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Microsoft CRM 3.0 Preliminary SDK Released!

Much to my surprise, Microsoft just publically released a preliminary version of the Microsoft CRM 3.0 SDK! The Microsoft CRM 3.0 SDK (Software Development Kit) is for developers, system customizers and report writers.  There are so many goodies in here including:

  • Server Programming Guide – A guide for developers writing server side code, custom business logic, integration modules, workflow assemblies and more. This guide provides an architectural overview of Microsoft CRM, the entity model, security model, Web services, and sample code.

  • Client Programming Guide – A guide for developers customizing the Web client or the Microsoft CRM client for Outlook, including scripting, integration of custom Web pages, and sample code.

  • Report Writers Guide - A guide for developers writing reports for Microsoft CRM using Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services Report Designer.

Right at the front of the SDK, they list a bunch of items for the "What's New in Microsoft CRM 3.0". Of course this is not the comprehensive list but it gives you a good idea of the great new features and extension capabilities in this release.

Feature area Description
Marketing Automation Marketing campaigns driven through sales:
  • Marketing list management
  • Campaign templates
  • Campaign management
Service Management Powerful management across service resources:
  • Service scheduling engine
  • Global appointment book for resource and workforce planning
User Interface Improvements Delivering on ease-of-use promise:
  • Faster data input with fewer clicks, in-line notes, attachments, and the save and new command
  • Faster data access (roll-up, quick find, advanced find)
  • Data cleanliness (merge)
  • Richer activity model (activity management)
  • Intuitive unified toolbar across all grids
Integration with Microsoft Office Delivering the best CRM for Office:
  • Seamless integration, full functionality in Outlook
  • IBF to surface CRM data and actions in Office
  • Reporting through Microsoft SharePoint, Microsoft Excel, and Microsoft Access
Integration with Microsoft Outlook Deeper and richer Outlook integration:
  • The premier Microsoft CRM client for sales, service, and marketing
  • New online only multi-user Outlook client
  • Support for custom entities
  • Control over which data can go offline and which data is synchronized
  • Faster page load
  • Faster synchronization
Reporting Now includes the full power of Microsoft SQL Server:
  • SQL Reporting Services Report Engine
  • Filtered database views for other reporting tools
  • Strong Microsoft Office integration and analysis
"No Fail" setup Simple and reliable application installation:
  • Environmental Diagnostics Wizard for validation
  • Repair and rollback support
  • Group policy support for desktops using Microsoft CRM Sales for Outlook
  • Ability to create new report servers or connect to existing ones
Small Business deployments Minimal involvement by application installer
  • "Name and Key" installation - the rest is automated
  • Optimized for Windows Small Business Server 2003
IT improvements Enhanced support for existing corporate networks and policies:
  • Leverage Active Directory for authentication only
  • New Exchange architecture for e-mail tracking and routing
  • Enhanced application security
  • Fault tolerance support for Microsoft CRM, e-mail, and database servers
Customization tools Support for tailoring closely to business needs without writing code:
  • Customize activities
  • Customize, rename, add, and delete new entities
  • Add and delete new attributes
  • Increased capacity for new attributes
  • Customize cascading behavior for operations
  • Customize relationships and mappings
  • Workflow for business process automation
Application extensibility Custom integrations and vertical solutions through code:
  • Extend the application UI – Navigation, toolbar, grid actions in a single configuration file for both Web and Outlook clients
  • Outlook menu extensions
  • Transactional callouts on mid-tier for business logic
  • Write client side code for enhanced usability
  • Call Web services from workflow for cross-system support
New SDK New SDK supports a strong partner community:
  • New Web service architecture based on service-oriented architecture (SOA) and WSDL standards
  • APIs to support ISVs such as import, export, and publish APIs