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.


Getting the CRM Developer toolkit working with Visual Studio 2013

Yesterday I wrote Where is the CRM Developer toolkit for CRM 2015? and for the past couple of nights I have been wrestling with Visual Studio Community 2013 and the CRM Developer toolkit trying to get them to place nicely with each other.

Visual Studio Community 2013 is awesome

It’s a Windows 8 laptop and thought I would install the Visual Studio Community 2013 edition of Visual Studio.  So far it’s awesome and means I can have a fully working copy of Visual studio on home computer (which is good and a bit sad at the same time :-))

Microsoft have been awesome and the Visual Studio Community 2013 is a free to individual developers, download and see what’s there in the link below

The page answers a good question, which I have copied below

Q: Who can use Visual Studio Community?
A: Here’s how individual developers can use Visual Studio Community:
  • Any individual developer can use Visual Studio Community to create their own free or paid apps.
Here’s how Visual Studio Community can be used in organizations:
  • An unlimited number of users within an organization can use Visual Studio Community for the following scenarios: in a classroom learning environment, for academic research, or for contributing to open source projects.
  • For all other usage scenarios: In non-enterprise organizations, up to 5 users can use Visual Studio Community. In enterprise organizations (meaning those with >250 PCs or > $1 Million US Dollars in annual revenue), no use is permitted beyond the open source, academic research, and classroom learning environment scenarios described above.

For more information, please refer to the Visual Studio Community 2013 License Terms and the Visual Studio Licensing Whitepaper.

Q: How does Visual Studio Community 2013 compare to other Visual Studio editions?
A: Visual Studio Community 2013 includes all the great functionality of Visual Studio Professional 2013, designed and optimized for individual developers, students, open source contributors, and small teams.


Getting the CRM Developer toolkit working

I had avoided the pain of hacking, nudging, shouting and in the end forcing Visual Studio 2013 to work with the CRM developer toolkit.  I had read about it and it didn’t sound like fun.

It has taken a few hours of getting it to work and has taken a lot of mucking about (technical term).

I thought I would blog down my experiences to help other CRM developers who have to go through this.

The main instructions are in this great blog post from Simon Jenkinson, it’s fortunate he blogged this because the initial blog no longer works 😦

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Toolkit with Visual Studio 2013

These are the instructions I have copied from the blog above

The first step is to extract the MSI installer file and modify the VSXI Manifest file

1.       Extract the contents of CrmDeveloperToolsVS12_Installer.msi

2.       Open a Command Prompt

3.       Navigate to the extracted SDK folder e.g. C:\CRM-SDK\sdk\Tools\DeveloperToolkit\

4.       Execute the command msiexec /a  C:\CRM-SDK\sdk\tools\DeveloperToolkit\sdkCrmDeveloperToolsVS12_Installer.msi /qb TARGETDIR=C:\CRM-SDK\Toolkit

5.       Navigate to the folder which you extracted the files

6.       Open the Visual Studio folder

7.       Open the archive file Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools.vsix, or extract it to a sensible location

8.       Then we need to edit the extension.vsixmanifest, and replace – InstalledByMsi=”true” with InstalledByMsi=”false”

9.       We also need to replace all instances of – Version=”[11.0,12.0)” with: Version=”[11.0,12.0]“  (notice the closing bracket has been changed from ) to ] )

10.   Update the manifest file in the archive or repackage the extracted directory.

The instructions work but there is a couple of tricky bits

Step 4 – Tricky bit

Execute the command msiexec /a  C:\CRM-SDK\sdk\tools\DeveloperToolkit\sdkCrmDeveloperToolsVS12_Installer.msi /qb TARGETDIR=C:\CRM-SDK\Toolkit

You have to make sure the target directory already exists or it won’t work, this stopped me for a while because the error message doesn’t say much.

Step 7 – Tricky bit

Step 7 – Open the archive file Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools.vsix, or extract it to a sensible location

I could get this to work for quite a while.  The main problem I had was if I extracted the Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools.vsix, this created a folder Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools, I then edited extension.vsixmanifest to change the ) to ] and change InstalledByMsi=”false” but then I couldn’t figure out how to re-zip or get it back to being the vsix.

