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What would be the best/easiest way to retrieve data from a database (Customer info) and display it on a custom page but with the controls of a list: like sort, filter, views and search in the list?

The information is not static so a one-time import to a list is not an option. An option would be to trigger updates in de database, clear the list and re-import the data but I don't want to have the list displaying the new items tag every time this happens.

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I would recommend using Business Connectivity Services (what was Business Data Catalog in SP2007). This allows you to connect to external data (database, web service or custom C# object) and itegrate it as an external list.

More info here

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I can be mistaken but I thought it's not really possible to use BCS in a custom WebTemplate? I need to add this list to a custom WebTemplate based on a teamsite... – Wim Hill Sep 29 '11 at 13:55
Hmm i dont see the connection between BCS and custom web templates? If you mean you want to provision a list instance, this can be done in a feature. BCS works in team sites also... – Anders Rask Sep 29 '11 at 15:48
Than I must take a closer look at this again... – Wim Hill Sep 30 '11 at 5:50

My initial reaction is to use a data view web part with a datasource pointed to the external database. The DVWP can be enabled to have filter and sortability. With the datasource you can do other things like having a search page to query that data, here is an interesting take on using the form web part to search a DVWP. It can easily be adapted for 2010. The DVWP can accept query string parameters, so you can levergae that functionality too.

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