CRM Developer Tools in Visual Studio 2015

It seems CRM Developer Tools are not getting much love from Microsoft lately.

The versions available for CRM 2013 where only for VS2013 and V2012 It’s not been release as part in CRM 2015 SDK yet.

…and VS 2015 is just around the corner…

But there is always a way, ;)…

There are known work arounds (e.g.: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Toolkit with Visual Studio 2013) to make this work on VS2013 but I found none so far to deal with VS2015.

After looking around and doing some tests I found a MVW (Minimum Viable Workaround, ;)) to make this work. 3 simple steps should do it, as per below:

  • Add the below to devenv.exe.config

  • Install Microsoft.CrmDeveloperToolsVS2015.vsix (my own version with just a view tweaks considering the workaround for VS2013, as per blog linked above)

  • Copy the contents of “CRM MSBuild.zip” to “C:\Program Files (x86)\MSBuild\Microsoft\CRM” (if folder path does not exist create it:

Disclaimer:

  • Needless to say that this a completely unsupported workaround, do it at your own risk.
  • This was done on the Current VS2015 RC1 (Release Candidate), it might not work on former of future releases.

CRM 2015 Update 1 is OUT! (CRM Online)

CRM 2015 Update 1 (AKA: .v7.1; Carina) has been out for a few weeks now.

Microsoft started rolling out CRM 20125 for Online instances back in December 2015, and now it’s time to do the same for 2015 U1.

For on-premises, this update is scheduled to be released in Q4 2014 (source 1 ; source 2).

This is a very exiting release, as it brings a plethora of new features and improvements, some of them long-awaited (Microsoft seems to be listening loud and clear partners and customers suggestions).

Even the web UI has had a distinctive change (if you see the UX in the image below, then you are on Update 1 already, ;))

If you want to know what’s in the box, check out some of my previous posts:

  1. Navigation Bar and Global MRU
  2. Form Navigation
  3. Theming
  4. Export to Excel Redesigned
  5. Immersive Excel
  6. Folder-Level Tracking
  7. CRM for Phones Redesigned
  8. OneNote Integration
  9. Online Ramp-Up E-mails

2015 Update 1: CRM for Phones Redesigned

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015 Update 1 (code-named Carina) brings a lot of great new functionalities, in this post the full redesign of the CRM for Phone application is presented.

CRM for Phone was redesigned to provide more functionality and a more similar experience to the other UI endpoints (e.g.: Web; CRM for Tablets, etc.).

In a nutshell, CRM for Phone has now the same functionality as CRM for Tablet.

As per Microsoft’s remarks: “the implementation is the same but the experience is optimised for the Phone”. Even though not mentioned specifically, I would put my money on it being a “Universal Application” (CRM for XBox next?).

This new app., and will only work for 2015 Update 1 (AKA: v7.1) and beyond.

The sections below detail into the new UI look and feel and on the major new functionalities now available for phones.

Through the Screens

The sections below show, screen by screen, the new UI design.

Home Screen

Navigation Menu

Record Form

Business Process Flow

The image below shows how the steps in a specific stage are presented, now in everything similar to the CRM for Tablet UI.

Dashboard View

Pint to Start and Pin to Home

A record can be pinned to the home page of the application, as per below:

Similarly, the item can also be pinned to the start screen of the device. In Windows 8 it means the start screen (new UI of Windows 8) but on tablets and phones means a direct link to the item from the start screen of the device.

A Dashboard

Dashboards are now available also, and the user can switch between dashboards and/or drill down from charts and views.

View

Tile Resizing

Items (records, dashboards, views, etc.) pinned to the home screen of the application can also be resized. Bigger tiles allow for more information/functionality to be available, as per example below.

  • Before resize

  • After resize

OS’s Supported

The table below presents the OS versions and the minimum RAM resources required to run the new CRM for Phones application.

Platform

Versions

RAM

iOS

7.x and 8.x

=>1GB

Android

4.4

=>1GB

Windows Phone

8.1 GDR

=>512MB

Two versions: “CRM for Phone – Express” and “CRM for Phone”.

The previous version of the phone app. will continue to exist all still work on Update 1 but:

  • It will now be renamed to “CRM for Phone – Express”.
  • Will continue to work with 2015 Update 1 Online (to be confirmed if the on premises will also support it).
  • Users will be notified when accessing through it to a 7.1 server that there is a new, more modern, app (details in table below).

The new version will be known in the app. stores as “CRM for Phone”.

Details on supportability can be found in the table below:

Server Version

CRM for Phone – Express

CRM for Phone

v6.x / v7.0

Supported

Not Supported

v7.1 – Online only

Deprecated

Supported

> v7.1

Not Supported

Supported

Unsupported Entities

The new “CRM for Phone” app. will not initially support some entities that “CRM for Phone – Express” does, as per table below:

#

Entity Name

1 Address
2 Campaign
3 Campaign Activity
4 Campaign Response
5 Contract
6 Contract Detail
7 Discount
8 Discount List
9 Facility/Equipment
10 Fax
11 Invoice Product
12 Invoices
13 Letters
14 Mailbox
15 Marketing List
16 Opportunity Close
17 Order
18 Order Product
19 Price List
20 price List Item
21 Quote Close
22 Quote Product
23 Quotes
24 Service
25 Service Activities
26 Subject
27 Territory
28 Unit
29 Unit Group

Key Takeaways

  1. Record forms redesigned to be aligned with CRM for tablets UI.
  2. The main form is now the one considered to render the records form.
  3. Pin to start screen
  4. Pin to home screen.
  5. Business Rules and JavaScript are now supported.
  6. Business Process Flows are now available and aligned with CRM for tablets UI.
  7. Custom entities are fully supported now.
  8. Offline mode functionality (including creating draft records).
  9. Quick create forms will now be available.
  10. Open phones default map application by clicking the address field (this is a new functionality that will also be introduced to CRM for Tablets app.)
  11. Not all entities available in the older version will be available in the new one.

It’s not over yet, there’s more to come on Update 1, stay tuned, ;).