Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 19th August

Article of the week

Dynamics CRM 2015 JavaScript Form Notifications on Steroids

Great article on how to beef up the notification in CRM by using the solution provided for free on codeplex.  Those boys at Magnetism are a great bunch

call workflow in CRM 2015 easily from Javascript

I really liked this article as well

Best Of the Rest

CRM 2015 – How to decompile a plugin Assembly (DLL)

Hosk blog post talking about how to decompile a plugin assembly and more importantly when and why you might need to do this.

Gamifying Sales Comp

It’s all about the games you can play to motivate your CRM users at the moment, even I wrote a blog post a couple of weeks ago Is Gamification in a Microsoft Dynamics CRM a gimic?

Replicate Right Click behavior of Dynamics CRM Grid on Custom Grids

Interesting article about adding right click behaviour

Why understanding abstractions can help you write better code

read the article and find out why?

Adding JavaScript to Quick Create Forms in CRM 2015

how to isolate the quick create form in and write JavaScript just for it.

looking at CRM performance issues

Always good to know about performance issues before your CRM suffers from them.

Sample code to check if User is a member of a team C# CRM 2011/2013/2015

Simple but useful

Building not in queries in advanced find

A classic requirement

Angular with TypeScript

Pluralsight have a training course on Angular with TypeScript which is a dream for Dave Berry

Tips & Tricks for debugging unfamiliar AngularJS code

indepth article looking at debugging AngularJS, I haven’t seen any CRM projects use AngularJS yet but it might only be a matter of time.

Workflow ExecutionTimeSpan

good article because it shows some creative thinking, whilst teaching you about the underlying data in CRM.

Multi select field for Dynamics CRM 2013/2015

I haven’t needed a multi select for quite a while but I remember when it use to crop up all the time.

A free customizable Editable Grid for Dynamics CRM 2013/2015!

Does what it says

programming

Is Egoless Programming still relevant?

When Does DRY Become ARID?

Excellent article on the factory pattern using warriors and wizards.

how to become a better coder overnight

How Good Developers Deal With Bad Code

15 Ways To Write Beautiful Code [That Have Nothing To Do With Testing]

Other

Mental Model: Misconceptions of Chance

Lenovo preloaded laptops with reformat-resistant perpetual crapware

How To Be Loved By Everyone: 6 Powerful Secrets

The Science of Obesity

4 Tips to Boost Your Creative Thinking Skills

Schopenhauer: On Reading and Books

Previous top picks

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 10th August

Useful Hosk Links

Hosk list Of CRM 2013 Tools

A list and review of CRM 2013 tools, this will probably work in CRM 2015 as well

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favourite CRM Developer articles I have written

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

All the CRM 2013 content to help you pass the exam

HoskWisdom – Hosk Developer Quotes

 Words of Wisdom from the Hosk.  I have written over 900 articles, surely I should have said a few memorable things

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Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 24th July

Article of the Week

Asynchronous Batch Process Solution Revisited – part 1

Asynchronous Batch Process Pattern: Part 3

I enjoyed reading these two articles

Best of the Rest

CRM 2015 – Understanding impersonation in plugins and knowing when to use it

A look at plugins and understanding impersonation, when, why and how to use impersonation

Updating and Publishing webresources directly from Visual Studio

A tool to update web resources from Visual studio

MICROSOFT ANNOUNCED ITS CERTIFICATION FOR DYNAMICS CRM ON-PREM RUNNING AZURE IAAS

It’s finally certified

CRM 2013 – Workflow error AccessCheckEx

The Hosk got an error, find out how I worked out the cause and my solution

Querying More than 5000 records in Dynamics CRM

Interesting article talking about paging when selecting lots of records

CRM 2015 – What is the CRM Outlook reading Pane?

The CRM outlook reading pane caused me problems this week

Visual Studio 2015 Shared Projects and CRM Plugins Development

Excellent new functionality in Visual Studio 2015, help you get round the dll/ilmerge problems

CRM 2015 – Understanding CRM Metadata

What is Metadata in CRM 2015

Tracking the Movements of a Case

Leon Tribes shows how a no code solution to tracking the history of a case.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Mobile SDK Update and Azure Mobile Connector SDK

CRM SDK for Mobile and Azure

CRM 2013 – Understanding SystemJobs and Async Plugins

Understanding System jobs and async plugins

Using Windows Resource Monitor to Find Unusual Performance Bottleneck

Great use of windows resource monitor to diagnose a problem

How to cascade activate / deactivate (SetState) in CRM

Do you know your cascading

Getting the CRM Developer toolkit working with Visual Studio 2013

Tutorial to get CRM Developer toolkit working with visual studio

programming

Announcing the latest improvements for the F12 developer tools in Windows 10

Group Flow in Software Development

7 Tools to help you gather better software requirements

Building your mental toolbox for solving coding problems

Other articles interesting the Hosk

free minding hacking book

awesome mind maps/sketches of books

Why Exercise Won’t Make You Thin

Billy Beane on Making Better Decisions and Avoiding Biases

Mental Model: Regression to the Mean

BBC iPlayer ‘watched by more than 60 million people outside the UK for free’

“How To Pick The Perfect Book Title”

short master course on Thinking about thinking

Previous top picks

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 17th July

Useful Hosk Links

Hosk list Of CRM 2013 Tools

A list and review of CRM 2013 tools, this will probably work in CRM 2015 as well

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favourite CRM Developer articles I have written

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

All the CRM 2013 content to help you pass the exam

HoskWisdom – Hosk Developer Quotes

 Words of Wisdom from the Hosk.  I have written over 900 articles, surely I should have said a few memorable things

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 26th June

Article of the week

CRMDeveloperExtensions from Jason Lattimer

I just want to let people know, Jason Lattimer has uploaded his CRM Developer extensions to Github, so download it and have a play.

