Monday, January 18, 2010

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) - Profile Pages

Profile Page

A profile page in BCS (Business Connectivity Services) allows to display all the information for an external content (entity instance). For example, a profile page can display all the fields in a record for a specific customer. It can also display all the orders associated with the customer.

NOTE: A profile page is different from user profile. User profile is a SharePoint feature where as profile page is specific to BDC (Business Data Connectivity).

Profile page has a unique url, as each entity (External Content Type) has its own profile page. Profile page in SharePoint 2010 is not created automatically anymore (it was created automatically in MOSS 2007).

If the profile page is not enabled for the entity, clicking on the entity instance will load the view items page.

Figure 1: View item for External Content Type

Figure 2: View Item Page

To create a profile page for an entity, you will need to configure where the profile page will be hosted. To configure, click on the configure button in the BDC administration page/ribbon (figure 3).

Figure 3: Configure profile page button

This loads a wizard where you can enter the host location for the profile page. Profile page can only be hosted on SharePoint sites.

Figure 4: Profile page host

At this time, you can enable your entity to have a profile page. To do so, click on the External content type and click "Create/Upgrade Profile Page".

Figure 5: Create/Upgrade Profile Page

Figure 6: Profile page confirmation

Once the profile page has been created you will notice there is an default action associated with the external content type (figure 7).

Figure 7: Default action

Unfortunately, external list does not allow to go the profile page from the list (hopefully it gets fixed in RTM). To view the profile page load the default action URL in browser and set the ContactID.

Profile page is particularly useful to view entity associations. Figure 8 shows a Contact profile page, where sales order from the contact is displayed along with the contact information.

Figure 8: Contact and its sales order


Adding associations -
Associations Support in SPD -

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