The April Dynamics 365 release is coming! Make sure you are prepared

The world hates change, yet it is the only thing that has brought progress. -Charles Kettering

Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform h ave two major releases a year in April and October and it’s your responsibility to be ready and to make sure your solutions are compatible.

Why should I care?

Since Microsoft moved the one version, Microsoft updates your production instance in April and you cannot stop it. You need to make sure your solutions works with the new version of Dynamics 365.

The responsibility for testing the new release doesn’t break your solutions is the owner of the instance/Dynamics 365 environment. If in April your production instance is upgraded and it breaks your solution, the blame is all yours.

I wrote about the new release schedule — The new Microsoft Dynamics 365 release schedule is coming.

It’s easy to forget about the release and don’t test it or leave it too late to test. Discuss with your team and the client that a new release is coming and decide the level of acceptable tests.

A key concept to understand is this is a release wave and not just a new version of Dynamics 365. It’s a wave because multiple services are being updated.

  • Dynamics 365
  • Dynamics 365 Sales
  • Dynamics 365 Customer Service
  • Dynamics 365 Field Service
  • Dynamics 365 Marketing
  • Dynamics 365 Operations, Finance, Commerce, and HR applications
  • Power Platform
  • Power Automate
  • Power Apps
  • Power BI

The updates will come in April, but then further releases will happen between April and September.

What’s happening when?

It’s already happening, so catch up. First check the Dynamics 365 release schedule and early access

This shows the key dates

Jan 27, 2020 — Release plans available

Feb 3, 2020 — Early access available

April 1, 2020 — Production deployment for the 2020 release wave 1 begins

Monday 27th, Microsoft released plans on what new functionality will be available in the new wave of releases.

You can read the highlights of the new features coming

Dynamics 365: 2020 release wave 1 plan

Power Platform: 2020 release wave 1 plan

These post has mention a few interesting new features

Top ten features by Joe Gill

2020 Release Wave 1 — random picks

The two features which looked interesting is Power App Portals can call the CDS Web API directly. This will enable Power App Portals to be more powerful and overcomes one of the major frustrations.

Canvas App can create a PDF from the UI, a useful way of a quick report of the form.

On Monday the 3rd February you can enable the new release on a sandbox instance and start playing with the new features and testing your solution.

If you have questions about the new release, read the FAQ section

Enable the new features in a sandbox instance and test your solutions. You will need to do this for both release waves each year (April and October) so invest in some automated tests to speed up the process of testing your solution.

You can enable the new release in your development and test environments and test by using them. You cannot avoid the update so the sooner you get used to it and sooner you find problems, the sooner you can fix them.

Anything else I should know?

Jukkan Niiranen discusses how Microsoft will enforce licensing, he noticed a new solution called Licence Enforcement has appeared. One of the key drivers for this will be the enforcement of team licences, which Microsoft realised could be used by many users and would cost them money.

A change in pricing is coming to the Power App Portals (which was Dynamic Portals) Understanding Power Apps Portals pricing and how it differs from Dynamics Portals

Know what is being depreciated because when the new release is installed some old functionality might stop working. It’s important you stop using depreciated functionality and get into good habits now.

Important changes (deprecations) coming in Power Apps, Power Automate, and model-driven apps in Dynamics 365

When using the solution checker I found code in our solution which we had to replace. Get in good habits now and stop using functionality which will be depreciated.

Learn more about solution checker with this article — What the solution checker does and why you should use it

Do I really need to test my solutions?

Do you need to test the new release wave, if it’s focused on new features and you don’t plan to enable those new features.

When code/customisations change, they can break functionality, e.g. you create a bug by fixing a bug (or adding new functionality in this case). When ever code is changed, things can break.

Microsoft might change the way functionality works, change the way it works and these could affect your solution. I have experienced bugs with the minor patches, so things could break with a major release.

It’s better to test and find problems in a sandbox environment than finding problems in production. Production problems send people into a panic and need to be fixed quickly.

Save yourself the stress of a production problem and check the new release wave in a sandbox before April.

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