The Layer2 Business Data List Connector for SharePoint makes it as easy as possible to connect native SharePoint lists to almost any external data source, codeless and bi-directional. Please see more details in the full product description below.

SharePoint-Data-Integration-Layer2-Connector.png
 

SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Installation & Setup

INSTALLATION
The installation is done using a SharePoint Solution Package. The included wizard distributes all files to a SharePoint farm, if required, and does all necessary configurations. Before installation please make sure,
  • that all servers are available online
  • backup your current installation approve software on evaluation systems bevor installing in productive system
  • use a regular service interval to install the solution The application will not be available for a short time, because the application pool is restarted (IISreset).
For WSS 3.0 / MOSS 2007 go to the 2007 folder of the distribution. For SharePoint Server or Foundation 2010 / 2013 goto the 2010 or 2013 folder. Then start the installation process by executing the file "Install.Layer2.BusinessDataListConnector.exe" from a local directory on the server, that hosts the SharePoint Central Administration with appropriate access rights (run "As Adminstrator" on Windows Server 2008).

SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Installation 1
Fig.: Starting the installation process
 
First the considerations for the installation are being checked.
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Installation 2  
Fig.: Checking of considerations for the installation process
 
If there are any problems, please take a look at our FAQs (General FAQ, Installation).
As a next step you have to accept the EULA.
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Installation 3  
Fig.: Accepting the license agreement
 
After successful installation please select the desired web applications for deployment of the new feature.
SharePoint List Item Sort Feature - Installation  
Fig.: Deployment of the new feature to the selected web applications only
 
This installation step can take up to 15 min.


When the solution is already installed you can select upgrade. All existing settings and data are kept working in this case.

FEATURE ACTIVATION

The feature must be activated in Site Collection Features (not Site Features):

SharePoint-Site-Collection-Features.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

After successful deployment there is a new site collection feature available in all site collections of the selected web applications. To use it, the new feature „Business Data List Connector“ has to be activated on Site Collection level by a Site Collection Administrator. That has to be done in Web Site Settings > Site Collection Administration under Site Collection Features. After activation the feature can be used.

SharePoint Business Data List Connector Feature Activation
Fig.: Activation of the feature "Layer2 - Business data List Connector" on site collection
 
After successful activation on site collection level the new feature is available in the List Settings dialog: "General Settings > Connect to external data source".
 
USAGE OF THE BUSINESS DATA LIST CONNECTOR
In order to connect an existing SharePoint list with external business data, you have to choose "Connect to External Data Source" in the General Settings section of this list.

Connect SharePoint list to external data source directly in the general settings dialog

Fig.: Starting with V2.0 you can connect any type of SharePoint list directly to external data.
If you don't use an existing list you have to create a new one of appropiate type (e.g. contacts, tasks, etc. or simply custom list) and give a name and description to the newly created list as usual, e.g. MyBDLC in this sample.
SharePoint Business Data List Connector creation and name settings  
Fig.: Enter name and description of the newly created list

To connect this list with your external business data, goto list settings and simply choose Connect to external data source to enter your connection string, select statement and primary key(s).
 
BUSINESS DATA LIST CONNECTOR SETTINGS
 
In the settings dialogue please go the following steps to configure your list connection.
 
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Settings  
 
Fig.: Business Data List Connector Settings dialogue
 
STEP 1 - Connect the external data source using a connection provider and connection string

First choose your connection provider. If installed, choose the native .NET database provider, e.g. for SQL Server or Oracle. Choose OLEDB if no native provider is available. Choose ODBC if no OLEDB provider is available.

