Does SharePoint Foundaton 2010 have BCS?

There seems to be some confusion about the free version of SharePoint 2010 (SharePoint Foundation 2010) and Business Connectivity Services (BCS).  This post aims to clarify some things.

Here are two important questions and answers: 

Q:  Does SharePoint Foundation 2010 have BCS?
A:  Yes

Q:  Does SharePoint Foundation 2010 have the SAME BCS capabilities as SharePoint 2010 Standard and Enterprise?
A:  No

Let’s start with what SharePoint Foundation offers as it relates to the BCS, then we’ll talk about what it doesn’t have.

The BCS is the new BDC.  SharePoint 2007 introduced the BDC as a way of integrating SharePoint with external data sources like non-SharePoint databases and web services. 

SharePoint 2010 came along, and renamed the BDC to BCS, and also put *some* of these BCS capabilities in the free version of 2010 (SharePoint Foundation 2010).  Keep in mind, the free version of 2007 (WSS 3.0) did NOT include BDC capabilities (or BCS capabilities for that matter b/c again, the BDC was renamed to BCS).  2010 still refers to many BDC features, so just keep in mind they are all used to the same end – for integrating with external systems. 

SharePoint Foundation 2010 has the following BCS capabilities:

  • Business Data Connectivity (BDC) service
  • BDC Connectors and the pluggable Connector Framework
  • External lists – allows you to surface and modify data located in external sources all from a SharePoint list (very, very cool).
  • External data columns – used for adding columns from external sources to existing SharePoint lists (also very cool).

Read more on msdn:  http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee557646.aspx

Okay, so what do we NOT get in SharePoint Foundation 2010 with regard to BCS capabilities?

  • External data in search (Enterprise only)
  • Secure Store Service
  • Business Data Web Parts (Enterprise only) – this one is worth noting b/c these little guys save a ton of time.
  • Profile pages
  • External data in workflow
  • Rich client integration (Enterprise only)

 Read all about the above list of things you DON’T get with SharePoint Foundation 2010 so you can determine if you need one of the paid editions of SharePoint 2010 (Standard or Enterprise) on msdn – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ee557936(office.14).aspx

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About Sean Bordner

CEO, Solution Architect, Co-Author of SharePoint for Nonprofits, Contributing Author NothingButSharePoint.com MCT, MCTS, MCSD, MCP, MCAD
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