For lack of a better name: blog

24Sep/101

Creating a plugin for BCS in Outlook

 In this post I will describe the BCSPackagingTool and BCSArtifactGenerator tools from Microsoft. These tools can create artifacts for building a outlook plugin.

This plugin will use the Business Connectivity Services (BCS) from SharePoint to connect to a external system, in this example a SQL but it could als be a CRM, ERP of whatever application.

Imagine your company got a legacy system for projects, events and contacts with the following entities in SQL:

 image
and we want to make the external data (events and customers) available and editable in outlook.

We want to name the outlook plugin CCS (Cool Customers Store) and want it to look like this:

image

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When adding a new event in the calender or contact we want to have 2 way sync with the database.

 

How to do this?

In this post I want to give an idea on how to create this. This is not a tutorial for the whole process. For this blogpost I assume you already have experience with external content types in SharePoint designer, in another post I will explain how to create these external contenttypes.

image

  1. First we need to create a folder on the computer with 3 sub-folders: Model, Source and Output;
  2. Select in SharePoint designer the Customer and Event external contenttypes and click export BDC model. We can only export entities that are related to a office item type (appointment, contact, task or post);
  3. Give the model a name and select client;
    image
  4. Click ok and save the BDCM file to the model directory;

 

BCS Artifact Generator

  1. Download and run the BCSArtifactGenerator from http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/odcsps14bcsgnrtrtool
  2. Give the solution the name CCS and click import model, select the model from step 4;
    image
  3. Click customize on the customer row;
    image
  4. click next;
    image 
  5. click next;
    image
  6. Select add a custom task pane for the related items;
    image
  7. Select Add a custom action and redirect it to the external content type profile page;
    image
  8. click finish;
  9. Do the same for event;
  10. Click generate artifacts;
    image 
  11. Cut and paste the content from the artifact folder to the source folder we created in step 1;
  12. click finish.

BCS Solution Packaging Tool

  1. Download and run the BCSSolutionPackaging tool from
    http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/odcsps14bcspkgtool
  2. Fill in the solution name;
  3. Select the source and output folder;
    image
  4. Click package;
  5. Click deploy;
  6. Click install;
    image
  7. Click close;
    image 

That’s it! Now outlook wil open with our newly created solution. This is really, really cool!

More info?

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/bcs/archive/2010/06/04/bcs-solutions-in-outlook.aspx

Posted by Alexander Ketelaar

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  1. nice article, keep the posts coming


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