Join Gini von Courter for an in-depth discussion in this video Displaying an external list with the Business Data List Web Part, part of SharePoint Designer 2013: Creating Data-Driven Sites.
- I'm going to create a new site page, a new wiki page, so that we can display the business data list web part and use that web part to be able to show our data from our external products list. So I'm going to choose "New" and this is a demo of the business data list web part. So I'm just going to call this a BD List demo. Here's my new wiki page, open for editing. I can choose insert, web part, business data and we're going to use the business data list, click "Add".
So the web part is going to be placed really quickly and then I'll be asked to open the tool pane and connect it to some external data. Now I have external content type picker that I can use here. If I had thousands of different external content types I could use find in order to locate one. I can choose from that list or if I have thousands but I'm only working with a few of them, it's not a bad thing for me to type in the names and I'll probably know them, it's being loaded. Here's the default view.
Now I want to note that normally if we were dealing with a native list, an internal list or library, there'd be a small link here to be able to edit this view and I could choose from views that were stored here in a site because the data would be here in the site. This is external data, I'm not storing views here. I'm actually going to create a view that will go with the web part. So notice that I have an opportunity to edit some XSL, so that I could provide a style sheet, and I'd use this to be able to do the same kinds of things that we use the style sheet for XML for.
To be able to add text within, or to label particular information, changing our font attributes, layout, that kind of thing. If you already have a style sheet and you don't want to copy and paste it into the editor or re-type it, there's a choice in the miscellaneous section to link to a style sheet, but remember that you would need to have that here, you'd need to load that into a library but that's a valid way to do this as well. I clicked "Cancel" and that wasn't a very good thing to do. So let me go grab my products list again and I'm going to click "Ok".
And we'll have a products list, which brings in many many columns of data and most of them I'm not going to want to show here. I don't need though to put together any XSL in order to modify that. I have another way to be able to edit this view. So if I scroll across and I choose "Edit Web Part" which by the way is exactly the same outcome as if I clicked "Web Part" and chosen "Web Part Properties" here on the ribbon. It's the same thing, it's going to open up our task pane on the right.
But more importantly it's opening the web part for editing. And if I scroll to the upper right corner of the web part there's a link, "Edit View", the same kind of link that we're use to seeing here in the view area when we're working with internal data. So click "Edit View", click "Ok", don't wonder if you've changed anything, everytime you switch to the view editor, you'll be prompted to save. And these are the things that we can change or the settings that are current. What's being retrieved, whether or not there's a limit.
We chose not to place one and notice that we can't override that choice here. Our columns which we're coming right back to sorting, filtering, and the number of items that should be displayed on a page. So what I'd like to do is get rid of a lot of these items. I don't want to show whether or not we make them. I don't want to show whether they're finished goods that we purchase. I don't care about the color, the re-order point, the standard cost, I don't care about a lot of these items. It would be nice if there was a check box at the top that was unselect all and go back and select a few but that's not how this interface works.
So I'm just going to turn all of these items off, so that I have the product ID, the name, and the product number, now I think that product ID is also going to be confusing for people. So here's my name, my product number, and I want a few descriptive items now. The color and the product line if there's one listed. That's all I want, that'll work. So I can now choose to sort this. Currently it was sorted by its key field which is ID and I instead want to sort this by its name.
Notice that I can sort by any of the columns that I have here, that's going to work. And, oh let's show more items at a time. Let's crank this up to 35 and click "Ok". Here comes my product list back on the page in the web part, in alphabetical order, the names, the product numbers, the colors and the product line. About 35 items because I said that was how many I wanted. And now I can page over to the next page. Realistically what we have here is a choice between how much we want people to scroll and how much we want them to need to click to load more data.
There is a little bit of latency. Notice that when I click to say give me more data, three, a couple of seconds, not a bad thing. But if it takes a while to load data, users don't mind scrolling a little bit, they just don't want to scroll normally endlessly. Choices that are often provided are 20, 40, 60, those kinds of things, about a screen full. People don't want to normally scroll more than a couple of screens. So there is the business data list web part. Customizable by you in terms of its content, the columns that we're going to use, the order that they're in, and further customizable if you want to jump into the XSL editor and either paste in some information or connect to a style sheet that you have already created for this list.
- Managing data sources
- Displaying external data with RSS, XML, and Data View Web Parts
- Using Business Connectivity Services
- Creating data-driven pages
- Enhancing data presentation
- Filtering data
- Displaying associated lists