Testing BCS Models is boring!

For nearly 10 years, Lightning Tools has made building External Content Types (or Application Definition Files as they were once known) easy. We’ve taken away the pain of learning how to build External Content Types as well as the time to write the files. Now we have made testing BCS models easy!

Using BDC/BCS Meta Man you could connect to 30+ external data sources through direct connections, ODBC, or Web Services.

Once the External Content Type was deployed, it could take some time to test the External Content Type thoroughly. To test the Finder and Specific Finder Methods, you would need to create an External List or add a Business Data List Web Part. To test associations and the ID Enumerator, you would need to create profile pages, configure the search scope and index the content. To test filters on your methods, you may need to add External Data Columns to SharePoint lists or libraries. All of which can be extremely time consuming, and I suppose a little boring.

Now, using BCS Meta Man, you can test all of the methods, filters and parameters and associations using the BCS Meta Man client.


Figure 1 – A man who has gone through the building of a BDCM file and carried out manual testing

To begin testing a BCS Model, using BCS Meta Man, click File –> Test Model.


Figure 2 – Opening up the Test Model feature in BCS Meta Man.

Once you have authenticated with your Microsoft SharePoint environment, you will be able to expand each of the BDC Models using a treeview, in order to get at each entity, and then each type of method. Each type of method (e.g. Finder) can be expanded in order to get all of the methods and their filters.

Once you have drilled down to the method, you can right click the method to execute it. If parameters are required, you will be prompted. e.g. If you are executing the Specific Finder, you will be prompted for the identifier value such as a CustomerID.

All methods can be tested including the Creator, Updater, and Deleter methods which saves you from building External Lists in order to test the write back.

The below image shows a Finder method being executed from Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. 13 records are returned by calling the method. As you can see, each column and row from the Table are returned.


Figure 3 – Executing a Finder Method in BCS Meta Man

Below is an image taken whilst testing a Creator method. New values can be input, and checked to see if the same values are entered into the back end database.


Figure 4 – Testing the creation of External Data using BCS Meta Man

Using BCS Meta Man, you can easily build your external content types by simply dragging and dropping tables, views and stored procedures and setting a few properties as you desire. Now you can test your model thoroughly without using the SharePoint UI which saves even more valuable time. If any authentication issues, or type issues are found, they can be resolved prior to testing your deployment in production.


Figure 5 – A baby using BCS Meta Man! It must be time for a REST!

You can download a free trial of Lightning Tools BCS Meta Man and test it for yourself.

Download a trial of BCS Meta Man https://lightningtools.com/products/bcs-meta-man-2010-and-2013/


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