Creating custom views for MS CRM 3

Any modification made to the main or META-database is considered unsupported customization. Not very strange, since you never know what new fields or tables Microsoft might add to the database.

Sometimes, however, especially when working with reports, it can be useful to create your own views that aggregate data to your needs. Adding a view to the CRM database might be the easiest and you will probably be ok as long as you are a bit careful when naming the view. However, you don’t have to do it this way. You can also create a new database on the same server and create your view in this database. To be able to access the views (and if you still want to play unsupported, tables), just add the database name in front of the viewname. For instance:

SELECT * FROM MyCompany_MSCRM.dbo.SystemUser;

The “dbo” part doesn’t have to be there but is added by the view creator GUI, so I left it there to avoid any misunderstandings.

Unfortunately, the “Add Table” function in the GUI doesn’t support selecting views from other tables even though it is supported in the database.

As far as I know, it is also possible to connect to a view in a database on another server. I don’t know how this is done and don’t really see the relevance from a MS CRM 3 perspective, but if I find out how, I will let you know.


Silverlight and Dynamics CRM

Silverlight is a new product from Microsoft that can be viewed as the same sort of plug-in as for instance Flash, Java Applets or ActiveX. There are two feautres that make it stand out from the rest, namely:
– Vector based graphics built on the new Windows Presentation Foundation (a part of .NET 3.0). The definition of the GUI is definied in a langauge called XAML.
– From Silverlight version 1.1, you can write managed code. In other word you can finally start working with C# or VB.NET on the client side instead of the irritating language javascript.

These two features make the foundation for a more user friendly and more rich experience of using the web, something at least I have been longing for. Being able to use managed code/CLR-code, will make web development a lot easier and speed up the process of making more robust and reusable programs.

On the CRM Team Blog you can download an example of how silverlight can be used in conjunction with Dynamics CRM 3. I saw that some people had had some problems with it, and I havn’t had time to test it myself yet, so be advised.

Here is the link:

Gustaf Westerlund
CRM and SharePoint Consultant

Humandata AB

Office 2007 + CRM = true

Michael Höhne is one of the most generous and knowledgable people in the Microsoft CRM 3 community. His webpage hosts lots of very interesting articles, both for advanced Microsoft CRM developers and more novice Microsoft CRM application professionals. For instance, he has a very interesting posting showing an example of how to use the new file format OpenXML that comes with Office 2007 in conjuction with Microsoft CRM 3 to make very powerful software with almost no effort (ok, a little effort 🙂

Have a look:

Gustaf Westerlund
CRM and SharePoint Consultant

Humandata AB

Request hotfixes online

The most common way of requesting a specific hotfix for Microsoft Dynamics CRM or SharePoint is to call Microsoft Support (they cannot be downloaded directly). However, there is also a webpage where you can request a hotfix online. Have a look an add it to you favorites, you will probably need it.;en;1410&WS=hotfix

Gustaf Westerlund
Microsof CRM and SharePoint Consultant

Humandata AB

Fake lookups

As I mentioned before, when I was working with the company Cybernetics, there is a way of creating false lookups when it might not be possible to do so normally (for instance system-system relationsships).

The blog describes in detail how this is done, so, if you are interested, please have a look. This technique can of course be enhanced in many ways.

Also, I am not certain if this technique is supported since Microsoft might decide to change the way some of these more internal pages (lookupsingle.aspx) work, hence breaking the customization.

The blog also mentions some hazards of using allcolumns that are very worthwhile reading (I like to use them to increase development time and change to specific attributes when I get performance issues).

So, take some time and have a look at it, I am however sad to see that the last entry was in october 2006.

Gustaf Westerlund
CRM and SharePoint Consultant

Humandata AB