I am excited to announce a new release of Dynamics CRM DevTools! This release provides many additions and enhancements to an already featured packed extension. Head here for the latest version and see below for a detailed list of updates.
- The form tab will now automatically hide when CRM DevTools is opened from a non-record form page in CRM
- Copy Record URL provides the ability to copy the real URL of the current record which is often disguised in CRM 2013 due to the single page framework
- Form Type was updated to display the name of the form type as well as the integer value
- “Is Dirty” was replaced with Dirty Fields which will display a comma delimited list of dirty fields
- User Roles was added to display a comma delimited list of roles for the current user
- Current User will display the name of the current user and the ability to navigate to the record
- Open Record was added to provide the ability to navigate to a selected entity with the provided record Id
- Find Type Code was added to display the type code for a provided entity name
- Find Attribute was updated to use a picklist of available attributes rather than a text box
- Fetch XML input now provides highlighting, auto-completion of nodes and intellisense
- The Plugins tab is brand new and displays all registered plugin assemblies and their details (entity, filtering attributes, and stage)
- Displays number of successes, crashes, and failures for any sandbox plugin (sandbox only)
DB & Server
- The DB & Server tab is brand new and displays information about the Config and MSCRM databases as well as the CRM Server (if user access allows)
- Config and MSCRM Database info
- Data Source
- Initial Catalog
- Integrated Security
- Server info
- OS Version
- .Net Framework
- CRM File Path
We are excited to announce the release of the DefenseReady Scout app to the Windows 8 App Store! This marks the second Windows 8 application deployed to the Windows 8 App Store for Permuta Technologies (DefenseReady Daily Standup being the first)
DefenseReady is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM solution built by Permuta Technologies, Inc. that provides organizations out-of-the-box mission-enabling solutions for Force Readiness, Mission Execution and Training Management. The Military Services community is a unique community that require immediate insight and control at leadership as well as all functional levels throughout organizations. Leadership needs visibility throughout their organization with minimal impact to operations.
Developed jointly by Sonoma Partners and Permuta, the Scout application was designed for users in the field who gather critical information in support any business activity managed by DefenseReady. Users can leverage the built-in features of their Win 8 devices to generate maps, identify points of contact, collect photos, record audio and capture other types of information. Users can work their Scout Plans, flag items for issue, mark them complete, and when they’re ready they can organize the final data into a brief that can be exported to Microsoft Word and provided to leadership and decision makers.
Scout Event List
When you first log into Scout, you’ll be presented with a list of Scout Events. These are the high level initiatives for an activity that is taking place. It could be a mission, investigation, emergency response, or any other type of event that requires detail planning. Each tile displays the start / end date of the event, as well as the number of Scout Plans contained within the event. From this page a user can create a Brief which we’ll go into more detail on below.
Scout Plan List
When you drill into a Scout Event, you’re taken to the Scout Plan list page. Scout Plans are broken up by status. Each tile displays information about the Scout Plan (address, distance from current location, who it’s assigned to, and the percentage complete). From the Scout Plan page, users can:
- Select a different Scout Event
- Add a new Scout Plan (either from a predefined template, or manually created)
- Lock/Unlock a Scout Plan
- Create a Brief
Scout Plan Item List
Once you click into a Scout Plan, you’ll see all the Items that make up this plan. A Scout Plan can have many items that were either manually created, or automatically created from a template (see mini-map section below for more information on the meaning of the icons). When in the Scout Plan Items list, you can take many different actions by swiping up:
- Open an Item
- Mark an Item Complete / Reopen a Complete Item
- Flag an Issue on an Item / Remove the flag from a Flagged Item
- Remove / Delete an Item
- Reorder Items
You can create many different Scout Plan Items within one Scout Plan. The following item types can be created for any Scout Plan:
- Voice Memo (using the native microphone capabilities of the device)
- Image List (using photos existing on the device, or the devices native camera capabilities to take a new photo)
- Map (using the native GPS capabilities of the device)
- Free form Text
- Equipment List
- Manpower List
- Risk/Threats List
- Facilities List
- Points of Contact List (images saved on the device or new ones taken with the camera can be associated to each contact in the list)
- Generic Listings
The mini-map appears at the top of the Scout Plan Items list which allows users to quickly navigate between items without having to scroll horizontally through a long list. Each icon means something different and each Scout Plan Item may have one or more of the following scenarios applied to it (e.g., it can be a Template Item that is Flagged for an Issue but also Complete):
- Square: This is an item that came from a template.
