I have read lots of posts about the new features in CRM 2011 and there are lots and hats off to Microsoft for creating a great product.
I was thinking this week about why CRM 2011 is great for developers and the improvements over CRM 4.
This is a fantastic enhancement. Firstly you can see exactly what changes you have made because they are included in the solution. The most important feature is you can easily import and export all your changes. The addition of being able to provide managed solutions and basically providing read only solutions is great.
Solution Co dependance
This probably should be in the solutions section but I wanted to make it seperate because I think it’s so important. The ability to include numerous solutions means it’s a lot more modular and allows you to really split the code up. An example of this is I created an autonumber solutions which I can now bring into many CRM organisations without affecting the other solutions.
Yes you can create reports in SSRS creating Datasources from advanced find xml. It does involve a bit of saving xml files, copy and pasting in SSRS but it is still easier for those developers how prefer to stay away from SQL.
You can now do LINQ queries in CRM 2011 which is better than queryexpressions and probably more in line with .NET development outside of CRM.
Early Bound classes
I know this was included in later versions of CRM 4, I like this feature. It makes reading the code a lot easier when you can see what class is being used and it stops the strong typing stops any runtime errors because the code is strong typed.
I haven’t used this myself but I have seen some very nice looking plugins using Silverlight. The OData query designer is written in Silverlight and it looks good.
This is a fantastic tool for developers because you can capture inputs from the user. It basically offers you a super workflow/process. There are a few things which need to be improved like the fact you can’t store dates or bits but it’s a great enhancement and one which I don’t think people fully appreciate the power of it yet.
CRM Cloud plugins