If you already know SharePoint and probably experienced developing application in this platform you already know that when thinking about a new solution and all the requirements you’re going to meet in your project, picking the right tools and finding the best way to build the right solution is not always easy. When thinking about maintenance costs, upgradability and deeper integration with SharePoint, solutions that make better use of out the shelf tools win most of the time. Even with the introduction of Apps in SharePoint 2013, you can still benefit a lot from using Business Connectivity Services (aka BCS). Apart from the range of features and tools that are provided under the name of BCS (e.g. WebParts, integration with Secure Store Service, Office client applications) one of the main and sometimes overlooked areas is how BCS and Search can work together. If you enable search over the entities of your external system, you can surface data coming from it through search and you can even customise search pages to create totally different user experience (e.g. I remember a shopping cart solution that might be a subject for a future blog post).
Instead of going through all the possible solutions, in this post I’m going to provide you with some links I have gathered from around the web that I think are essential if one needs to make real word solutions with these technologies. In the future posts I will go into the details and on cover the missing documents that you will need to make solid solutions.
First of all the basics (please note that REST, ODATA and some other features are not available out-of-the-box in SP2010):
- Overview of Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2013 [MSDN]
- Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2013 [MSDN]
- What’s new for Business Connectivity Services in SharePoint 2013 [MSDN]
- Create hybrid connectivity apps for SharePoint [MSDN]
And then read carefully the followings to get to know Search interoperability with BCS:
Don’t worry if there are terms that you don’t understand completely, I provide some examples and behind the scene information so you can understand them well.