CRM Developer Toolkit Alternatives

I was glad to see my blog post Where is the developer toolkit for CRM 2015

getting some retweets and very please to see the Connect suggestion now has 51 votes

Dynamics CRM Developer Toolkit for CRM 2015/Visual Studio 2013

please keep voting and hopefully someone from Microsoft will reply.


It seems crazy the current CRM developer toolkit doesn’t work with Visual studio 2013, it’s over 2 years old with visual studio 2015 coming soon!!

What I find most puzzling is the complete lack of information about when/if there is going to be a new version of the Developer toolkit.

  • If Microsoft are making a new sexier CRM Developer toolkit, tell the CRM community
  • If Microsoft are not going to update the CRM developer toolkit, tell the CRM community so CRM developers can start to think of alternatives.

Microsoft has no obligation to update the CRM developer toolkit and it’s worth remember this was/is a tool they gave to the CRM community free of charge.

The lack of update to CRM Developer toolkit for Visual studio 2013/2015 and no version for CRM 2015 SDK is starting to get to a critical juncture. There will be more and more CRM Developers facing problems.

The problem will be most significant to new CRM developers will find the lack of support for the CRM developer toolkit most confusing.  When Developers struggle to start developing with a tool/software they can easily give it.

Setting up CRM Dev toolkit with Visual Studio 2013

I managed to get the CRM Dev toolkit working with visual studio 2013 and you can read more about it in the blog post below

Getting the CRM Developer toolkit working with Visual Studio 2013

Replacement for CRM Developer toolkit

Jason Lattimer has created some interest templates and with a bit more work could crate a CRM Developer toolkit replacement.

Jason is looking for some feedback on his current work, so please click the link below and give him your thoughts and opinions on his current work and potential features you would like to see.

Possible Developer Toolkit Replacement?

What are the CRM Developer toolkit alternatives?

With Microsoft being ominously silent about the CRM Developer toolkit and with increasing numbers of CRM developers running into compatibility problems, it got me thinking about the alternatives.

Below I list some of the alternatives to using the CRM Developer toolkit, I have three questions

  • Is it available now?
  • Pro’s
  • Con’s

Handcrafting – DIY

Do it yourself, old school style of creating plugins and deploying them using the plugin registration tool.

It isn’t difficult to create plugins/custom workflows, you just need to read the CRM SDK Write a plug-in, extend the IPlugin interface and then deploy the DLL using the plugin registration tool.

Is it available now?

Yes and always will be


It will definitely work and you will have no problems with compatibility.  This is how plugins use to be written in CRM 4 and CRM 2011 before Microsoft created the CRM Developer Toolkit.

Writing plugins this way is usually done using some template plugin code (much like the Plugin class in the CRM Developer Toolkit).


It will be slower and probably involve making some templates.  This choice would involve lots of extra framework type of work rather than development.

Hacking CRM Developer toolkit

You can hack the current CRM developer toolkit to get it working with Visual studio 2013 and working with CRM 2015.

blog to get CRM Developer toolkit working with CRM 2015

Getting CRM developer toolkit working with visual studio 2013

Is it available now?

Yes, as long as you have a few hours and a lot of patience you should be able to get the CRM developer toolkit working with CRM 2015 and/or Visual studio 2013.


It means you can use the best current free tool for CRM development.  The CRM development toolkit is probably the standard CRM development tool used.

It makes CRM development easier and learning the to use the tool will give you skills required by most CRM re-sellers.


Hacking the CRM Dev toolkit can be tricky and there is a possibility it might not continue to work with future updates.

Hacking the toolkit might be unsupported.  In theory it shouldn’t be because it’s not an unsupported customization but an unsupported development environment.

If you work with a team of CRM developers it means all CRM developers need to hack their development environment, which all adds up to a bunch of wasted time.

CRM Solution Manager

The CRM Solution manager is a paid for CRM Development tool.  You can check out here

The License is a £136 / $209.95 dollars and the license is on per computer basis.  There are discounts for bulk license buying (find the details on the site).  My initial opinion is the price doesn’t seem prohibitive.

I haven’t used the CRM solution manager yet but there is a free 30 day trial and with no CRM developer toolkit coming any time soon, so I plan to give it a test run and give a more in-depth review.

Is it available now?


It integrates with  Visual Studio 2010, 2012, 2013 and 2015

Works with CRM versions CRM 2011, 2013 and 2015.


The CRM Developers I know who have used the CRM solution manager have only good things to say about it and none of them want to revert back to CRM Developer toolkit once they have used the CRM solution manager.

I will reinstate I have not used CRM solution manager but basing my review on the functionality specified on the CRM solution manager website.

CRM Solution Manager provides the following features for custom plugins and workflows:

  • Build and publish to CRM with the click of a single button.
  • Automatically merge referenced assemblies using ILMerge and then publish the merged assembly to the CRM database.
  • Register multiple steps and images at once.
  • Ability to bulk enable or disable steps.
  • Ability to bulk delete images, steps, plugins and assemblies.

Web resources

  • Download your web resources from CRM directly into Visual Studio. Then create, update and publish any web resource with the click of a single button.
  • Intellisense for the Xrm JavaScript objects are fully supported for both JavaScript and TypeScript

Creation of early bound proxy classes

CRM Sitemap editor

A significant pro is the CRM solution manager is compatible with most version of Visual studio and the last three version of CRM (2011, 2013 and 2015).

A significant pro is the positive reports given by users of the CRM solution manager.


