CRM 2011 beta was just released and the team is crazy busy pushing on the last mile to get things ready for RTW. Long days, fire drills here and there, last minute adjustments and then a PM (me) ask the team to name a favorite feature and a curious fact that they would like to publish in a blog post. Of course they ignored me, right? Well, no, the team is actually very excited of all the features we are delivering with CRM 2011 so they were very responsive; check out their answers, I’ve even learned a couple of things myself J
Ajith Gande – Test
I have been with the CRM 2011 Solutions Platform Team from day 1. I have stepped in all over the solutions framework. My favorite feature is the capability to layer solutions on top of each other. A partner can deliver a “Base” solution and users can still customize it. It sounds simple but when you look at all the permutations that I need to consider to ensure that the feature works correctly (installation order, clean install or update, solution publishers) and on top of that you add the 20+ components that the solutions framework supports trust me, it gets crazy. Still we got it done!
I literally dream (or have nightmares depending on how you see it) with cyclic dependencies that could prevent install or uninstall of solutions, even when I am on vacation. I actually found the answer to one of the issues we had o the code while I was dreaming J... I woke up wrote it down and went back to bed.
Christian Betrisey – Dev
I am very excited and proud about the work we did with CRM solutions. In fact I am so excited that I will for sure write a solution and make it available on the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace, hence making me a customer of what I have been working on for the last couple of years J
My favorite feature is not very visible, but very useful. In the past, we had limited support for importing customizations generated on previous builds; usually small changes in the format or content of the customization files were the culprit of the incompatibility between versions.
In CRM5, we built an upgrade mechanism that will automatically upgrade the customization files to a newer version before validating the files. This will ensure a smoother experience with Export/Import of solutions. This is actually the feature that will support any packages developed in beta to be importable in RTW/RTM!!
I also really like the fact that we support several new components in the solutions framework (Web resources, Reports, Dashboard, Plug-ins etc.). This will make the customizer’s life way easier.
When I attended a conference in Atlanta (Convergence), I chatted with a customer while waiting at a green light. When I told him that I was working on CRM, he smiled and thanked our team profusely for building such a great product… so easy to customize! Well, I cannot wait to have him see CRM 2011
Atul Shenoy - Dev
While the Solution Editor is great for building out your solutions, my favorite feature is the full fidelity SDK support for building solutions. If you have a script that builds out your customizations using SDK message calls, you just need to supply the SolutionUniqueName parameter pointing to an existing solution to build out your solution. Or you can create your components and then bundle them in a solution using the AddSolutionComponent request.
The Delete message on the Solution entity implements both uninstall of managed solutions and deletion of unmanaged solution containers. When we were building uninstall, we discussed implementing a separate Uninstall message, but we decided to keep things simple. So remember to set the timeout appropriately if you’re doing an uninstall of a managed solution, it can take some time as it will delete all the components included in the solution.
Kalmadi Santhosh Rao - Dev
I love that we now support ctrl+z (undo) for the form editor. You didn’t know that? Oh yeah we do. Simply beautiful.
My favorite feature is the “Customize” Tab. It allows you to customize entities, views, forms and more with a couple of clicks. And you know what the best part is? It wasn’t even funded as an official feature but the team got in love once we pushed it into the build J
Brandon Simons - Test
My favorite feature turned out to be more of a single requirement, but in my book it is just as valuable as some of our features. I have found the ability to resize the links bar within the application as well as resize the tree navigation within the solution explorer to be super useful.
This functionality (resize of the solution explorer navigation) was a stretch requirement for the solution explorer, but the developer (not even meJ) liked the functionality enough to make sure it was implemented.