In the end I found the solution was to edit the files inside the files inside the Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools.vsix.

I will admit I didn’t really know what a vsix file was

What is a VSIX?

The VSIX file is the unit of deployment for a Visual Studio 2010 Extension. Visual Studio will recognize the VSIX extension and install the contents of the file to the right location.
A VSIX file is a zip file that uses the Open Packaging Convention. You can rename the .VSIX extension to .ZIP and use any zip browser (including the Windows File Explorer) to browse its contents.


So it’s basically a zip file which holds visual studio extensions, this is good because it means you can edit the contents like this and I guess you could re zip them and then rename to VSIX but I found editing inside the vsix easier.

Open file

edit extension

Once you have changed the values you should be able to double click the VSIX and it will install.

The next stage was to copy the folder CRM MSBuild which has the files below in

  • Microsoft.Crm.Sdk.Proxy.dll
  • Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools.12.targets
  • Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools.dll
  • microsoft.xrm.sdk.workflow.dll

I had to copy this folder to this directory and rename CRM MSBUILD to CRM

C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft

so you should have this

C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\CRM

In this folder you should have the four files mentioned above.

The last tricky part was changing some reg files, I had some problems with this and it turned out I needed the line

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

at the top of the reg file edits, who knew.  The text are in the link below

I did have to install Windows Identity Foundation or rather you enable it in Windows 8, instructions here 

It certainly wasn’t straight forward getting this working.  I am really grateful for Simon to blogging about it and giving some clear instructions and I hope this blog augments those to help people get over a few tricky humps.

Where is the CRM Developer toolkit for CRM 2015?

I have a couple of puzzling questions about CRM development and I thought I would blog about them in the hope someone might come up with an answer.

  • Where is the CRM developer toolkit for CRM 2015?
  • When will the developer toolkit be supported in Visual Studio 2013?

What is the CRM developer toolkit?

If you don’t know what the CRM developer toolkit is, it’s likely you haven’t done any CRM development and/or written any CRM plugins.

If you have written plugins without using the CRM developer toolkit it usually means you have been a CRM developer using CRM 2011 and older, which in turn means you are old and go round saying

“I remember the day when CRM had it’s own variables (CRM 4) and we had create plugins by hand”

The CRM developer toolkit is a fantastic tool created by Microsoft make CRM development easier and quicker.

They have a great page here, which describes the functionality provided

With the Developer Toolkit, you can do the following:

  • Easily generate strongly typed proxy classes without having to run CrmSvcUtil.exe.

  • Get access to entity and option set definitions within Visual Studio.

  • Generate plug-in code so you can immediately begin to write code for business logic.

  • Edit and register plug-ins without using the Plug-in registration tool.

  • Create new web resources or extract existing web resources, add them to your solution, edit them, and deploy changes all within Visual Studio.

  • Create and edit workflow and dialog processes from within Visual Studio.

  • Create and deploy XAML workflows in Visual Studio.

  • Get easy access to security role and field security profile information in Visual Studio.

I love the CRM developer toolkit, it’s 100 percent awesome.

I made a video on how to set it up, blog version here

Looking at and understanding the Plugin.cs class which is provided by the CRM Developer toolkit is a great way to understand how plugins work and what the CRM developer toolkit does to ease the creation of plugins/custom workflows.

The plugin class acts as a template getting all the useful objects from the IServiceProvider (in the olden days we had to write this code ourselves, you don’t know how lucky you are etc).

internal LocalPluginContext(IServiceProvider serviceProvider)
 if (serviceProvider == null)
 throw new ArgumentNullException("serviceProvider");

// Obtain the execution context service from the service provider.
 this.PluginExecutionContext = (IPluginExecutionContext)serviceProvider.GetService(typeof(IPluginExecutionContext));

// Obtain the tracing service from the service provider.
 this.TracingService = (ITracingService)serviceProvider.GetService(typeof(ITracingService));

// Obtain the Organization Service factory service from the service provider
 IOrganizationServiceFactory factory = (IOrganizationServiceFactory)serviceProvider.GetService(typeof(IOrganizationServiceFactory));

// Use the factory to generate the Organization Service.
 this.OrganizationService = factory.CreateOrganizationService(this.PluginExecutionContext.UserId);
 this.ServiceProvider = serviceProvider;
 this.OrganizationServiceFactory = factory;

Here is a step by step guide to creating a simple plugin using the CRM developer toolkit

CRM 2013 – Step by Step Update Plugin Tutorial using the CRM 2013 Development Toolkit

What is the problem with the CRM Developer toolkit

I’m not sure about the reasons why the CRM Developer toolkit has been omitted from the CRM 2015 SDK?

