Tag Archive for Dynamics CRM

Simple Solutions in Dynamics CRM – Reporting

I continue to be amazed at how easy it is to work with, extend, and build complete solutions with Dynamics CRM 4. Some Marketing users I support have been building Reports in the Report Wizard tool. This is a great tool for very simple reports. However, if you are looking for any kind of summary information, or calculations which are not built in as a calculated attribute, you can’t do that with the wizard.

I had heard that there were 3 easy to develop reports in CRM.

  1. Use the Report Wizard
  2. Start with the Report Wizard and Customize in Visual Studio
  3. Develop in Visual Studio

Option #2 looks appealing as it seems to hold out the promise of getting you 80% of the way to completion before you touch the RDL. However, there is one big problem: you won’t be able to Preview the report in Visual Studio. This is because the main Data Set for the report (named DSMain) is actually using Dynamic SQL to generate the query. The query builders which come with Report Designer do not support dynamic SQL, and even if they did, you would not be able to set the parameters the way you want to. I would say this option is only well suited for styling and adding a company brand to your custom CRM Reports.

This morning I tried Option #3 and I find this to be the easiest to work with. There did not seem to be any real limitation on how the report was designed. However, I can tell you that when designing your SQL queries, you want to be going against the set of Filtered Views in CRM which are designed to offer precisely this kind of access to the underlying data. I have found that as I build out my custom entities, attributes and relationships, all of these customizations generate a corresponding FilteredX view in the Organization data store. In other words, if you create a custom entity named “Photo” (I am removing any customization prefix for simplicity), should look to report on Photos from a View named FilteredPhoto. Additionally, Relationships to other entities will be manifested in these views as well. As you might expect, a Many-to-Many relationship which is defined between entitles (custom or system), becomes a view which can be used to represent that relationship. Not only are your customizations First Class Citizens in the CRM data schema, but easy access to the data is made available immediately.

 

Brian Berry is a Director of Technology Consulting with BlumShapiro, focusing on Microsoft Business Intelligence solutions, with a strong focus on Systems Integration, Master Data Management and PerformancePoint Services. He has been helping companies optimize their investments in Microsoft technology for over 12 years.

Using the Outlook Add-In for Dynamics CRM in Office 2010 Beta

My risk barometer may be a bit skewed – I’ll be the first to admit that. Anyway, please don’t be shocked when I tell you that I decided to try uninstalling Office Professional 2010 Beta from my business PC because I wanted to switch from 64-bit back to 32-bit.

Why would I do such a thing, knowing full well that Beta products are notoriously difficult to uninstall? Simple – I love the Outlook Add-In for Dynamics CRM. Without it, I just don’t use the thing (i.e. I forget to share valuable information with my colleagues). The Outlook Add-In only works with 32 –bit Outlook clients. I decided it was worth the hassle, and I might learn something.

First question: how difficult is it to uninstall Office 2010 Beta?

Usually, there is a quite a bit of information out there on the web about challenges related to uninstalling a beta product. However, that information is not out there. There is an FAQ sheet which recommends that you simply Uninstall the software from the Programs and Features section of Control Panel – you know, like this was an RTM release. It can’t be that easy, I said.

Actually, pretty close. I also had Visio 2010 and Project 2010 Beta installed – that was the only catch. I was not aware (and still am not certain) that there is a preferred order to this. What I did was:

1. Uninstalled Office 2010 Professional Plus Beta

2. Restarted the machine

3. Attempted to Install Office 2010 Beta for 32 –bit. This complained that I still had 64 bit components, namely Project and Visio. So…

4. Uninstalled Project 2010 – the installer complained that it was not able to finish

5. Uninstalled Visio 2010 – again the installer complained that it was not able to finish

6. Restarted the machine

7. Installed Office 2010 Professional Plus for 32-bit

I did not get any complaints on the install of 32-bit and everything seems to be working well. Even Communicator is happy again – no Outlook Integration errors.

Right now, I am downloading Project and Visio 2010 for 32-bit – I’ll update this accordingly if I discover an issue.

Invalid Action Response from Microsoft CRM 4.0

My Marketing team was suddenly experiencing issues with our production CRM, reporting “Invalid Action” in the UI.

When I took a look at the Event Log I saw quite a few error entries that looked like this:

Event Type:    Error
Event Source:    MSCRMKeyGenerator
Event Category:    None
Event ID:    18949
Date:        6/11/2008
Time:        4:59:35 PM
User:        N/A
Computer:    D-4526
Description:
Current active key (KeyType : CrmWRPCTokenKey) is expired.  This can indicate that a key is not being regenerated properly.  Current Active Key : CrmKey(Id:6e254808-b21d-dd11-9041-001d7d22e1af, ScaleGroupId:00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000, KeyType:CrmWRPCTokenKey, Expired:True, ValidOn:05/09/2008 10:23:58, ExpiresOn:06/11/2008 10:23:58, CreatedOn:05/09/2008 10:23:58, CreatedBy:NT AUTHORITY\NETWORK SERVICE.  Key Setting

At first I questioned whether or not we were using a Trial License Key, but this was not the case. In the end, I found Nishant’s blog on bing:

http://nishantrana.wordpress.com/2008/06/11/invalid-action-error-microsoft-dynamics-crm-40/

Thanks a bunch to Nishant for blogging this fix for me!