Top Ten Secrets to a Successful CRM Deployment: Part One–People

Great article from Leon Tribe on the secrets to a successful CRM deployment.  There are lots of pieces, lots of people, lots of customizations, lots of data.  You need to herd them all in the direction of success

Best of the rest

CRM 2015 – CRM developers should think in Entities

Hosk blog post on why CRM developers should view everything as entities.

Pass Plugin Context Message C# Exception to Form Script (Javascript) during CRM Ribbon Calling Action

How to catch plugin errors in your javascript

Compare This Year to Last Year with a Dynamics CRM chart

The CRM Chart master gives another chart master class

#IoT2CRM: The gateway revised

I enjoyed reading this article, an interesting piece of using Gateways and thinking about the data you use in CRM projects

CRM 2013 – How to stop these annoying things in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

There are a few annoying things which feels good to squash and stop.  Liking pending emails, annoying welcome woman, incorrect format, send report pop up etc.

Rolling in a New Feature to Stay Updated in Dynamics CRM

I like the quirky way you can use rollup fields and it’s daily rolling up functionality.  It would be good if CRM had schedule functionality

Hide / Show Export to Excel button for specific Entity / Specific View

How to hide the export to excel button for individual entities

CRM 2015 – how to find Statecode value

A quick way to find a statecode value

How to Add Parameters to a Fetch Based Report

A good blog showing you how to add parameters to fetch based reports.

The Workflow Executor for CRM2011, CRM2013 and CRM2015

CRM systems can have lots of workflows in various stages.  This free tools lets you set the status for many workflows at once.

Tip #418: 3 ways to find the blocking attribute

3 ways to find an attribute

Did you know

Explanation of some of the default fields

programming

Joel Spolsky : The law of leaky abstractions

Three great articles on debugging

https://medium.com/@codingpains/the-most-powerful-debugging-tools-in-the-world-part-1-9e4e20a622dc

https://medium.com/@codingpains/the-most-powerful-debugging-tools-in-the-world-part-2-967dc01e9960

https://medium.com/@codingpains/the-most-powerful-debugging-tools-in-the-world-part-3-d596176ded82

The Startling Cost of Losing a Developer

Think twice before logging

34 CSS Puns That’ll Make You Laugh, Even If You Aren’t A Web Designer

Continuous Delivery Among the Donkeys

How peer review leads to quality code

other

Shhh, Google Chrome is listening

8 Things Every Person Should Do Before 8 A.M.

Windows 10 inside story

Probability Trumps Predictions When Making Forecasts

How It’s Made Series: Beats By Dre

Exclusive: Satya Nadella reveals Microsoft’s new mission statement, sees ‘tough choices’ ahead

Hearthstone: how a game developer turned 30m people into card geeks

Previous top picks

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 19th June

Useful Hosk Links

Hosk list Of CRM 2013 Tools

A list and review of CRM 2013 tools, this will probably work in CRM 2015 as well

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favourite CRM Developer articles I have written

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

All the CRM 2013 content to help you pass the exam

HoskWisdom – Hosk Developer Quotes

 Words of Wisdom from the Hosk.  I have written over 900 articles, surely I should have said a few memorable things

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 12th June

Article of the Week

The article of the week is my article is the excellent and I want as many people as possible to go and have a look at his first steps in towards creating a developer toolkit replacement.

Possible developer toolkit replacement

I will add my blogs on the subject below

Where is the CRM Developer toolkit for CRM 2015?

CRM Developer Toolkit Alternatives

I will add the Connect suggestion here has 66 votes which is great because a week ago it had 9.

Best of the Rest

XRM code snippets

Some useful Javascript code snippets

CRM 2013 – Disabling a subgrid

Hosk article on how to disable a subgrid without actually disabling it.

Web API preview documentation released

The new Web API stuff, in an odd trial but unsupported offering!!!?!?

New XrmToolBox Plugin: Export to Excel

Don’t be limited by excel when exporting records with the

Getting the CRM Developer toolkit working with Visual Studio 2013

Steps on how to get the current CRM developer toolkit working with visual studio 2013

Upgrade vs Rebuild, Interest vs Responsibility

Good article from CRM MVP Leon Tribe on considering what to do with your customizations when upgrading

Turbo Forms: Get your JavaScript ready for CRM2015 Update 1

Scott Durow gives the lowdown on getting your scripts into shape to be able to use them with the new CRM 2015 SP1 turbo forms.

Create Button in CRM 2013/2015 Form without a Field using Javascript

A button without a field, what is this magic

Dynamics CRM – Security Role Automatically Assigned to imported Teams

Cheeky salesperson role automatically assigned on importing teams.  Probably some kind of reason for this but very annoying if you are not aware of this behaviour

Improve CRM query performance using compatibility version 120 with SQL 2014

Dramatic performance improvement when switching to SQL 2014

Scalability considerations for CRM / SharePoint integration

good article and worth a read

C# Development Tips for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Great article on implementing C# dev to CRM

Kinect and CRM!!

It’s madness I tell you but it looks cool

PROGRAMMING

“How is Software Like a Skyscraper?”

Martin Fowler – Is Design Dead

great article on YAGNI by Martin Fowler

very interesting article on the history of lean development, I don’t know much about lean development but it sounds like agile without the rubbish bits

http://www.leanessays.com/2015/06/lean-software-development-history.html

Empires fall: Decentralize your code to avoid total collapse

The 8 Best Programming Books to Read Right Now if You Want to Distinguish Yourself

Software engineers are lazy bastards

31 Of The Best Kept Secrets Of Great Programmers

Microsoft: People Have Smaller Attention Span Than A Goldfish

Improving Your Craft with Static Analysis

What’s Fixie and Why Should C# Programmers Care?

