Category Archives: Information

CRM 2013 Quick View Menu

The Quick View Menu helps you navigate to any location in Dynamics CRM quickly and seamlessly by taking your existing Sitemap and presenting it in an easy to navigate interface. The menu currently comes with a Win 8 UI look & feel while also allowing you to provide additional resource and configuration settings.

Available from CodePlex http://crm2013quickviewmenu.codeplex.com/

Open Quick View from Sitemap

QuickViewMenuBar

Example of CRM Sales

QuickViewMenuOOB

Example of full OOB menu layout and style

QuickViewMenuFullView

The managed solution configuration page provides a Sitemap setting to easily add/remove the Quick View Menu to/from you Sitemap.

QuickViewConfig

Quick View Menu Summary

Current Features

  • Multi-browser support Currently tested with IE 10+, Chrome, FireFox
  • Configure Sitemap Area, Group and SubArea exclusions. (i.e. modify QuickViewMenuConfig.xml)
  • Resource management such as Sitemap item Title, Icon overrides. (i.e. modify QuickViewMenuResources.xml)
  • Win 8 UI look & feel.
  • Add/Remove Quick View Menu to/from the Sitemap easily from the Solution Configuration.
  • Horizontal Mouse Scroll.

Limitations

  • Security is not implemented yet so users can see all menu items except those specified as exclusions. If a user selects a menu option that they have no rights to normally they will just receive a standard CRM access restricted message.

Future Improvements

  • Security
  • Solution Configuration option to easily manage Sitemap Exclusions.
  • Solution Configuration option to easily manage Sitemap Resources.
  • Solution Configuration option to easily manage Colour Scheme.
  • Ability to Customize Quick View Menu layout.
  • Define User specific Quick View Menu layout.

About Dynamics XRM Tools

Dynamics XRM Tools projects aim to provide a richer user experience along with useful tools to help increase productivity.

A joint effort started by Rhett Clinton MVP, Ramon Tebar MVP and Mario Cantero.

Prepare your JavaScript for Dynamics CRM 2013

The CRM Team have posted a very good article on what to look out for with regards ensuring you are ready for Dynamics CRM 2013 form script changes. Take a look at this article to help prepare for your upgrade http://blogs.msdn.com/b/crm/archive/2013/08/23/check-your-javascript-code-to-prepare-for-your-upgrade.aspx .

You can also find the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Custom Code Validation Tool here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30151. This will help you prepare for your upgrade to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. It is possible that some code will stop working or cause an error when you upgrade from CRM 2011 to 2013 so it is worth putting the time in to investigate. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM Custom Code Validation Tool helps identify potential problems so that any potential issues can be resolved before upgrading. the tool will help identify potential issues with custom JavaScript in JavaScript libraries and HTML web resources. It will detect issues in web resources that will no longer work after you upgrade from CRM 2011 to 2013. Areas that the tool will cover include CRM v4 client SDK calls, CRM 2007 end points and Common DOM manipulations.

if you haven’t already you should go take a look at What’s Changing in the Next Major Release of Dynamics CRM http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn281891.aspx for a broad overview of the new release.

You can download the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Software Development Kit (SDK) here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=40321 to get up to speed regards the fantastic capabilities coming with CRM 2013. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Software Development Kit (SDK) is for developers, system customisers, and report writers.

A great site to keep up to date with all the goodness is the Dynamics CRM Develop Center on msdn. http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm/jj937218 where you can get all of the information you need to develop, design, and distribute solutions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

Get Ready for CRM 2013 by Donna Edwards MVP

Donna has pulled together a wealth of links to all the juicy goodness that is CRM 2013 and instead of re inventing the wheel you can go and check her page out here. http://edwardsdna.wordpress.com/2013/09/04/getting-ready-for-crm-2013/

You can also watch the CRM Community page for upcoming information here. https://rc.crm.dynamics.com/rc/2011/en-us/Dynamics-CRM-Upcoming-Release-Information.aspx

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Announcement

Today Microsoft has announced that it will make the new version of CRM, titled Dynamics CRM 2013,  available in fall 2013 (Spring in the southern hemi). Very exciting news and I’m sure many people are going to be getting very excited over the next months as more information becomes shared publically.  Read the MS News Center article here for information http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/news/Press/2013/Jul13/07-02DynamicsCRM13PR.aspx

Additional info

Microsoft Dynamics CRM customers and prospects can learn more about Microsoft Dynamics CRM at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-vision.aspx.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM partners can follow the launch at https://mbs.microsoft.com/partnersource/solutions/CRM/CRMLaunchPage.htm.