I haven’t tried the tool yet (to be changed in the near future) so I’m basing my review mostly on comments on the CRM solution manager website.

It’s a paid for tool (although not expensive) which means lots of companies will not use the tool because they are unwilling to pay the license cost.  This could cause difficulties if you get used to developer with the CRM solution manager and moving to a company which doesn’t use it.  I don’t foresee this being a problem for experienced CRM developers.

I don’t believe usage of the CRM solution manager is wide spread yet but this could change with the lack of CRM developer toolkit

Microsoft release an updated version of the CRM developer toolkit

Maybe there is a reason Microsoft have delayed releasing an updated version of the CRM developer toolkit.  Maybe Microsoft are going to release a new awesome updated version of the CRM developer toolkit

or maybe Microsoft will just do minimal updates to the current CRM developer toolkit to make it compatible with CRM 2015 and Visual Studio 2013.

Is it available now?

No, I haven’t heard anything to indicate this is the case, a deafening silence on the subject from Microsoft.

There is hope to this suggestion because a new version was displayed in Extreme 2014 (9 months ago).  Just imagine how awesome it will be after 9 months more development has been done.

There is a good comment on the connect suggestion

I’ve reached out to the Microsoft sdk team and requested that they put me in contact with Matt Barbour. I was at eXtreme CRM in Las Vegas where he demoed the CRM Developer Toolkit for CRM 2015. That was in October 2014 which was 9 months ago and we still haven’t heard any news! We were also urged to utilize Connect and assured that Microsoft pays attention to the feedback here. So far there still has not been any response from Microsoft on this thread after being created nearly 5 months ago. Hopefully Matt will be able to provide an update once I can get in contact with him.


Continuity.  The majority of CRM developers could continue using the CRM developer toolkit.

The CRM developer toolkit works well and most developers understand how it works and it’s quirks.  An updated version would allow CRM developers to concentrate on CRM development.


If it does happen it’s likely to be some distance in the future, which means it wouldn’t be of much use to CRM developers now.

It’s not available and might never be.

Microsoft release the CRM Developer toolkit as opensource

Microsoft could release the CRM Developer toolkit as an opensource project and allow the CRM community to update the CRM developer toolkit.

Is it available now?

No, it’s just the Hosk thinking out loud.


It would allow the CRM developer toolkit to be quickly updated to work with CRM 2015 and Visual Studio 2013.

The Microsoft Dynamics CRM community has many talented CRM developers who could work on improving the CRM developer toolkit.


An open source CRM developer toolkit could become bloated with functionality not needed by the majority

The CRM community creates a CRM Developer Toolkit Replacement

The initial purpose of this blog post was to highlight, promote and push people towards Jason Lattimer’s post

Possible Developer Toolkit Replacement?

The templates idea is good and you can see how you can use it to quickly create plugins, although the current solution would involve you then registering the plugin using the Plugin Registration tool and I think this might put some developers off.

CRM MVP Tanguy makes an interesting suggestion, which you can read in the comments

For plugin deployment, did you think about using class attributes to describe how the plugin should be registered?


I think it would be a great idea to store a few fields to indicate how to register the plugin and I think it would need something to select the filter fields and image fields, rather than letting the developer paste a list of strings (which gets created by the CRM developer toolkit in the crmregister file)

The enhanced web publisher would be great because Javascript publishing is not great in the CRM developer toolkit.


Features I would like

  • Javascript intellisense
  • Deploying plugins with one click from within CRM project
  • early bound file creation, maybe using functionality similar to the CRM Early bound generator

These are my thoughts, please go to Jason’s page and leave your thoughts, insights and support

Is it available now?

No, Jason is still working on it and hasn’t released it as open source but I believe he is planning to.


The CRM community has a lot of talented and active CRM developer would have a history of creating free tools for particular problems/needs.

An open source CRM Developer toolkit replacement could have the potential to create an excellent tool to aid CRM development and add features at a faster rate than the very busy Microsoft developers.

An open source CRM Develoepr toolkit replacement would hopefully be less likely to arrive in the current situation of no compatible toolkit for a new release of CRM/Visual studio.


It would involve CRM developer devoting some of their free time to develop a CRM Developer toolkit replacement.

It could take some time before it contains enough features to seriously rival the functionality in the current CRM Developer toolkit.


9 thoughts on “CRM Developer Toolkit Alternatives

  1. John June 10, 2015 / 6:11 pm

    I wish the CRM team would embrace open source in the same way other teams are within Microsoft. The Developer toolkit seems like a no-brainer to open source since its so prevalent for developers building on top of CRM. They really should open source the whole stack which would make the product far more appealing as a platform. I will say that this whole fiasco really shows where their priorities are and it’s obviously not on the CRM development community.


  2. soso June 11, 2015 / 9:23 pm

    I think MS shoud opensource the toolkit. we could have an community driven toolkit!!!


    • Hosk June 11, 2015 / 9:30 pm

      It would be awesome if they did


  3. Nelitza Martinez August 22, 2016 / 12:57 am

    This post is a year old, but I’m wondering if you can provide any update on the solutions available. I’m suppose to support a CRM application at work, and because I’m a new developer I’m been having trouble to follow up tutorials on how to set up the Development Kit for CRM. So far I’ve encountered your videos and blog posts that are really useful.

    Is still CRM Solution Manager the only option available to do development in CRM as the Development Kit newest version is still the CRM 2013 SDK?

    Thank you.


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