Enter your connection string to your external data source and validate it. Connection strings are available for virtually any external data sources, e.g. databases like Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, Informix, DB2 etc, Microsoft Office data like Excel, Access or even text data files. Btw. connection strings are available for external SharePoint lists too...
See FAQs for samples and descriptions.
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Connection String  
 
Fig.: Step 1: Enter the connection string (OLEDB sample here) and validate it
 
SharePoint BDLC Connections  
Fig.: The BDLC connect SharePoint lists to almost any external data sources
 
STEP 2 - Select the desired data using a select statement
 
Enter your select statement supported by your external data source and validate it. Select statements are available for virtually any external data sources, e.g. databases like Microsoft SQL Server, Oracle, MySQL, Informix, DB2 eetc, Microsoft Office data like Excel, Acccess or even text data files. Btw. select statements are available for external SharePoint lists too. For most data sources you can start with e.g. "Select * FROM Tablename" where tablename should be a valid name of a table or view in your data source.
 
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Select Statement  
 
Fig.: Step 2: Enter select statement and validate it.
 
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - preview function  
 
Fig.: Preview your result set to verify your select statement. You can paste the given field names, if required for primary keys.
 
 
 
STEP 3 - Optionally enter primary key(s) to use advanced update features
 
In most cases your external data would have one or more primary key(s). A primary key of a relational table uniquely identifies each record in the table. It can either be a normal attribute that is guaranteed to be unique (such as Social Security Number in a table with no more than one record per person) or it can be generated by the DBMS (such as a globally unique identifier, or GUID, in Microsoft SQL Server). Primary keys may consist of a single attribute or multiple attributes in combination.
If a primary key is available, then advanced update features can be used. For more information about possible primary keys / field names please take a look into your result set using the Preview button.
 
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Primary Keys  
 
Fig.: Step 3: Optionally enter primary key(s).
 
 
Remarks:
 
The validation function only validates, wether the entered field name(s) exists in the result set or not. If invalid primary keys are given, the resulting SharePoint list data could become invalid too.
 
If no primary key is given, with any update the whole result set of the given select statement is re-inserted again. That can cause performance problems and change notifications per RSS or email will not work as expected.
 
If valid primary key(s) are given, modified data will be updated only - very fast in background. Change notifications and workflows can be used in this case, to take business actions, if external data records are changed.
 
STEP 4 - Create your SharePoint list structure and update the data items
 
To create the list structure required to display your external business data, please press "Add Columns" in SharePoint section of the settings dialogue. The fields of the result set of the given select statement are added and mapped to common SharePoint list fields automatically. You can create, rename, modify or delete the column fields afterwards manually. Also you can modify the field types, if required (e.g. to longer text). The mapping of external fields to SharePoint columns is done by internal column names. See the mapping dialogue for help.
 
 

Fig.: You can use custom mapping to map certain data source fields to certain SharePoint columns. 

More about field mapping, supported field types etc. see FAQs.

 
To update the data in your SharePoint list with your external business data, please press "Update" in the SharePoint section of the settings dialogue. As mentioned above, if valid primary key(s) are given, modified data is updated only.
Warning: Updating a SharePoint list, that is connected to an external data source, can modify its content.

 
STEP 5 - Enable background updates optionally or update using the Action Menu
 
In this section you can optionally enable background updates. The updates are done automatically by a timer job, one time per hour by default. You can modify this interval later on in the "BDLC Configuration List", a list on the root site of your site collection.
 
SharePoint Business Data List Connector - Background Updates  
 
Fig.: The timer job enables fast background updates of your data items.
 
For more information, how to change the timer job options, please see FAQs.

Possibly it is a better approach to update the list manually using the additional action menu or ribbon button .

SharePoint-Update-List-Items-With-External-Data-Source

Fig.: Update a connected SharePoint list manually using the Action Menu.

In any case of update you have to check the access rights to external data source and to the current SharePoint list.
 
RESTRICTIONS OF THE DEMO VERSION
 
In the evaluation version the number of BDLC lists per site collection is limited to 3 and the number of managed entries in the BDLC list is restricted to 25 items.
 
LANGUAGES
 
The feature is currently available in German and English language. If used in other language context, the English language is applied by default. Requests for other languages please send to sales@layer2.de.
 
