How to get Microsoft CRM 2011 field attributes

How to get CRM field attributes

Say you need to know what all the Required Fields are or list of other field attributes like MaxLength or MinValue, for a set of entities in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, you could open each entity one at a time and then open each field attribute to determine its requirement level but if you have a large solution that process is time consuming and tedious.

A quick simple solution is to query the MetadataSchema.Attribute and the MetadataSchema.Entity found  in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Organization database.  Using the SQL I have provided below you can get a listing of just about anything you might want to know about your solutions entity attributes and field attributes.

 

SELECT MetadataSchema.Attribute.Name,   MetadataSchema.Attribute.AttributeRequiredLevelId,   MetadataSchema.Attribute.PhysicalName, MetadataSchema.Attribute.Length,

MetadataSchema.Attribute.MaxLength,   MetadataSchema.Attribute.DefaultValue,   MetadataSchema.Attribute.VisibleToPlatform,   MetadataSchema.Attribute.IsPKAttribute,

MetadataSchema.Attribute.PrecisionValue,   MetadataSchema.Attribute.MinValue, MetadataSchema.Attribute.MaxValue,   MetadataSchema.Attribute.AttributeId,

MetadataSchema.Entity.Name,   MetadataSchema.Entity.OriginalLocalizedName

FROM    MetadataSchema.Entity INNER JOIN

MetadataSchema.Attribute ON   MetadataSchema.Entity.EntityId = MetadataSchema.Attribute.EntityId

 

 

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CRM 4.0 Master Schema Management and Customization Change Control

 Recently I found a CRM 4.0 Schema comparison tool that I find makes life much easier when I’m playing the role of Schema Master.  Managing schema changes is in my opinion a arduous and very manual process.  It is  not advisable to use TFS for schema file comparisons and definitely not for merging, this is because TFS does line by line comparison not XML tag comparisons.  The Customization Comparison Utility lets you compare the customization files between two Microsoft Dynamics CRM systems and the Configuration Data Utility lets you transfer custom configuration data from one Microsoft Dynamics CRM system to another.   You can download the solution file here

The process I recommend for the proper management and change control practices   essential for the ongoing life cycle of a Microsoft CRM Dynamics Organization Database Schema.  The diagram below represents the three typical scenarios that the Schema Master may encounter on a frequent basis.  The three scenarios are Jr. Developer or Third Party Developer interactions, Senior Developer Interactions and Multi-Developer Entity Edits.  Using the Customization Comparison Utility along with this process will ensure the integrity of your CRM schema and save you from a lot of pain.

  

Master Schema Scenarios

Scenario 1

Under scenario 1 a junior developer or a third-party or outside vendor may need to promote changes to the CRM Master Schema.  In this circumstance the Schema Master would likely be responsible for heavy validation of the schema changes.

1.       The schema items impacted are exported from the developers environment .

2.       The schema items impacted are documented in a standard SharePoint change-log.

3.       The schema export file is checked in to the weekly schema build folder.

4.       The Schema Master reviews the change-log and the may make manual or automated adjustments to the Master Schema.

Scenario 2

Under scenario 2 a senior developer may need to promote changes to the CRM Master Schema in this circumstance would likely be responsible for validation of the schema changes.

1.       The schema items impacted are exported from the developers environment .

2.       The schema items impacted are documented in a standard SharePoint change-log.

3.       The schema export file is checked in to the weekly schema build folder.

4.       The Schema Master reviews the  change-log and the may make manual or automated adjustments to the Master Schema.

Scenario 3

Under scenario 3 multiple developers may need to promote changes to the CRM Master Schema impacting the same entity.  In this circumstance the developers would likely be responsible for creating and validating a single schema export file.

1.       The schema items impacted are exported from the developers environment .

2.       The schema items impacted are documented in a standard SharePoint change-log.

3.       The schema export file is checked in to the weekly schema build folder.

4.       The Schema Master notifies the developers of potential conflicts or collisions.

5.       The developers create a single schema export file and check it in to TFS.

6.       The Schema Master reviews the change-log and the may make manual or automated adjustments to the Master Schema.

The TFS Role

TFS is used as a repository for the incremental schema edits that are proposed as candidates to the Schema-Master.  It’s critical that developers only submit specific entity schema segments rather than the full CRM schema, this is because TFS analyzes code line by line rather than in the XML  tag format the CRM schema model uses.  Also because the environment that the CRM schema is exported from can alter the format and order of the XML.  For these reasons it will be incumbent upon the Schema-Master to understand where the schema segments are coming from and to identify the risks associated with the submitting party.