TypeScript Futures

OO principles from Head First Design Pattern

The dangers of spaghetti code

OTHER

DESIGN THINKING… WHAT IS THAT?

Do something syndrome

The Disease of Being Busy

Neil Gaimen and Kazuo Ishiguro

Deep Habits: Spend Six Months to Master Skills

Strategy More: Inc. Success Bill Gates Warren Buffett
How Bill Gates, Warren Buffett, and 8 other successful people spent their summer vacations when they were younger

Previous top picks

https://crmbusiness.wordpress.com/2015/06/02/hosks-top-crm-articles-of-the-week-2nd-june/

Useful Hosk Links

Hosk list Of CRM 2013 Tools

A list and review of CRM 2013 tools, this will probably work in CRM 2015 as well

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favourite CRM Developer articles I have written

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

All the CRM 2013 content to help you pass the exam

HoskWisdom – Hosk Developer Quotes

 Words of Wisdom from the Hosk.  I have written over 900 articles, surely I should have said a few memorable things

What are the limitations of Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online and how do you work with them?

will all CRM instances be online is the future?

Why haven’t I worked on more CRM online projects?

I was contemplating the questions above reading the white paper about creating solutions for CRM online

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online patterns & principles for solution builders

It’s a white paper highlighting the limitations of CRM online and how Solutions architects will need create solutions to work with the strengths of CRM online and work around the weaknesses.

Is CRM Online the future of Microsoft Dynamics CRM?

Microsoft would like to think CRM projects are all heading online, Microsoft is spending lots of money creating data centres , bringing their top software offerings to the cloud(Exchange, Sharepoint, Dynamics CRM, Azure, Office, etc etc etc).  Making it easy for all the software to work together on-line (e.g. removing barriers)

Microsoft acquired online products to extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM

  • Parature
  • Social Engagement
  • MDM – Marketing

From a cost point of view (looking at it holistically), it seems sensible use massive data centres which are maintained and look after, rather than individual companies having to host servers, hire skilled people to maintain them.

Hosk experience of CRM online

So far I have only been involved in small/simple projects successfully working with CRM online.

The majority of projects I have worked on and have known about have been with CRM On premise.  I wonder if I have worked on complex CRM projects because I am a CRM developer, it’s perhaps more likely the projects I work on will involve complex customizations and with the previous versions of Microsoft Dynamics were better suited to CRM on premise.

I have heard of projects moving from CRM online back to CRM on Premise but no projects moving from CRM On premise to CRM online.

CRM online is growing?

Microsoft Dynamics CRM online is growing in popularity.  I say it but I couldn’t find much information to back that up

Good Momentum For Microsoft Dynamics CRM Reported At Their Fall Analyst Event

The Dynamics product is doing well. The numbers speak for themselves: 12% revenue growth in FY13; Dynamics AX and CRM growing by double digits worldwide and 30% in the Americas and Asia; and CRM Online growing by 80% in FY13, with two out of every three new customers opting for cloud. Microsoft Dynamics has 359,000 customers and 5 million users, while Microsoft Dynamics CRM has 40,000 customers and 3.5 million users.

The post is a few years old but I’m going to going to assume Microsoft Dynamics CRM online is growing.  I will assume Microsoft will actively continue to grow the Microsoft CRM online offering, which will result in more CRM online projects for CRM Developers to work on.

It’s easy to envisage a future where companies pay for virtual cloud servers and services instead of paying for skilled IT guys to look after their own servers.

At the moment my personal view is big CRM projects and complex CRM projects are not a good fit for CRM online.

Limitations of CRM online

Below are some of the limitation of CRM online

Indexing

A lot of CRM projects I have worked on have involved SQL indexing.  I understand indexes are not automatically added because when indexes need to be added it has to be in a specific area which needs a performance improvement.

How does indexing work with CRM online?  how do you find out where the SQL server is running slowly?

The white paper says you can get Microsoft engineers to look at indexes through a support request but I wonder how this works and how effective it is?

Increasing performance – How?

CRM on premise infrastructure is designed to allow more resources to be added in a modular way.  e.g. if you need more performance in the SQL server, you can add more SQL servers.  If you need better performance on the CRM front end, you add more CRM front end servers.

How does this get managed on line?

Data privacy

Some companies don’t want to their data in the cloud no matter how secure Microsoft says it’s is.

Sandboxed plugins

Sandboxed plugins can’t access any 3rd party dll’s, which can be quite limiting

Custom ASP.NET pages

Custom ASP.NET pages can’t be done in CRM online, so no iFrames showing custom pages.

Reports are FetchXML

CRM online reports can only be written in FetchXML because CRM developers have no direct access to the CRM database.

Size of database

Online database charge by the gigabyte.  CRM databases can grow pretty quickly but how do you shrink POA table if gets to big.

The emphasis will be on CRM support engineers to reduce the POA table size but the Microsoft as a company do not benefit from this (because they charge by the GB), so there is conflicting goals.

Reading the document has made me aware of techniques to move data out of the CRM database into services like SharePoint (or similar) but database management could be a full time job.  The alternative of course is there will be so much space available in the future where database size is not an issue.

The current relationship between megabytes and gigabytes could be the same relationship between gigabytes and terabytes in the future and the talk about database size seem silly.

Hosk Thoughts

if Microsoft keep investing in the Online infrastructure and products and more companies use CRM online then I will inevitably get increased exposure to CRM online.

I view CRM Online similar to CRM mobile in the fact it’s the direction the industry is moving but currently this seems to be a slow process and I expect the majority of CRM project to be CRM on premise.