DATA PROVIDERS
 
To access external data you have to select a data provider that supports to your data source.
 
The following data providers are pre-installed with the Windows operating system:
  • ODBC (supports any ODBC data source, e.g. FileMaker, mySQL, IBM LOtus Notes)
  • OLEDB (supports any OLEDB data source, e.g. Access, Excel)
 
The following 3rd party data providers can be downloaded from their respective vendors, but must be installed to work with BDLC:
  • SQL Server, SQL Azure
  • Oracle
  • MySQL
  • IBM DB2
  • IBM AS/400
  • any other 64-bit ADO.NET provider
 
The following data providers are included in the BDLC package. The can be installed with the BDLC installtion or manually on each SharePoint server later on.
 
  • Layer2 Data Provider for SharePoint (CSOM) to access any local SharePoint 2010/2013, Online, OneDrive etc. 
  • Layer2 Data Provider for SharePoint 2007 to access any SharePoint 2007 data
  • Layer2 Data Provider for XML to access any XML file or web request via XPath query
  • Layer2 Data Provider for OData to access any OData source, e.g. SAP, Microsoft Dynamics CRM/ERP and others
  • Layer2 Data Provider for RSS Feeds to access any RSS data feed (source code sample)
  • Layer2 Data Provider for Exchange to any Exchange data on-premises or cloud-based, e.g. contacts, calendar events, tasks, email, notes etc. 

If you can't find the providers in dropdown, please install manually from package.

 
UNINSTALL
 
To completely uninstall the solution, go these steps to the other direction. Please deactivate the feature „Layer2 Business Data List Connector“ on site collection level. Thereafter the configuration list of the BDLC can be be removed. To do that, delete the list “BDLC Configuration List” in the root site of every site collection where the feature has been activated.
 
Note: You can delete the "BDLC Configuration List" of a given Site Collection only if the BDLC feature is deactivated for this Site Collection.
 
Then start the installation wizard and choose "Remove". All installed files will be removed.
 
SharePoint Business Data List Connector Remove 
Fig.: Remove the Business Data List Connector Feature
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Easy to install the evaluation. Worked as advertised. Purchase was easy. Licence file arrived same day.

 

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How to buy this product

With the free Shareware Edition you can manage a limited amount of list items. To order a license for the full version please click the shopping cart.

Business Data List Connector for
SharePoint 2007/2010/2013
License List Price
Free Shareware Edition $0.00
1 Single Server
License
#300332176
$1,065.00 Add to Shopping Card
1 Annual Software Assurance
#300421884
$225.00 Add to Shopping Card
Prepaid Remote Support
1 Hour
#300363235
$176.00 Zum Warenkorb hinzufügen

 

You can also order by phone or fax:

Order Service USA
(Language: English)

Share-it c/o Digital River, Inc.
10380 Bren Road West
Minnetonka, MN 55343, USA

Phone from outside the U.S.:
+1 952 646-5747
Phone from within the U.S.:
+1 800 903-4152

Fax: +1 952 646-4552
support@us.shareit.com

 

Order Service Europe
(Languages: German, English,
French, Italian, Spanish,
Portuguese)

Share-it - Digital River GmbH
c/o Digital River Ireland Ltd.
Unit 153
Shannon Free Zone West
Shannon Co. Clare
Ireland

Phone: +49 221 31088-20
Fax: +49 221 31088-29


More about how to buy see here. For more information about licensing please check FAQs or contact sales@layer2.de directly.

Related Contacts
Frank Daske

Frank Daske

Business Development Manager
+49 (0) 40 28 41 12 - 30
sales@layer2.de

Please note that the 011 exit code must be dialed first for all international calls made from the USA , Canada and Australia.

News

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Layer2 has announced V5 of the SharePoint Business Data List Connector that connects almost any external corporate data source with native SharePoint lists and closes many gaps that still exist with SharePoint data integration.
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Start NINTEX Workflows while external data changes.

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