Testing Data Migration with Dynamics 365 On-Premise

I recently had a requirement to perform some Data Migration, but I needed a test system while I built up my SSIS process as I didn’t want to use the real online environments. Luckily, I have my own on-premise Dynamics 365 Version 9 Server which I have always used for testing and messing around with solutions and compatibility.

The main issue I have always had with using on-premise servers however is that these days, we are all developing with online environments, and solutions and what not from online cannot be imported into an on-premise environment. In the past, I have often just resorted to hand modifying solutions to get them in to the system. This would often involve editing the solution.xml file within the solution zip file, to alter the version tags at the top, and to remove the crmonline tag. Quite often, this would also require a few modifications to the customizations.xml file to remove any tags that do not exist in version 9 of Dynamics.

Its a hack, but for testing purposes, this was always something that worked.

These days though, you more often than not will face all manor of other issues, such as dependencies on other solutions, and its become a lot harder to achieve this.

I needed a new plan.

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Don’t name your On-Premise organisation “Portal”

Had a curious issue recently where I had set up a new Dynamics 365 Version 9 on premise server for testing. Everything was working as expected until I upgraded to the latest September 2019 release of CRM (update 0.8).

Upon further examination though, it had nothing to do with the update, it was the new Organisation I had created called “Portal”. For some reason, this organisation simply would not work, giving an error when trying to access it. I could see some nasty error messages in the Event Log which made me think it was something to do with the Upgrade (Assembly DLL load issues).

However, I created a new Organisation which actually worked fine.

I think I have come to the conclusion that the name of the org, Portal was producing some internal error with CRM and preventing it from loading. Maybe /Portal in the URL is reserved for something else, who knows.

Its not something that would probably affect many people, but I felt compelled to write a post about it in case anyone else was stuck with this.

Business Rules, Entity Images does break!

This was an interesting find by one of my colleagues, and verified by myself to be a real issue.

All of a sudden, one of our custom entities within our development environment started to throw errors when trying to edit business rules.

We got to the point where we were seriously considering resetting the environment using a backup, when it was discovered that the only thing we could think that had changed was that the entity had been enabled for Entity Images as a test. Sure enough, deleting the field that was created for the entity image was enough to bring the business rules back.

So, let that be a lesson, if you enable entity images on a custom entity, you may just lose access to your business rules.

I am not sure if Microsoft is aware of the issue, or are planning on fixing it, but its something to watch out for.

Microsoft Dynamics Template for Visual Studio updated

I have recently updated my Visual Studio Template for holding Microsoft Dynamics Assets. Its available on the Marketplace by searching for Hallstudios, or you can download it using the button below.

  • I have added a new Project within the Solution Template for holding TypeScript files for use in the Entity Forms. Creating and editing a TypeScript file will automatically create a matching JavaScript file which can be uploaded to Dynamics.
  • The solution also includes Intellisense for the Xrm Client API within the TypeScript files.
  • The Solution Unpacker tool has been updated with the latest version so it now supports packing and unpacking Dynamics Solutions that contain Flow’s.

Update to CRM Utilities for Visual Studio

Just recently updated the CRM utilities extension with the following fixes :

  • Supports SVG files correctly. Although publishing files to an SVG Web Resource was working, if a file in Visual Studio had the SVG extension, when right clicking it, it would not offer the option to Link or Publish.
  • When extracting a solution from Dynamics, if the Web Resource naming convention does not have a file extension, then the Publish and Linking features would not work properly. Now, if it detects that the file has a corresponding “filename.data.xml” file (which it will if its been exported and unpacked from Dynamics), then it will offer the Publish and Linking options.
  • When trying to link or publish a TypeScript file, if an equivalent JavaScript file exists in either the same folder, or in an alternative JS folder, then its that file that will get linked or published. This means you can directly edit a TS file, save it and publish, without having to select the JS file.
  • An Entity Filter has been added to the Class Generation options allowing a list of entity logical names (separated by a semi-colon) to be entered. When creating a class file, any entities that are found in this list are not added to the file. This is very useful when you have a similar named custom entity that always clashes with a system entity. For example, if you have your own address entity, you can exclude the system address entity.

As usual, you can get the update from the Marketplace, or by downloading here :

Solution History

The other day, I was investigating some solution import issues, and I need to see who was guilty of importing a solution into an environment that it should never have been imported into.

I fired up the old XrmToolbox, to use the Plugin called Solution History which I always found a nice handy little tool for getting at the history of when and who imported solutions.

It was at that point that I realised that CRM now supports a Solution History view within the user interface. I have no idea when this appeared, but it seems to be sometime this year.

Since then, I have found this invaluable for investigation solution issues, and also for updating environments where you need to follow the exact pattern of solution imports that were done within a test environment.

To use it, simply get to your Settings area of Dynamics, and choose Solution History from within the Customization section.

This will then give you a nice list of the solutions that were imported, exported, succeeded and failed.