Business Data in Lists

SharePoint 2007

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 provides a new list column type called Business Data that is available to SharePoint lists in Office SharePoint Server 2007. The Business Data column type enables users to add data from business applications registered in the Business Data Catalog to lists.

Following are three scenarios in which Business Data field types can help:

  • Tagging a document in a list. For example, in your RFP (Request for Proposal) document library, you can add a Business Data column to tag the document with the customer who proposed it. This enables users to view the customer's details and perform actions associated with them from the document library.

  • Annotating (or extending) data in a business application without changing the application. For example, you can have an additional column in your list for keeping track of the number of hires referred by employees in your team even though the back-end server application does not track that data.

  • Picking values from a canonical list of values. For example, you can have a Business Data column in a list that enables users to select the zip code of a city instead of asking them to enter it manually.

  • Showing business data in Microsoft Office documents such as in Word documents and Excel worksheets.

When you add a column of type Business Data to a list, you can choose any number of fields to be brought back from the back-end server application and displayed in the list. For example, when you add a column of type Product (entity), you can display multiple fields such as the ID, Name, QtyInStock, and Price in the list.

Business Data fields also possess all the other features derived from being a Microsoft Windows SharePoint Services list such as workflow, versioning, check-in, and check-out. Also, using the Refresh data button in the list, you can synch and get updated data from the back end server application automatically.

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