Benefits of using External content types

External content types offer the following benefits:

  • Enable reusability: An external content type is a reusable data definition of a business entity. After you create it, you can use it with any of the Presentation Features in BCS to provide a rich user experience to interact with external data.
  • Encapsulate complexities of external systems: External content types enable information workers to assemble business solutions without having to handle the complexities of the external systems, for example, without needing to know the connectivity information or learn their programmability interfaces. After an experienced user or a developer creates an external content type, it is available to any user for use in any way they need (provided they have the permissions to perform that operation and access the external data). However, the user does not need to know anything about the location of the external data or how to connect to it.
  • Provide built-in Office and SharePoint behavior: External content types provide Office item-type behaviors (such as contacts, tasks, calendars in Microsoft Outlook, documents in Microsoft Word, and lists in Microsoft SharePoint Workspace); SharePoint behaviors (such as lists, Web Parts, and profile pages); and capabilities (such as the ability to search or work offline) to external data and services, so users can work in their familiar work environments without having to hunt for data or learn and interact with different (and proprietary) user interfaces.
  • Ensure secure access: External content types adhere to the security put in place by both the external system and SharePoint Products and Technologies. You can have full control of who accesses what data by configuring security in SharePoint.
  • Simplify maintenance: Because external content types can be created once and used by multiple solutions in various scenarios, you can manage them easily. For example, you can manage their access permissions and connection and data definitions in one central location.
  • Enable external data search: You can use SharePoint Server search from an intranet portal to look up information about a specific external content type such as a Customer. SharePoint Server search retrieves the data directly from the external system. Consequently, users can get the information they need without having to get approval or install a separate application.
  • Enable working offline: You can take external content types offline in Outlook 2010 and SharePoint Workspace 2010. Business Connectivity Services provides rich cache and offline work features, and supports cache-based operations. Users can manipulate external data seamlessly and efficiently, even when they are offline or if the server connectivity is slow, intermittent, or unavailable. The read/write operations performed against cached business entities are synchronized when connection to the server becomes available.

Claims Based Authentication in Sharepoint – How it works – SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013

Why we need Claims Based Authentication for SharePoint 2010 and SharePoint 2013?

Claims based authentication is a new feature introduced by SP2010. We already have classic authentication, so why claims?
Classic authentication works on AD groups. Just imagine for a public facing site, how many AD Group additions need to be done up on user requests.
Secondly, it is for a point to point communication. The security cannot span beyond one application pool.

But in case of claims, it has ability to grant a security token which can authenticate user for all the application which mutually agrees with a System granting security tokens for authenticated users. This granting system generally refers as STS (Security Token System).

Most people jump to decision of using ADFS or some other STS with claims based authentication in SharePoint. Well the user have option to have flexibility of claims even on Windows or Forms based Authentications. You can see all these options while creating a SharePoint Web application.

Understanding the Windows Authentication Process

  1. The user requests a SharePoint 2010 resource.
  2. User authentication (NTLM challenge/Kerberos negotiation) occurs.
  3. The claims-based token request is sent to the SharePoint 2010 STS.
  4. SharePoint STS gets the user’s security groups from the Windows token and adds them as user claims in the token.
  5. The SharePoint STS gets additional claims for the user (if an additional claims provider is registered for that web application/zone).
  6. The claims-based token is issued.
  7. The request is processed by the rest of the components in the pipeline.
  8. The response is sent back to the user.

Understanding the Forms-Based Authentication Process

  1. The user requests a SharePoint 2010 resource.
  2. SharePoint redirects the user to the forms-based authentication login page.
  3. The username and password are collected from the user and sent to the SharePoint 2010 STS.
  4. STS validates the user’s credentials with the membership provider and, if validation succeeds, STS requests all the roles that the user belongs to and adds those claims to the user’s token.
  5. The SharePoint STS gets additional claims for the user (if an additional claims provider is registered for that web application/zone).
  6. The claims-based token is issued to the user.
  7. The request is processed by the rest of the components in the pipeline.
  8. The response is sent back to the user.

Understanding the SAML Claims-Based Authentication Process

  1. The user requests a SharePoint 2010 resource.
  2. SharePoint redirects the user to the SAML authentication page.
  3. Based on the configuration of the trusted login provider, the request is redirected to the enterprise STS login page or to the federated STS login page.
  4. The user provides credentials and STS issues a SAML claims-based token.
  5. The external STS issues the user claims-based token.
  6. A claims-based token for the user is requested from the SharePoint STS, and the token from the external STS is used as the authentication proof.
  7. SharePoint STS gets additional claims for the user (if an additional claims provider is registered for that web application or zone).
  8. SharePoint STS issues the claims-based token.
  9. The request is processed by the rest of the components in the pipeline.
  10. The response is sent back to the user.

