Business Data List Web Part

Business Data List Web Part

The Business Data List web part is a component that ships with MOSS 2007 Enterprise out of the box that allows you to display data you have integrated with SharePoint through the Business Data Catalog (BDC). The Business Data List web part will display information being retrieved by your BDC finder method. This could be data such as employees, products, orders etc.

Configuring

To configure the Business Data List Web Part you first need to put your page into edit mode, and then modify the web part.

When the toolpart pane opens you can select the entity you wish to use, and then press OK – it’s as simple as that! The data will then be brought back and displayed within the web part. While the page is still in edit more, you can click the Edit View link.

The page will now navigate to a new page where you have a nice user interface to change certain aspects of how the data is displayed within the Business Data List web part such as:
-columns
-ordering
-sorting

Filters

If you are using a database table to fill the Business Data List web part you could have thousands of rows being returned all at once which can be a big performance problem. This can be solved by configuring BDC filters for your entity and finder method when building your application definition file. When a filter is added it will be displayed at the top of the web part which means that a limited set of results will be pulled from your database to be displayed to the user.

Building Dashboards

The Business Data web parts are great for building dashboards within SharePoint web part pages to display information from your other database or web service systems. The Business Data List web part is usually the centre piece of a dashboard as it displays the data that people will use to filter other Business Data web parts such as the Business Data Related List web part. This is great at showing information that may be related in a one to many relationship such as Customers and Orders.

Customizing

As well as being able to change which columns that are coming back from using the ‘Edit View’ link within the web part you can also change the look and feel of the web part quite dramatically by either styling it with XSLt or using SharePoint Designer. We have produced an article you can download which steps you through the SharePoint Designer route:

Configuring BDC web parts with SharePoint Designer