Business Data Catalog: Metadata Model
One of the major design goals for the Business Data Catalog is to enable you to surface business data from various business applications such as SAP, Siebel, and databases in Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 with minimal coding effort. To achieve this goal, the Business Data Catalog provides homogeneous access to the underlying data sources with a declarative metadata model that provides a consistent and simplified client object model.
In this model, metadata authors enter information about the business application into the metadata repository. Business analysts and application developers then interact with this component indirectly by using the Business Data features and the object model. By doing so, they obtain a simpler and more consistent object model over any business application.
This section of the SDK shows the metadata model containment hierarchy, describes the members, and gives examples of their use.
What is Metadata?
Metadata is data about the business applications' APIs. For each business application, metadata defines the business entities that the business application interacts with and the methods available in the business application. Metadata authors define metadata by using XML. The Business Data Catalog stores the metadata in the metadata repository.
Metadata is data about the business application, not the line-of-business (LOB) data itself. LOB data exists only in the business application.
The Business Data Catalog provides a schema definition file (XSD) that defines the schema that is allowed in the XML file, which in turn defines the metadata for a business application. The XML documents must adhere to this schema.
You can find the BdcMetadata.XSD file in the
\Bin directory of your Office SharePoint Server 2007 installation, typically at
>\Program Files\Microsoft Office Server\12.0\Bin.
When you author metadata in Microsoft Visual Studio 2005, copy the XSD to your working folder and set the SchemaLocation attribute in the XML file to point to the schema file. Visual Studio 2005 provides IntelliSense capabilities that greatly simplify editing.
The Business Data Catalog now supports two types of XML application definition files: Model and Resource. A Model application definition file contains the base XML metadata for a system. A Resource file definition file enables you to import or export only the localized names, properties, and permissions, in any combination. Following are the types of Resource files:
LocalizedNames Contains localized names for the metadata objects in a particular locale. When you import this file, its information is merged with the existing metadata in the metadata repository. If a localized name for the locale already exists, it is overwritten with the information from the LocalizedNames file.
Properties Contains properties for metadata objects. When you import this file, its information is merged with the existing metadata in the metadata repository. If a property already exists, its value is overwritten with the information from the Properties file.
Permissions Contains access control lists (ACLs) for metadata objects. When you import this file, its information is merged with the existing metadata in the metadata repository. However, if an access control entry (ACE) already exists for an object, its value is overwritten with the information from the Permissions file. For example, if the existing application definition only had User A with access to Entity A and now if you import a Permissions file with only User B with access to the Entity A, then the old ACL for Entity A will be deleted and a new one created with only User B.
Sample Metadata: AdventureWorks SQL Server 2000 Sample Database
To help you understand the metadata model and get started writing your own metadata, the SDK provides the AdventureWorks SQL Server 2000 Sample. The sample defines the Customer Orders and Products mini-scenario in the AdventureWorks SQL Server 2000 sample database. The Authoring Metadata section walks you through the AdventureWorks sample and also provides you with instructions to make the sample work.
The default installation of Microsoft SQL Server 2000 does not include the AdventureWorks database. Download the AdventureWorks SQL Server 2000 sample database from the Microsoft Download Center.