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D365 Edition: Dynamic Forms vs. Business Rules

Today's blog post was written by Justin Concepcion, Developer at Sonoma Partners.

First released in 2013 as a feature of Dynamics CRM 2013, Microsoft created Business Rules as a way to automate an entity form without requiring the use or knowledge of JavaScript. At that time, we released a blog post comparing Business Rules to our own entity form automation solution, Dynamic Forms. Since then, however, many updates have been added to Business Rules, and we wanted to come back to this comparison and review it with an updated view.

In the initial blog post, we found that Dynamic Forms provided a lot of functionality that Business Rules do not. In 2017, there are still gaps in Business Rules that can be filled using Dynamic Forms. For example, both Business Rules and Dynamic Forms have the capability to manipulate fields on a form; including setting field values, disabling fields, or requiring them. However, only Dynamic Forms is able to manipulate sections, tabs, and even the forms themselves. With regards to conditions, Dynamic Forms is also able to check many more things that Business Rules cannot. For example, while both can check field values when deciding whether to run a rule or not, only Dynamic Forms can check the form type, related entity field values, and even the current user’s security role.

Since 2013, however, a few new features have been added to Business Rules that Dynamic Forms currently does not provide. For example, Business Rules in Dynamics 365 can now show Field Recommendations, which displays a tool tip next to fields suggesting certain values. This allows you to recommend certain values for fields without actually setting the fields themselves. Another large change with Business Rules is the fact that they now run server-side instead of client-side on a user’s computer. Since Dynamic Forms only runs client-side, this means that Business Rules will be at an advantage for performance and easier maintenance when JavaScript would be paired with a plugin.

Overall, in 2017, Dynamic Forms continues to provide a lot of functionality that the Business Rules do not. However, since 2013, new features have been added to Business Rules that currently are not provided as well in Dynamic Forms. When deciding to use one or the other, we recommended reviewing your business requirements and making sure that you choose the one that best suits your needs as well as ensuring the rules interact correctly. Potential issues to watch out for include plugins and workflows getting triggered by server-side business rules and client-side scripts (such as Dynamic Forms) behaving unexpectedly with server-side with business rules.

Please use the table below as a guide to see which features are included in Dynamic Forms, Business Rules, or both: Ross and j tableIf you wish to try out Dynamic Forms, the Dynamic Forms Community Edition is free to download but limited to a max of 10 rules you can create.  If you need more or have any questions, please contact us.

To learn more about Dynamic Forms and download the free Community Edition here.

Topics: Microsoft Dynamics 365