Does anybody know if it is possible to use an External Content Type as the basis for a Product Catalog in SharePoint 2013? So if we store a load of Product data in a database are we then able to surface this in a SharePoint Product catalog via BCS and then use Content By Search / Cross Site Publishing to push this content on to web pages?

I'm thinking this probably isn't possible - if not what's the best approach to achieving this?



When you create a catalog connection in SharePoint 2013, the following items get configured for you automatically:

  • Result Source
  • Managed Navigation
  • Catalog Category Page
  • Catalog Item Page

When using BCS External Content Types, you have to configure all of the items above manually but it is definitely possible. These are some high-level steps:

  • Create the external content types, make sure to set a Title field and default action url
  • Crawl external content, create new managed properties as needed
  • Create result sources by building search queries that only returns items for specific external content types
  • Create catalog category and item pages, add and configure search web parts
  • Link your catalog pages to site navigation

The following blog post should get you started: Business Connectivity Services, External Content Types and Content By Search in SharePoint 2013 – Part 1. The next blog post will show how to consume the external content on the publishing site using search web parts.

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