BCS Meta Man – Getting Started

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In this tutorial we will go through how to connect to your External System using BCS Meta Man, we won’t be doing any configuration of our model, we will just be looking at the quickest way to get your External Systems data into SharePoint as easily as possible.

 

  1. Prerequisites:
    • SharePoint Server 2013
    • BCS Meta Man (it doesn’t necessarily need to be installed on the SharePoint server but it requires .net Framework 4.5 installed on the machine where you are going to run BCS Meta Man from)
    • MS SQL server with any sample database (for this walk through we are going to use the NorthWind sample database )

     

  2. To connect to SQL Server click appropriate data source item on the left pane on the initial screen.Click MS SQL server
  3. Enter the name of your MS SQL server and select the authentication mode in the appeared connection settings area on the right side . If you are using SQL Authentication you will also have to enter your SQL user account details. Press arrow near “database name” combo box in order to retrieve list of available databases.MS SQL connection settings
  4. The combo box will now be populated with your database server names. List of databases
  5. Select one database server name and press arrow in order to connect to selected data sourceConnect to MS SQL server
  6. Upon successfully connecting to SQL Server you’ll see another window. In order to get a list of tables click “Tables” item in the list on the left pane.Click "Tables" item
  7. Now we can see listed all the tables for this particular database.List of tables
  8. We create an external content type by dragging and dropping a table onto our design surface which is the large area on the right side. We will be working with the “Territories” table, to add it to the model , just drag it onto the “Diagram”.Drag a table on the design surface
  9. When you drop the table you will be shown the following dialog, which allows to configure the external content type before creation. You may modify the external content type name, change identifier and add the methods to the external content type. In this example we’ll accept all default values and click “Create” button.Configure the external content type
  10. You can see created external content type on the design surface with the listed methods and identifier.Created External Content Type
  11. Now all we need to do is generate our application definition file. First we need to set the path to save the file. We set this location by going “Settings” from the titlebar. Meta Man settings
  12. In the model file name textbox you should manually type the output file name and select model file path using the browse button. Click “Save” button.Set output file path
  13. Once you have saved the filename and path to create your BDC model file to simply click “Generate” button and your BDC model file will get generated.Generate BDC model file
  14. Now we need to import our BDC model file. Open up SharePoint 2013 Central Administration. Navigate to Manage Service Application->Business Data Connectivity Service. Click “Import” button on the ribbon.Import generated BDC model file
  15. Use the browser button to locate our BDC model file, or type in the path and filename yourself. Leave all the other options as they are for the time being, and click “Import”Locate our BDC model file
  16. SharePoint 2013 will now go through and validate your BDC model file is correct, once it is done you will get a success page.Imported BDC model file
  17. Browse to the site where you want to add the External List. Click “Site Contents”->”add an app”.Add an app to SharePoint site
  18. Select “External List”Select “External List”
  19. Enter a name for External list and click on the icon to show the available External Content Types External list name
  20. Select our generated Northwind_MetaMan.Territories External Content Type, click “OK” Select External Content Type
  21. Click “Create”Create External Content Type
  22. Your external data from MS SQL database is now displayed in the SharePoint External List External data from MS SQL database is displayed on SharePoint 2013 page

We hope this walkthrough will be useful for you. If you have any questions feel free to email them to support@lightningtools.com

<Dmitry Kaloshin/>