How to connect to the Oracle database using Business Connectivity Services (BCS) in SharePoint 2010

Introduction:

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) is a new service introduced with SharePoint 2010 to allow SharePoint sites to connect to and manipulate external data. SharePoint 2007 had a similar facility in the form of Business Data Catalog (BDC) which made external data available within its site. However, a major problem with BDC was the difficulty in creating solutions as there was no support in the 2007 designer. Most BDC solutions were simply for accessing external data, manipulating external data sources was extremely difficult.

With SharePoint 2010, BCS ships with out-of-box features such as solutions, services, and tools which may connect to external data an easy task. Whether you want to retrieve Outlook contacts in a list offline or edit the contents of your document file or share your excel sheet online or reuse data from dynamic InfoPath forms or just update your business presentation, BCS enables deep content sharing, editing and integration in SharePoint 2010 with SharePoint Designer and Visual Studio tools. To connect to the SQL database we can use either SharePoint designer (where we can connect directly to the SQL or using WCF or through .Net Assembly) or using Visual Studio (BDC Model). In case of connecting to the Oracle database we don't have direct option in the SharePoint designer, so we can use BCS Meta Man to create an external content type.

Prerequisites:

I. A local installation of either SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint Server 2010,

ii. Oracle Client (Version: 10g),

iii. Visual Studio 2010 and

iv. BCS Meta Man.

Oracle Database:

Table Name: HR.CUSTOMERS










Note:

In the above table CUSTOMER_ID is the Primary Key.

Creating a BCS External Content Type:

Steps Involved:

The following steps should be followed to create a BCS External Content Type using Visual Studio 2010.

v. Open Visual Studio 2010.

vi. Go to File =