The SharePoint Role

A standard SharePoint form should be used to capture the schema changes being submitted by each developer.  The SharePoint form should capture at minimum:

               

o    ID Number

o    Entity, Workflow or Role Name

o    Attribute

o    Deployment Comments

o    Impact Analysis Comments

The ID Number shoul

 

d always be references within the TFS check-in comments   and included in the release and deploy notes sent to the Deployment team for each build.

 

 

 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 

HTML Editor for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

Until Microsoft Dynamics 5.0 to comes out the only way to get a HTML or Rich Text editor capability in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 is to roll your own or use a third party application.  I have had tremendous success using the TinyMCE  editor.  click here to download The editor has a plethora of features available including everything from spell check to word count and is available in a number of  build format and examples including;   jQuery, JavaScript, PHP, .Net and JSP.  I prefer to use the jQuery build for my Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 implementations.

Below I have included a code sample you can use in your custom iFrame.  Accessing the raw HTML source during the CRM onSave event was a little bit tricky, here’s the code for that.

crmForm.all.IFRAME_Accomplishment.contentWindow.tinymce.getInstanceById('elm1').getBody().innerHTML

You can either make a call to the CRM SDK and save this value to the database or use javascript and simply copy to a hidden  nText  field located  directly on the form next to the iFrame.  All we have to do is save and load the raw HTML and the HTML editor does the rest.

I use a FetchXML function to load the raw HTML…

$('#elm1').val(GetContacts());

The GetContacts function simply uses FetchXML to retrieve the value of a nText attribute I have added to the Contacts entity.

Here’s a page that instantiates a HTML editor in a iFrame for use in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0.

<head>
<title>Full featured Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 tinyMCE example using jQuery plugin by ExtremeCRM.net</title>

<!-- Load jQuery -->
<script type="text/javascript" src="http://www.google.com/jsapi"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
 google.load("jquery", "1");
</script>

<!-- Load TinyMCE -->
//****** REMEMBER TO CHANGE THIS PATH TO THE PROPER ISV LOCATION  *******//
<script type="text/javascript" src="../jscripts/tiny_mce/jquery.tinymce.js"></script>
<script type="text/javascript">
 $().ready(function() {
 $('textarea.tinymce').tinymce({
 // Location of TinyMCE script
 //****** REMEMBER TO CHANGE THIS PATH TO THE PROPER ISV LOCATION  *******//
 script_url : '../jscripts/tiny_mce/tiny_mce.js',

 // General options
 theme : "advanced",
 plugins : "pagebreak,style,layer,table,save,advhr,advimage,advlink,emotions,iespell,inlinepopups,insertdatetime,preview,media,searchreplace,print,contextmenu,paste,directionality,fullscreen,noneditable,visualchars,nonbreaking,xhtmlxtras,template,advlist",

 // Theme options
 theme_advanced_buttons1 : "save,newdocument,|,bold,italic,underline,strikethrough,|,justifyleft,justifycenter,justifyright,justifyfull,styleselect,formatselect,fontselect,fontsizeselect",
 theme_advanced_buttons2 : "cut,copy,paste,pastetext,pasteword,|,search,replace,|,bullist,numlist,|,outdent,indent,blockquote,|,undo,redo,|,link,unlink,anchor,image,cleanup,help,code,|,insertdate,inserttime,preview,|,forecolor,backcolor",
 theme_advanced_buttons3 : "tablecontrols,|,hr,removeformat,visualaid,|,sub,sup,|,charmap,emotions,iespell,media,advhr,|,print,|,ltr,rtl,|,fullscreen",
 theme_advanced_buttons4 : "insertlayer,moveforward,movebackward,absolute,|,styleprops,|,cite,abbr,acronym,del,ins,attribs,|,visualchars,nonbreaking,template,pagebreak",
 theme_advanced_toolbar_location : "top",
 theme_advanced_toolbar_align : "left",
 theme_advanced_statusbar_location : "bottom",
 theme_advanced_resizing : true,

