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Monday, June 24, 2013

What to expect for my new tool to come

Last week, David J. was asking to the MVP list how to get more accurate data when comes the time to translate CRM customizations. His concern was to get contextual information about the terms to translate. I can only agree with him… When exporting translations, you just get an ID and the term to translate. You don’t know where it is used…

So my next tool will be a tool that exports data to translate, but with contextual information. The tool will of course be able to import these data back to the CRM application. Export and import will be managed in a supported way using web services only.

What will be included

  • Entity names and descriptions
  • Attribute name and description
  • Boolean, Picklist, State and Status OptionSet Attribute labels
  • View name and description
  • Form name and description
  • Form Tabs name
  • Form Section name
  • Form Field name

All these items have been tested successfully on UR12 organization. I still need to check if new forms are structured in the same way than classic forms. And I have to manage Global optionsets but I know it will be easy.

The export will produce an Excel workbook with multiples sheets

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Each sheet will have its own columns (see Form tabs example below)

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Release date?

I don’t have one yet. The export/import engine is almost finished but I need to develop the UI too. And I’m on holidays tomorrow for three weeks so I won’t touch a keyboard during this time (well, almost) so I assume the tool will be ready by the end of July.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

XrmToolBox Update: A lot of new stuff!

Last week, I worked on more than just tools embeded in the XrmToolBox. I worked on the XrmToolBox itself. Here is a (quite) big list of improvment. So, it’s only a week since the last version but it worth it…

If you are too lazy to read the article and want to download the new version now, go on CodePlex.

Prerequisites check

There is so many people asking me why they got errors or why there is no tool listed when launching the XrmToolBlox that I decided to add some check features.

Now, if you don’t have Windows Identity Foundation 3.5 installed, you get the following message

NoWif

More, if tools assemblies are blocked by Windows (it happens), this message is displayed

NoPlugin

Connection

The toolbox now uses the Microsoft.Xrm.Client namespace to manage connection. The code is easier to read and maintain. The code is updated but the UI is too. Especially when you want to connect to an online organization, you don’t have to type the server name anymore. You just have to select the server name.

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The counterpart of this changes is that encoded password seem corrupted, so you may have to update your connections on the XrmToolBox.

Tools display

No one ask for this… I asked it by myself… The point is : the tools list gets bigger and bigger and other developers can add their own tools. There is so much tools that you have to scroll down to find your favorite tool, if it is not displayed in the first places.

To resolve this problem, two solutions:

  • Display smaller information panels
  • Add a “Most Used Tools” feature

So, now, there is a settings button in the toolbar that allows you to decide if you want to display small or large icons.

Small icons

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Large icons

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There is also a “Most Used List” feature. The more you use a tool, the more it is placed first. You can also activate this option in the settings dialog

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Tool display : custom style

When you develop your own tool, you can now specify a large icon, a small icon, a background color and two fonts for text color. See XrmToolBox development guide on CodePlex to understand how to customize your tool display.

Here is an example with a new tool discussed below.

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Project Template

With the above changes, the project template that can be downloaded on CodePlex has been updated. The major change is about defining images and colors for the tool.

A new tool : Solution Transfer

This is not a tool of mine. Damien, one of my colleagues wrote it. It allows you to select a solution from a source organization and transfert it to a target organization with all the same options available when performing these tasks manually (export/import). It will be included in the XrmToolBox releases as Damien has no repository where to store his tool.

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Tool Update : View Layout Replicator

Just a small update for this tool. You can now double click on a selected view in the source listview to display the layout XML of the view on a dialog form.

Conclusion

As you can see, there is a lot of new (good) stuff on the XrmToolBox! Do not hesitate to download the latest version on CodePlex.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Web Resource Manager : Identify and delete unused web resources

With the latest version of the XrmToolBox and the WebResourceManager plugin, there is now a new feature that displays a list of “unused” web resources. Well, it is in fact a list of web resource without any dependency. It does not mean that they are not used by other web resources, but it is a reduced list of web resources to analyze to check if they are still in used.

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Then with the “Delete selected web resources” button, you can delete web resources you don’t need anymore.

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Hope it will help you maintaining clean web resources list!

Metadata Document Generator is back!

Today, and after a long time since the XrmToolBox was released, the Metadata Document Generator tool is now available as a plugin for the toolbox.

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It provides the same features than the previous stand alone version, with some extra:

  • You can add location of attributes in forms
  • You can select attributes NOT on forms

And still:

  • Excel or Word output (thanks to GemBox Software API)
  • Language selection (if multi language enable on organization)
  • Attributes selection:
    • all attributes
    • optionset and boolean attributes only
    • attributes used in forms
    • attributes not used in forms (new)
    • attributes selected manually
  • Attributes metadata selection
  • Save/load settings to avoid losing time replaying the same document generation

As usual the tool is available as part of the XrmToolBox application, on CodePlex