Chapter 3: Using External Content
In This Chapter
Creating external lists and external data columns
Taking external data offline
Using the Business Data Connectivity Web Parts
In this chapter, we show you how to work with your external data directly from SharePoint by leveraging external lists, external data columns, and the Business Data Web Parts. We also show you how you can extend the reach of your external data to your mobile workforce by taking your external lists offline.
Creating an External List
Creating an external content type enables you to interact with your external data just like you do a regular SharePoint list. To use this functionality, you must first create an external list based on your external content type.
SharePoint provides you with two interfaces for creating external lists:
♦ SharePoint browser user interface
♦ SharePoint Designer
When you create an external list, it appears in your site content, along with native SharePoint lists, such as the tasks list and calendaring. Figure 3-1 shows a SharePoint team site that contains two external lists: Irish Artists and Songs. The word External in the Item count column helps you easily distinguish an external list from a native SharePoint list.
When accessing an external list through the SharePoint browser user interface, the external list looks and feels like a native SharePoint list — it shares the same Ribbon menu and many of the capabilities. Users work with external list items in the same way they do native ...