 // Example content CSS (should be your site CSS)
 //****** REMEMBER TO CHANGE THIS PATH TO THE PROPER ISV LOCATION  *******//
 content_css : "css/content.css",

 // Drop lists for link/image/media/template dialogs
 template_external_list_url : "lists/template_list.js",
 external_link_list_url : "lists/link_list.js",
 external_image_list_url : "lists/image_list.js",
 media_external_list_url : "lists/media_list.js",

 // Replace values for the template plugin
 template_replace_values : {
 username : "Some User",
 staffid : "991234"
 }

 });

 //Here we load the input textbox named elm1.  This input text box will be overloaded by the tinyMCE editor at runtime.
 //See the GetContacts function below.
 $('#elm1').val(GetContacts());

 });
</script>
<!-- /TinyMCE -->

</head>
<body>

 <form id="form1" runat="server">
 <div>
 <h3>Full featured example using jQuery plugin</h3>

 <p>
 This example shows how TinyMCE can be used from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0  using jQuery. The jQuery plugin will also attach it's self to various jQuery methods to make it more easy to get/set editor contents etc.
 </p>

 <!-- Gets replaced with TinyMCE, remember HTML in a textarea should be encoded -->
 <div>
 <textarea id="elm1" name="elm1" rows="15" cols="80" style="width: 80%">
 &lt;p&gt;
 This is some example text that you can edit inside the &lt;strong&gt;TinyMCE editor&lt;/strong&gt;.
 &lt;/p&gt;
 &lt;p&gt;
 ExtremeCRM provides developers coding examples, insights, concepts and options for developing customizations for Microsoft CRM 4.0.  The primary contributor, Brenden Smith is a Microsoft MCP and Microsoft CRM 4.0 Lead developer for a federal agency in Washing D.C.  If you would like to be a contributor for extremeCRM.net
 &lt;/p&gt;
 </textarea>
 </div>

 <!-- Some integration calls -->
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="$('#elm1').tinymce().show();">[Show]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="$('#elm1').tinymce().hide();">[Hide]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="$('#elm1').tinymce().execCommand('Bold');">[Bold]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="alert($('#elm1').html());">[Get contents]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="alert($('#elm1').tinymce().selection.getContent());">[Get selected HTML]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="alert($('#elm1').tinymce().selection.getContent({format : 'text'}));">[Get selected text]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="alert($('#elm1').tinymce().selection.getNode().nodeName);">[Get selected element]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="$('#elm1').tinymce().execCommand('mceInsertContent',false,'<b>Hello world!!</b>');">[Insert HTML]</a>
 <a href="javascript:;" onmousedown="$('#elm1').tinymce().execCommand('mceReplaceContent',false,'<b>{$selection}</b>');">[Replace selection]</a>

 <br />
 <input type="submit" name="save" value="Submit" />
 <input type="reset" name="reset" value="Reset" />
 </div>
</form>
<script type="text/javascript">
if (document.location.protocol == 'file:') {
 alert("The examples might not work properly on the local file system due to security settings in your browser. Please use a real webserver.");
}
</script>
</body>
</html>

CRM CSS Look and Feel, Now With jQuery Support

jQuery ThemeRoller

I’m currently creating a framework for using jQuery and jqGrid with Microsoft Dynamics CRM. I will be posting the final concept and making it public soon.  One piece that may be helpful to some even if they don’t utilize the framework is a jQuery UI Dynamics CRM theme which I have added to my CRM Look and Feel Kit.  Both can be downloaded here.

Creating a CRM 4.0 test/training organization from your production organization and or Recovering a CRM organization database

 

This article will also help with the following scenarios:

  • You want to move the Microsoft Dynamics CRM databases to another Microsoft SQL Server and Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services server in the same domain. Additionally, you want to leave the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server on the existing server.
  • You want to redeploy the Microsoft Dynamics CRM deployment that includes the Microsoft Dynamics CRM server within the same domain or to another domain.
  • You want to move the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Server or one of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM server roles. However, you want to leave the SQL Server and SQL Server Reporting Services server intact.

