Notes On SharePoint Business Connectivity Services

The past 2 weeks I had an opportunity to develop a solution with SharePoint 2010’s Business Connectivity Services. I found working with SharePoint BCS to be a delicate process, with a few things not behaving entirely as expected. Here’s a few quick notes to help clarify some of the things that confused me most about BCS:

1.

For each BCS Entity’s Identifier, its Specific Finder must have an equivalent In Parameter. In other words, for example, if you have 2 Identifiers, then your Specific Finder method must have 2 corresponding input arguments.

2.

All the other methods have a dependency on the Entity’s Specific Finder. If you change the fields, or their Type Descriptors, of Specific Finder’s return parameter object, then you have to update the update and create methods accordingly. The principle is explained in the Implementing an Updater article on MSDN: “If there are multiple specific finders, the Updater view should be equal to, or a subset of, at least one SpecificFinder view.” I know it refers to “multiple specific finders”, but it found it to work the same whether there’s one or more specific finders.

3.

Your permissions are removed from the BCS Service Application (in Central Admin), and you get the “Access denied by Business Data Connectivity.”, when you deploy a new BCS model, after changing the methods, Type Descriptors or any other part of the model. This didn’t always seem like it happened consistently. At times, it seemed like it was removing the permission at random, even when I just updated the code of my entities or services.

4.

Make sure you activate SharePoint Server Enterprise Site Collection features for your Web Application.

5.

Whenever I modified a Creator method, and refreshed the page, I started getting strange errors on the list page, and had to recreate the List to fix it.