I’m not sure why Microsoft are delaying service updates to CRM on premise?  It’s going to make CRM developers and resellers life increasingly complex and frustrating, delayed enhancements don’t seem appearing enough to change peoples suitability or desire for CRM version.

In my experience big or complex CRM projects are more suited to On Premise solutions and it would be extremely difficult to do these projects online with CRM onlines current limitations.

If Microsoft changed the online version to host servers online and the CRM developers could access the servers then it would be a very compelling argument, a half on line/on premise solution.

Understanding how CRM Online solutions can work

Reading the paper for the first time, I felt it was unusually worded because it highlighted a lot of limitations but portrayed them as benefits

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online patterns & principles for solution builders

This line jumped out at me

Everybody has felt a little guilty when they wrote some bad code in the past. Well, in Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the temptation to write icky code has been removed in a lot of places, especially where it comes to resource utilization.

Thinking about the document it raises some good points because Solution architects will need to design different solutions for CRM Online than they would if their were designing a CRM solution for a CRM on premise.

Developers don’t like being limited but if more CRM Solutions and customizations will be in deployed in the cloud it’s knowledge CRM developers will need to have.  Part of a CRM Developers work practise is to adapt to new versions of CRM and CRM online is a different version to CRM On Premise.

The part of the document I found worrying is the areas it mentions lack of resources which might be available to you.

My experience with CRM performance issues has involved a lot of investigation around infrastructure (networks, resources, etc), SQL database performance (query performance, adding indexes).  Code optimization and database locking investigation.  I will give an honourable mention to the POA table and security configuration as potential causes of poor performance.

Considering the above any investigation would rely heavily on Microsoft support engineers, this is must be a potential concern for any organizations considering large CRM projects online.

These two quotes from the document, which discuss the potential downside of CRM online

no portion of these shared resources are dedicated strictly to the instance running your solution – they’re shared. That means that you must design your solution to accommodate potential scenarios where these resources don’t perform your requests immediately.

Also, be aware that while there are no strict limits on the amount of workflow jobs you can send to the queue, if you or any of your neighbors sharing the resource are using an inordinate amount of resources, you may have a governor placed on your usage

Hard limits with CRM online

Plug-ins 2 minute timeout
SQL 30 second timeout for database transactions
Running workflow jobs Fair use – no specific hard limits, but the resource is balanced across organizations
Direct database access Not allowed

Where the document is really useful is it focuses on how you should construct CRM Online solutions to utilize the strengths of the CRM online offering.

If you have large long running processes then you can create services in Azure to do this work and take the heavy work load, nicely avoiding hitting any of the hard limits set in a CRM Online solution.

I have no experience of CRM Online using Azure so it was interesting to read the methods to  deploy code as

Azure Iaas

Deploy code to IIS in the cloud running in a virtual machine (VM).  The same as hosting a webservice on your own server or usually in a new web application on a CRM server.

Azure PaaS

I’m not quite sure how this works, it seems you don’t configure IIS but just deploy your code and deploy it as a cloud service.  This seems to be more like a windows service (but in the cloud).  The code needs to be written in a certain way to be run a cloud service.

Configuration over code

Microsoft in recent versions of CRM have been steadily improving the no code solutions with improvements giving improved functionality to mobile devices and more customization choice for CRM Online

Code                  GUI Customizations

Javascript     –     Business Rules

Plugins         –      Real time workflows

Managing Storage

CRM online charges by the Gigabyte/per month fee.  CRM Developers need to manage the CRM database size by storing information in other cloud services such as Sharepoint online and azure storage (Microsoft naturally recommend their own products).

The conclusion of white paper

Creating solutions for the cloud is different. It requires thinking about the system architecture in a different way. But making this leap is an imperative for almost anybody selling business or government solutions today. Keeping up with the market requires us to make the necessary adjustments, and allows us to embrace the attendant benefits of building solutions for the cloud.

Initially I thought highlighting the limitations of CRM online was an odd thing to do.  Looking at the document again it’s seems like a good idea because it’s important CRM Developers know the limitations.

Offering advice and techniques to work around these limitations shows you what is possible.  The white paper points to techniques, software and services CRM developers will need to become more familiar with in the future with CRM on line projects continuing to increase in size and complexity.

The increased complexity of CRM online solutions will need developers to create CRM customizations using no code tools such as business rules and real time workflows in conjuction with code deployed and running in Azure services.

This may explain the raft of new synchronization enhancements added into CRM 2015 SP 1, which I talked about in the blog post below

What’s new in CRM 2015 SP1 for developers, customizers and admins

The white paper won me round in the end, highlighting ways around some of the major limitations with CRM online.

Many CRM Developers will have no experience of deploying code in azure and consuming it within CRM.  I would say not just CRM developers but many CRM resellers won’t have experience of creating solutions using code deployed in azure.

This were my thoughts on CRM online, please leave your thoughts, experiences in the comments

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 17th April

Article of the Week

2013 CRM Field Guide now available!

Great post from CRM MVP Julie Yack telling people what the new 900 page CRM 2013 book written by CRM MVP’s contains.

CRM 2015 – Typescript is ready to go, definition files available on NuGet

Hosk article of the week, talking about TypeScript and CRM

Best of the Rest

CRM 2015 – Understanding CRM Metadata

An article about Metadata in CRM, what it’s used for and how to get it

What’s slowing down your CRM development?

What’s slowing down you CRM development?

New default Access Mode in Dynamics CRM Online

default access has changed you may need to give users more rights

Object Caching in .NET 4 and CRM

I take a look at Object caching and CRM

reattach

A very useful tool to quickly reattach to a debug process with this funky visual studio tool

Can I do that in Dynamics CRM?