  Requirements

  • SQL Server Management Studio
  • CRM 4.0 Deployment Manager
  • CRM Enterprise Server License
  • CRM Deployment Administrator Permissions
  • SQL Server Administrator Permissions
  • An existing backup of your CRM database

 

Procedure

Restore SQL Database

  1. On the CRM SQL Server navigate to: Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft Dynamics CRM -> Deployment Manager
  2. Click “Connect” to open a connection to the SQL server

     

  3. Right click the “Database” folder and select “Restore Database”

     

  4.  In the “To database” field enter your database name (Note: It is a best practice to name your database with a “_MSCRM” to help distinguish this database from others on that server)

     

  5. Select “From Device” and click the browse button
  6. Click the “Add” button and select the backup of the CRM database that you wish to restore. Click “OK” to select the backup file.

     

  7. Click “OK” to accept your selections.
  8. Check the “Restore” checkbox next to the Database that you wish to restore, and click the Options link in the left hand column. 
  9. Check “Overwrite the existing database” and click the “OK” button to restore the backup file

     

  10. Once complete you will be notified via the following screen.

Import the CRM Organization

  1. On the CRM Server navigate to: Start -> All Programs -> Microsoft Dynamics CRM -> Deployment Manager

      

  2. With Deployment Manager open, navigate to Organizations to get a listing of the current Organizations available in CRM. 

     

  3. Click the “Import Organization” link in the right hand column to start the process of importing a CRM Organization. 

     

  4. On the “Import Organization Wizard” enter in the name of the SQL server, select the newly restored database and click “Next” 

     

  5. Enter the name of the Organization as you want it to appear in CRM and click “Next” 

     

  6. Enter the name of the SQL Reporting Server and click “Next”

     

  7. Select Auto-map users and click “Next”

     

  8. Make any adjustments as necessary and click “Next”

     

  9. Review the requirements screen and click “Next”

     

  10. Click the “Import” button to begin the import of the Organization
  11. After complete click the “Finish” button to close the wizard

Additional Notes:

The import process will automatically attempt to add all the necessary Active Directory group membership for each user that listed in the CRM SystemUserBase table. This step of the process can be lengthy depending on the total number of users in your production CRM organization, and often times it may seem as if the process has hung. A simple yet manual way to monitor the status during this operation is to compare the deployment manager logs with the listing of users in the SystemUserBase table. The import process will process each user, as they are entered in the table, and will write out a log entry for each user that it has processed. The log for the deployment manager is located in:

%USERPROFILE%Application DataMicrosoftMSCRMLogscrm40dmsnapin.log

Although this process will create a separate CRM organization with a point in time snapshot of your company’s customizations as well as its data, it will not allow you to test the deployment of Rollups or other hot fixes. If you are looking to obtain this capability, you will need to setup a separate environment in which you can install a separate copy of CRM. With such a scenario, it is always important to take into consideration, the licensing ramifications of all the software involved (CRM, SQL, Windows, etc). However, if you are simply attempting to setup a duplicate environment where you can train new users or test out new customizations before introducing them into production, this procedure should fully meet your needs.

Routinely companies need the ability to utilize a training or test Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 environment that operates on a similar set of data as their Production deployment. With CRM 4.0 we can achieve this goal by making use of its multi-tenancy capabilities, or the ability to have multiple CRM Organizations. 

Additional help 

How to move the Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 deployment 

Deployment Manager: Import Organization vs. Edit Organization 

Configure a Microsoft Dynamics CRM organization for database mirroring …

Microsoft CRM 4.0 Look and Feel Kit

I notice confusion out there about CSS styles to achieve a native CRM look and feel, for reasons I’m not sure of many folks can’t find the CSS template provided in the CRM SDK which can be downloaded here. Additionally the CSS template that is included by Microsoft doesn’t have much in it, for example there aren’t any CSS styles for grids.

For those of you new to CRM what were really discussing here is iFrames embedded in to your CRM entity form page so the need to match up to CRM to present seamless integration and a clean user interface is important.

I’m going to post the CSS template and images I use in my projects and as I add more styles to it I will update it from time to time.

