Learning Resource – Getting started with Silverlight

I have started to have a look at silverlight and found there is a really good resource for getting started with Silverlight

http://www.silverlight.net/getstarted/

It has lots of videos, labs, tutorials.  This is probably a good place to start to get to grips with silverlight.  Looking at all the material I feel there is a long way to go but every long journey starts with one step.

here is what is briefly covered at the site

Start Learning Silverlight

  1. Watch Getting Started for Silverlight Web

    Watch Getting Started for Silverlight Out-of-Browser (Desktop)

    Pete Brown introduces the concepts and tools needed to get started with Silverlight development in its two major forms: in-browser and out-of-browser. The web video introduces basic concepts, the out-of-browser video expands those to create a simple Twitter client.

  2. Read Tim Heuer’s 8-part blog series on getting started

    Tim’s blog posts will walk you through the fundamentals of Silverlight and will help you build a sample application along the way. Each step includes source code as well as C# and Visual Basic code for the completed application.

  3. Watch How Do I Videos

    Over two dozen new Silverlight 4 videos including Jesse Liberty’s new Silverlight 4 From Scratch series.

  4. Walk through the QuickStart Tutorials

    The quickstarts walk you through key Silverlight concepts, illustrated on-page with working Silverlight examples and demo applications.

  5. Read Jesse Liberty’s Tutorials

    Learn more about Silverlight with Jesse’s tutorial series.

  6. Learn to use Expression Blend with .toolbox

    Follow the free, fun Silverlight and Expression courses and tutorials at the Microsoft .toolbox site to understand how to use the key features of Expression Blend. Also consider running through the Project Rosetta tutorials.

 

CRM 2011 – How to add crmsvcutil to the External tools menu in Visual Studio

I am loving the CRM 2011 early bound functionality.  The one draw back is it you have to run the crmsvcutil quite often if you are adding/removing fields from your entities.

If you want to see a quick example of using the crmsvcutil to generate you classes check this blog out

simple crmsvcutil example

In visual studio under the tools menu there is an External Tools section where you can call exe’s, pass them some variables and run them.  crmsvcutil is a prime candidate for that.

so go to the Tools/External Tools

Click Add

Give it a cool title like – Awesome crmsvcutil tool

in the command you need to specify the location of the crmsvcutil.exe

here is mine – C:\Hosk Stuff\crm\CRM2011\sdk\bin\crmsvcutil.exe

in the arguements you put in the arguements you want to pass to crmsvcutil.exe

/url:http://crmserver:5555/crmorganisationname/xrmServices/2011/Organization.svc /out:earlyboundclasses.cs /username:hosk /password:Hoskspassword

finally you specify the initial directory which is where you want the output to go

C:\

I just put in on the c drive for now.

So there we go, it should be such a choir to build your early bound classes any more.

web.Config Error – duplicate scriptResourceHandler section defined

this was the annoying error I was being plagued with today

Config Error There is a duplicate ‘system.web.extensions/scripting/scriptResourceHandler’ section defined

I was getting this error today and it was very annoying but then when you work out what the problem is quite interesting, especially if like me you are studying for the 70-515 .NET web applications exam.

A bit of background.  I had created a website, it was a demo website and in the website it had a sectionGroup with the name of scripting.

<sectionGroup name=”scripting” type=”System.Web.Configuration.ScriptingSectionGroup, System.Web.Extensions, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35″>

When I tried to run the website it then popped up with the annoying duplicate error.

The way ASP.NET works is you have default settings held in the machine.config.  These are used by all Web sites using that version of .NET, in this case 4.

When you create a website, you can over write the machine.config settings and have local setting specified in your web apps web.config.

 

The reason I was getting duplicate errors was because it was almost the same reference, except one of them was 3.5 and one of them was 4.0.  Depending on what server you have got (in on iis 7) you can find the machine.config somewhere around here

C:\Windows\Microsoft.NET\Framework64\v4.0.30319\Config

 

local web.config

<sectionGroup name=”system.web.extensions” type=”System.Web.Configuration.SystemWebExtensionsSectionGroup, System.Web.Extensions, Version=3.5.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31BF3856AD364E35″>

 

machine.config

<sectionGroup name=”scripting” type=”System.Web.Configuration.ScriptingSectionGroup, System.Web.Extensions, Version=4.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=31bf3856ad364e35″>

 

to solve the problem I deleted the sectiongroup from my local web.config and then the problem went away.

for more information I found these web links useful

http://forums.iis.net/t/1149226.aspx

http://www.britishdeveloper.co.uk/2010/03/there-is-duplicate-systemwebextensionss.html

CRM – How to get rid of the CRM export to Excel warning message

I found this blog on the Customer Effective Blog (which is one of my favourite CRM hangouts) via clicking on Anne Stanton’s blog (known in the CRM world as the CRMLady) who was commenting on a twitter post of mine which was posted to linkedin.

In other words CRM is a small world but it’s well formed with lots of knowledge people helping each other out.  It also reminds me of the phrase “history repeats itself”, and good CRM blog certainly get repeated all over the place.

I never thought you would be able to remove the message but I am keen to give it a go.

 

Getting Rid of the CRM Export to Excel Warning Message

When you export to Excel from CRM, when you open the exported spreadsheet in Excel, you will receive the following warning:

image

This warning is due to a security feature in Excel 2007 and greater that checks the contents of a file to make sure that they match the file extension.  Given that the CRM data is exported using XML and saved with an .xls format, Excel doesn’t think that the format of the file is correct.

While this is probably designed to prevent some legitimate security concerns, it winds up having the opposite effect for people who export frequently from Excel—since this message will be popping up for them frequently, they will be conditioned to always click “Yes,” and as a result be prone to allow more legitimate security warnings to be ignored.