CRM MVP Scott Durow creates this cool tool

New naming conventions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM updates

Updated Naming Conventions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Updates

The ever confusing naming convention of CRM releases is explained

 Podcast and Overview: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 0.1 (Update Rollup 1)

CRM in the field podcast you up with the latest news on the new release of CRM

Passing MB5-705: Managing Microsoft Dynamics Implementations

Good post on passing Sure step

Microsoft Exam MB5-705: Preparation

it’s mentioned in Leon’s blog but it’s such a good resource it deserves its own mention

CRM 2013 – How to get rid of annoying pending email warning message

instructions on how to get rid of the pending email warning message

To Code or Not to Code in Dynamics CRM

When it’s time to create a customization in CRM you have the choice for a no code or code solution

CRM 2013 – Importing users using the Data Import Wizard

How to import users into CRM 2013 a step by step guide

PROGRAMMING LINKS

high Cohesion – Loose Coupling

great article on coupling and cohesion

Introducing the IE Diagnostics Adapter for third party developer tools

Interesting Microsoft

Best Practices in Asynchronous Programming

Great article on

Last Weeks Top CRM Articles

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 10th April

Useful Hosk Links

Hosk list Of CRM 2013 Tools

A list and review of CRM 2013 tools, this will probably work in CRM 2015 as well

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favourite CRM Developer articles I have written

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

All the CRM 2013 content to help you pass the exam

HoskWisdom – Hosk Developer Quotes

 Words of Wisdom from the Hosk.  I have written over 900 articles, surely I should have said a few memorable things

 

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 20th March

Article of the week

turn CRM green

The article of the week showcases the new themes which look awesome.

What’s new for Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online 2015 Update 1

An overview of the new functionality coming in CRM 2015 U1 and if you are not sure why shoul read it then read this – Why you should read the What’s new for developers CRM 2015 SDK 

Best of the Rest

The rest of the article are mainly around the new CRM 2015 highlights and functionality

CRM Online (Carina) API Enhancements Highlights

Tip #346: Scheduling daily bulk delete jobs

This is one of those tips which is good to know because you might need it sometime in the future

Hosk CRM DEV Tip – Always filter your queries

Why you should always filter your queries in CRM.

What’s New with CRM Online (Carina) Highlights

Why all developers should be friends with a cardboard developer

Also known as rubber ducking but this is a method to help you resolve your problems yourself without wasting your fellow CRM Developers precious time

A few interesting things I learnt from the many convergence 2015 tweets

The Hosk’s very brief twitter  highlights from convergence 2015

Release history for the CRM SDK

Interesting I have never seen this document before

get ready for the next release CRM 2015 UR 1

A General overview of the new functionality coming your way

Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 SDK assemblies preview (7.1)

You can get the new assemblies quicker if you tick the preview button

http://leontribe.blogspot.de/2015/03/marcs-lemonade-stand-2015.html

CRM MVP Lleon Tribe gives the low down on salesforce using a lemonade stand so everyone can understand

CRM 2015 – resizing the social tab

it is possible to resize the social tab, find out how

CRM 2015 new release has themes

you can change the colour and add a logo

Deploying a CRM2015 solution to CRM2013
Good article on deploying CRM solutions

CRM 2015 roadmap

What changes are coming down the pipe

See what’s new in the CRM2015 Online Update 1 ‘Carina’ SDK

Last Weeks Top CRM Articles

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the week – 13th March

Useful Hosk Links

Hosk list Of CRM 2013 Tools

A list and review of CRM 2013 tools, this will probably work in CRM 2015 as well

Hosk’s CRM Developer Articles

A collection of my favourite CRM Developer articles I have written

MB2-703 – CRM 2013 Customization and Configuration Certification Information

All the CRM 2013 content to help you pass the exam

HoskWisdom – Hosk Developer Quotes

 Words of Wisdom from the Hosk.  I have written over 900 articles, surely I should have said a few memorable things

Hosk Top CRM Articles of the week – 27th Feb

Article of the week

Diving into the Product Structure of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 (and meet ET)
A detailed post and video on the new product structure

Best of the Rest

CRM SQL Query go faster trick – SQL Server trace flag 8780

Training & Adoption Kit for Microsoft Dynamics CRM
A good bunch of links for new CRM users.

9 reasons to replace excel spreadsheet with CRM
How CRM can replace a business excel

XRMtoolbox updated
A couple of interesting things. Field Level Security bulk updater has been updated and XRMToolbox has been moved to github

Why the advanced find is a CRM Developers best friend

Why CRM Advanced find is soo useful to CRM developers

Tip #329: Resolve Missing Record Dependencies
resolving missing dependencies

Why your CRM code and customizations should be simple
The benefits of writing simple customizations

SYSTEM-WIDE ALERTS IN DYNAMICS CRM 2015
You can do system-wide alerts in CRM 2015

Using “Roslyn” to Catch CRM Coding Issues
A detailed and interesting blog post looking at the new features and how to use them with CRM

Custom State Model Transitions in Spring Release for Dynamics CRM 2013
This is a really cool piece of functionality, managing what statuses a record can move to. I still haven’t come close to using it yet.

What are the hidden costs of excluding user adoption in your Microsoft Dynamics CRM implementation plan?
A good article looking at the hidden costs

Unit Testing Plugins using Microsoft Fakes
A great post on testing Microsoft plugins with Microsoft Fakes

 

Hosk’s Top CRM Articles of the Year 2014

Waking up early, isn’t a problem I have two young children (1 and 3) who are particularly effective alarm clocks. Getting the kids dressed, fed and packed off to nursery was a lot more difficult on the first day back, in fact everything seems to be difficult after you have had a week off over Christmas

I haven’t fully booted up in 2015 (when typing I have to stop myself adding the prefix of CRM every time I write 2015).

I did write this article on Linkedin this morning, which might interest you.

