Before looking into what’s new in BCS for SharePoint 2013, let’s do a quick level-set on the external content type (ECT), a key component in Business Connectivity Services. The ECT is metadata that describes the connection information, methods (create, read, update, delete) that can be performed against the connection, data definitions for data elements, and any parameters that might pass between the client and external LOB data source. Security permissions can be set on the ECT to allow access by specific users or groups, and a wide array of authentication methods are supported, including Windows, claims-based, username and password, and certificate. ECTs serve as the basis for external lists. Unlike other lists in SharePoint that have their data stored in the SharePoint content database, external lists retrieve their data from the LOB data source every time the list is accessed by a user or programmatically. Therefore, external lists bring real-time data to SharePoint stakeholders. ECTs can also be made available to SharePoint search for indexing, and the LOB system data is included in a user’s search result, trimmed by permissions.

A significant benefit of BCS is that it can provide a central location where IT manages a consistent approach for accessing LOB systems. By investing in building ECTs on a common infrastructure that surfaces LOB information in a usable and reusable form, business users, power users, and developers ...

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