Benefits of migration to SharePoint 2013

Below are some significant features of SharePoint 2013,


SharePoint 2013 introduces a Cloud App Model that enables you to create apps. Apps for SharePoint are self-contained pieces of functionality that extend the capabilities of a SharePoint website. An app may include SharePoint components such as lists, workflows, and site pages, but it can also surface a remote web application and remote data in SharePoint. An app has few or no dependencies on any other software on the device or platform where it is installed, other than what is built into the platform. This characteristic enables apps to be installed simply and uninstalled cleanly. Apps have no custom code that runs on the SharePoint servers. Instead, all custom logic moves “up” to the cloud or “down” to client computers. Additionally, SharePoint 2013 introduces an innovative delivery model for apps for SharePoint that includes components like the SharePoint Store and the App Catalog.


Social and collaboration:

New and improved social and collaboration features make it easy for users to communicate and to stay engaged and informed. The improved My Site social feed helps users keep up to date with the people and content that they care about. The newCommunity Site feature provides a rich community experience that lets users easily find and share information and find people who have similar interests.



Search functionality in SharePoint 2013 includes several enhancements, custom content processing with the Content Enrichment web service, and a new framework for presenting search result types. Additionally, there have been significant enhancements made to the keyword query language (KQL).


Enterprise Content Management:

In SharePoint 2013, you can now use .NET client, Silverlight, Windows Phone, and JavaScript APIs, in addition to the newly expanded set of .NET server managed APIs, to customize Enterprise Content Management (ECM) experiences and behavior.


Business Connectivity Services (BCS):

Business Connectivity Services (BCS) enables SharePoint to access data from external data systems such as SAP, ERP, and CRM, in addition to other data-driven applications that are exposed through WCF services or OData endpoints. BCS in SharePoint 2013 has been improved and enhanced in many ways, including OData connectivity, external events, external data in apps, filtering and sorting, support for REST, and others.


Application Services:

SharePoint Server 2013 includes several services for working with data in your SharePoint sites. New for SharePoint is the Machine Translation Service, which translates sites, documents, and streams for multilingual support. SharePoint Server 2013 also includes Access Services and a new data access model. For converting files and streams to other formats, SharePoint Server 2013 has Word Automation Services and PowerPoint Automation Services (a new feature for SharePoint). SharePoint also provides data analysis tools, like PerformancePoint Services and Visio Services, that enable business intelligence, and powerful new features in Excel Services.


Create SSRS Report with SharePoint 2010 Integrated Mode

With SharePoint 2010, lots people would like to use SSRS Integrated mode. The advantage is that you can deploy data sources, reports, etc. to the SharePoint document library instead of the Report Manager web application. In addition, you could also use the new version of Report Builder that came with SQL Server 2008 R2 and deploy the reports to SharePoint.  Derek Sanderson posted a blog entry: How to Switch from SSRS Native Mode to SharePoint Integrated Mode with detailed graphic information to show step by step how to do it. Once you completed all the installation steps, you may want to create the SSRS reports on it. The following steps show you how to do it.

Create SSRS Report Document Library

In order to deploy or create SSRS artifacts, you need to add a document library with the appropriate content types.

  • Create a new document library called SSRS Report


  • Go to the Library tab and click on the Library Settings menu to configure the content type


  • In the General settings section, click on the Advanced settings link


  • Change the Allow management of content types? to “Yes” and click the OK button to apply the change


  • In the Content Types section, click on the Add from existing site content types link


  • Select the Report Builder Model, Report Builder Report, and Report data source content types from the Available Site Content Types list to be added, then click the OK button to apply the change.


  • If you want to change the default or the visible order of the content types, you could click on theChange new button order and default content type link and modify accordingly.



  • Return back to the SSRS Report Document library, and click on the New Document from theDocuments tab. Now you should be able to see the Report Builder menus that have been created.


  • To launch the Report Builder, click the Report Builder Report menu.  You can now use it to create the SSRS reports and save them to the SharePoint document library.


Deploy SSRS Report from Visual Studio to SharePoint
  • To deploy the SSRS report using Visual studio 2008, you will need to point to the SharePoint Server site, not the Report Manager site. Using the example we created, you will need to set the TargetServerURL to be the http://localhost/, and set the TargetReportFolder to behttp://Localhost/SSRS Report


  • Make sure you don’t append the “/” at end of the TargetReportFolder such ashttp://Localhost/SSRS Report/, otherwise you will get the following deployment error:Error rsItemNotFound : The item ‘http://Localhost/SSRS Report//Demo SSRS.rdl’ cannot be found.
    Deploy complete — 1 errors, 1 warnings


Manage SSRS Data Sources, Parameters, and Permissions
  • Go to the right side of the report and click the drop down to open the Context Menu. You could set the data source, configure the parameters, or manage the permissions for the report by clicking on the corresponding context menu.


View SSRS Report
  • You could now view the report from SharePoint Site by clicking on the report itself.


  • Or view the report from the Report Server Site by navigating to the report directory.