CRM 2011 – Customization and Development

It’s interesting that Microsoft have released CRM 2011 in Beta form and lots of people are investigating and commenting on it and getting very excited about it.  Whilst watching a CRM ramp up course, I saw a summary of the CRM releases, it certainly seems to me that Microsoft CRM is starting to gather some speed.

I saw Richard Knudson has written some articles about CRM 2011.  For those of you who don’t know he is a great source of information about CRM and his information certainly helped me pass two of my CRM certifications.

out of the article I am more interested in the development side

Customization and Development

  • A “solution“ is a new concept, described as a portfolio of customizations, configurations, extensions and the like. So rather than manually exporting and then importing collections of customizations, as at present, solutions will let us package them up as pre-defined…well, solutions. (described at the 32 minute mark)
  • It appears that extensions (Plug-ins, for example) be part of what can be in a solution, and that they will be supported for all deployment models, including CRM Online. Including the cloud version of Dynamics CRM as a full-fledged development platform, on par with on-premise for extensions like custom workflow actions, plug-ins and ASP.NET development will definitely add credibility to the message that Microsoft’s “all in” when it comes to cloud computing. Check out how comprehensive the solution concept is at about the 33 minute mark in the video!
  • Apparently “workflows” become “processes” in 2011, but more importantly they can do some important new things! Go to the 35 minute mark to take a look at these things:
    • Prompt and Response construct lets you add a synchronous user experience to workflows — sorry, processes! — to store the user responses, and to branch depending on the responses.
    • New workflow Actions sound interesting: Query CRM Data, Assign Value, plus a couple of others that sound like they’re related to Prompt and Response.
  • Custom Activity Types. Nice. Discussed at 40 minutes.
  • The concept of managed v. unmanaged solutions.  Unmanaged solutions sound like what we have now (exporting and importing customizations) — Managed solutions are for scenarios when you want to lock down a release, and don’t want code or customizations exposed or changed. (42 minutes)
  • Field-level security. Yay! (44 minutes)

Richard also has seperate article and video on the subject which is also worth a look

It takes a bit of time to get your head around these changes because as usual when Microsoft upgrade and change something, suddenly things have been renamed and moved and it takes a bit of time to know where to go do do things.




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