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.
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.
Most CRM Developers either use, or have at least heard of CrmSvcUtil for generating early bound classes for developing code and using the resulting classes to manipulate CRM data. I personally do not like working with early bound entities as the resulting class files are huge, and I personally prefer working with the standard Entity Framework for creating and updating entities, and for Linq queries.
Often, I use some helper class libraries that I can use to represent the custom entity names and attributes, so that they can be referenced in code and provide a degree of separation from the actual Schema names and to make code easier to write, and support Intelli-sense.
Something like the code sample below:
public static class Contact
public static const string EntityName = "contact";
public static const string Name = "fullname";
This would then allow you to do the following:
public void createContact()
Entity contact = new Entity(Contact.EntityName);
contact[Contact.Name] = "Joe Blogs";
I was offered a suggestion by a fellow developer that wouldn’t it be good if my CRM Utilities for Visual Studio allowed you to generate this kind of Class file automatically. Well, I thought it was a brilliant idea, and so thanks to the wonderful gentleman of XRTSoft, here it is.
Its split into two options, one to generate classes for your Custom Entities, and one to do the Standard CRM entities.
The resulting file will look something like this:
Notice that for each Entity, it will add the Logical Name, Primary ID Attribute, and the Primary Name Attribute as standard, and then all of the attributes as well. It will also add sub classes for any Option Sets to allow you to reference specific Option Set Values without having to look them up in CRM.
When developing web resources for use in Microsoft Dynamics, I am a big fan of using Visual Studio with Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS), but for smaller organisations, or less experienced developers, sometimes this is overkill. I know a lot of people who just make do with Notepad++, and why not, as it’s perfectly capable of editing code, syntax highlighting and formatting.
In my journey to discover and use as many self hosted web-based systems as I can (stay tuned for an upcoming post for more information), I wondered if there was anything that might help Dynamics developers.
That’s when I happened upon CODIAD ( http://codiad.com/ ) which is an online IDE for developing JS, HTML, CSS, XML and many more file formats. It offers full syntax highlighting, project collections and an extensible plugin system.
Part two of my Chat Bot series expands a little on the original blog post. Again, this post is more of a demonstration than a how-to as there are plenty of articles on the Web on how to develop Chat Bots using the Microsoft Framework.
To see it in action, click on the chat area at the bottom of the screen and start typing. If you need help, just type help to see a couple of sample commands. The new feature in the Bot is that you can now report an abandoned vehicle. Why, I hear you ask. Well, in my line of work, reporting a dead animal, reporting dog poo, and reporting an abandoned vehicle is the very key to my day-to-day work (and other things)! I kid you not 🙂
One of the new technologies that I have seen a lot of lately in the news, and tech blogs about Dynamics is the idea of using Chat Bots to improve customer service and to reduce the pressure on customer service front line staff.
I thought I would give them a go and see how they are created.
This post is primarily about my findings on how easy it was to create one, but is by no means a how to guide as there are plenty of resources on the internet.
I have decided to release a small utility that I developed and have been using for a long time when developing Web Resources for CRM within Visual Studio.
It allows you to publish Web Resources to CRM straight from within CRM, and if you attach it to a Keyboard Shortcut, means you can publish it with a press of a key as soon as you have finished editing it.
It allows you to edit JS, HTML, XML and images as part of a Visual Studio Solution. It saves your connection string locally within a project, and remembers which files relate to which CRM Web Resources. It also allows you to run FetchXML queries, and you can save your queries as part of your Project.
It can be downloaded from here, and full instructions on how to use it are also available.
While developing some web resources for Dynamics, and also an external Web Portal, I was struggling with getting Internet Explorer to display properly, specifically using older browser versions such as IE7,IE8 and IE9. If I listen closely, I can probably hear you say “use the latest version of IE, upgrade, update and be done”. Well, if I were in a position to make that happen, I probably would, however, like a lot of people out there working for structured companies, their base “corporate” desktop install never has the latest version of anything on it.
After much googling, I discovered that there is a specific meta tag you can use that causes Internet Explorer to use the latest standards, thus preventing any display issues.
So, in my web resources, I have added the following to the HEAD section and it seems to do the job quite nicely.
For my web portal, I was able to achieve the same across all pages by adding the tag into the IIS settings. I used the GUI to do this, but I did notice that all it did was add it to the web.config file.
In IIS, within your web site/application, select the following option :
And then add the following :
The resulting web.config for the web site/application now contains the following :