Click here to download the CRM Look and Feel Kit

Monitoring your Microsoft Dynamics CRM Infrastructure with System Center Operations Manager 2007

Introduction

For any organisation, Systems Availability is crucial to the business and business continuity. Because of the nature and complexity of a CRM Architecture, it is vital to understand the current state of its various components and computers. The entire CRM Architecture can be centrally managed and monitored using System Center Operations Manager 2007 (SCOM), a Dynamic Systems Initiative from Microsoft to help support and be more effective and efficient, thereby saving time and money. The use of SCOM takes guess work out of the support equation, by identifying the root cause of an issue and providing the appropriate solution. As a predictive product it also provides alerts on unforeseen potential problems, enabling proactive support. In this document we discuss the use of SCOM to manage and monitor the CRM architecture comprising of Windows 2003 server, Microsoft SQL Server 2005 or 2008, Microsoft Exchange Server 2003 or 2007, Microsoft Internet Information Server IIS 6 and 7, BizTalk Server 2006, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0, Windows XP, 2000, Vista, Microsoft Office 2007 and custom .Net applications

 SCOM alerts are based on real world problems and solutions developed by domain experts and Windows error reporting is linked to latest resolution knowledge. For illustration purposes the diagram below shows the Asynchronous Service Architecture, a small part of the CRM 4.0 Architecture. The Asynchronous architecture is monitored in the SCOM deployment for CRM 4.0.

  

 SCOM Solution for a Dynamics CRM 4.0 Architecture

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 architecture can be complex, depending on deployment. To ensure that all the CRM 4.0 components are functioning properly requires a robust support infrastructure. Microsoft System Center Operations Manager is a software solution that meets the need for end-to-end service monitoring in the enterprise. Deploying SCOM is key to effective support for any organisation that values its technology investment, and takes systems availability and uptime seriously.

SCOM components

Operational Database consists of operational data and configuration data for a management group. A Root Management Server is used for configuration management. Management Agents discover, collect, analyse and manage servers’ and clients’ alerts so as to resolve issues and can also wake failed systems. A Reporting Server provides reports for the management group and is displayed in the SCOM console.

Agentless Exception Monitoring extends monitoring to operating systems and applications. It configures error-reporting clients to redirect their reports to the management server providing information on failure and available solutions. An Audit Collector, found on the management server, provides information on security of managed computers from audit enabled agents. In DMZ configurations, a Gateway Server can be used for agents beyond a firewall or found in Non Trusted Domains.

Deploying SCOM

To setup SCOM OpmMgr and RMS databases, SCOM is deployed on a MS SQL Server where the Action, SDK and Service Accounts are specified. A webconsole is deployed specifying the SQL instance, the database name and SQL Listening port, plus provide relevant accounts. With installation complete, an Administrator has to logon to the SCOM server to complete the setup by configuring Discovery and select the managed objects in addition to configuring computers and devices to manage, and importing management packs[1].

Operations Manager 2007 Reporting is setup by installing the data reporting data warehouse and reporting server for reports and dashboards. It is recommended to install the Data Warehouse and Reporting Server on separate servers. A SQL Server Instance is used for the Audit Collection Service and Audit Collection Database setup and enablement.

SCOM Monitoring

A SCOM Monitor looks at different application aspects, known as Object Types, consisting of system devices or services with one of three operational states: healthy, warning or failure. A Distributed Application Designer is built on Service Oriented Monitoring and is easy to configure using a graphic designer. It can also be used to monitor ports and IP addresses of given systems. It also handles Line of Business Applications.

Roles have to be created to manage the SCOM system. Roles are integrated with Active Directory and they can manage tasks authorised for specified roles.

Notifications can be delivered individually via Email, Pager, Instant Messaging, Session Initiation Protocol, Short Message Service support (SMS) and SMTP via the Notification Device Wizard.

SCOM can be integrated with AD for Security Discovery and Agent Management enabling agent deployment and configuration automatically. The SCOM Discovery Wizard feature uses LDAP identify devices in the Directory to manage agents automatically. The MOMADAdmin tool is used to integrate with AD by creating an admin access point with the ability to specify exclusions through the ADSI Edit[2] tool.

To setup Agentless Exception Monitoring, requires configuring the Customer Experience Improvement Program (CEIP) and Error alert routing, transmission settings (through HTTP/S or with SSL with authentication preferences) and Error Crash Behaviour. These alerts can be forwarded to Microsoft and Microsoft will provide available information to solve the issue or in crash cases Microsoft will investigate the issue further.

