SP newbie here. I need to build a SharePoint 2010 application to track customer support cases. This will be the first time we've used SP, and I can set it up how I please.
The built-in template for issue tracking lacks flexibility we need, so I started setting up Lists as I would SQL tables for other apps (Companies, Contacts, Cases, etc.), allowing users to manage cases by adding/editing those Lists. However, I would also like to access the data in those Lists via SQL queries for an external-facing case manager on our website.
I've seen that you can use an external db for a List, and you show it in SP as an external data source. I've also read that the SP Content Database does not work well as a relational db, which would appear to make external queries difficult.
For us, does it make more sense to have a separate db for those Lists, connected to SP via an external data source, or should I just access the Content Database via API calls? I'm also concerned about maintenance with the external db method (adding new columns, etc.)