Last week I was listening to SharePoint Pod Show – Episode #16 where Brett interviewed Todd Bleeker. Todd presented some of the benefits of custom SharePoint field types which reminded me of a project we have finished few days ago.
A customer wanted to integrate proprietary LOB system (project management application) with SharePoint. Their requirement was simple: they wanted to show a list of their clients and projects as SharePoint document library columns.
OOTB solution for this would be Business data catalog. However, Business Data Columns have a lot of problems with Document Information Panels (example) and for such a solution you need SharePoint Enterprise CALs.
Because of that, I decided to build the solution as custom SharePoint field type which we named “Database lookup”.
The solution we prepared is a custom column that can be deployed to any SharePoint site. It connects to a database and retrieves data. Data is being stored as document property and can be inserted to the document itself as Quick Part. It does NOT require Enterprise CAL, and it works with WSS.
It is easy to add a custom column
Custom column shows data from LOB system and it does not require Enterprise CAL
Here are Pros/Cons for this solution…
|Enterprise CAL not required||Cannot be edited in the datasheet view|
|Work with WSS||You need to edit item to update lookup’s value|
|Can be used in Word as Quick Part||Custom solution|
|Easier to setup than BDC||Cannot be edited in Document Information Panel like other document properties|
|Customizable it to suite our needs|