I noticed the CRM Developer website has been spruced up I thought I would write a quick blog about this because I think new CRM developers should definitely head towards the new site. The change isn’t huge it is a good move for CRM Developers who are just starting out in CRM development.
What is the CRM SDK?
There is the actual CRM SDK, which you download Microsoft Dynamics CRM Software Development Kit (SDK) for CRM Online and on-premises CRM 2015 This gives you a bunch folders and files with sample code and the all important CRM dll’s and maybe a link to the CRM developer toolkit as long as you haven’t downloaded CRM 2015 (Where is the CRM Developer toolkit for CRM 2015?) When I talk about the CRM SDK, I am talking about the documentation. In the download it’s the CrmSdk2015.chm but I use the online documentation because it’s easier to search. Software Development Kit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM The CRM SDK documentation is awesome but I distinctly remember finding it difficult to use when I was learning CRM development.
Why is the CRM SDK hard to start developing with?
The CRM SDK is a huge and when a CRM developer first starts looking at it can be overwhelmed by the amount of information. When a CRM developer first opens the CRM SDK documentation it’s like walking into the British Library (largest library in the world) looking for a book to get started with programming.
The CRM SDK is a fantastic document and the content is some of the best documentation I have read for product/toolkit but in this strength lies it’s weakness. The amount of documentation makes it very difficult to order and organise so CRM Developers can find the information they are looking for. Many times I have found useful information
- tucked away in a section I didn’t know existed
- A section I have never read before
- Wasn’t an obvious place to look.
CRM SDK documentation = CRM Developers bible
I view the CRM SDK documentation as the core documentation for CRM developers, it’s vital CRM developers know how awesome it is, how to use it effectively to clarify how CRM works when they are not sure.
Always start with the CRM SDK
The CRM SDK works brilliantly if you are searching for specific parts of the CRM SDK like OrganizationService, plugin variables. The CRM SDK documentation works well for new releases CRM 2015 SDK – Why you should read the What’s new for developers What’s new in CRM 2015 SP1 for developers, customizers and admins The CRM SDK has lots of example code and offers a good way to learn different CRM customizations.
The biggest benefit of the CRM SDK documentation is it’s written by the creators of the CRM SDK and accurately details how the code works instead of how a CRM developer believes the code works. Most times I read the CRM SDK I learn something new.
The downsides of the CRM SDK documentation is it can read like a manual/reference book, this style is excellent for CRM developers who have some experience but can be confusing for new CRM Developers. There is a lack of screenshots which can be a barrier to understanding new concepts and examples.
Why the CRM DEVELOPER Centre update is good
- It’s a front end to the CRM SDK
- It’s modern and sexy looking
- It’s built so it can be consumed on mobile devices
- The search brings back CRM content not all MSDN
The headings give a quick path to relevant sections of the CRM SDK. It would be great if Microsoft could invest more time trying to visualise the CRM SDK which would encourage more developers to dip in the CRM SDK. The CRM SDK documentation is massive so it’s difficult to dice, slice and display the information in ways to make it easier to find the information you want but Microsoft have already created the information and the challenge is ease accessibility of it.