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I'm currently setting up an experimental 2013 environment with BCS, following the instructions in the AdventureWorks white paper found here - http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=30398. Everything has gone well until adding an external data source connection in SP Designer (page 9 of the above).

Designer connects to the SQL database successfully (or at least, without error, and the database appears in Data Source Explorer), but the Tables / Views / Routines nodes have no content and can't be expanded. I originally thought this might be a compatibility issue because the AdventureWorks database is 2008 R2 and this environment has SQL Server 2012, but setting up and connecting to a brand new dummy 2012 database produced the same result.

Adddendum: The Operations Design View in the ribbon is grayed out and inaccessible.

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Ok, this turned out to be a SQL permissions issue, whereby the db_owner membership for the AdventureWorks user had somehow reverted to default. Bizarrely this allowed Designer to connect to the database, but not see any of its contents! Moral of this story is: in the event of a problem, triple-check your database permissions.

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