Do any of our fellow developers have a recommended approach for the use of B2C reference data that needs to drive functionality in the site. We need to import data from another CMS (Vignette) we are migrating from and we have various business data which are in the database import that we need to use in the site for vertical applications. An example would be a table full of restaurants which is already complete and correct. If we want to use this in the site (and allow for searching via its column values like name, address etc) are we best to implement this functionality our selves and link to a page for each restaurant or should we transfer all the columns to properties of a page per restaurant and handle everything within EPi? Are their performance considerations with using EPi instead of hitting the bespoke tables direct? I only worry that if we want to do more sophisticated linkage between custom data that this will prove complex and inefficient if we store all this data and its relations in EPi properties. I assume if we store it in bespoke tables then we will need to provide our own editor/renderer for it and it probably has search implications
This is the first time we are working with data 'outside; the EPi world.
Thanks in advance
There are pros and cons with both approaches, you also have the option of using Page Providers which provides the best of both worlds: Data is stored in your tables but edited as pages. The main performance consideration is if the content in those tables can be structured or not, I don't recommend making gigantic lists of pages since the will cause trouble for you (applies to page providers as well). Large "lists" of data is better off in a custom table.
There are some blog posts about page providers like for example http://labs.episerver.com/en/Blogs/Allan/Dates/2009/4/Revisited-Northwind-Page-Provider/
A crawling search engine can be used if you decide not to make pages of this data and still need to search everything on the site.