In 1.x, your options for what was synced between Outlook and CRM were pretty limited. You could have appointment/contact/task synching either on or off. (Actually, in v1.0 Alpha, you could have it on or on. Heard feedback pretty loudly. Added option.) If you had it on for all, you got appointments that you were a party to (i.e. attendee, owner, organizer), tasks you owned and contacts that you could see.
The options for tasks and appointments haven’t changed all that much (though now, I think you only get appointments you’re attending). No one has ever asked for anything different, so finer control has never been a priority.
Contact synching – that’s a whole different story. “Relevant” contacts are a difficult thing to ascertain – it’s not like tasks and appointments, everyone has a different idea about what contacts they want to see. In 2.0 Alpha (yep, it was 2.0 back then), we provided the ability to choose between ALL or MY contacts. But later on, for a justification I’m sure I made passionately but obviously not very memorably as I’ve no idea how I managed to get it in, we added the ability to finely control the contacts that would get synced to Outlook. Just like offline data filtering (i.e. “Local Data”). In fact, it’s the same thing.
Aaaanyway. Back when you couldn’t control what ended up in Outlook much, we enabled you to delete stuff that you didn’t want in Outlook. We figured, if you only wanted 250 of those 7,000 CRM contacts cluttering up your contacts folder in Outlook, you could delete some. And (according to our complex delete propagation rules that I’ll go into in another post) they wouldn’t get deleted in CRM. Nor would they (and here’s the genius bit) be put back into Outlook next time you synced.
So this is deletion tracking. And we still do it. Delete something in Outlook, we may or may not delete it in CRM, but we won’t put it back in Outlook.
With finer control over what is synced, I think deletion tracking is becoming a bit obsolete, so I wouldn’t get too attached to it, but it’s some nice functionality. Except if you trip up.
This brings me to the point of this post, which I probably could have come to in two lines instead of six paragraphs, but words are fun. What do you do if you accidentally delete something in Outlook?
We (and by ‘we’, I think I mean Jeff Kelleran, but it could have been me) spec’d out a “Clear Deletion Tracking” button, which never made it into the product. But there is a way to get the same effect, which was created by the great Elliot Lewis as a nice side effect of trying to restrict the size of the tracking table for perf reasons.
If something is no longer being synced to Outlook, we remove any reference to it from the tracking table. So the trick is to
a) Turn off synching for the relevant entity (or change up the data group)
b) Force an Outlook sync.
c) Turn synching back on for the entity.
d) Sync again.
e) Vow to be more careful with deleting in the future.