- Circle: This is a manually created item.
- Gray Fill: This indicates the item is still in progress and not complete.
- Green Fill: This indicates the item is complete.
- Yellow Triangle: This indicates the item has been flagged for an issue to follow up on later.
Scout utilizes the native Windows 8 experience of being able to Snap an application to a portion of the available screen so allowing users to work within two applications at once. Scout will resize to the appropriate size and allow you to navigate Scout while also working within the other application.
Scout takes advantage of the power of other already built applications for Windows 8 and integrates that functionality into Scout. Users can share from the following applications to within a Scout Plan Item allowing users to create this data outside of Scout in a tool they may be more comfortable with using, and at a later time bring it into the app.
- Skitch –> Scout Plan Item Image
- OneNote –> Scout Plan Item Text
Generate a Scout Brief
At any point along the process of collecting data and creating a Scout Plan, users of DefenseReady Scout can generate a Brief. A Brief can be generated either from the Scout Event list, or from the Scout Plan list. A brief can only contain a single Scout Event, but it can contain multiple Scout Plans from that event, as well as multiple Scout Plan Items from the plan(s) selected.
During the brief creation process, a user has the ability to select the Scout Plan(s) to include, the Scout Plan Item(s) to include, and also change the order of where the Scout Plan Items will appear in the generated Word document. Scout Plan Items default to the order as they were within the plan itself as the user was building it out, but can be changed (only within a single plan – users cannot move items out of one plan and into another for the generated brief).
DefenseReady Scout is currently available for free to users of DefenseReady. The app also has a built-in Demo Mode. Therefore, if you’re not currently a DefenseReady customer, you’re still able to download and test it out. You can currently download the application directly from the Windows 8 App Store, or from this link:
Update Rollup 16 for CRM 2011 is now available and it is massive! This update provides more than 140 fixes and roughly 50 of them are for the Outlook client. It is good to see that Microsoft is still hard at work optimizing and fixing CRM 2011 issues. Update Rollup 15 focused on Outlook client improvements so with Update Rollup 16, users should be seeing vast improvements in the Outlook client compared to previous versions.
UR 16 also provides some key UR 12 fixes as well:
- Reports do not render correctly after applying CRM 2011 Update Rollup 12.
- After applying Update Rollup 12 on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Server, users of the offline edition of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Client for Outlook are unable to configure their Offline Scheduled Sync settings under Personal Settings.
- After Update Rollup 12, datetime picklist does not show the selected value when opened.
- Cannot use print preview for draft replied emails with images after Update Rollup 12 & 13.
Head here for the full list of fixes (be prepared to scroll for awhile!) and here for the download. As with all Update Rollups, be sure to regression test on a development environment first before applying to production.
Two weeks ago we released the Dynamics CRM DevTools Chrome extension and so far we have received a great response from the community. In just two weeks time the CRM DevTools hit over 400 users! We want to keep enhancing the DevTools so we created a forum here where would love to hear any feedback on what could make your everyday customizing, developing, and administration easier that we can leverage through this tool.
We are currently working hard on an update to provide even more functionality as well. Below is a sneak peek of the new Fetch tab enhancements that will provide Fetch XML highlighting, auto-closing of nodes and intellisense!
Look out for an update in the near future with these enhancements and much more!
