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I am going to create a web part that are going to replace an application that we currently are using. The application is basically used to query information from a database. The Database consist of less than 2000 items and the application those depending on the query show 10 - 500 items.

If possible I would like to use the same database as SharePoint is using since I know that the information then will be available whenever SharePoint is available. So is it possible to create my own tables within SharePoint.

My other thought is to use a SharePoint list, since again I do not have to care about availability. But this feel pretty bad since I it probably will be take up unecessary resources.

My third option is to use another database cluster within our network, but then the maintainability and dependencies are increased.

So how would you do, do you know any recommendations?

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2 Answers 2

Firstly, adding your own table to a SharePoint database is a definite no!

For a simple, single table database, a SharePoint list is perfectly ok. Some of the advantages of using lists over external databases are that you get out of the box forms for displaying, editing, listing, sorting and filtering data. Additionally, users can create their own views of that data to view the information as they want it, permissions can easily be applied, it is available to search and so on.

Some of the disadvantages of lists start to appear when you wish to join multiple tables, and create more complex queries on the joined tables. This has been improved in SharePoint 2010, but for 2007 you are really limited to using lookup columns.

If you want to create a more complex application for SP 2007, you might prefer to use an external database and interface to that with custom web parts for CRUD operations, and querying using the BDC.

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Even if you will need multiple lists, you can do very snazzy things with Data View Web Parts (DVWPs). As Paul mentions, you get all of the forms for "free", and the volumes don't sound like a big deal. I'd go the SharePoint list route.

I'm not sure about your "take up unnecessary resources" comment. Is there something specific you are concerned about?

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