 and make it much easier tool to use and develop solution on SharePoint with less amount of time.

SharePoint 2010 Developer Training Course on Channel 9

Microsoft has release Developer Training course on Channel 9. I saw some of them and it is terrific content to start on SharePoint 2010. Here are the links and the course content:

SharePoint 2010 Developer Training Course on Channel 9

Here are the individual courses and the links for them:

1. Getting Started with SharePoint 2010

2. SharePoint 2010 Developer Roadmap

3. Visual Studio 2010 tools for SharePoint 2010

4. UI Enhancement

5. List & Schema

6. LINQ to SharePoint

7. Client Object Model

8. Workflow

9. Services Architecture

10. Accessing External Data

11. Enterprise Content Management

12. Extending Search

13. Performance Point Services

14. Sandboxed Solution

15. SharePoint 2010 Security

Thursday, 5 November 2009

New Web Parts Introduced in SharePoint 2010

Microsoft has introduce numerous new Web Parts with SharePoint 2010. Here are some of the new WebParts which are available in SharePoint 2010.

1. Tag Cloud: This Web Part displays the most popular subjects/tags being tagged inside the SharePoint site.

2. InfoPath Form Web Part: This is a new and wonderful web part. Helps to display InfoPath forms into SharePoint pages very quickly.

3. Visio Web Access: To show the Visio diagrams and helps to enables viewing and refreshing of published visio diagrams.

4. SilverLight Web Part: Earlier to show a silverlight app in SharePoint 2007 it is very complex and involves many steps. Now a web part to display a Silverlight application by just specifying the XAP file.

5. Picture Library Slide Show Web Part: Lot of time it is required to display a slideshow of images and photos from a picture library. This WebPart helps to do that.

6. Web Analytics Web Part:This Web Part displays the most viewed content, most popular search queries, or most popular clicked search results as reported by Web Analytics for the site or site collection.

7. Organization Browser: This Web Part displays each person in the reporting chain in an interactive view optimized for browsing organization charts. This Web Part is build using SilverLight.

8. Note Board:This Web Parts give the ability for the users to leave short notes about the Web Page. These notes are avaialble to view by everybody.

9. Chart Web Part: This is a great Web Part introduced in SharePoint 2010 and allows to create rich charts with the data stored in SharePoint. We can select multiple kind of charts like Pie, line and then point to data source to show the charts.Chart Web Part can take the data from the following data sources:
  • BDC
  • Lists in SharePoint
  • WebPart
  • Excel Services

10. Refinement Panel: This Web Part is helpful with the search results and enables the users to refine search results.

11. Sites in Category:Displays sites from the Site Directory within a specific category

12. Media Web Part:Again a very useful Web Parts and help to embed media clips (video and audio) in a web page. This Web part is also build in Silverlight.

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Introduction to Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2010

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is next generation of the Business Data Catalog functionality (BDC) provided in the SharePoint 2007. BCS which is part of SharePoint 2010 provides rich features to connect to external data sources such as Oracle, Siebel, A Web Service, A Windows Communication Foundation (WCF) Service or a .NET class. BCS also allows to connect to external data sources using Office Applications such as Excel, Access and Outlook. So now using BCS we can get the data from external systems in these apps and then consume the data.So as an example now we can get the sales data in a Office Word Form and update the data from this Office Word Form.

With BDC it was not possible to update the data in the External Data. BCS allows to create, read, update and delete external data from SharePoint.

Two important concepts to understand with BCS are:

External List: An external list is a list based on data from an external system outside of SharePoint.This list can be created using SharePoint 2010 UI from Site Actions ->View All Site Content -> Create. Once this list is created we need to map this list with the External Content Type.

1. Workflows: We can not attach workflows with the items in the external list.

2. Item Permissions: There are no item level permissions in the external list.

3. Export to Excel: We can not export the content from the external list to excel.

4. Versioning: External List does not support multiple versions with the list items.

5. Item History: There is not item history.

6. Datasheet View: We can not see the list in the data sheet view.

7. RSS Feed: No RSS feed is supported on External List.

External Content Type: External Content Type is a new content type and it describes the schema and data access capabilities of an external data source. It also define what actions can be taken on the external data inside SharePoint. One of the coolest part of this is that External Content Type can be created using SharePoint Designer 2010 or Visual Studio.

Editing Documents in Offline mode in SharePoint using SharePoint Draft

SharePoint provides a very good functionality of editing the document while we are not connected to the SharePoint site and sync it back with the updated document from the local machine to the Document Library when we are connented to Network. We can Check Out the document, keep working on the documents offline and when we Check In automatically the latest document from the local machine is updated in the SharePoint site. So as an example, suppose we have some documents which we have in SharePoint document library which we need to work while we are in a aeroplane, with this feature we can do that and when later connected the latest document from the local machine will be synced.

The Checked out document are saved in SharePoint Draft folder. This setting can be done from Save Options from the Office Clients as shown.

Now we can go to any document library and Check Out the the document it will ask whether we want to use "Use My Local Draft Folder".

We need to check this option  to make the document available in SharePoint Draft Location after Checking Out. Now this document is availably locally and we can edit as and when needed while not connected. Now once we are connected to the Sharepoint we can Check In the document from the SharePoint Document Library and latest document from the SharePoint Draft folder is updated in the site. With this we are saved from the hassels of removing the old version and uploading the new updated version. Once the document is checked in the document is not available in the draft location.
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