An often overlooked feature of CRM is the ability to easily update numeric fields using simple calculations without having to invest in the services of a developer. Power users, administrators, and business analysts can use workflows to add, subtract, and multiply data in numeric fields.
A simple case of this would be to have a field Contact entity that tracks the number of phone calls made to the Contact. This field can then be used in reports / dashboards for you to further target your highly active Contacts to drive future business, or even send a slightly better holiday gift as a thank you for their continued business.
The first thing you’ll want to do is create a numeric field (whole number, currency, decimal, or floating point number). I’ve added a “# of Phone Calls” whole number field to my Contact form.
Then create a workflow to run off of Phone Call creation, and the only step needed is an Update step to update the Contact record.
In this step, click in your numeric field, and click the drop down for Operator. You’re able to set the field to a specific value, clear it, or use one of the simple math functions provided to perform easy calculations.
Now you can create your phone calls and watch your calculated field increment up with each workflow. You can obviously put in conditions in your workflow in case you only want to count phone calls that are completed, and not all phone calls. Or you can even add workflows for the other activity types in case you’re not interested in just a workflow count, but an overall count of activities made to contacts, or even accounts. Finally, you can add workflows around the deletion event of these activities to decrement the count if you allow your users to delete activity records.
An additional use case for this native functionality would be to roll up child line item costs/expenses/sales, to a parent record. A custom entity could be create to track time for professional service firms. The time records could then roll up to the parent project record to track the overall hours logged against the project, and even be multiplied by the hourly rate to track the overall budget spent at the project.
This functionality, which offers basic math, allows non technical folk to add powerful business logic to their solution, and is often overlooked for the more complex / more expensive “custom development” solution.
I am happy to announce Dynamics CRM DevTools, our new free developer tool for Dynamics CRM 2013 and 2011 UR 12+. CRM DevTools is an extension to Google Chrome which can be found here in the Chrome web store. This extension provides a variety of tools to help optimize customizing and troubleshooting within Dynamics CRM. Currently all deployments of CRM 2013 and CRM 2011 UR 12+ are supported. Below is usage information and a full list of features.
- Using Google Chrome, install the app from the web store - https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/sonoma-partners-dynamics/eokikgaenlfgcpoifejlhaalmpeihfom
- Navigate to a record in CRM 2013 or 2011 UR 12+
- Press F12 to open the Chrome DevTools Panel
- Click the CRM DevTools tab on the far right
Displays the current form’s back-end information
- Entity Name
- Entity Id
- Entity Type Code
- Form Type
- Is Dirty
- Ability to show the current form’s attribute’s schema names
- Ability to refresh the current form
- Ability to enable disabled attributes on the current form (System Administrators only)
Ability to show hidden attributes on the current form (System Administrators only)
Current User Information
- Domain Name
- User Id
- Business Unit Id
- Ability to open advanced find
- Set focus to a field on the current form
- Display a specific User and navigate to the record (by Id)
- Display a specific Privilege (by Id)
- Ability to update attributes from the current form (System Administrators only)
- This is helpful when you need to update values for testing but the fields don’t exist on the form
- Execute any Fetch XML statement and view the results
This version of Editable Grids for CRM 2011 fixed a few defects:
- Fixed a script error when changing views on the editable grids in Outlook 2010
- Fixed inability to tab out of lookup attributes
- Fixed errors on decimal attributes
- Provided a friendly error message when a user tries to save the editable grid with an invalid date format
Sonoma Partner’s Editable Grids is a utility that allows users to quickly and easily update multiple records at one time. The editable grid button is accessed in the application ribbon, so users can always access it quickly. The editable grid button is available on Account, Contact, Opportunity, Lead, and Case out of the box, but can be added to more entities through configuration.
Note that this release of Editable Grids is for Dynamics CRM 2011 only and not Dynamics CRM 2013. These are two separate solutions that Sonoma Partners provides for the latest two major releases of CRM.
This is a free tool that Sonoma Partners makes available to the community. Head over to the Community Site now and download your copy!
