I was asked the question why I need access to BCS Services and have been tasked with documenting "ways to access external data in SharePoint'
I've read one article after the next regarding external data, trying to gain an understanding of ECT's, BCS structure, BDC Connectivity etc. and although I have not trouble with the concepts individually, there is such a plethora of information out there that it's hard to get a comprehensive picture of how it all fits together.
What I'm really trying to do is find out if there are ways outside of BCS to connect to external data sources. For instance, in SPD when a db connection is made to say SQL Server, is that still going thru BCS?
So far, my assumption is that you can consume external data in the following ways:
- External Content types via BCS Services
- Custom connections (via Web Services, WCF, .NET assemblies, custom assemblies
- WCF, .NET assemblies via BCS? this is the part that's confusing..
- CMIS connector for SharePoint
Is every type of external data in SharePoint considered an external content type? If so, does every ECT have to go through BCS somehow? All mixed up here..
Could someone please explain the 20,000 foot view to me or point me to an article that does? Everything I find seems to go into a deep dive about the individual concepts, but I'm having trouble finding something that puts it all together.