CRM 2011 – Does CRM 2011 work with Sharepoint Online?

Well the honest answer to this question is – I wish I knew.

I have been searching for a definitive answer for about one hour now and my gut feeling is it doesn’t work.

I tried to set this up today and it almost works.  We have created the Sharepoint site and the entity directories have been added.  You can even see the files in the folder, I just can’t add any files using the buttons on the page.  Instead I get this error

 

It is very difficult to find out what is going on and any official information about this because a lot of the discussions are on forums it’s difficult to know if the information is up to date and accurate.

When Office 365 was released I remember reading an article stating Sharepoint 2010 didn’t work so I wondered if this had changed.

firstly I read this forum

http://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/en-AU/onlineservicessharepoint/thread/e6fbe54f-0b4b-40bf-952e-24f1aca09b54

I also read Richard Knudson’s blog, which I found quite amusing and displayed the highs and lows you can get with CRM

http://www.dynamicscrmtrickbag.com/2011/06/02/office-365-and-crm-online-better-together/

finally and for me I think fundamently, I found this forum post on the office 365 site

http://community.office365.com/en-us/f/154/p/2301/33070.aspx#33070

 

this sums up the problem succinctly, basically the current solution for Sharepoint involves making a change which effects all of Sharepoint and these application type changes cannot be made to Sharepoint or CRM in the cloud.

The problem with CRM integration is that a .htc file is required to enable the CRM web parts which allow you to connect to sharepoint document libraries from within the CRM online interface.  At this point, .htc file extensions are not allowed in sharepoint online and they are blocked by the strict browser file handling setting at the web application level.

I believe tenants are unique at the site collection level so changing these settings per tenant is not available (this has not been confirmed by MS)  Basically what this means is full CRM integration is not available even though they claim it is available.

In addition to the HTC problem, there are sign in issues between the two authentication providers.  While it has been stated MS will provide a fix for single-sign-on in Q4 2011, they have not said they will fix the allowed extensions nor browser file handling.

Therefore, the claim “CRM Online delivers a seamless end-user experience for end-users of Office 365” is a lie.

Where that leaves us…you can integrate fully with Sharepoint 2010 on-premises but not fully with Sharepoint Online.

 

The other key piece of information is this might be fixed by Q4 in 2011, which I assume is the UK Q4 because it seems to indicate it will be fixed in 2011.

I haven’t heard any information about when this will actually be fixed or if it’s close, if anyone knows any information on this please leave a comment.

On the plus side Sharepoint online is a really great resource for Microsoft partners, you get lots of free licences and don’t need a Sharepoint server.

 

 

CRM 2011 – How to get SharePoint 2010 dll’s into the GAC

I had a problem today, the plugin I had developed used a SharePoint 2010 dll which I needed to use.  For those of you who know about plugin development you  know any dll’s you need to access need to be in the GAC (although I think there is a tool which can combine dll’s but I haven’t used that yet).  

The problem I had was when I tried to copy the two SharePoint 2010 dll’s in the GAC, I got a permissions problem.  I could have done this with the gacutil but I didn’t have visual studio installed on the server.

I then found there is a useful SharePoint client install which basically installs the two SharePoint dll’s into the GAC for you and saves you a lot of hassle.

You can get the EXE by clicking on the link below

SharePoint Foundation 2010 Client Object Model Redistributable

Brief Description


This is a redistributable package of the Microsoft Silverlight and Microsoft .NET managed client object models in Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010, intended for use by developers.

http://www.microsoft.com/downloads/en/details.aspx?FamilyID=b4579045-b183-4ed4-bf61-dc2f0deabe47

one day left of free Sharepoint 2010 training

There is one day left of the free Sharepoint training

All you have to do is register and the training is free

http://blogs.msdn.com/b/ukisvdev/archive/2011/02/10/free-three-days-of-online-sharepoint-2010-developer-training-march-14th-to-16th.aspx

it looks to have some interesting topics, day 3 has some information about web services and workflows

Day 3 (Live Meeting 3 hours) 1:30 – 4:30
•         Client Object Model: The Client OM can be accessed via web services, via a client (JavaScript) API, and via REST
•         Accessing External Data: Business Connectivity Services (BCS) enables integration with back end systems
•         Workflow: A powerful mechanism to create functionality using Windows Workflow Foundation