It’s not all bad because you can use the CRM developer toolkit in CRM 2013.  Excluding the CRM developer toolkit from CRM 2015 makes it more difficult for new CRM developers because they need to go and hunt the CRM developer toolkit from CRM 2013.

I have asked Microsoft support and anyone who listens to my twitter account but no one seems to know when it will be released for CRM 2015 or the cause of the delay (are they rewriting it?)

The answer I got was the CRM Development team are very busy and only have limited resources.  I should raise/vote for item on the Microsoft connect site.

There is no doubt the Microsoft CRM development team have been busy bees, particularly when you see all the new functionality in CRM 2015 SP1.

I do find it perplexing the CRM developer toolkit hasn’t been updated to work with CRM 2015 and work with Visual Studio 2013.  Here are the reason

  • Visual Studio 2013 is a few years old now and Visual Studio 2015 will be released leaving CRM developers stuck using Visual studio 2012.
  • I would have thought this would have been a priority, not only would it mean CRM developers could upgrade to Visual Studio 2013.
  • Is it not in Microsoft’s interest to get developers using the latest versions of their software?
  • We want CRM development to be easier not harder, particularly for new CRM developers



I think the Microsoft Connect site could be improved and I have written about this before

 Is Microsoft Listening to the Dynamics CRM Community?

Navigating the connect site and searching for this issue has done nothing to change my opinion.  It was difficult and slow.

Here is the issue, please vote it up

Dynamics CRM Developer Toolkit for CRM 2015/Visual Studio 2013

What frustrates me about the Connect site is it could be great at gathering useful suggestions but this issue was raised on 16th Jan 2015.  It has had four replies and none of them from Microsoft!

Have Microsoft read it?

Is this issue a duplicate?

It’s almost 6 months later and Microsoft haven’t even responded.  Microsoft encourage people to raise connect suggestions but then nothing happens when people do.  My view is the connect system is not working very effectively and could be improved.

There are workarounds

There is a great blog post Dynamics CRM 2015 SDK and Developer Toolkit, this quote explains why and the article shows you how to work round this

The new CRM SDK  2015 doesn’t give support yet for our known CRM Developer Toolkit,  which has been part of the CRM SDK until CRM 2013. Basically, the CRM SDK 2015 assemblies have been compiled with .NET Framework 4.5.2, but CRM Developer Toolkit was compiled using NET Framework 4.5. See the next Microsoft article for more details.


The article below shows you how to get the CRM developer toolkit working with visual studio 2013 by editing a few files

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Toolkit with Visual Studio 2013


I’m unsure of the reason why Microsoft have not released the CRM developer toolkit for Visual studio 2013 and CRM 2015.

If anyone knows the reason, please leave a comment.

It’s seems counter productive to make CRM development harder for new releases of CRM and newer versions of Visual studio.

Hopefully if enough people vote the Connect suggestion, Microsoft will at least reply to the suggestion or better yet use the workarounds to make an official release of the CRM developer toolkit.

All information welcome

CRM 2011/2013 – Step by Step guide to installing the CRM Developer Toolkit

The CRM Developer Toolkit has become the standard way for developers to develop CRM Customizations.

I personally like this because it means the codes is standardized. It’s not totally standardized because people can still have lots of different ways of storing all the various parts of CRM development.

The first step to installing the CRM Developer Toolkit is to download the CRM SDK, which will be either CRM 2011 or CRM 2013, depending on what project you are developing for.

CRM 2011 SDK

CRM 2013 SDK

The reason you need to download the CRM SDK is because you will need the CRM Dll’s in your code and the the developer toolkit is hiding away in one of the folders (with lots of other great things, so get nosing around)


Download SDK

ie developer loading

Then inside the SDK you will find a folder called Tools



There will be two installers




If you have visual studio 2012 chose the vs12 otherwise choose the other one.