SCOM Management Features

Through the monitoring space, administrators are able to see in Real-Time the state of systems and or services. Through the health explorer administrators can see the events that are not healthy and can then take corrective action to fix the problem using diagnostics and recovery features found in the management packs. Administrators can work with reports, creating reports for customers etc. and report on planned and unplanned operations and much more. Reports can also be specific, providing information on specific issues.

SCOM 2007 has an excellent and customisable knowledgebase known as Company Knowledge. This knowledgebase is an invaluable resource that provides information on root causes of issues and how they can be resolved. The Company Knowledge is editable, allowing for the addition of company related issues and how they have been resolved.  

 

Company Knowledge is used to capture the steps required to resolve an alert in an OpsMgr installation.  When paired with the Product knowledge (which provides application developers knowledge on the causes and suggested resolution steps for an alert), the two help any operator with the best steps they can take to resolve an alert. Product Knowledge is embedded in a rule or monitor.

 

The power of SCOM lies in the End-to-End visibility of the health and performance of the CRM architecture. This powerful feature empowers support staff to have a complete view of their supported environment, with access to easily accessed information on how to resolve issues affecting their CRM environment in case of an IT issue. They are empowered to take proactive action regarding issues before users can start calling or before systems actually fail, ensuring short Mean Time To Identify (MTTI) and Mean Time to Repair (MTR).

Figure 2 SCOM monitoring in a CRM Architecture

Organisations that have successfully deployed System Center Operations Manager 2007 testify to the ability to provide efficient support and avoiding time wasting extensive manual investigations that can give support a bad name.  Many have deployed SCOM and integrated it with their Helpdesk systems. This integration facilitates the automatic generation of tickets or calls, leading to a significant reduction in waste of support staff effort used to manually create, update and manage tickets or support Calls.

A Microsoft Dynamics CRM (Customer Relationship Management) 4.0 system is built on a three tier Enterprise Architecture consisting of; Client, Application and Data.  SCOM is able to monitor the health and performance of these systems and their applications, easily providing service level monitoring that allows the support team to meet their operational level agreements. Because CRM can be web-enabled, SCOM has the capability to monitor several URLs at any one time and provide real-time data on connectivity status.

Note

SCOM has the capability to monitor non Microsoft technology through Operations Manager Connector Framework. It does this through the bi-directional synchronised partner connector solutions that connects to the third party management packs.

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Management Pack

At the time of writing, there is no SCOM Management Pack for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0. However, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 can be managed using SCOM, by converting the MOM 2005 Management Pack for CRM[3]. This particular management pack monitors the CRM Architecture including:

  1. CRM Asynchronous Processing services.
  2. World Wide Web Publishing
  3. Microsoft Dynamics CRM Deletion Service
  4. Microsoft Dynamics CRM databases

 

Deploying SCOM 2007 provides support staff with an easy-to-use monitoring environment to monitor corporate servers, applications, and clients. This coverage gives staff a full view of the organisation’s systems, something that allows support staff to provide pro-active solutions to issues before they happen, enabling them to proactively maintain and reduce resolution times for any issues that may affect overall availability and performance of the CRM system.

 Microsofts SCOM site can be found here

Attaching Javascript code to a CRM Toolbar Button

Attaching Javascript code to a tool bar button can be very ugly.  Generally the code needs to be included within the CRM, ISV Config  XML file.  It’s pretty easy to add a button via the ISV Config.  Click Here for more information on adding custom buttons to a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Entity form, toolbar.

The red highlighted Javascript tag below shows you where you would typically place your JavaScript or JavaScript function call but this isn’t the best place for the JavaScript.  I have seen huge JavaScript routines embedded in to the tag whci makes debugging and readability a painful exercise.  Even if you call a JavaScript function and leave the tag nice and cleas as shown here that Javascript function has to be maintained outside of the CRM Model.

