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External Data Source into Custom List or Workflows?

    Question

  • Hi all,

    I'm somewhat new to SharePoint 2007.  I am trying to get data from a web service into a custom list.  I was poking around with the Data Source Library in SharePoint Designer and was able to get it to display web service data on a web part, but can't seem to reference it from workflows, etc.  It seems all I can do with it is display it.  I need to utilize it in workflows.

    How can I take data from a web service and feed it into a custom list or access it through workflows?  I prefer to not have to utilize Visual Studio (not yet, anyway).

    Your help is greatly appreciated and I look forward to the day I can contribute to this forum.

    Thanks,
    Hobbes

    Monday, January 11, 2010 3:32 AM

Answers

  • Hi Hobbes,

    Do you mean you want to start a workflow when new data comes from the vendor's Web Service?

    In that case you would need some custom solution - i.e. custom timer job in SharePoint - which will do the functionality described in your scenario.

    That's because in order to start a workflow you need some action to be performed on the list - like insert or update.

    So your custom solution would do the following:
    - query your vendor's Web Service (or query BDC application that you could create to get results from Web Service - though in your scenario I don't think BDC is necessary unless you would like to display Web Service data somewhere without any other activities)
    - copy that data into the SharePoint list where your SharePoint Designer workflow will consume this data

    I have come across some tool here: http://www.layer2.de/en/products/Pages/SharePoint-Business-Data-List-Connector.aspx which could be of your interest. I haven't used it myself. I just have done some research on the subject and found it.

    Another scenario - wait for SharePoint 2010 to be released in full. As far as I see their External Lists concept is what would help you straight away. :)

    Hope that helps.

    Best wishes,

    Slava G


    Slava G
    http://wyldesolutions.com
    http://wyldesharepoint.blogspot.com
    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 11:35 PM
  • No problem.

    Yes, I agree with you about third-party tools.

    Anyway with MOSS 2007 you need custom solution - either your own or third party - in order to get data from external system into the list.

    Please post your findings.

    Best wishes,
    Slava G
    http://wyldesolutions.com
    http://wyldesharepoint.blogspot.com
    Monday, January 18, 2010 9:08 PM

All replies

  • Anybody?
    Monday, January 11, 2010 11:13 PM
  • Hi Hobbes,

    I suppose you could use BDC in order to get your external data if you have MOSS or build your own application that will populate external data into list for you.

    As you said you would better not use Visual Studio then BDC is a good approach.

    Workflows: you mean you want to access that data in SharePoint Designer workflow or other workflow solution?

    About BDC: here's the good set of articles about this subject - http://sharepointmagazine.net/technical/administration/everything-you-need-to-know-about-bdc-part-1-of-8 - very informative.

    Here's the summary of all the articles in that set: http://wyldesharepoint.blogspot.com/2009/07/comprehensive-bdc-overview.html
     

    Hope that helps.

    Best wishes,

    Slava G

    http://wyldesolutions.com

    http://wyldesharepoint.blogspot.com
    • Edited by Slava Gorbunov Tuesday, January 12, 2010 2:49 AM added URL to the post with links summary
    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 2:46 AM
  • Slava,

    Thank you for the response.  I will look into this tonight.

    In "workflows", I'm referring to SharePoint Designer workflows.  I was able to get information from a web service to display in a web part, but don't know how to take it a step further and get it into a list.

    My scenario is as follows:
    - A vendor makes data available to us via a web service (XML)
    - We need to connect to their web service and pull down the data
    - The data needs to be inserted into a SharePoint list so we can process it (using SharePoint Designer workflows)

    Thanks,
    Hobbes
    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 10:47 PM
  • Hi Hobbes,

    Do you mean you want to start a workflow when new data comes from the vendor's Web Service?

    In that case you would need some custom solution - i.e. custom timer job in SharePoint - which will do the functionality described in your scenario.

    That's because in order to start a workflow you need some action to be performed on the list - like insert or update.

    So your custom solution would do the following:
    - query your vendor's Web Service (or query BDC application that you could create to get results from Web Service - though in your scenario I don't think BDC is necessary unless you would like to display Web Service data somewhere without any other activities)
    - copy that data into the SharePoint list where your SharePoint Designer workflow will consume this data

    I have come across some tool here: http://www.layer2.de/en/products/Pages/SharePoint-Business-Data-List-Connector.aspx which could be of your interest. I haven't used it myself. I just have done some research on the subject and found it.

    Another scenario - wait for SharePoint 2010 to be released in full. As far as I see their External Lists concept is what would help you straight away. :)

    Hope that helps.

    Best wishes,

    Slava G


    Slava G
    http://wyldesolutions.com
    http://wyldesharepoint.blogspot.com
    Tuesday, January 12, 2010 11:35 PM
  • Thanks again Slava,

    I'm eagerly awaiting SP 2010 -- I think it will offer a ton of small improvements that go a long way.

    I don't necessarily need the workflow to start when new data comes (although that would be nice).  I ultimately just need to get the data from the vendor's Web Service onto a SharePoint list.  From there, I have workflows that will process the data further.

    I will check out that tool, but prefer to keep things as close to out-of-the-box as possible.  Otherwise, we will need to go through a lengthy series of validation on the product (to confirm that it won't negatively impact the server farm, etc.), if our IT will allow it at all.  They prefer to implement products only if they can serve a global need instead of just a one-off need.

    Thanks.  I will post a follow-up on how it goes (or when I get stuck again!).   =-)

    x_hobbes
    Monday, January 18, 2010 5:14 PM
  • No problem.

    Yes, I agree with you about third-party tools.

    Anyway with MOSS 2007 you need custom solution - either your own or third party - in order to get data from external system into the list.

    Please post your findings.

    Best wishes,
    Slava G
    http://wyldesolutions.com
    http://wyldesharepoint.blogspot.com
    Monday, January 18, 2010 9:08 PM
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    chandra
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