If it’s a new machine you will probably get  a message saying you need to install Microsoft Identity foundation (I have seen this message many times)

windows identity foundation

You can download it here


You probably have a 64 bit, so select that one, I chose the 6.1


You have slipped down the snake and need to click the visual studio installer again, it doesn’t take very long so don’t worry.


You will hopefully get further this time and then press next and get to the loading screen, which will sit there for a while.


ie developer loading 01


Hopefully you will see this beautiful popup, which means you have successfully installed the CRM Developer Toolkit

ie developer loading 01

Close  visual studio if you have it open.


Open visual studio, initially you won’t notice any difference, but you will if you create a new project or open an existing project which used the CRM Developer toolkit.


When you open or create a new CRM project, then the Connect to Dynamics CRM Server popup will appear.

ie developer loading 02

You need to fill in the CRM details, this is used to deploy your plugins, javascript to the server, selected organizations and solution .  Below is one I filled in for CRM 2013 online trial

Fantastic you have installed the CRM Developer Toolkit.  The next step is to set it up for your CRM Project and connect it up.  I have written a blog post about that already, click the link to continue your journey and get developing

I also have a bunch of video’s going through the process which you can find at Hosk CRM Dev


There is a good playlist for people starting out with development

CRM 2013 – Exporting your changes in a solution from your CRM 2013 trial

I have had my CRM 2013 trial for a month and those of you who jumped on board on Hosk’s CRM Dev youtube channel will also have also created a CRM 2013 trial which will be expiring soon.  It would be nice if Microsoft could just give me a CRM 2013 organisation to use, particuarly as I mainly use it answer Forum questions and to test CRM and write blogs on CRM 2013 functionality.  Still I’m sure there are a lot of people who would like that but I like everyone else have to create a new CRM 2013 trial every time my current ones runs out days

Here is the video, where I run through the steps of exporting your solution

Usually Microsoft send you some emails saying your trial is ending soon, you better act quick because all your data and changes will soon be deleted, unless you give Microsoft some money and sign up for a minimum 5 user monthly license and a years contract (I think these details are correct)

The good news is you can just create another trial and in the past my CRM 2013 Trial was still accessible up to 60 days later but it might become accessible any time after 30 days, so we need to act now to save our customization’s from being sucked away.

 Visual Studio

You code components are usually safe from the trail ending.  The reason they are safe is because they will probably be offline in your CRM 2013 Developer toolkit, so you have an offline backup of these file and the ability to import them into a new solution.

The plugins in a solution are an interesting limbo point because in solutions plugins are compiled DLL’s, which is great for moving between CRM organisation, if you want to change those plugins you will need the class files and the code logic (although I do appreciate you can decompile dll’s, its not something you want to be doing often).  So you do need to keep track of your Visual studio CRM 2013 Developer solutions and projects.

Exporting your solution

Open your solution in CRM and make sure you have all the components you have changed or want to take to your new CRM 2013 Trial

Click on components and this will show you all the components that are currently in your solution

solution export 1

anything you don’t want select and click the remove button.

There may be things you have edited in the default solution, if you want those then you need to click the add existing component and select that component.


When  you are happy click the Export Solution button.

It will ask you to publish customizations, if you have changes saved but not published you should publish those changes because you cannot export any save but not published changes.

click next

now you will see a list of dependent components, these are components that must exist in the target system to work and the reason for this is because they are referenced in the components in your solution.  An example is Contact is a required component in my solution because there is a contact lookup on the account called Primary Contact.

solution export 2


In my example I know all these required components will exist in my next CRM system because they are all default components but if you may need to add some custom ones if you had added them and they don’t exist in your current solution.

Press Next

It asks you if you want to bring the system settings with you?  This depends if you have changed any

Press Next

You now have to choose managed and unmanaged.  If you are not sure export both solutions (it means you will have to run the export wizard again).

I view managed and unmanaged as

managed = Read Only

Unmanaged = Editable

if you export a managed solution it means you won’t be able to modify that code on the target CRM organisation.  This is usually for a customer release.

In my example I want an unmanaged solution because I want to be able to edit and change the components in the next CRM instance I import them into.



