Plan business data lists
Updated: February 26, 2009
Applies To: Office SharePoint Server 2007
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In Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007, business data lists are lists that contain columns that have data from other data sources, such as data connection libraries, Excel Calculation Services, other SharePoint lists, or the Business Data Catalog. In Office SharePoint Server 2007, you use business data lists to display the business data types and properties of business data applications within SharePoint lists and to create Business Data List Web Parts. These lists and Web Parts can then be used in sites throughout the Web applications and site collections used by your organization.
As part of planning for your initial deployment of Office SharePoint Server 2007, you should understand how to add business data columns to SharePoint lists, how to add business data actions to business data lists, and how to create business data Web Parts based on business data lists. Then, you can plan for lists in your initial deployment of Office SharePoint Server 2007.
About business data lists
Business data lists enable you to display data from business applications in SharePoint lists. You create business data lists by adding business data columns to any existing SharePoint list. You can also create business data lists by creating and configuring a Business Data List Web Part, which automatically creates the corresponding list that has selected business data fields.
Business data lists are used as a source of data when you create the Web Parts for pages, such as the Report Center site, other SharePoint sites that have reports or business intelligence Web Parts, multi-report summary pages known as dashboards, and personalization sites.
The data in business data lists can be taken from the applications registered in the Business Data Catalog and from underlying line-of-business applications. Additionally, data from Microsoft SQL Server and Excel Calculation Services can be displayed in SharePoint lists and list Web Parts.
Plan business data columns
From any SharePoint list, users who have permissions to add and remove columns to the list have the option to include one or more business data columns. These columns enable you to connect to data sources to bring business data into any existing list.
Business data columns are associated with business data types in the Business Data Catalog. The heading for the column is the business data type, and each row in the column contains a different item of that type. For example, a business data column for the "customer" business data type appears as a "customer" column that includes different customers for each item in the list.
The data in business data columns is taken directly from business applications. Every item of business data has a corresponding business data profile. This enables you to create lists that link directly to valuable business data. For example, in a customer service scenario, clicking the name of the customer in the customer column opens a profile of that customer. The profile contains a list of relevant properties for the customer, such as the customer's location, number of purchases, address, e-mail address, and telephone number.
When planning the sites in your site collection, it is important to consider which business data lists to include in the initial deployment. Most business data lists will be created during ongoing operations by individual users, but some lists are so central to the business data in your organization that you might want to create and deploy them from the beginning. Some lists are used by Business Data List Web Parts.
For every Business Data List Web Part you create that relies on a SharePoint list, plan to create the list and include the columns that will be needed in each Web Part. Each column you identify during planning is a business data type that you can import when you register a business application in the Business Data Catalog.
Use the Business data worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73271&clcid=0x409) to record the needed columns for the planned lists and Web Parts.
Plan dependent columns
Business data columns might be associated with dependent columns that appear automatically next to the main column. These dependent columns cannot be edited, because their values are taken from the connected data source. The values update automatically every time the view of the list is refreshed, after a set amount of time, or when someone who has the appropriate permissions clicks the Update Business Data button at the top of the list.
Users can filter and sort on dependent columns just as any other columns. The person who adds business data columns decides which dependent columns to include.
Dependent columns represent properties related to a particular business data type in the Business Data Catalog, which might or might not be business data types themselves. When you plan for the business data lists in your initial deployment of Office SharePoint Server 2007, make a note of the properties you will need to create for these dependent columns.
Use the Business data worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkID=73271&clcid=0x409) to record the properties you will need to create for the dependent columns. Use that information when you register each business application in the Business Data Catalog.
Plan business actions in business data lists
When you add a business data column to a list, you also add a set of actions associated with the business data type for that business column. These actions appear when users hold their pointer over the item they want to act on. In the customer database example, users who use the list can perform an action for any customer simply by pointing at the customer's name in the list and then selecting an action from the menu that appears. For example, a common action is "Edit Customer Profile," which opens a Microsoft Office InfoPath 2007 page that has properties for the selected customer.
Plan Web Parts for business data lists
Business data lists are used when creating Business Data List Web Parts. The following Web Parts are based on business data lists:
Business Data List Web Part
Business Data Details Web Part
Business Data Association Web Part
Key performance indicator (KPI) List Web Part
The first three Web Parts use data from applications in the Business Data Catalog in business data lists to display business intelligence in reports, dashboards, personalization sites, and other business intelligence sites. For more information, see Plan business data Web Parts.
The KPI List Web Part can be based on information in business data lists, by selecting a SharePoint list as the source for a particular KPI. KPIs can also be created from SQL Server 2005 Analysis Services databases that are accessed by data connection libraries. For more information, see Plan key performance indicators.
Use the Site creation worksheet (http://go.microsoft.com/fwlink/?LinkId=73138&clcid=0x409) to record the SharePoint lists and related Web Parts used for dashboard pages and other key sites that use business data lists.
Use the following worksheets to plan business data lists:
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