You can follow and engage with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community @MSDynamicsCRM, http://www.twitter.com/msdynamicscrm.

CRM Online to SharePoint Online Integration using REST and ADFS

Accessing SharePoint Online 2013 REST services with SSO via ADFS (Active Directory Federation Services) from CRM Online provides loads of potential opportunities, especially now that SharePoint offers a huge REST API. You can call REST from a CRM Online Plugin or Custom Workflow activity with no dependencies on SharePoint Client dll’s or Azure getting in the way, It is fairly awesome I must say.

I use the HttpWebRequest class to perform SOAP requests to perform the authentication part of this integration, which is totally supported within Sandboxed Plugins and Custom Workflow Activities. You can read more about the restrictions of the CRM Sandboxed environment here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg334752.aspx. Once you get authenticated and obtain the cookies you are free to fire REST calls off by simply providing the cookies along with the request.

The best diagram I found to describe the authentication process visually was from Wictor Wilen’s blog http://www.wictorwilen.se/

Auth Process

I wanted to explore the issue of authentication between CRM Online and SharePoint Online from a server to server perspective and as you can imagine authentication is a big hurdle for this direct type of communication as every example I have seen so far includes Azure. Well at least until I started to look at what others were doing with Windows 8 Apps and Active Authentication. Omar Venado http://blogs.msdn.com/b/omarv/ and fellow MVP Wictor Wilen http://www.wictorwilen.se/ had some really great articles to help me build out a solution focused on this scenario. The code attached to this blog is heavily derived from Omar’s Windows 8 App code though now is useable in non Windows 8 App projects such as C# Console, SSIS Packages and of course CRM Plugin/Workflow projects. I have added some background reading at the bottom of this post so you can see the articles I used to get my code to work.

An example of how simple this code is to use

Uri spSite = new Uri(https://myOrg.sharepoint.com/sites/mySite”);

bool success = SpoAuthUtility.Create(spSite, username@domain.com, WebUtility.HtmlEncode(“Pword123”), false);

string odataQuery = “_api/web/lists”;

Uri url = new Uri(String.Format(“{0}/{1}”, SpoAuthUtility.Current.SiteUrl, odataQuery));

// Send a json odata request to SPO rest services to fetch all list items for the list.

byte[] result = HTTPHelper.SendODataJsonRequest(

url,

“GET”, // reading data from SP through the rest api usually uses the GET verb

null,

(HttpWebRequest)HttpWebRequest.Create(url),

SpoAuthUtility.Current // pass in the helper object that allows us to make authenticated calls to SPO rest services

);

string response = Encoding.UTF8.GetString(result, 0, result.Length);

You can authenticate using corporate credentials if inside your network, username/password if outside your network (e.g CRM Online O365) and you can also use your onmicrosoft.com accounts. Remember that my primary focus was on server to server integration possibilities, not user to server contexts such as in the current SharePoint CRM List Component model.

The attached C# Console app contains 3 files to provide you with an example of how to use the 2 cs classes HTTPHelper and SPOAuthUtility. To authenticate and start calling REST from CRM Plugins/Workflows simple include the HTTPHelper and SPOAuthUtility cs files into your Plugin/Workflow project.

Example App is available here https://skydrive.live.com/redir?resid=492A170E77E43399!830

Background reading

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/omarv/archive/2012/10/25/windows-8-store-apps-office-365-enterprise-preview-sharepoint-online.aspx

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/omarv/archive/2012/11/15/developing-windows-store-apps-for-sharepoint-online-with-sso-single-sign-on.aspx

http://www.wictorwilen.se/Post/How-to-do-active-authentication-to-Office-365-and-SharePoint-Online.aspx

http://allthatjs.com/2012/03/28/remote-authentication-in-sharepoint-online/

CRM 2011 SDK version 5.0.16 available

The MS CRM Team have released an updated CRM 2011 SDK version 5.0.16 which can be downloaded here http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=24004 or viewed on MSDN here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg309408.aspx Check out the SDK Release History notes here http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn198205.aspx

 

What’s Changing in the Next Major Release – This new topic outlines features that will be changing in the upcoming Orion release and provides a tool you can use to help you prepare your organizations for these changes.

