CRM 2011 – free Javascript Mapping Add-on

A great tool added to codeplex this week, CRM 2011 Javascript mapping

http://crmmapping.codeplex.com/

It provides free and basic mapping using Microsoft Bing (of course).  What I really like about this project is it also has instructions on how to add this to the Ribbon and uses only javascript.

The person we all have to thank is Hadley Pettigrew and he has an excellent blog posts about this which you can read here

here is the screen shot from codeplex so you can get an idea what it looks like

Project Description
This project provides an easy to install mapping component for CRM 2011, it is made to be easily configured for any customisations and may be used for a good starting point for other projects.

It provides a basic bing maps integration with a configuration resource to help configure which fields reference the address or Latitude and Longitude. The configuration has a default setup that can be changed to suit your deployment.

Example Screenshots
Advanced Find Window

Results

CRM 2011 – Visual Studio Plugin Templates

Excellent blog post from someone who sounds like Pob but is actually Pogo69, he may have an unusual name but his blog is excellent.

he has published some Visual Studio templates for CRM 2011 and you can read about it here

Here are the links and installations instructions from his blog

The Templates

Custom Workflow Activity

http://www.mediafire.com/?5ai40s51qjqv24o

Plugin

http://www.mediafire.com/?ip9avvd5wnc87f0

How to Install

Simply copy the zip files (do not extract them – just copy the archives directly) into the folder:

<My Documents>\Visual Studio 2010\Templates\ProjectTemplates\Visual C#\CRM 2011\

I called my new folder ‘CRM 2011′ – you can call it what you wish.  The name you choose will appear as a new category when you create a new Visual Studio project:

CRM 2011 – Reports – removing lines if blank for address

I had a tricky problem of adding an address to a report.  The address had the usual

address 1

address 2

city

county

etc

The problem was a lot of the addresses didn’t have a value for address 2 and it was leaving a nasty look blank row on my report.  So I asked one of the reports gurus at work and he found this lovely if statement for my expression.  It checks to see if the value is blank, if the field has a value and then puts in a carriage return and then goes to the next line.

=

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Name.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_Name.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Name.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) ) &

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Line1.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_Line1.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Line1.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) ) &

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Line2.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_Line2.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Line2.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) ) &

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Line3.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_Line3.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Line3.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) ) &

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_City.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_City.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_City.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) ) &

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_StateOrProvince.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_StateOrProvince.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_StateOrProvince.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) ) &

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_PostalCode.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_PostalCode.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_PostalCode.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) ) &

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Country.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,(First(Fields!Address1_Country.Value, “DataSet5”) ))&

IIf(IsNothing(First(Fields!Address1_Country.Value, “DataSet5″) ),””,ChrW(13)&ChrW(10) )

New Prices for Microsoft Certifications Exams from July 1st 2011

I got an email today from Microsoft, I say I got an email, me and thousands of others saying they had some important news, they were going to increase the cost of their exams.

This is a bit cheeky and a clever move from Microsoft.  Earlier this year they increase the number of certified people companies need to retain their gold standard and then a few months later they increase the exam prices, easy money.

The old price was £88 pounds and I believe it’s going up to £99.  So this is 11 pound increase for every person doing the exam and the price changes come into affect on July 1st.

if you consider the number of certifications need to be a CRM gold partner.  You need 6 separate people certified in CRM certifications, as well as 3 certified in Sure Step and I believe it’s one person certified in selling CRM.

If you want to find more about the prices increases then you can do by clicking here  where you can read the FAQ on the subject

CRM 2011 – Partner source Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Training Materials

I found a good blog last week called thinkcrm.  It’s quite a new CRM blog but the articles it has on the blog I found very interesting.

It had the main contents of this blog post with the training materials but it also had these good posts

Spell checking in CRM 2011

changes to on premise licensing

create a simple file share in CRM 4

I have attached the links to some of the various training materials below (requires a PartnerSource login):

  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Installation and Deployment Course Number 80296 (added: 4/15/2011 3:30:07 PM)
    This training covers the installation and configuration of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. The training describes the components used within a Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 deployment, installation instructions for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server, the E-mail Router, Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Office Outlook, how to configure Claims-based authentication and how to implement an Internet-facing deployment.
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Customization and Configuration Course Number 80294 (added: 4/15/2011 3:30:07 PM)
    This training describes the techniques required to customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM to meet the specialized needs of businesses. The topics covered include Security; creation and configuration of entities; design of forms views and charts; auditing and Solutions. The training describes each topic and how each topic relates to the other topics to produce a full configured, effective solution.
  • Service Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Course Number 80292 (added: 4/5/2011 3:30:29 PM)
    This training introduces Microsoft Dynamics CRM service management functionality and explains how it helps organizations track information about cases, customer complaints or requests, and small projects. You will learn how to use the knowledge base and discusses how organizations can browse, locate, and share information in the repository. It also discusses how to create, manage and use teams and queues in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
  • Service Scheduling in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Course Number 80293 (added: 4/5/2011 3:30:29 PM)
    This training discusses the scheduling process, scheduling engine, and scheduling service activities in detail since they are key entry points in the scheduling process. It also discusses how to use service scheduling in situations that have complex scheduling requirements.
  • Sales Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Course Number 80291 (added: 4/5/2011 3:30:29 PM)
    This training introduces the capabilities of Sales Management in Microsoft Dynamics CRM that allow you to track and manage the sales process from potential to close. It provides insight on using the Product Catalog and process sales information. It also introduces some of the tools used to analyze and report on sales information.
  • Marketing Automation in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Course Number 80290 (added: 4/5/2011 2:30:08 PM)
    This training introduces you on how to use Microsoft Dynamics CRM to extend the effectiveness of your marketing department and provides context of how to use things such as marketing campaigns, marketing lists, and campaign templates in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. It also discusses the role of campaign activities and marketing lists in campaigns and discusses how to associate sales literature, target products and price lists with marketing campaign.