CRM 2011 – How to Setup SharePoint Integration

[tweetmeme source=”BenHosk” only_single=false]

Brilliant article about the new CRM 2011 and Sharepoint integration from the Microsoft blog.  I have to say when we integrated Sharepoint, apart from the initial problem, which you can read about here.  Sharepoint integration was easy.  This is a really powerful addition to CRM 2011 because in CRM 4 document management took a lot of effort and caused a few problems (especially when when it ballooned the database by keep all the documents versions!!).

I also have a useful document about the SharePoint architecture overview  which you can read here

Here is the article

Microsoft Dynamics CRM with Microsoft SharePoint integration introduction

Now that the Microsoft CRM 2011 Beta is out, so is the much awaited feature of integration with Microsoft SharePoint. Microsoft SharePoint has nailed Document Management and the ability to collaborate on documents is very rich. The versioning control, simultaneous editing, checking in/out are some features in SharePoint that makes SharePoint as powerful as it is.

In CRM, there has been a constant need for a rich Document Management functionality as documents are commonly used in sales cycle and are associated with opportunities and quotes. Customers also associate documents with products and many other entities. In CRM4, the ability for associating documents with a record has been through attachments which have quite a few limitations. Attachments are a passive store which does not help in collaboration scenarios. Users really need to be able to access documents in context of a CRM record, add more documents, edit and share them.

In CRM2011, this problem is addressed. We have provided the ability to associate SharePoint Document locations to a CRM record and hence enabling the ability of accessing documents that are stored in SharePoint within the context of a CRM record. Users can:

a) Create a new SharePoint location(folder) to start storing their documents in

b) Use an existing SharePoint location where the documents are already stored.

We support SharePoint 2010 and 2007 and both MOSS and WSS flavors.

Automatic creation of SharePoint folders

For this to happen, you need SharePoint 2010 with the CRM list component for SharePoint installed. Once you have installed and configured the list solution (follow the readme instructions), here are the steps that you need to follow.

Settings area

The following needs to be done by the CRM admin or System customizer.

1) Go into the Settings area and click on “Document Management “ on the left navigation

2) Click on the “Document Management settings” link

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3) Select the entities that you want to enable integration on( selecting this will make the “documents” tab appear in the left nav for records within the selected entity)

4) Enter a SharePoint 2010 Site Collection URL where you have installed the CRM List component.

5) Click on Next.

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6) The URL will get validated

7) Select if you want to make the creation entity centric.

a. Entities related to accounts

b. Entities related to Contacts

  • Structure: <DefaultSite>/ Contacts /<accountname>/<EntityName>/<recordname>
  • Example: Opportunity called 100WheelRims related to REI Contacts http://SPServer/Contacts/REI/Opportunity/100WheelRims

c. For entities not related to Acounts/ Contacts

  • Structure:<DefaultSite>/<EntityName>/<recordname>
  • Examples:

o Opportunity called 100WheelRimshttp://SPServer/Opportunity/100WheelRims

o Quote called REICyclesSep related to REI accounthttp://SPServer/Quotes/REICyclesSep

d. If you haven’t selected anything

  • Structure:<DefaultSite>/<EntityName>/<recordname>
  • Examples:

o Opportunity called 100WheelRimshttp://SPServer/Opportunity/100WheelRims

o Quote called REICyclesSep related to REI accounthttp://SPServer/Quotes/REICyclesSep

8) Click on Next.

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9) Document Library creation happens here to speed up the end user experience. You might get the confirmation dialog based on the number of entities that you have selected on the 1st screen.

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10) Once the creation is done, Click Finish.

CRM record

Now this can be done by anyone who has access to the CRM record. If you have not associated any SharePoint location with the CRM record, follow the following steps.

1) Go to the CRM record for which you want to create a folder and start storing documents in.

2) Click on “Documents” on the left navigation

3) Click OK on the Confirmation dialog that pops up.

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4) A folder will get created in SharePoint where the users can store the documents in.

