Business Data Catalog: Roles and Development Life Cycle
In a Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment, metadata authors define metadata in XML; they do not need to write code. Also, by using Business Data features such as Web Parts, business analysts can also create master-detail and integration applications without writing code. The resulting shift in the Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment from the traditional development paradigm offers four roles that create and deploy business data solutions: business analyst, metadata author, administrator, and developer. Following are the descriptions of the characteristics and skills of these roles, and the functions they perform with the Business Data Catalog and other Business Data features.
A business analyst understands business systems and the overall business processes in the enterprise. Business analysts are savvy users of the major business systems within a company and are deeply aware of trends and significant changes in business data needs across the company. Though they may not write code, or necessarily understand the technical intricacies of software product development, they do know which business objects offered by the business systems are suitable for use in business processes hosted in the Office SharePoint Server 2007 environment. They can analyze the data definitions for a business object (known as an entity in this SDK), and understand the elements it contains. Most importantly, business analysts describe the uses of business objects in the business system to metadata authors.
A business analyst performs the following major tasks in building a Business Data Catalog solution:
Identifies a relevant scenario and solution scope.
Identifies the entities that users must access from Office SharePoint Server 2007 sites and from custom applications.
Communicates the solution scope and details to the metadata author. Also describes the business objects and the elements they contain, the data types, and the user interface and functionality needs of the new solution.
Creates portal pages to display business data after the administrator adds the business system to the Business Data Catalog. The business analyst uses Business Data features such as Business Data Web Parts and Business Data columns to do this, without writing code.
After the business analyst defines the requirements of the new solution, a metadata author defines the required metadata in XML. The metadata author role performs tasks such as creating the metadata for the identified entities and specifying the detailed type descriptions for the entities, as needed. The metadata author also tests the metadata before the administrator deploys it on the server.
A metadata author who defines the metadata for an enterprise system needs skills similar to those of a database administrator. This role must understand the business system, including its data model and APIs, but does not need advanced programming (or Microsoft .NET development) skills. The metadata author's focus is to write metadata, not code.
A metatdata author performs the following major tasks in building a Business Data Catalog solution:
Understands the Business Data Catalog: Metadata Model.
Creates the metadata for the enterprise system using the AdventureWorks SQL Server 2000 Sample as a starting point. The metadata author uses the information from the business analyst to add the necessary entities, methods, filter descriptors, associations, and actions.
Tests the metadata and gives the XML to the administrator for deployment.
An administrator assumes responsibility for the metadata XMLafter the metadata author is finished authoring and testing it. Administrators perform tasks such as establishing security, auditing, and other configuration settings, and deploying metadata and business applications in a scalable way.
An administrator performs the following major tasks in building and deploying a Business Data Catalog solution:
Deploys the metadata XML by adding an application definition to the Business Data Catalog using SharePoint 3.0 Central Administration. For more details, see How to: Add an Application Definition to the Business Data Catalog.
Sets access permissions, auditing, and authentication settings. The administrator configures single sign-on (SSO), if necessary.
At this point, business data is available for the other business data features such as Business Data Web Parts, Business Data search, and Business Data columns.
Deploys the custom business data solution when it is ready.
A developer uses the Business Data Catalog object model and other parts of the Office SharePoint Server 2007 object model to create custom business applications on top of Office SharePoint Server 2007. For more details and code samples, see Building Custom Applications Using the Business Data Catalog.
Development Life Cycle
The following figure shows the development life cycle—the interaction among the roles and processes involved in solution development—for solutions based on the Business Data Catalog.