Recently, I had the honor to speak at the SharePoint and Project Conference Adriatics in Zagreb, Croatia. This week, I’ll demonstrate one of my topics in a 5-part series: Connecting Project Server Data to SharePoint Search. The outline will be:
- Part 1 – The Story, The Background and Search in Project Server
- Part 2 – Direct Crawl
- Part 3 – Federating Project Server Search
- Part 4 – Business Connectivity Services
- Part 5 – User Experience
Business Connectivity Services
The next and last option to get connected to Project Server data is using “Business Connectivity Services” (BCS).
BCS enables us to connect to 3rd party systems with any of these methods:
- Direct database access
- Web Service
- oData Service
Although, from Search perspective, only reading the data is important, BCS can provide us complete interaction with the proper connection definitions and configuration, we can even write back to the data source (for example, modifying an entry). Of course, creating read-only connection is possible, and for Search it’s enough.
Obviously, this method works on-premises only, as we have to know the connection info to the databases. With this method, we can get connected directly to the Project Server report databases.
Steps of the configuration are:
- Create a Business Data Connectivity Service Application in SharePoint 2013.
- Create an External Content Type, pointing to the Project Server reporting DBs with SharePoint Designer.
As a “side effect”, you’ll be able to create “External Lists” in SharePoint, in order to integrate your Project Server tasks, risks, etcetera into the SharePoint User Experience:
- Next, you have to create a content source for the External Content Type, defined above.
Once the content source is done, you have to create a Crawl Rule to define the Crawler Account (if the Default Content Access Account doesn’t have full-read access on the Project Server database).
- Finally, do a Full Crawl.
- Check the results on the “Search” result set (they might be unattractive for now, but they should be there!):
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If you can see the Project Server tasks in the result set, then you are ready with the initial configuration.
In the last part of this series, I’ll demonstrate some tricks for UI enhancements. Stay tuned:
- Part 5 (Dec 13, 2013) – User Experience