<Entities>
        <Entity name=”new_customentity”>
          <ToolBar ValidForCreate=”0″ ValidForUpdate=”1″>
            <ToolBarSpacer></ToolBarSpacer>
            <Button Icon=”/_imgs/ico_18_debug.gif” JavaScript=”
DuplicateRecord (10016);”>
              <Titles>
                <Title LCID=”1033″ Text=”Duplicate Record” />
              </Titles>
              <ToolTips>
                <ToolTip LCID=”1033″ Text=”Copies a record based on this open record.” />
              </ToolTips>
            </Button>
            <ToolBarSpacer />
          </ToolBar>
        </Entity>
      </Entities>
 

The solution is pretty simple.

If we change the structure of our JavaScript function a bit we can simply place it in a Entity’s form OnLoad Event.  The key syntax is simply  MyFunction = function() .

Here is a working example of a function I wrote which calls a web service to copy the  current open record and create a new one based on it,

The CRM Form OnLoad Event JavaScript

DuplicateRecord = function() {

    try {
        var oXmlHTTP = new ActiveXObject(“Msxml2.XMLHTTP”);
       oXmlHTTP.Open(“POST”, “/somepath/ DuplicateRecord Service.asmx/ DuplicateRecord?mso-spacerun: yes”>      + crmForm.ObjectId, false);
        oXmlHTTP.setRequestHeader(“Content-Type”, “application/x-www-form-urlencoded”)
        oXmlHTTP.Send(‘jobId=’ + crmForm.ObjectId);
        var newId = oXmlHTTP.responseXML.selectSingleNode(“string”).text;
   }
    catch (e) {
        debugger;
        return null;
    }
}

 

The ISV Config  XML Tag

<Button Icon=”” Url=”” PassParams=”1″ WinParams=”” WinMode=”0″ JavaScript=” DuplicateRecord ();”>
              <Titles>
                <Title LCID=”1033″ Text=” Duplicate This Record ” />
              </Titles>
              <ToolTips>
                <ToolTip LCID=”1033″ Text=”Copy Record” />
              </ToolTips>
            </Button>
 

Conclusion

I like this approach because now all our JavaScript is still maintained within the CRM Entity’s and for a number of good reasons that’s where a Microsoft Dynamics CRM  application should store the JavaScript.  Because its with the entity it will get exported with your model and other customizations.

Grab those lookup values

CRM uses the Primary-Attribute (not to be confused with primary key) for many UI features and functions such as the Associated Views and the Lookup View and the default field for Primary-Attribute is Name.  Unfortunately you can’t have a lookup field or picklist for your Primary Attribute so in the example below even though we select a Trip from the Trips lookup the Name (primary attribute) would need to be filled in manually. 

 In this example imagine you have an Entity called Trips and an entity called Trip Packages.  A Trip Package is related to a Trip and it is a required value.  When you select a Trip from the Trip lookup you want to set the value of the Primary-Attribute/Name so that when Trip packages are searched for they will always contain the name of the base Trip.

 The solution is simple but I’ve seen some wild examples that are much more complex.

Here’s the one line of code to be added to the lookup field controls OnChange Event.

crmForm.all.new_name.DataValue = crmForm.all.new_authorid.DataValue[0].name;

 You could easily concatenate other fields to the Name/ Primary-Attribute as well.  I might add trip date and sponsor name for example.  I would use the same code with the appropriate control names to grab those lookup values:

crmForm.all.new_name.DataValue = crmForm.all.new_sponsorid.DataValue[0].name + crmForm.all.new_authorid.DataValue[0].name + crmForm.all.new_tripdate.DataValue;

 I know we can make this example more elegant with the use of variables and string functions but let’s leave it simple for easy digestion.

 Happy coding!

Microsoft CRM Code Injector for HTTP Handling

crmlogo1

A HTTP Handler intercepts HTTP requests as they are preformed for a particular application; in this case it is a Microsoft Dynamics CRM application. Our HTTP Handler performs code injection in the form of JavaScript; there are 5 parts to the project.

1. Web.config setup

2. Base filter classes

3. Element Extension

4. JavaScript logic files

5. CSS extension files

Let’s take a look at what each one of these 5 parts do.

Web.Config setup

By adding an entry to the <httpModules> section of the Web.Config for the CRM application something like \Inetpub\crmroot\Web.Config each time a HTTP request is preformed we can preform logic via a DLL we will build from the Base filter classes and Element Extension logic (Items 2 and 3 above).  To configure this entry we would insert a line in the <httpModules> section like the following:

<httpModules>

<add name=”ExtensionModule” type=”eCRM.Customize.ElementExtension, eCRM.Extension” />

</httpModules>

eCRM.Extension is the name of the DLL we will create and eCRM.Customize.ElementExtension is the actual name of the IHttpModule class within our project.

