Archive for 2011
As you may (or many not) know i have been working on our largest CRM implementation which also happens to be out first large scale CRM 2011 implementation. As such, we have started working with solution files!
First of all, I would like to say that I really love the concept of solution files. Making changes for either support or development purposes on clients CRM systems in CRM 4 felt very clumsy and poorly controlled. The introduction of solutions dealt with this in a way that feels much more professional. However, the question arose, what is the best practice for using solutions?
The ProblemsSurprisingly, i couldn't see many (if any) articles or details on this. So we started out by, on our development environment, creating a solution file using the client name and using the version number to control this. We added all the existing system components and made changes to these as we went along. However, the problem with this is that development felt a bit cumbersome. You couldn't use the native “Customise” tab on forms as this edited the default solution as well as the fact that all members of the team had to remember to stick to the solution only and not do this.
We also had major issues when applying the solution that came from the way our solution was interacting with another managed solution. We installed our main solution on one of the clients servers after which, we installed the brilliant eCampaign (great email marketing extension for Dynamics CRM 2011) on the one of the clients servers. The problems started when we subsequently made changes (by creating another solution file) on this server.
When we tried to export our solution file, we were quite rightly warned that components were missing. So, we added the components. We did this until it appeared that all the required components (including those used by the managed eCampaign solution) were included. When we tried to import the solution into our Dev environment it failed because, you guessed it, we couldn't import components of a managed solution! So, we went back, removed all components of the managed solution, re-exported ignoring the warnings about missing components. When we tried to import it into our Dev environment………it failed because of missing components!!! The only “solution” was to edit the XML solution file, something we were very uncomfortable with at this stage.
Now, i know what your thinking. Why on earth are you developing on a client server!! And, to be honest your right. It was necessary at the time but bad practice which brings us back to what should be our future practice. For those of you interested, the way we got around the above situation was to ask the vendor (eCampaign) to uninstall the managed solution, export our solution file (which now no longer required the missing components) and reinstall the managed solution after.
The Best Practice (Well…according to me anyway)So the moral of the story (or what we have learned so far is…)
- Create a Deployment for your Client on your development environment
- Develop in the “Default Solution”.
- When ready to deploy on your client server, you have 2 choices:
- Export The Default Solution – If this is exported as managed, then when imported it will show as “Default Solution” in the clients list of installed solutions. If it is exported as unmanaged, it will overwrite the existing default solution and as such, wont appear in the clients list of solutions.
- Create A New Solution & Add The Relevant Components – When exported either as managed or unmanaged, it will show in the solution list.
- Create A Single Solution File With Relevant Components – Create a solution file with a relevant name (i.e. ClientName Updates 2011) and add the relevant components. Every time the client wants changes made, create a solution with the same name but different version number on your Dev environment and when importing as a managed solution, it will update the existing solution. You can of course always do this with your solution file created in step 3 with the same results.
- Create Multiple Solution Files For Each Change Batch – Create a solution with a unique name and install on your clients environment.
Ok, so first of all apologies for going quiet over the past few months! (Again!). I have just delivered the biggest CRM project that Chorus IT has ever delivered! This has been a huge success (with plenty lessons learned also!). Customer happy, seeing real tangible value and really excited about how MS Dynamics CRM 2011 is going to revolutionise their business.
So, to begin… Setting Default Activity Values – Duration, Date & Time.
The system we built for our client is being heavily used to record activities for large sales teams. With a target of 100 calls a day in mind, any little pieces of data entry we could shave off would help hugely. One of these was the fact that every time they made a phone call they had to enter the duration (which on average was 2 minutes") and set the date and time to the current date and time.
Duration:This was no where near as easy as i expected it to be. As you know, the duration field displays as an option set (dropdown) of values. As such you would think it would be easy to add values to this…………not so! This field is in fact a “Whole Number” field!
var CRM_FORM_TYPE_CREATE = 1;
var CRM_FORM_TYPE_UPDATE = 2;
// do nothing
Hey presto! This meant that on creation of a phone call activity the script runs but not on any other occasion.
Hope this helps and stay tuned for some more interesting bits to come!
I am currently developing a CRM system in 2011 for one of our biggest clients. One of the requirements is to create editable lists which i have decided is best handled by creating holding entities for this information. For example, creating an entity to hold marketing sources allows easier reporting across selected sources and allows the marketing team to manage the list (adding new ones and deactivating unused ones). The problem with this is that to add a value to this it involves opening a whole CRM form which isn't the best. So, for these entities I don't display the left-navigation options and i wanted to minimize the Ribbon.
However, this wasn't as easy as it sounds…
First of all, having scoured the SDK i could see plenty of examples of how to add or hide BUTTONS on the ribbon and even (via other blogs) remove the ribbon itself, but nothing that would minimize the ribbon allowing it to be expanded if needed.
However, still didn't work…..
Reason being, that the Ribbon seems to be one of the last things to Load in the form, loading after the OnLoad events have fired. So, i needed to add a timeout to wait before firing the script and it worked a treat! Final code ended up as:
Which gave the following results:
No matter how i tried i could not get this to work. However, after some detective work……and reading this blog post (cheers) i realised that the bit i was missing was that in the script, the brackets need to contain the name of the tab (name, not the Label). However, it has to be contained in “”. So my code was…
Sorted! Hope that helps
Just a quick post today to advertise a very very useful post by fellow CRM Blogger Gareth Tucker..
I had a customer call this week stating that the email marketing solution they had purchased from us (eCampaign, brilliant solution check it out here) was not sending emails.
Upon investigation, we realised that the email had been created but for some reason Microsoft Dynamics Email Router was not sending them. The email router service was stoppped and every time we tried to retstart it would immediately stop again!
After some digging around we found a blog post that gave us the solution.
The Microsoft.Crm.Tools.EmailAgent.SystemState.xml in the C:\Program Files\Microsoft CRM Email\Service folder had become corrupt. We closed down email router, removed the file and restated the service. This worked a treat and all the emails started sending merrily. Only problem……27k emails started sending! But at least the customer was happy to be sending emails again.
Hope this helps
P.S. Thanks to Marcello for his help!