Thursday, January 23, 2014

CRM2011 & The mystical sorting story

Yes, it still exists good old CRM2011 and you might be glad you still have CRM on-premise else the possibility you still have CRM2011 is becoming smaller and smaller.

In case you have experience or working with dates and times in CRM2011, you  probably are aware that this can be frustrating subject. I think I wrote earlier about time issues and I remembered some very interesting blogposts  about the different 'datetimes' you can receive from Dynamics CRM  depending on which approach you take e.g. web services, database view and filtered views.

Some nice post to refresh your memory or just a trip to memory lane:


Recently, I came across an issue related to date & time where in a view records where sorted on date field and a name field. In the interface it might give you some mystical sorting. Although you might know the alphabet :-)

Take a look at this screenshot from a real life example (no tricks) :

Mystic Sorting

Ok, take a minute to look at the screenshot above, where the date for the records is January 15th and last column is name field. The records are sorted by date and name e.g. A, A,S,W,A,A,A,A, W and W.... ?!#@

It's no trick and your customer will be confused and hopefully you too. As the famous 'young woman or old lady' picture, this is actually happening and you probably can recreate the same if you are a bit creative with dates and times.

SPOILER ALERT

What actually happens is this, the first 4 records are actually not created on January the 15th, but on January 14th at exactly 23:00 and other records are created at January 15th at 0:00. The timezone conversion in the user interface is in this case 2 hours and see the result.
In case you test this in SQL server you will see the sorting is correct, because 14th become before 15th. Neverteheless, in the UI of CRM it looks odd :)

Happy sorting :)





Monday, December 30, 2013

Happy & friendly 2014

The last year has been very busy, but bit slow on the postings. I intend to pick up more regular posting about the challenges you might face during the discovery of CRM.

Of course in 2014 we have new challenges in the introduction of CRM 2013. The upgrade of 2011 to 2013 for CRM online is in progress and I still notice this change is underestimated and often just expected as 'just' some upgrade.



My challenges will be in CRM2013, integrations with NAV and of course try to post/write more :)

So, hope 2014 brings you the best and will be a year full of new challenges and some nice posts!


Happy 2014!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The end of 2011... get ready for CRM2013

The end is coming for CRM2011 as you should have migrated from the 'ancient' CRM4 and you finally got used to CRM2011. 'Unfortunately' for you,you have to start over again due to the release of new CRM Online e.g. CRM2013.

I got my first CRM Online trail with CRM2013 (it is available as you read), so back to 'school' to learn about new features, to find you way in the application. From user experience perspective it is much better, which includes new navigation method, new form lay-out.

Also new features as synchronous workflows, new database model are things to look for and start discovering.

One disadvantage is the fact that there is no return for current CRM Online user you will be migrated to the new CRM, so prepare for a change. Also the cost will increase now you will have three subscription levels 15, 30 and 65 U$ and of course you want the most expensive one. Of course its is according to many Microsoft presentation much cheaper then the major competitor Salesforce, just the messenger here :)


More information about the new CRM can be found at the new website: www.crmcustomercenter.com with loads of new video's, tutorials, documentation and link to get your trial.

Happy discovery!

DTAP - things to consider


It has been some time but finally my new musing @msdynamicsworld.com is published.

The musing gives you more insight about things to consider when using DTAP street or limited version of it during your CRM implementation.

You can find the musing by clicking on this link "click here"
Happy musing :)


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Waiting for CRM 2013 or not?

The Summer is over and slowly everything is started again. During the Summer I attended Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013 Partner Training Blitz. About the much anticipated new release of Dynamics CRM.

Of course, we all heard the basics about new improved UI & UX, no more annoying popups, easy way to check field without J(ava)script etc (more in links below). From my personal perspective the most interesting fact is that on database level the entity tables, you know the base and extension, are finally merged to just ONE table that is nice :)

Of course the twitter exploded after the event it was worldwide semi broadcast/live or whatever event, guess Skype was not ready yet or maybe our 'live' questions would be to difficult ;-)

A lot of photo's were made, of course we live in smartphone age, but oh might be Microsoft did miss that....Oh I did hear that the content was not to be published...oops

Nevertheless the improvements looks nice and some of us are lucky to get hand on the beta version and can play with it. It should be releases in October at least for online.

More about CRM 2013 later

Happy  End of Summer '13

PS

Some links by googling:
http://blog.ignify.com/2013/08/09/microsoft-dynamics-crm-2013-summary-of-what-is-new/
http://niiranen.eu/crm/2013/07/dynamics-crm-2013-revealed/
http://www.magenium.com/Techblog/2013/July/Whats-New-in-Microsoft-Dynamics-CRM-2013.aspx#.Uh4_1xtpmuk

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Scribe Insight - XML with repeating nodes in a nutshell

In my daily work I run into integration projects where xml files are exchanged between source and target systems. In some situations you will have more complex xml structures, which contains repeating nodes. The process is simple, we basically loop several times through the source file.

In this post a method is described how you can configure your xml with repeating with Scribe Insight.

You start with your xml and create associated xsd schema (this is optional) with your xml software like Visual Studio or XML spy or other flavor :-)

Example customer xml file
 The next step would be to configure a new connection in the Work Bench for your xml file, of course this is only the sample file. For integration the contents will change e.g. its dynamic. Keep in  mind that you will need to change this files too as some fields are added or removed from the source.

In the following screenshots you see the steps you have to take. In short you open the connection manager, choose for XML > dynamic > Select your xml and xsd. The files should be located in your collaboration folder.
Example customer xsd file


After your connection has been created you can define connection to  your target. In this example I used a custom table in Scribe Internal database called customers. When you define your source a window will popup where you can define your repeating node(s).

Ok, here is the flow in screenshots..... just like your TV at home :)

Add Connection > Choose XML
Use as Source

Its dynamic :-)

Choose your files e.g. xml & xsd (in this case)

Your connections




 At this time you did configure your connections, when you Configure Source (see screenshot below), you will go to XML and select the Customer node of your xml. A new window will popup where you can define your repeating node(s)



Configure your source
Here the magic happens :)


After your created your source, target and mappings, just hit the "Test Run" button and in my case you would loop three times through the xml file.

Your basic mapping
first run

second run

third run

No where to run :)


This is in nutshell how you could loop through your source XML file with repeating nodes.

Happy happy happy repeating repeating repeating :)





Thursday, May 16, 2013

CRM 2011 & database mirroring

In most scenarios where you implement CRM 2011 in Enterprise segment you would choose for database clustering. The advantage is that your setup is easy, at least I think so :) You have virtual name for your SQL server no need for extra CRM configuration.


Another alternative is to choose for database mirroring, also supported scenario. Please keep in mind that besides configuration of SQL server is more complex. You also need to make changes to CRM, which can be forgotten easily.

For example you need to change some settings in the registry on the server where the web application is installed:

1) Locate:  HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\MSCRM\
2) Change: configdb

Data Source=MSCRM_Primary\SQL1;Failover Partner=MSCRM_Mirror\SQL2;Initial Catalog= MSCRM_CONFIG;Integrated Security=SSPI



You can image when you do node switch and forget this entry your CRM application will crash. More details at: http://technet.microsoft.com/en-gb/library/hh699791.aspx.

More background about database mirroring:
http://www.c-sharpcorner.com/uploadfile/nipuntomar/sql-server-database-mirroring-part-1/

PS If you wondering about the image, read this article about Droste Effect  :-)