Base filter classes

There are two classes that make up the support for our ElementExtension.  The ElementExtension will essentially inject a CSS behavior into the page being processed by the HTTP server (IIS).  The first part is BaseFilter.cs  an abstract class which is simply a System.IO.Stream, and the second part is ElementInsertFilter.cs which inherits the BaseFilter and does the actual work of inserting the CSS behavior.  There isn’t likely any changes that will need to be made to the BaseFilter abstract class, but there might be modifications needed for the ElementInsertFilter.  The ElementInsertFilter is basically a map that tells the code injector logic where to inject the CSS link or, in some cases but not our sample here, you might inject HTML after the <BODY> tag or in a certain <DIV> tag etc….

//..find the </head> element

match = new Regex( “</head>”, RegexOptions.IgnoreCase ).Match( this._buffer.ToString() );

if( match.Success )

{

//..insert the stylesheet element just before the </head> element

this._buffer.Insert( match.Index, this._element );

}

In the previous partial code snippet, we instruct our code injector to insert the CSS link just before the closing </head> tag.  It would be possible to inject JavaScript directly without using the CSS element. It is also possible to inject HTML.  If this were the case you would need to modify the ElementInsertFilter filter with additional logic used to determine where to inject the HTML or JavaScript.

Element Extension

The  ElementExtension.cs simply analyzes the HttpContext passed in to determine the file path.  In the following structure and in the class in the sample project you will need to add one string constant and one FilePath check per element or page you wish to handle.

//Define a string constant to hold the path and file name of our CSS document.

string sfa_accts_edit = “<link rel=\”stylesheet\” type=\”text/css\” href=\”/_oth/HTC/sfa_accts_edit.css\”>” + Environment.NewLine;

HttpContext context = ( ( HttpApplication ) sender ).Context;

//If the path is what we are looking for pass the CSS string to the ElementInsertFilter class.

if (context.Request.FilePath.StartsWith(“/sfa/accts/edit.aspx”, System.StringComparison.OrdinalIgnoreCase))

{

context.Response.Filter = new ElementInsertFilter(context.Response.Filter, sfa_accts_edit);

}

JavaScript logic files

An HTC is an HTML file that contains script and a set of HTC-specific elements that define a component.  We are using HTC files here to store the JavaScript behavior we want our HTTP handler to inject at runtime.    You will need to include the component tag at the beginning of your HTC file script.

<public:component lightweight=”true”>

<public:attach event=”ondocumentready” onevent=”Init()” />

</public:component>

The component tag tells the page processor that we want the JavaScript code logic to be loaded when the Initialization or Init() event is fired.

We might do a simple onload of the form even like this:

function Init()

{

window.onload=OnDocLoad();

}

In another case we might attach an event to a control on the page like this:

function Init()

{

window.document.forms( “crmForm” ).elements( “customertypecode” ).attachEvent( “onchange”, OnCustomerTypeChange );

}

In both cases, we attach a  JavaScript function we have created and attach it to a form or control event.  In this example, we are going to hide the built-in CRM help menus so we will attach to the main form onload event or   window.onload and call the following function:

function OnDocLoad()  

{

var helpMenu = document.getElementById(‘mnu_about’);

helpMenu.style.display = ‘none’;

var helpMenu = document.getElementById(‘mnu_helpUpdates’);

helpMenu.style.display = ‘none’;

var helpMenu = document.getElementById(‘mnu_crmLive’);

helpMenu.style.display = ‘none’;

var helpMenu = document.getElementById(‘mnu_adminGuide’);

helpMenu.style.display = ‘none’;

}

CSS extension files

The CSS file is very simple and has one small, but critical job.  It adds a behavior which attaches the HTC file to the page request being handled by the web server (IIS).  This is done with just a couple line in the CSS file.

body

{

behavior: url(activities_attachment_edit.htc);

}

As you can see the injector concept is a much better option than modifying CRM base pages.

Regards,

Brenden MVP