Monday, June 18, 2012

MS Dynamics CRM 2011 Activity Feeds and Yammer.

The news is hot off the press - Microsoft has agreed to buy Yammer for $1.2 billion. Yammer is one of the more mature enterprise social networks available on the market right now. There is already some speculation of how Microsoft is going to use (or misuse) this great tool, but the focus of this post is a little different. I am going to try and see how the existing activity feeds functionality stacks up against the Yammer platform. I understand it might be a little unfair to compare an eight month old feature will a full fledged platform, but my goal is not to beat up on a work in progress feature but to get excited about Yammer, and see what it can bring to our implementations.

Friday, June 8, 2012

No Code solution to populate Two Options values when creating a record from a CRM 2011 dialog

The inspiration for this post is a similarly titled blog on msdn from @devkeydet.

Is is an excellent read, and shows the power and ease of using custom workflows. I am going to provide a solution for the same scenario which uses the existing process (workflow) UI, but without any custom coding.

The business case is pretty straightforward. Here is the scenario from the blog post in its entirety:

“I have an entity with a field of type ‘Two Options’ that I would like to populate within a ‘Create Record’ activity in a CRM 2011 dialog.   The ‘Two Options’ type in CRM 2011 is a boolean.  The ‘Prompt and Response’ activity in a CRM 2011 dialog only gives me options for Text/Integer/Float. Because of this, I can’t set the value of the answer to the field in the entity  within ‘Set Properties’ because the types don’t match.”

Here are the steps to achieve the same result without the custom code workflow:

Friday, June 1, 2012

Solution Packager - Enable Source Control for Solutions in CRM 2011

The concept of solutions was introduced in CRM 2011, for the express purpose of having an easy way to combine all the customizations in a packaged format. While this has greatly improved life for people who customize CRM on a daily basis, there are still issues around enabling robust source control for a unmanaged or managed solution.

The solution is available to us in a .zip format, and source control will not be able to track changes in the files within the .zip. This might not be a problem with only one Consultant on a project, but when we have a team of folks working together, tracking changes is not for the faint of heart.

The solution packager is an excellent tool to solve the source control issues. In simple terms, the tool fragments the .zip file into multiple files, with the individual components in specific folders/files, thus enabling granular tracking of changes to components. The solution packager can also be used to convert the fragmented files back into a .zip file, thus reversing the process.