Predictions for Microsoft Dynamics CRM in 2015

Before I go on I would say congratulations to Guido Preite for being one of the new CRM MVP’s in 2015, check out his CRM MVP profile here.  He has written some great blog posts this year and has answered 100’s of CRM forum questions.

So instead of fully engaging my brain and creating brand new blog posts, I thought I would create a list of some of the best CRM articles and blog posts I read last year.

Some of the list has been taken from my article of the week recommendations earlier in the year (when I use to do a round up of the good CRM articles of the week).

Other blog posts on the list have been articles I have remembered.

The content of the articles probably focuses on CRM 2013 and please remember there are lots of blog posts I have missed out because I created the blog post in an ad-hoc manner. If there are any great articles please add them in the comments.

I will start with this list of of the top 25 CRM sites, a great list of CRM blogs to subscribe to.

http://www.dynamics101.com/2014/09/top-25-dynamics-crm-sites/

A nice article about using CRM evaluating if you should create a personal or system view

http://gonzaloruizcrm.blogspot.ca/2014/09/should-i-use-crm-personal-views-or.html

CRM MVP Jukka Niiranen

Jukka wrote some great articles on CRM this year, here are a few I enjoyed
A look at business process flows and processes in CRM 2013.  Business process flows are quite a departure from CRM 2011 and this article helps get your head round it.

Getting Your Head Around Dynamics CRM 2013 Processes – Part 1

 

It’s a very detailed article and goes into great depth explaining the various aspects of recurring workflows.

Dynamics CRM Reminder Workflows Done Right

Scott Durow

It’s not one article this week but four, an amazing Super hero Fiddler 2 tutorial from CRM MVP Scott Durow

Another great blog post on monitoring

Monitor, Monitor, Monitor

I would encourage all CRM developers to read Scott’s blog and his CRM forum answers as I have learnt a great deal.

CRM MVP Leon Tribe

I found this article very interesting because I hadn’t used Azure and Leon’s walk through and review shows how easy it is to setup.

Are you Azure Curious

Microsoft changed the records created on a lead conversion

CRM 2013 and lead conversions

CRM MVP Adam Vero

Adam wrote this article in response to a blog post about access teams, where I wasn’t sure the real benefit of them.  Adam is a guru on all things security in CRM

a great article from CRM MVP Adam Vero on why you should use Access Teams. There have been quite a few blogs and a videos on how to use access teams and a quick introduction to access teams but this deep dive from Adam explains WHY you should use access teams.

http://blog.crmguru.co.uk/2014/05/16/why-use-access-teams-in-dynamics-crm-2013

Adam doesn’t write enough blog posts in my opinion but this is one from CRM 2013 but it’s excellent so I’m including it in the list.  It’s a long read, so get comfortable.

Security Roles and Teams in CRM 2011 – An Inconvenient Half-Truth

CRM MVP Guido

This article from Guido is great, it takes a question from the forum, an answer from CRM MVP Scott Durow, followed by some hard work by Guido to create the full solution, great work.

Check if a User has a specific Privilege

I will add another because I can, it’s from the snooze Berry, Dave Berry.  It was written when Dave use to blog (pre snooze), although I have been informed from the great Berry himself he is busying doing great things with TypeScript and CRM

Entity.GetAttributeValue<T> Explained

Other Authors

A good article on how to get the lookup dialog

great article on the limitations of CRM Online

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 – Limitations of Dynamics CRM Online Vs On Premises

A great article on Actions, something I have been trying to get my head round. This article will give you a good idea of how you can use them

Four Important Concepts Needed to Understand about Actions in Dynamics CRM

An interesting use of the available tools to get the date and time

Retrieving Server Datetime using Javascript

This article compares functionality between CRM 2011 and CRM 2013, very useful for people just starting to use CRM 2013 or have to upgrade a CRM 2011.

Interesting comparison of functionality between CRM 2011 and CRM 2013

CRM MVP Andre Margono write a good post on using OData information source in Excel.

Enable Dynamics CRM oData Query Filter for PowerQuery Performance

This is my article of the week because it’s a very useful new piece of functionality that has slipped under the radar of the CRM 2013 SP1 release.  It’s new functionality that’s easy to implement.

Custom State Model Transitions in Spring Release for Dynamics CRM 2013

This article by Gareth Tucker who has written any blogs this year (come back Gareth we love you) is an excellent run through JavaScript notification and he also has some other good blogs on the new CRM 2013 features

CRM 2013 NEW FEATURES: JAVASCRIPT NOTIFICATIONS

This article is great, not only is the content good but also the presentation with GIF’s is really good.

Debugging Asynchronous JavaScript with Chrome DevTools

Is Microsoft Listening to the Dynamics CRM Community?

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I read this great blog post recently

 Listen to Your Community, But Don’t Let Them Tell You What to Do

The article makes a number of good points but these two grabbed my attention

1.  90% of all community feedback is crap.

Let’s get this out of the way immediately. Sturgeon’s Law can’t be denied by any man, woman, child … or community, for that matter. Meta community, I love you to death, so let’s be honest with each other: most of the feedback and feature requests you give us are just not, uh, er … actionable, for a zillion different reasons.

But take heart: this means 10% of the community feedback you’ll get is awesome! I guarantee you’ll find ten posts that are pure gold, that have the potential to make the site clearly better for everyone … provided you have the intestinal fortitude to look at a hundred posts to get there. Be prepared to spend a lot of time, and I mean a whole freaking lot of time, mining through community feedback to extract those rare gems. I believe every community has users savvy enough to produce them in some quantity, and they’re often startlingly wonderful.

  1. Be honest about what you won’t do.

It always depressed me to see bug trackers and feedback forums with thousands of items languishing there in no man’s land with no status at all. That’s a sign of a neglected community, and worse, a dishonest relationship with the community. It is sadly all too typical. Don’t do this!

