Customize the business data profile pages

A profile page can display all of the information from a record in the Business Data Catalog (BDC) — for example, a profile page can display all of the fields in a record for a specific customer. So just by clicking the View Profile link in a Business Data column or in a Business Data Web Part, you can quickly view the full details for an item on that item's profile page.

But suppose that you want the profile page to display additional information related to that customer — for example, their order history or other associations. Or suppose that you want to change the columns that are displayed for that item on the profile page.

You can customize the profile pages just as you customize any Web Part page, by modifying the shared Web Part or by adding additional Web Parts and connecting them. Furthermore, if you have permissions to the Business Data Catalog in the Shared Services Administration site, you can modify the template on which all profile pages are based. This article shows you the various ways to customize the profile pages.

In this article


Overview

Microsoft Office SharePoint Server 2007 uses profiles to display details about items, identified in the Business Data Catalog (BDC), from your external business application. Business data profiles allow you to dynamically interact with data from an external business application without leaving your SharePoint site. Business data profiles are created automatically in Office SharePoint Server 2007 for each business item, or entity (entity: A data object, such as a customer, item, or employee, that has a set of defined attributes or characteristics. For example, each customer entity may have attributes such as an identification number and an address.), that is defined in the BDC. Profiles are created at the time your administrator adds the Application Definition file to the BDC and then registers the BDC with Office SharePoint Server 2007. To learn more about the Application Definition file and the BDC, see the Business Data Catalog Information Center.

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What is a business data profile?

Business data profile pages are essentially Web Part pages, with unique URLs, that display details about a business data item defined in the BDC. Business data profiles may, for example, display a product name along with any associated data about that product such as a description or list price.

Business data profiles are created automatically for each entity or business item using the Business Data Item Builder Web Part. This Web Part, used only for business data profiles, builds a business data item from identifiers in the URL and sends it to connected Web Parts. Find links to more information about connecting data in Web Parts in the See Also section.

 Important   Default actions for entities can be defined by your administrator in the application definition file. In this case, when the application definition file is imported, the process of automatically creating default profile pages for these entities is skipped.

By default, the View Profile link appears anywhere that business data is displayed in a Business Data column or Business Data Web Part. Just click the link to view the details on the profile page.

Business item details are displayed when you click View Profile.

The default View Profile action associated with each business item also appears in a drop-down list wherever the business item appears on a SharePoint site.

View Profile action link

One way to quickly access detailed business information for items in an external application is to create a simple Business Data List, using a Business Data List Web Part, and then configure the list to display all business items defined in the BDC.

Find more information about displaying business data in a SharePoint site in the See Also section.

 Note   Before using a business data profile page to display application data in Office SharePoint Server 2007, verify that your administrator has registered your external business application with Office SharePoint Server 2007. The type of information that you can add from your business application depends on the fields that your administrator registers with Office SharePoint Server 2007.

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Modify the shared Web Part on a profile page

Typically, a profile page contains a Business Data Item Web Part that displays the details of one item of business data. One common way in which you might want to customize a profile page is to modify the shared Web Part on the page — for example, you can change which columns are displayed.

If you modify the shared Web Part on one profile page — for example, a product profile — that change will appear on all of the profile pages for that entity — in this example, every product profile.

Modify shared Web Part

  1. On the Site Actions menu Site Actions menu, click Edit Page.
  1. Click the Web Part menu Web Part Edit Menu of the Web Part for which you want to change the properties, and then click Modify Shared Web Part.
  2. In the tool pane, change the properties that you want to change.

For example, if you want to change the columns that appear in a Business Data Item Web Part, under Fields, click Choose, select or clear the check box for each column that you want to show or hide, and then click OK.

  1. To save your changes and close the tool pane, click OK. To view your changes without closing the tool pane, click Apply.

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Customize the business data profile page template

The name of the template page used to create business data profiles is _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx. Administrators can modify the template page, either directly within the browser or by using Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer 2007, to customize the default look and feel of profile pages.

You get different results depending on whether you customer a profile page template before or after you import the application definition. Here are the two scenarios for customizing the profile page template:

  • Customize _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx before importing the application definition    When the BDC administrator imports an application definition, a profile page is created for each entity that is imported. These profile pages are copied from _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx. For example, if the application definition contains entities called Product, Customer, and SalesOrder, profile pages are created that are called Product.aspx, Customer.aspx, and SalesOrder.aspx. This means that if you want to make changes to _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx that apply to all of the profile pages for all of the entities, you should makes these changes before the application definition is imported (or updated and reimported).
  • Customize the page for a specific entity after importing the application definition    Profile pages are created automatically for each entity when the BDC administrator imports an application definition. For example, if the application definition contains entities called Product, Customer, and SalesOrder, profile pages are created that are called Product.aspx, Customer.aspx, and SalesOrder.aspx. You can customize any of these profile pages, such as Product.aspx, and those changes will appear on all of the profile pages for products. (Note that if a file already exists with that name when the application definition is imported, a number is appended to the file name and incremented until the file name is unique — for example, Customer.aspx, Customer1.aspx, Customer 2.aspx, etc.)

In the browser

In the browser, you can edit _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx exactly as you would any Web Part page — for example, you can add, modify, and connect Web Parts.

Use the following procedure to edit the profile page template from within Office SharePoint Server 2007.

 Note   Verify with your administrator that you have been granted Full Control or Design permission level and that you have been granted the Select in Clients permission for BDC access in the Shared Services Administration site.

  1. On the Shared Services Administration home page, in the Business Data Catalog section, click Edit profile page template.

The location of the Shared Services Administration site is typically http://<servername>:<portnumber>/ssp/admin/default.aspx.

  1. On the profile template page, click Site Actions, and then click Edit Page.
  2. In Edit Mode, add and modify Web Parts to customize the template page as necessary.

Find links to more information about working with Web Parts in the See Also section.

In Office SharePoint Designer 2007

Each Shared Services Administration site has a Content subsite at the location http://<servername>:<portnumber>/ssp/Admin/Content. If you have the permissions to open this site in Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can customize the template upon which all profile pages are based. This template resides at the root of the Content subsite and is called _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx. You can also modify the profile page template for just a specific entity — for example, products or customers. The following illustration shows some sample profile page templates in the Content subsite as they might appear in the Folder List in Office SharePoint Designer 2007.

Profile page template directory

In Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can make more extensive customizations. For example, profile pages use the default master page for the Content subsite. By using Office SharePoint Designer 2007, you can apply a different master page to give the profile pages a completely different look and feel.

You can even replace the template called _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx with a completely new page. Just make sure that the new page template uses the same name — _BusinessDataProfileTemplate.aspx — and then rename the original page template. Also, the page template typically contains a Business Data Item Web Part to display the details of one record of business data, so you may want to insert this Web Part on any new template page that you create.

For example, to view profiles as part of a complex business dashboard, you can replace the default profile page template with the dashboard page template, and then modify the new template. This enables you to use key performance indicators, filters, and other tools for business intelligence and analysis directly from business data profile.

For a more comprehensive look at how to use Office SharePoint Designer 2007to customize SharePoint sites and templates, see Get started with basic site customizations.

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Applies to:
SharePoint Server 2007