In CRM 2011, if you need to reference values in code that would change between deployments, the best practice is to create a new entity (typically called Configuration) and add necessary attributes for configurable values such as a “Server URL” of an integration web service. The sole purpose of this entity is to hold one record that would contain the correct values that your custom code can reference, usually for integration purposes. The downside to this approach is that it adds overhead by needing to create a whole entity that will only ever have one record and you need to manually import that record into your target environment. Below is a step-by-step guide on how we can avoid a configuration entity in CRM 2013 using Custom Actions.
In CRM 2013, go to Settings and then Processes. Create a new Process and set the Category to “Action” and the Entity to “None (global)”.
Once the process is created, click the plus icon to add a new argument and set the name to the configuration value such as “ServerUrl”. Set the Type appropriately based on your value and set the Direction to Output. Do this for each configuration value needed.
Scroll down to the designer and click “Add Step” and then “Assign Value”.
Now save and activate your new custom action.
The custom action is now live so we can use the CrmSvcUtil to generate an SDK message for the action so that we can easily use it with server-side code. You can use the CrmSvcUtil the same way in 2013 as you did in 2011 but you will need to add the “/a” flag to generate an SDK message for your custom actions.
Note: You will need the latest CrmSvcUtil which is provided here in the 2013 SDK.
CrmSvcUtil /url:http://server/org/XRMServices/2011/Organization.svc /out:Demo.cs
/serviceContextName:DemoContext /namespace:Demo.Model /a
Now we can reference the new_GetConfigurationValuesRequest and execute it to get the ServerUrl value from CRM. Even though we specified the custom action as global, we are still required to pass in an EntityReference otherwise CRM will throw an error. Our workaround for this is to pass in the ID of the current user.
var request =
Target = new EntityReference("systemuser", GetCurrentUserId()),
var response = (new_GetConfigurationValuesResponse)_service.Execute(request);
var url = response.ServerUrl;
- A new feature has been incorporated into the update! You may now filter the amount of data returned based on Creation Date.
- Styling has been updated to fit with the new 2013 look and feel
If you have any additional issues or questions regarding Universal Search, please visit our Community Site Forum for Universal Search.
Day 1 of the 2013 CRMUG Summit has come to a close…a successful close at that. The first day was packed full of a variety of breakout sessions, 3 hours of the Expo, and an informative (and often humorous) keynote session. The keynote humor was fueled by Reuben Krippner's great demo of Business Process in 2013 using a custom “Baby'” entity with how he reacted to the upcoming addition to his family.
CRM 2013 hasn’t fully been released yet and discussion was already around what’s next. The next batch of releases (code named Subra, Mira, and Leo) will be around enhancing Marketing Pilot and Netbreeze integrations with CRM. These will hit the shelves in Q1 and Q2 of 2014.
The keynote also revealed some new announcements made by Microsoft this week. They announced a strategic alliance with InsideView Inc. and the first part of that alliance is embedding Social Insights into Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online for the cost of….wait for it…NOTHING! There’s a small stipulation that you need to have the Professional License of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online to use the functionality for no additional cost. However, Social Insights delivers real time account and contact information from 30,000 sources right into CRM Online. This will help find more leads, win more deals, and grow accounts.
The breakout sessions were equally informative. The Mobility Session by Beth Steinke was so popular, that there was standing room only, and a quick announcement that a repeat session will be held on Wednesday. Some interesting information discussed during this session was the fact that Android tablets, and Windows Phone/iPhone/Android Phone apps would be coming shortly.
After a long day of sessions, day 1 of the Expo was equally successful. The Sonoma Partners booth (#312) saw a lot of foot traffic of CRM (and non-CRM) users who were interested in discussing the Sonoma Partners Mobility Test Drive, experience with UX, and solutions that were built for mobile devices. The Expo is open longer on Day 2, so if you’re interested in hearing more about Sonoma Partners, UX, and enterprise mobility, please stop by and say hi.