If you have changed the data in your CRM system and want to bring it with you to the next CRM organisation then  you need to do an advanced find, select the records you want and then export those records into Excel.

Don’t tick the allow for remimport button we want to import this data into a new CRM organisation so there is no point getting the guids because they won’t exist in my new CRM trial.


Backing up

It’s a good idea to back up your Solutions as Managed and unmanaged.  I would advise you to keep a backup of all the solutions you create, particularly changes in version format.  Solutions provide a great way to backup custmoziation and allow you to quickly import component changes without having to import new/old data


So now you have an export of your changes in a solution ready to import into your next CRM 2013 trial, where you can continue to learn about CRM Development and try the new CRM 2013 features.



Hosk’s Top CRM 2013 articles of the week 11th April 2014

Here are my friday CRM articles of the week, there have been some great Developers articles this week

but let us start as always with a celebrity thumbs up

Article of the week

As I am a “computer” person various members of my family have been asking me whether they need to change their passwords because of heartbleed

The simple answer is Yes, just do it.  Google and Facebook could have been compromised.  Interestly the banks (UK), amazon and linkedin all seem ok.  The biggest danger is you have probably used the same password all over the place, so if an account is important to you, go change that password.  You should check that the site has updated their code/certificate to patch up the security flaw, otherwise you will have to change the password again later.  Most of the big internet companies have changed their certificate.

This article on the BBC is pretty good
also this page

an in depth article

this site has a bit more clear data

“This is not the first defect of its kind and it certainly won’t be the last, but it is one of the more serious faults we’ve seen in recent internet history,” said Mr Lyne.

Name Vulnerable? Patched? Change password?



No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service

Amazon Web Services





Not clear

Not clear

Not clear




Only if shared with vulnerable service



No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service



No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service











No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service

If This Then That



Will force users to log out and ask them to update



No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service



No need




No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service



No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service



No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service



No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service







No need

Only if shared with vulnerable service

Yahoo/Yahoo Mail




CRM Article of the Week

Here is the CRM article of the week

This article/slideshow was tweeted by Jukka Niiranen and is a fantastic resource for any CRM Developers (like those who are subscribed to Hosk’s CRM Dev)

Developer Tips and Tricks by Marc Schweigert

Is basically a roundup of lots of great sites, great tips and best practices on all areas of CRM development, 33 slides of action packed CRM Developer goodness


CRM 2013 Articles


DEV Articles

Jukka Niiranen has not only been writing great CRM articles but also tweeting some very useful ones as well.  This article has a video and shows you how to debug your Javascript in Visual Studio

EUREKA: F5 debugging of CRM JavaScript web resources

The linked article from the above but this is amazing, you can debug Web Resources without deploying them by using a Scott Durow trick of using Fiddler 2. AWESOME

Debugging CRM web resources without ever deploying them

It’s not a blog but a youtube video, to whom someone described as the infamous CRM blogger Leon Tribe.  This video in the words of Leon Tribe is “making the world a better place”.  This is a good article for CRM Developers to consider

TFS for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Development Management

I was asked this question on the Hosk CRM Dev linkedin group and then rather marvelously the questioner found the answer and shared it with everyone

Install CRM Developer Tookit in Visual Studio 2013 

Well I couldn’t put articles of the week in without including some of mine surely.  I did another video featuring CRM plugins, I updated the previous weeks example and go into a bit more about plugin theory.  Join Hosk’s CRM Dev channel NOW

CRM 2013 Video – simple update plugin, Redeploying, improving and updating


Blog – CRM 2013 – Plugins – Simple update plugin – Redeploying, improving and updating

The blog post for the first Plugin video, a good step by step guide to developing a CRM

CRM 2013 – Step by Step Update Plugin Tutorial using the CRM 2013 Development Toolkit


How to connect and authenticate to Office 365 and CRM 2013

MS CRM 2013 Online upgrade to Office 365 authentication

The tip of the quick Dev tip shows how to refresh your web resources with code

Refreshing the Web Resource in CRM 2013

Microsoft like to call it PBL – Portable Business logic, everyone else calls them Business Rules

 Hiding a Tab in Dynamics CRM using Portable Business Logic (PBL)


CRM 2013 Articles

Jukka Niiranen who has 657 followers on google plus and no wonder he writes brilliant blog posts using his special CRM MVP powers, here he shows us how to report on the sneaky CRM system entities of Case Resolution and Opportunity closed.

