For serious SharePoint 2007 Business Data Catalog application work, there is really only one competitive tool available, BDC Meta Man from Lightning Tools. If you’ve attended one of my user group or SharePoint Saturday presentations on the BDC, you’ve heard the same. However, I was reminded I hadn’t published this on my blog until I received the following question from a co-worker. See more details on my recommendation in the Answer and a link to a great BDC walkthrough with the tool in the Reference section.
I’m evaluating tools for building BDC connections for SharePoint 2007. I have looked at BDC Meta Man from LightningTools, and I’m looking to evaluate MOSS BDC Design Studio from Simego and Microsoft’s Business Data Catalog Definition Editor (Part of the SharePoint 2007 SDK package).
Does anyone have any information about these three tools as to which would be the "best of the breed"?
I don’t recommend evaluating the others. BDC Meta Man is the best tool hands down. If you are just playing around with the BDC, the SDK tool is workable. However, if you are doing any serious work with the BDC, Meta Man is very valuable to speed application development.
For 2010, you will be able to use SharePoint Designer to create these kinds of data connections even easier than Meta Man allows for 2007. However, the 2010 version of Meta Man allows more advanced Visual Studio connections to be created more easily than with the tools Microsoft will provide.
Also, you may want to look at getting a copy of the only book in the BDC which was released in September, SharePoint 2007 Developer’s Guide to Business Data Catalog. The authors are the two SharePoint MVPs who produce the BDC Meta Man. More details at: http://www.manning.com/lonsdale/
- SharePoint BDC: Quick & Dirty Jumpstart, Mark Rackley, September 21, 2009, http://geekswithblogs.net/SoYouKnow/archive/2009/09/21/sharepoint-bdc-quick-amp-dirty-jumpstart.aspx