There are two options for getting rid of this warning:

1.  Group Policy – Adam Vero at the “Getting IT Right” blog has a good post on how to globally suppress this warning using group policy. http://blog.meteorit.co.uk/2010/07/01/annoying-file-format-warning-when-exporting-crm-records-to-excel/

2.  Per Computer – You can easily get rid of this warning using a simple registry change on your computer.  The following instruction are for Excel 2010.  If you have 2007, the only change would be the location of the registry folder will be …\Microsoft\OFFICE\12.0\EXCEL\SECURITY.  Normal warnings apply—don’t modify your registry unless you know what you are doing.

1. Open your Registry (Start -> Run -> regedit.exe)
2. Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\MICROSOFT\OFFICE\14.0\EXCEL\SECURITY
3. Right click in the right window and choose New -> DWORD
4. Type “ExtensionHardening” as the name (without the quotes)
5. Verify that the data has the value “0″

 

CRM 2011 – Coming Soon – David Yack’s new Book – Using Silverlight with CRM 2011

When I heard the mighty Yack (David Yack blog) was writing a book about CRM 2011 and silverlight I thought this was an excellent combination.  I feel I have got to know David quite a bit after watching all the CRM 2011 Development videos which are included in the CRM Development Kit.

I have been interested in what I have heard about silverlight (Microsoft version of Flash!) and would like to learn more about it, I would also like to learn about how you can use it with CRM 2011.  David’s new book is going to do just that because the book is going to do what it says in the title

Using Silverlight with CRM 2011

you can read about him giving a brief description of the book on his blog here

So why am I talking about the book which isn’t released until March.  Well on his blog he asked for people to help proof read the book, I volounteered and today I have been reading some of the book. I cant say much about it but so far I found it interesting and easy to read, it will be a great book for .NET/CRM developers who want to learn about Silverlight and how to use it with CRM 2011.

The only downside to this at the moment is I have only read one chapter and now want to read some more

 

 

CRM 2011 – Will CRM Online be on the increase in 2011

When I watched the official CRM 2011 global release, I was interested that Microsoft were really pushing their on-line hosting, saying they had beefed up the amount of servers they had getting ready for the increase in the number of people in the CRM cloud.

For me it seems like Microsoft are replacing creating the operating system and basic office package and instead offering people the choice of Microsoft hosting their CRM solutions.  I can see this type of solution becoming more popular because why do customers really need to buy servers to host CRM applications, especially now that microsoft has enabled some customizations of CRM in the cloud.

I read this article about some benefits of CRM-online

the top five benefits and see if they apply to you:

  1. Subscription-based pricing: You pay as you go, often on an annual basis, unlike conventional on-premise systems where you have to make a major up-front investment in licenses, hardware and software. You benefit from better cash flow and far greater IT flexibility.
  2. Lower overhead: Upgrades, maintenance, and system administration take place in the cloud and are managed by the vendor, so you don’t have to spend nights or weekends supervising a new version upgrade or a failed server. Studies find that cloud-based business software cost 50% less than on-premise software over a four-year period for a 100-employee company.
  3. High availability: Cloud software architectures are designed from the ground up for maximum network performance, so they frequently deliver better application-level availability than conventional, on-premise solutions.
  4. Security: For many companies, the level of security and availability, disaster recovery and back-up provided by a software-as-a-service provider far exceeds that which they can provide themselves.
  5. Ease of access at any time, and from anywhere: SaaS software is “always on,” making it easy to grow your business and support remote workers and locations, or support a highly mobile sales or service team, because people can access the cloud any time, day or night, from any browser, desktop, or mobile device around the globe, 24×7.

 

I saw this video from Software advice where they interview Brad Wilson from Microsoft who is discussing how customers will easily be able to switch from on premise to the cloud easily.  This could be important factor in allowing customers to switch easily to suit their needs.  In the previous video with Brad he said that the cloud offering my microsoft costs a third of the price of salesforce, that is a very big saving for a large company.

 

CRM 2011 – Custom Activity types

I saw this article on the the power object blog.  Custom activity types is something on my todo list of things to check out.

I have a possible need for some custom activity types.  A user wants to create activities for themselves but they aren’t always just email/phone calls etc.

Here is the link to the article, you should definitely check the blog out because they always have a few interesting articles to look at.

What I like about this article is it is short and sweet and gets to the point straight away.  Which is very useful when you just want to know how to do something.  They also offer help to people who need it (like the A Team) so if you have any questions or need any help with CRM, give them a call

 

CRM 2011 allows a user to define his/her own activity type. For example, if we want to conceptualize sale transactions as activities, and report, analyze and view them on a par with the out-of-box CRM activities, we can define our new custom entity as an activity type. In 3.0 and 4.0 this would not have been possible (at least in a supported fashion); in CRM 2011 it is quite easy.

When creating the custom entity, such as “Sale Transaction” below, check the boxes labeled “Define as an activity entity” and “Display in Activity Menus”, as shown below. Save, publish, and you’re done!

 

Having defined our custom entity, we can now see it in the Activities tab of the Workplace ribbon toolbar under the pull-down list called “Other Activities”:

 

Since we checked the “Display in Activity Menus” checkbox on our custom entity definition screen, Sale Transaction appears in the pull-down list along with the nine standard activity types when we create a new activity:

 

The Sale Transaction record itself is structured much like the other activity records. For example, you can regard it to other entity types, set an Actual End date, and mark the activity as complete:

 

Finally, we see that in the list of a contact’s completed activities, the sale transactions appear alongside the other activities with this record.