Accessing “Special” Activity Data with CRM Report Wizard

Did you know there are a bunch of Business Process Flows inside CRM just waiting to be turned on? You do now

 How to Turn On Ready-to-Use Business Process Flows in Dynamics CRM 2013

There are three new server roles and services

Dynamics MS CRM 2013 – New Server Roles and Services

Joel Lindstrom the CRM MVP answering Hosk’s questions this week

CRM MVP Question and Answer – Joel Lindstrom

Be careful when you check some options on entities because like taking the Red pill in the matrix you can never go back

Tip #110: Don’t prematurely check the boxes

Common Queries Microsoft Support answer about CRM Async service, it’s a cheeky look under the covers

Common queries regarding Dynamics CRM Asynchronous Service

A Hosk blog reader asked me some questions about starting a CRM blog, my advise was do it, you will learn a bunch of stuff about CRM and you might help other people who want to know about CRM.  So she did and here is her first CRM blog, well done  Elaiza

I’m a CRM tourist, I need a tour guide!


CRM 2013 – Setting up Visual Studio with the Developer Toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

In this blog I will go through setting up the Developer Toolkit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

For those of you who haven’t used the CRM Developer Toolkit you don’t know what you are missing, it’s awesome and with it Microsoft made developing plugins and workflows a lot easier for CRM 2011 and CRM 2013.  The main benefits of the CRM developer toolkit is it makes it easy to create strongly typed classes and to create and deploy plugins.  Microsoft has a good page going through the benefits – but below are the highlights I think are good.

  • Easily generate strongly typed proxy classes without having to run CrmSvcUtil.e
  • Generate plug-in code so you can immediately begin to write code for business logic.
  • Edit and register plug-ins without using the Plug-in registration tool.
  • Create new web resources or extract existing web resources, add them to your solution, edit them, and deploy changes all within Visual Studio.

A YouTube video walkthrough

First step

Download SDK

You should have visual studio already installed and working


Now install the CRM DEV toolkit, be sure to check for the prerequisites like Windows Identity Foundation

Installed, Create a new project, details in the link below will explains the choices in more detail

I will choose New Visual Studio Solution Template because this will allow you to create plugins, workflows and CRM webresouces etc.  It will also ask you about Silverlight resources just press cancel if you do not want to create any silverlight projects.

setup CRM dev toolkit 1

if you have problems and have windows 8 the link below may help

When the project is created it will pop up the Connect to CRM server dialog.  This is where you put the connection details to CRM in, in my case I am connecting to a CRM 2013 trial.

To work out the CRM Discovery service name, you can go to Settings –> Customizations –> Developer Resources and it will contain the details of the Discovery service for the CRM instance you want to connect to.

setup CRM dev toolkit 3

Remove the https:// and the part /XRMServices/2011/Discovery.svc and then what is left should look something like the value below

setup CRM dev toolkit 2

I have chosen the default solution at the moment but you can change this at any time by going to Tools –> Connect to Dynamics CRM Server and here you can edit the CRM connection details

You are now ready to start creating plugins for CRM 2013, which I will go through at a later date



CRM 2011 – CRM Developer Toolkit – Error registering plugins and/or workflows. Supported deployment does not agree with message availability

I got the error whilst trying to deploy a plugin using the CRM development toolkit

Error 1 Error registering plugins and/or workflows. Supported deployment does not agree with message availability C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\CRM\Microsoft.CrmDeveloperTools.CrmClient.targets 176 4 CrmPackage

This was an odd error and I couldn’t work out what was causing it. if you try and search for errors about the CRM development kit you get a lot of errors and information but not a whole lot of solutions going on.

The best bet would be to check Danial Cai’s blog

Although  I didn’t find the solution to my problem here I did learn quite a bit about the CRM developer toolkit.

I finally worked out that I had set the plugin to work offline as well as online but I had not changed the Entity to work off line.

To fix the problem I went to my solution, went to the entity and ticked the checkbox

offline Capability for CRM for Outlook

Then it deployed successfully.