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BDC Seems a Viable Replacement For Lookups

UPDATE: This MSDN posting has some interesting observations from JXJ based on his, mainly negative, experiences going down this path: http://forums.microsoft.com/MSDN/ShowPost.aspx?PostID=2623565&SiteID=1

We have a business scenario where we need to link two documents libraries via a common "document ID" field.

We often use a lookup column to implements links like this.  There are several drawbacks to lookup columns, three of which are:

  1. Only one column from the lookup lookup library can be linked. 
  2. Performance: The source library could contain hundreds of entries.  That’s too many entries in the lookup.
  3. Search: There is no integrated search.  I don’t mean in the MOSS sense of search, but there’s no way to search / filter on multiple columns from the source document library and locate the link you want.

Backed by BDC, we can use a "business data" column type and it provides a superior search and even allows multiple columns of data to appear in list views. 

I’ve had some preliminary success with this approach and plan to write more about it.

If you’ve worked this angle before and have any comments, please share!

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One response to “BDC Seems a Viable Replacement For Lookups

  1. Unknown January 31, 2008 at 11:29 am

    The two biggest downsides for me:
     
    1) A BDC column cannot be part of a Content Type, at least as far as I know.  (Apparently this was allowed in the MOSS beta and was taken out).  I\’ve tried using a Content Type for a list and then just adding the BDC column directly to the list, but then I ran into problems setting the order of the fields in the list (for example, the order they appear when adding a new item or editing an item).
     
    2) I haven\’t seen a way to make the BDC picker simply display a list of items and allow one to be selected.  I always have to enter some criteria and click the search button.  If the list isn\’t that long, I just want it to display all values – or if I don\’t know what I\’m looking for, I\’d like to leave the criteria blank and click the search button and find everything.  It won\’t allow that (unless I am wrong and I don\’t have my BDC app definition set up correctly).
     

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