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If you want to add another SharePoint location to the same CRM record, follow the following steps

1) Go to the CRM record for which you want to create a folder and start storing documents in.

2) Click on “Add location” in the ribbon.

3) Select the 2nd radio button where it says “Create a SharePoint folder”

4) Select the parent URL( if you want to change it or use the default)

5) Change the folder name to the desired folder.

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6) Click OK on the Confirmation dialog that pops up.

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7) A folder will get created in SharePoint where the users can store the documents in.

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Work with existing location

If you have an existing SharePoint location that you want to associate from within a CRM record, you have to do just 2 steps.

1) Go to the CRM record where Document Management is enabled and click on “Documents” on the left navigation.

2) Just copy and paste the SharePoint URL into the Add location dialog that will pop up.

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You are done. The location will show within the context of the CRM record. If the CRM list component for SharePoint is installed on the SharePoint server URL and the SharePoint Site Collection is in the CRM system, then the UI will look like the following.

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If the CRM List component is not installed, we will show the SharePoint location in an IFrame.

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This is just a sneak peek into the SharePoint integration functionality. Look out for more blogs that dwell into the details of each of these flows.

Cheers,

CRM 2011 – SharePoint 2010 Setup Instructions

I was trying to get the CRM and SharePoint 2010 intergration working.  It had created the folders in SharePoint for the entities and I could see the SharePoint site in the document management settings.

But (and there is usually a but) I was getting an error when trying to view the SharePoint folders in CRM 2011.

I wasn’t sure what was going on because we had three different people who might have installed something or might not of.

The error message was

The action buttons are disabled because the SharePoint server that you are using does not allow HTC component files.  to enable the buttons, contact your system administrator.

 

now I had been reading about this so I had a good idea what is was, there is a component that needs to be installed in SharePoint that lets CRM browse the folders and you have download the extension and then put in the CRM url to allow it through the filter/security.

I copied the instructions below  from here

Setup and Deployment Known Issues

Prerequisites for Microsoft SharePoint and Windows SharePoint Services

  1. Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 must be installed before installing the Microsoft Dynamics CRM List component.
  2. The Microsoft Dynamics CRM List component must be installed on the server that is running Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 by a Microsoft Dynamics CRM administrator who has permissions for site collection administration on the SharePoint server. The administrator must uninstall the old version of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM List component and install the new component because component upgrade is not supported.To install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM List component:
    1. Go to the Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component for SharePoint Download page.
    2. Click Download, and save the file to the desired location.
    3. Open your browser.
    4. In the address bar, type the URL of the site collection on which you want to install the Microsoft Dynamics CRM List component.
    5. Click Site Actions, and then click Site Settings.
    6. Under Galleries, click Solutions.
    7. On the Solutions tab, in the New group, click Upload Solution.
    8. Click Browse, locate the crmlistcomponent.wsp file, and then click OK.
    9. On the Solutions tab, in the Commands group, click Activate.

    If you are using Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 (On-Premises), you must add .htc extensions to the list of allowed file types:

    1. Copy the AllowHtcExtn.ps1 script file to the server that is running Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010.
    2. In the Windows PowerShell window or in the SharePoint Management Console, run the command: AllowHtcExtn.ps1 <Web Application URL>.Example: AllowHtcExtn.ps1 http://servername

      For more information, see the Microsoft Dynamics CRM List Component for Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010 Download page.

 

SharePoint 2010 Architectures Overview

If you are doing any development in CRM 2011 you will at some point find yourself doing some Sharepoint 2010 integration work.  CRM 2011 does help you a bit but you will also have to do some work to find out how SharePoint works and like a lot of things in CRM  it can be tricky.

I saw this web page today which is an overview of the SharePoint 2010 Architecture

This is a nice and concise document and certainly one to bookmark for later, it could also be a suprise for some people who think SharePoint is a internet version of a company drive to store documents.

Summary: Learn about the architectures of Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 and Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010, including the platform stack, the Microsoft ASP.NET-IIS integrated request pipeline, the server and client object models, and the execution process system for sandboxed solutions and farm solutions.

Applies to: Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010 | Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

Provided by: Ricky Kirkham, Microsoft Corporation

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