Defining Actions for External Content Types in BCS Meta Man

In this walkthrough we will show you how you can create Actions for BCS External Content Types using BCS Meta Man.

  • SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint Server 2010
  • Visual Studio 2010 professional or higher
  • BCS Meta Man
  • AdventureWorks2000 SQL database

1) Create a blank SharePoint 2010 solution in Visual Studio 2010.

2) Add a new item to this project. From the Lightning Tools project items group add a BCS Meta Man project item.

3) From the main menu click on BCS Meta Man –> BCS Meta Man Data Explorer and connect to your database you wish to use.

4) Drag and Drop any table you want. For this walkthrough we have used the AdventureWorks2000 Department table.

    Drag and drop your table to create an External Content Type 

[please click the image for a larger view]

5) Right click on the Departments entity and choose “Manage Entity”

    Right click and Manage the Entity

6) When the Entity Management screen opens, go to the Actions tab.

    Move to the BCS Actions tab

7) In this screen you can create predefined and custom actions. Let’s create a predefined action. Click on the “Add Predefined Action” button and choose Bing Search in the dialog that opens.

    create a pre-defined BCS Action

8) When the Bing action is added, you can view its properties and change them if needed(Name,Action Parameters,Url,etc). For example you may want to change the column that is passed to Bing to search with.

    change the BCS Action properties

9) Now click on “Create Custom Action” to add a custom action. 

Create a custom BCS Action

10) Now we have two actions defined for our external content type. You can add/remove the actions within this tab in the Entity Management screen.

    BCS actions have been created, now you can remove them

11) Deploy your solution by pressing F5 in Visual Studio 2010. When SharePoint opens add a Business Data List web part and choose the external content type we have created as a source for the web part.

12) When it is done, you can see that there is a link to your actions in the Title column values(BCS Meta Man sets the title to the first string column by default, you can also change this in the Entity Management Screen).

     BCS Actions displayed in a Business Data List Web Part


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