I’m not saying you should tell your community that their feedback sucks, even when it frequently does. That’d be mean. But don’t be shy about politely declining requests when you feel they don’t make sense, or if you can’t see any way they could be reasonably implemented. (You should always reserve the right to change your mind in the future, of course.) Sure, it hurts to be rejected – but it hurts far more to be ignored. I believe very, very strongly that if you’re honest with your community, they will ultimately respect you more for that.

All relationships are predicated on honesty. If you’re not willing to be honest with your community, how can you possibly expect them to respect you … or continue the relationship?

It got me thinking how does Microsoft deal with Dynamics CRM community feedback?

The Dynamics CRM Community is awesome

I am constantly amazed at all the great tools/blogs/books/videos/articles created by the dynamics CRM community.  I really enjoy being part of and interacting with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community and some of the positives that spring to mind

It’s a friendly place

people in the CRM community are always willing to help each, add useful comments

Innovative

I learn loads from tools and blog posts people create.  The content I really enjoy is where people find unexpected workarounds and solutions to problems

Enjoyable

I enjoy being part of the Dynamics CRM community, the more you put in, the more you get out of it.

Positive

The majority of the Dynamics CRM community is a positive group.  Most of the Community energy is diverted to positive endeavors rather than complaining.  I am a great believer in being positive because being positive you create ideas/solutions, but being negative you create nothing but hot air.

Proactive

When the Dynamics CRM community comes up against a problem, it usually find a solution to it pretty fast.  I have found most people who stick around in the Dynamics CRM community are proactive, self motivated people, which you need to be to keep up with the new functionality Microsoft are creating and the speed they are creating it.

Below are some of the activities the CRM community and Microsoft contribute to make up the Microsoft Dynamics Community.

Tools and Solutions

Fantastic Codeplex tools for Microsoft Dynamics CRM

You can read my reviews on my CRM 2013 Tool List

There are great tools not featured on Codeplex, like the great Ribbon workbench (a must have) from CRM MVP Scott Durow

Blogs

Top 25 Dynamics CRM Sites – featured on Dynamics 101

Blogs featured on Microsoft dynamics blog list

Community

CRMUG (I have written a blog post What is CRMUG? Should you join? if you want to learn more about CRMUG)

Dynamics CRM Community 

CRM Forums

Facebook

Twitter – @MSFTDynamics

Conferences

The many Dynamics CRM conferences (convergence etc)

Microsoft

Microsoft have CRM SDK, Technet, MSDN articles, whitepapers (link to all CRM 2013 whitepapers here)

The interaction between the CRM Community and Microsoft I think is pretty good, Microsoft creating lots of great material and the platforms for the Microsoft Dynamics CRM community to collobrate, interact and create great content.

CRM MVP’s

There are 62 CRM MVP’s and they are involved in all areas of the Microsoft Dynamics Community mentioned above.  The CRM MVP’s are a bridge between the CRM community and Microsoft but they are also part of the CRM community.

The concept of CRM MVP’s is a great one.  Fantastic CRM content creators are then able to get sneak peaks and previews of up and coming features in CRM, which they can then feedback to the CRM community.

 

How do you give feedback to Microsoft

I want to focus on how the Dynamics community gives feedback to Microsoft on the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product itself.  This is a vital area for the direction and growth of the CRM product.  The dynamic community is giving feedback generated from their own needs and the needs of their customers.

Why am I writing about Connect Site

Recently I wrote the blog post – CRM 2013 – Why are access teams marooned? where access team functionality was added to CRM 2013 but there is no way to add access team templates to a solution, which makes it difficult to use because you have to create each access team template on each CRM environment.

There was also this post from CRM MVP Leon Tribe – Fixing Lead Conversion in CRM 2013

I remember CRM 2013 and not being able to find the advanced find, so much that somebody made a tool, with just the advanced find button in

https://crmadvancedfind2013.codeplex.com/

Combined with the coding horror post and these I thought I would look into the process of creating product/functionality enhancements for Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

To give this feedback to Microsoft you use the Connect site

https://connect.microsoft.com/dynamicssuggestions

When answering questions on the forum, sometimes people find bugs and sometimes people want functionality which doesn’t exist.  So you have to ether

  • Raise bugs with Microsoft support
  • raise feature enhancements on Microsoft Connect

Raise a Bug

To raise a bug you have to go to Microsoft support and raise a ticket,which I think you do via the CRM Customer Center where you might find the solution before raising a support call.

New Product Suggestion

If you have an enhancement rather than a bug, then you need to use the Connect site to create a new product suggestion but before you do that you should search the list of current Product suggestions because someone might have already created it.

product suggestion

You can either vote on a current new product suggestion or you can create a new product suggestion.  Once a product suggestion has been created people can vote it up.

What do votes means ….? Prices

In theory the more votes you get, the more likely it is to be added to a future release of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

In the FAQ this is what happens to Product suggestions

Q. What happens to my product suggestions?

A. Your suggestion is delivered directly to the appropriate product development team based on the product line you specify. This process ensures that customers and partners can help shape how future versions of our software will work. During the planning phase, each product development team considers suggestions as possible new features for the next release.

Q. Why hasn’t anyone from Microsoft responded to my suggestion?

A. Microsoft Dynamics product development teams strive to respond to your suggestion within approximately one month of submission*. If you have not received a response on your suggestion within one month of submissions, please email mbsdynps@microsoft.com. *Note: Service level agreement only applicable to suggestions entered into Microsoft Connect

How does the product suggestion process work?

My honest answer would be, ok but could be a lot better.  The process of raising an enhancment works fine but the next stage of the product suggestions going into the product takes a very long time.

