Thursday, March 19, 2009


LINQ to CRM is one of Microsoft’s latest additions to the .Net 3.5 Framework Library. This library provides a uniform method of access to different types of entities, through a query language very similar to SQL. To learn more, see MSDN’s reference to LINQ to Entities and TechTarget’s LINQ Learning Guide.

I’m very excited to talk about the new LINQ to CRM libraries available recently. Say you need to retrieve an Account Number, given the Account Name…

Using the traditional webservice methods:
ColumnSet cols = new ColumnSet();
cols.AddColumns(new string[] {"accountnumber"});

query = new QueryByAttribute();
query.ColumnSet = cols;
query.EntityName = "account";
query.Attributes = new string[] {"name"};
query.Values = new string[] {"Microsoft Dynamics CRM"};

RetrieveMultipleRequest req = new RetrieveMultipleRequest();
req.Query = query;
req.ReturnDynamicEntities = true;

RetrieveMultipleResponse resp = oService.Execute(req) as RetrieveMultipleResponse;
BusinessEntityCollection becMultipleRecords = resp.BusinessEntityCollection;
if (deSalesOrder.Properties.Contains("accountnumber"))
//And So On
//And So Forth

Using LINQ to SQL:
var accounts = (from a in context.Accounts
where a.Name.Equals("Microsoft Dynamics CRM")
select a).ToList();
LINQ2CRM.Account acc = (Account)accounts.First();
Response.Write("Account name = " + acc.Name.ToString());

The choice seems obvious to me, but I’ll try to contain myself. Though the available LINQ to CRM libraries already address select and update of data, there are still shortfalls. Functionality such as Assign and Set Status are still not available and need to be performed via the traditional methods. But judging by progress so far, I’m sure it won’t be long.

LINQ to CRM on CodePlex is a (Beta) community library available free for download and evaluation. I’m always a supporter of free and community based software, so I highly recommend support of this project. Ofcourse being in Beta, this is work in progress and I would not recommend use of this assembly commercially.

XrmLinq is a commercially available package. This is a much more complete and stable library. Installation and use is remarkably simple and functionally fairly complete. License fee is based on per deployment which makes it a little more costly than I would prefer but is available for free to CRM providers for development purposes. A subset of this library and source code is available on CodePlex for any curioustechies.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Rollup 3

Download Dynamics CRM 4.0 Rollup 3 here:

this rollup was released last week for CRM 4.0. And I would personally highly recommend it. Countless issues have been addressed up until this point. I've found that numerous behavior which I had even believed was by design has been corrected, simplifying plug-in development and customisations.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Dubugging Javascript in CRM Forms is Easy

Its easy to debug custom JavaScript in CRM forms. Save your JS code in the appropriate event and follow the instruction below. Debugging can be performed in IE or Visual Studio.

Scripting Debugging in Internet Explorer

entering the word "debugger" anywhere in your JS code will prompt IE to break at that point and load the script debugger.

Internet Explorer 8's New Developer Toolbar

If you've ever played around with Firefox's add-ons "Firebug", "Web Developer" and so on, you'd notice that there are capabilities that would take your CRM development to another level. It would be fantastic to have the ability to break down the DOM, CSS and test changes on the spot . Unfortunately Firefox is not compatible with Microsoft Dynamics CRM.

The latest release of Internet Explorer (IE8 RC1) contains the most useful tool as far as CRM development is concerned. The new Developer Toolbar holds a set of tools primarily targeted for developers in order to break down the DOM and list all elements of a web page.

Read more about the IE8 Developer Tools here.

How often have you tried to change the colour, font, visibility... of a control on the page? After a arduous task of finding the right tag, you then get to the job of making changes on your event code, save, publish, did not work right, try again...

The IE8 Developer Toolbar removes the hassle by displaying all page tags on a tree hierarchy and allowing live modifications to the page. The one shortfall that I've noted is that there is no facility to search a large page for a specific tag. Let's hope this is addressed in the next version.