 

New and updated topics Description of changes
Microsoft_Dynamics_CRM_2011_SDK_Readme.htm Updated the readme for this version of the SDK package.
Active Directory and Claims-Based Authentication

Authenticate Office 365 Users with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online Web Services

OrganizationServiceProxy

DiscoveryServiceProxy

Updated these topics to remove the restriction on using the service proxy classes when authenticating with the Microsoft online services identity provider of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. You can now use these proxy classes with all deployment types and identity providers.
BulkDeleteRequest

BulkDetectDuplicatesRequest

Added in Remarks that you can run the bulk delete job or bulk detect duplicates job daily or without recurrence.
Create, Export, or Import an Unmanaged Solution

Create, Install, and Update a Managed Solution

Added a note to these topics saying “Installing a solution can interfere with normal system operation. We recommend that you schedule solution imports when it’s least disruptive to users.”
Form XML Reference The following FormXml elements have been updated to indicate that they are for internal use only: <ControlMode> (FormXml), <QuickFormRelationshipName> (FormXML), <QuickFormRelationshipRoleOrdinal> (FormXml), and <UniqueId> (FormXml). These elements are used only in a quick form, which is not customizable. These elements will be removed from the schema in the next major release.
Handle Exceptions in Plug-Ins Clarified how plug-in exceptions are handled and where error message are written or displayed.
Introduction to Activity Feeds Corrected the maximum number of characters in the posts created programmatically. The correct value is 2000 characters.
Introduction to Solutions Added the Enterprise Solution Lifecycle Management section introducing the ALM for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011: CRM Solution Lifecycle Management white paper.
Open Forms, Views, Dialogs and Reports with a URL Appended to an existing note to include:

Microsoft Dynamics CRM forms are not designed to be opened as dialogs using either showModalDialog or showModelessDialog.

Uninstall or Delete a Solution Added an Access the Solutions List with a URL section.
What’s Changing in the Next Major Release Added a new topic to provide information about what is changing in the next major release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
Write Custom Code for Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Outlook

GoOffline               GoOnline

Added a note that these methods cannot be used in a plug-in because they cause a UI interaction with the user.
Xrm.Page.data.entity Attribute Methods Added a missing getFormat return value: textarea.
Xrm.Page.ui Control Methods Added a remark to the addCustomView method to show that this method does not work with Owner lookups.
Xrm.Utility Reference Corrected an error for the openEntityForm method. This method returns a Boolean value rather than a window object.

Troubleshoot and analyse CRM 2011 using Log Parser

Sometimes you have issues that you want to troubleshoot and other times you may choose to investigate/analyse/review your CRM 2011 environment.  Often performing health checks is necessary and I suggest necessary if you haven’t already thought of this. One of the tools I promote for searching and crunching logs is Log Parser. This awesome tool is a powerful, versatile tool that provides universal query access to text-based data such as log files, XML files and CSV files, as well as key data sources on the Windows® operating system such as the Event Log, the Registry, the file system, and Active Directory®. If that doesn’t sound awesome enough for you how about if you could write a sql type query against the server’s Application Event Log to find where lock is found in the message attribute like so.

SELECT * FROM \\server1\APPLICATION where message like ‘%lock%’

or lets look at the Application and System Event Log entries for server1

SELECT * FROM \\server1\APPLICATION, \\server1\SYSTEM where message like ‘%lock%’

but wait there, what if I have 2 front end CRM servers, server1 and server2.

SELECT * FROM \\server1\APPLICATION, \\server1\SYSTEM, \\server2\APPLICATION, \\server2\SYSTEM where message like ‘%lock%’

This is just touching the surface of what this tool can do to dig through information held in your environment, this is also all from my own desktop machine, there is no need to log on to various servers to gather this information. So command line is so yesterday I hear you say, well there is also Log Parser Studio which presents a library of ready to go queries for various sources. You need to install Log Parser first and then you’re ready to go.

You can also take a look at Log Parser Lizard by Dimce Kuzmanov, a free GUI tool for managing queries and exporting results to Excel and charts. In addition, you will find input filters for RegEx and log4net input log formats (with support for regular expressions) and SQL server T-SQL queries.

Here is a useful article from MS Support regarding some useful Log Parser queries http://support.microsoft.com/kb/910447

So what about CRM Trace Files

SELECT top 2 * FROM C:\Temp\server1-w3wp-CRMWeb-20120210-1.log where Text like ‘%Error%’

As you can see this is fairly awesome stuff and there is so much more that you can use this tool for. Hopefully this has introduced you to something new and useful for your future discovery.