CRM 2011 – A collection of White Papers, Brochures and Datasheets

I found a site with a very similar name to this blog  http://www.thecrmbusiness.com/crmresources.html

Whilst I was looking for details about the latest CRM rollup, I stumbled upon this site.

It lists all the rollups for CRM 4 and CRM 2011 which is useful and it also had a section which had a collection of information on CRM 2011 brochures and datasheets and also a nice collection of CRM 2011 white papers.

CRM 2011 brochures and datasheets

White papers

CRM 2011 – Video – How To Create Dialogs

I saw this video on how to create dialogs and thought I would put it on the blog.  Dialogs are extremely useful in CRM 2011, they allow you to run a workflow but with the bonus of getting some interaction from the users and presenting them with options to choose etc.

if you haven’t used Dialogs yet, I recommend you have a look and once you have done one you will be hooked.

Microsoft adds inactive date to transcripts and certificates

I have to admit sometimes Microsoft changes things seemingly just for the hell of it and these changes are sometimes plain wrong and illogical.

Today Microsoft proudly announces its going to add the words inactive to peoples certificates if they are in a technology which Microsoft no longer supports.  It seems a pointless thing to do and not really related to the certification.  In my mind people who are certified in a technology which is no longer supported by microsoft might well be more in demand rather than inactive.

you can read more about this on the born to learn blog here, its worth going to the blog to read the comments from angry certification holders, below is the relevant information

3.       Inactive Date – This is a big change: many of our certifications now feature an “inactive date” which signifies either that your certification is no longer in mainstream demand, that Microsoft no longer supports the product on which the certification is based, or that you have not met recertification requirements (if any). You won’t always see this field on your transcript—only if and when we’ve determined an inactive date for that certification. For affected certifications, you’ll start seeing inactive dates show up in June. (You can find more information on inactive dateshere.)

here is some more information about the certification lifespan

Certification Lifespan

The lifespan of a certification varies, based on certification track and certification technology. Some certifications will provide a recertification path to allow you to continuously hold the certification until the certification has been deemed inactive.

Note Certification policies vary by program and may change at any time.

Frequently Asked Questions

View all answers

A.

Today, most of our Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS), Microsoft Certified IT Professional (MCITP), and Microsoft Certified Professional Developer (MCPD) certifications retire when Microsoft discontinues mainstream support for the related technology. The certification will still appear on your transcript but will be listed in an inactive section with an expiration date. In most cases, an upgrade path, which allows candidates to earn the certification with fewer exams (usually one), will be available for individuals who hold the certification on the previous version of the technology.

The legacy Microsoft certifications, such as Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE) and Microsoft Certified Systems Administrator (MCSA), currently do not expire, but some may no longer be awarded because all exams are retired or because Microsoft has ended extended support for the technology. In most cases, individuals who hold the certification on the previous version of the technology can earn the certification on the next version of the technology with one upgrade exam.

To maintain the relevance and value of our certifications and ensure that candidates possess up-to-date skills on technologies that are constantly changing, recertification may be necessary for some certifications. In these cases, the certification will remain valid as long as the candidate continues to recertify at appropriate intervals.

Note that Microsoft reserves the right to change these policies at any time.

A.

A certification is deemed inactive for one of the following reasons:

  • The certification has been retired due to the technology being out of mainstream or extended support
  • The certification has been retired because there are two newer versions of the technology in the market
  • The certification has expired due to the recertification requirements not being met
    • Not all certifications require recertification, and recertification dates may vary by certification

  • Microsoft has determined that this certification is no longer relevant in the marketplace

    We evaluate each certification based on all of these reasons and determine the best inactive date for each certification. If the inactive date is based on the Microsoft technology mainstream or extended support date, the dates may change to reflect the most current date found in the Microsoft lifecycle website.

A.

For those certifications you have achieved, you will see the inactive date on your transcript. If an inactive date does not exist, review the preceding table to learn about the general policy for the certification track. In the case where the certification is due to retire based on technology support end dates, you can view the latest dates on the Microsoft lifecycle site.

Any changes to these policies or certifications that do not follow the preceding guidelines will be updated on this website.

CRM 2011 – Dialogs can’t store Dates!

So we writing a dialog this week in CRM 2011, fantastic stuff, it has some great features allow you to show pick lists of options and getting the user to select one.

but it also has some major weaknesses like the fact you can’t store dates in Dialog, you also can’t store

Bit, Date, Lookups

This seems a bit of an oversight, not to mention you can’t use custom workflow on CRM 2011 online

So to get round this we have stored the dates as text and then convert them into dates.  So I need some code to convert Strings into Dates in my plugin and here it is.

                    newPlac.hosk_startdatetext = "20/04/2011";
                    newPlac.hosk_enddatetext = "21/04/2011";
                    DateTime startDate  = Convert.ToDateTime(newPlac.hosk_startdatetext);
                    DateTime endDate = Convert.ToDateTime(newPlac.hosk_enddatetext);

The import part is using the Convert.ToDateTime();  This is overloaded so you can specify the format if you want.