What I don’t like about the connect site and new product process

Before we go anywhere I will say this is my personal opinion and it’s based on my experiences and my discussions with fellow CRM developers on connect site.  I appreciate this is a very small, possibly biased selection of people and the experience for the majority could be very different.

The connect site

The connect site feels and looks at least 5 years old, the site is not intuitive or easy to use.  Searching and finding proposed new product suggestions can be clunky, slow and confusing.

This process should be as easy as possible to encourage more people to use the site.

You scroll down to the end of the page and then the washing machine wait icon appears, I can only view 8 items on a page.

Most Voted

There are some links for you to use, you go to most voted and then see a list of resolved items, which were most voted and included.

Vote on resolved items

You can still vote on resolved items, why?

Slow

I often mention to people on CRM forums to raise their enhancements on the connect site but I’m not sure I believe their suggestions have much chance of being added to the product, so why bother.  The reason for this is, it often seems people put enhancements on and then nothing….. very little feedback from Microsoft, not much voting.  Maybe the user gets feedback directly but what about people using the connect site, it just looks like the suggestions are sitting there with nothing really happening.

What’s happening

I wrote a blog post recently CRM 2013 – Why are access teams marooned?, this explains there is no way to add access team templates to solutions.  A product suggestion was added on 27/11/2014

Access Team Template in CRM Solution

It has had 13 votes and Microsoft have a month to respond but after the response it’s difficult to understand what is happening with each suggestion.

Is it resolved?

I see this issue CRM 2013: Adding the “Advanced Find” to the global menu this has been marked as resolved and with the status resolved as tracking.  Which when click on tracking says the product team are tracking this.  How is that resolved?  It’s resolved in CRM 2015.

This item

Ability to set default entity for lookup fields – by Donna Edwards create 01/03/2012

https://connect.microsoft.com/dynamicssuggestions/Feedback/Details/727766

this is set to resolved as tracking, but what does this mean, how is it resolved, surely it’s only resolved once it’s in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product.

Time of response

It can take a very long time for things to go through the site and onto the Microsoft Dynamics Product.  Adding Field Level security to out of the box fields was added 09/03/2011 and has only just made it into the product for CRM 2015.  Why has this taken so long

 

What I like

There are positives about the Connect site

There is a method to raise product suggestions

It’s good Microsoft have a public process for people to add product suggestions and the voting mechanism is a great for the CRM Community to show support for particular suggestions

It does work

If you look at the list of the most popular suggestions they have mostly been implemented into Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

One of the greatest suggestions was by CRM MVP Neil Benson is

All Dynamics CRM training course materials should be free for everyone to download

It might not be a product suggestion, but this is such a good idea, which has helped lots of people study for the CRM certifications.  It makes sense to encourage and make it easier to study for the CRM certifications so there are more people knowledgeable about the CRM product.  This shows when the connect site works it can be awesome.

Microsoft do comment

I have seen lots of product suggestions with comments from the Microsoft team.  So they are giving some feedback.

Why is this important

I think CRM is an awesome product and I enjoy creating solutions using it.  I appreciate it has some quirks, a few bugs here and there but all products do.

At the moment I think Microsoft is missing getting some great feedback.  I know they have CRM MVP’s who they have a close relationship with but there are thousands  of CRM users/Developers and Microsoft could be using this group a lot better by being more interactive with CRM community regarding enhancements.

The coding horror blog post makes a great point, 90 percent of the enhancements will be rubbish, ridiculous, not workable, not worthwhile but 10 percent could be glorious.

I send people off to the Connect site regularly, this is the correct thing to do but I don’t feel at the moment it’s a very effective thing to do.

In my opinion usage of the connect site would be improved if these points were improved

  • It takes ages for enhancements to make it into CRM
  • Not enough people use the connect site due to lack of feedback or action from Microsoft
  • Make the connect site easier to use

What about the future

What struck me most about CRM 2015 was the fact some of the long standing connect enhancement requests were added to the CRM product and Microsoft in general seem a lot more reactive to opinion under Satya (e.g. Start button coming back in Windows, Microsoft Office for Android etc)

In CRM 2015 some of the new functionality

  1. Field level security on Out of the box fields
  2. Rollup fields
  3. improved business rules
  4. improved searching conditions
  5. Custom help

At the moment I feel Microsoft are listening, but the Dynamics CRM community has too shout really loudly to be heard.

The way the connect site works is a bit of mystery and the lack of feedback from Microsoft adds to the feeling that nothing is happening with the suggestions.  This I believe is reducing the number of people using the connect site, which ultimately will lead to few product suggestions.

 

Summary

I’m probably missing out important aspects from this discussion and hopefully people will comment and correct me, but I feel Microsoft could do better in this area and if they did focus on this Microsoft Dynamics CRM can only get better and it would encourage the CRM community to be more active.

There is scope for Microsoft to utilize the Microsoft Dynamics Community more effectively to help shape the future of Microsoft Dynamics CRM with feedback and suggestions from users.

My experience with the Connect site is it’s not easy to use, the statuses seem confusing and it takes too long for good suggestions to make it into the product.

The conversations I have had with people about the Connect site is people do not really use it because the suggestions take too long and the lack of feedback means it’s not something they can use to pacify customers (e.g. Microsoft is looking into it).

I appreciate Microsoft are a big tanker and it takes time to turn the ship and they are busy adding new functionality, but this type of feedback from the Microsoft dynamics CRM community is extremely valuable, those 10 percent of fantastic ideas are based on people who use the CRM product every day and based on hours/days of project experience.

There seems to be an improvement in CRM 2015 with Microsoft is more responsive to user feedback, if this could continue to the connect site I believe it would lead to greater participation from the CRM community.