What are “Apps”?

So if you didn’t know, we now have apps that we can include as part of a solution. These are essentially another way to group together a set of configurations to enable a simpler, more streamlined user experience. I won’t go into all the details as the link provides most of them, but it allows system configurators to create a dedicated Site map that includes only the entities required, along with the capability to select specific forms and views which are available within the app. It simplifies and focuses some of the application options to allow users to remain focused on what they need to do.

To create a new or edit an existing app, you need to open the App Designer. To change the App URL or associate the App with a specific role for permissions, you need to open the Manage App dialog.

To open the App Dialog you first need to view all of the apps in the specific instance. To do that go to Settings –> My Apps (under Application).

I had an issue today where this item was missing from my instance. I had several apps deployed via different solutions. I could access them via the initial URL configured, but I didn’t have the “My Apps” icon under the Sitemap so I couldn’t associate the different apps to roles. After a bit of digging, I managed to get the page from a different CRM instance I had. The magic address is:


Simply prepend your organization URL to this and you’ll be able to see the apps in the organization and manage them. Or you can use the SiteMap editor to add it back to the default site map.

Good luck if it goes missing!

Many of our customers have been upgrading to Outlook 2016 lately. Actually, they’ve all been using Office 365 for a while and are finally starting to use all of the benefits they get with it. We have customers running all versions of CRM, from 2011 to Dynamics 365 On Premise including everything in the middle. Some can’t upgrade CRM because of dependencies, some don’t have the time to upgrade, and some just don’t think they have to. This can be challenging in getting the Outlook Client to work properly. This leaves us with making sure CRM Client for Outlook works on Outlook 2016 with CRM 2011 or CRM 2013.

While some of the docs may tell you that’s not possible, it is and those docs are out of date. Both CRM 2011 and 2013 can work with Office 2016 if the latest updates are applied. For CRM 2011 that would be with Update Roll 18 and the Latest Update, and for CRM 2013 it would be SP1 with Update 4. I always go to the Build Numbers blog when i’m not sure. I recently had an issue where a customer had issues with the CRM 2013 Outlook Client on Office 2016. The issue was that the Configuration Wizard simply didn’t load. It generated an error in the Event Log, but did not display any User Interface at all, and the process didn’t start. I enabled the trace option for the Outlook Client and sent the details to Microsoft. After many hours of investigation and even hearing that CRM 2013 is not supported with Outlook 2016, we managed to find the missing piece - we were missing the latest update for the Outlook Client!

So now we know there are a total of 4 installs for each computer that has Outlook 2016 and wants to connect to CRM 2013

  1. CRM Outlook Client
  2. Update For Service Pack 1
  3. Update for Service Pack 1 Update Rollup 4
  4. Critical Update for Office 2016

We were missing that last one… As soon as we installed it everything was working as always.

Let us know if you also have issues with getting the CRM Outlook for Client working with Office 2016.

After amazing work by the team, we beat our due date by a week and releasing the latest version earlier than expected! We’ve added over 50 languages for the calendar itself, fixed (many) bugs, and added simple integration capabilities.

Keep reading below to see what we added.

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A new version has been released recently, and a new one will be coming out soon. I think it’s time to share where this Dynamic Calendar is now and where it is going.

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Technology… Some people love it (I DO!), some people hate it, and most people, in my opinion at least, simply don’t really understand it.

I view technology as an enabler.

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It’s been a while…

So it’s been just over a year from my last update here. There are a few reasons for that which i’ll detail in a later post, but for now I want to focus on the new versions for two of my solutions

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What happened??

A while ago I tried to update some of our CRM organizations to the latest version of 0.1 and faced some troubles. The installer for the update seemed to have been successful, but the actual version of the organization according to Deployment Manager was the old one. When I tried to update I got an error message. I didn’t have time to check it out then, but today I had to because it stopped me from importing solutions into the testing environments.

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Yes, it’s really that simple, they are awesome. Why are they awesome? How should you use them? I’ll try to explain a bit about them in here this post.

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I’ve been doing a bit of a UI change with the Dynamics Calendar and updated it ot use the Tile look of CRM. I also made the entire views side panel collapsible to provide more calendar real estate on smaller resolutions. I think it makes the user experience a bit more seamless.

I’ve also been working on a new exciting feature for embaddable calendars. The scenario here is the ability to view all activties for an account or contact directly on the form. I currently have something working but need to document it a bit. Maybe this will be my first Video Tutorial! Just need to get it all polished first.

I’ve decided that Dynamic Calendar will be free for the first six months after it is officially released. I am currently aiming for an official V1 by end of Q2.

You can start using it now by downloading the beta version from here.

Continuing the adeventures with SharedVariables as part of Dynamics CRM plugins, I came across an odd one. As per general best practices for data transfer between components, it was decided to create a custom object as the Data Transfer Object (DTO) between various plugins. It was all working well in the unit tests, but as soon as it was deployed into the CRM server, it didn’t work, and threw very weird errors.

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I recently needed to pass data from a pre-validation (stage 10, before transaction starts) plugin, to a different plugin that was within the transaction in the same execution pipeline. In other words, I needed to validate a contact’s address via a Web API, and the request had to be logged within CRM. It was important that the logged API request was never rolled back (in case of exception in other plugins), so it had to be done before the transaction.

Addressing this kind of requirement is easy - simply use SharedVariables, this is exactly why they are there, isn’t it? To pass data between plug-ins.

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It’s getting closer Here!

And it has some cool new features!

MSCRM 2015 is almost upon us with news it will probably be released this calendar year. Some of the new features include calculated and rollup fields, enhancements to the product catalog, and some cool new visualisations to see how your data is connected.

It seems that the UI is mostly unchanged, but we do get a new JavaScript API to better interact with the Business Process Flow as well as some more functionality with Business Rules, that will finally be executed both server side and client side!

For more information have a look at the get ready page.

Also, the (preview) SDK is out and available for download!