Time-Zone Independent Date Field in Dynamics CRM Online 2015

Time-Zone Independent Date Field in CRM Online 2015 Update

 Prior to CRM Online 2015 update 1, CRM saves date in UTC format in Database and show the local date time to user based on the login user’s time zone configuration. It works perfect if you have users around the world. However it might cause some confusions for below scenarios:

  • The exact date not depend on the time zone. Ex: birthday, Anniversary
  • The exact date time not depend on time zone. Ex: Hotel Check in/out Date and time
  • Data migration
  • System/Data Integration

With the latest CRM Online 2015 update release, Microsoft introduces the DateTimeBehavior property to define whether to store date and time values with or without time zone information. Followings are the definition for these three Behavior:

 

CRM Online Time Settings

CRM Online Time Settings

 

Member name and value Description
UserLocal
  • Stores the date and time value as UTC value in the system.
  • The retrieve operation returns the UTC value.
  • The update operation converts the UTC value to the current user’s time zone value, and then stores the updated value as is or as the equivalent UTC value depending on the kind (DateTimeKind) of the value specified for update. If the specified value is of UTC kind, it’s stored as is. Otherwise, the UTC-equivalent value is stored.
  • Retrieving the formatted value converts from UTC to the user’s current time zone based on the time zone and locale setting of the user.
  • For the OData endpoint, the attribute is exposed as DateTimeOffset.
  • This behavior is used for system attributes like CreatedOn and ModifiedOn, and cannot be changed. You should use this behavior for custom attributes where you want to store date and time values with the time zone information.
DateOnly
  • Stores the actual date value with the time value as 12:00 AM (00:00:00) in the system.
  • For the retrieve and update operations, no time zone conversion is performed, and the time value is always 12 AM (00:00:00).
  • Retrieving the formatted value displays the date value without any time zone conversion.
  • For the OData endpoint, the attribute is exposed as DateTimeOffset.
  • This behavior should be used for custom attributes that store birthdays and anniversaries, where the time information is not required.
TimeZoneIndependent
  • Stores the actual date and time values in the system regardless of the user time zone.
  • For the retrieve and update operations, no time zone conversion is performed, and actual date and time values are returned and updated respectively in the system regardless of the user time zone.
  • Retrieving the formatted value displays the date and time value (without any time zone conversion) based on the format as specified by the current user’s time zone and locale setting.
  • For the OData endpoint, the attribute is exposed as DateTimeOffset.
  • This behavior should be used for attributes that store information such as check in and check out time for hotels.

Hopefully you find it useful!
Thank you,
Zhe Chen

Optimistic concurrency in CRM Online 2015 Update 1

Another enterprise capability has been added to the Dynamics CRM 2015 Online Update 1. Kudo’s the Dynamics CRM PG team.  This is going to ease the Optimistic concurrency enablement in the product layer.

Prior to CRM online 2015 update 1, There were no concurrency lock checks out of the box and CRM always saves the value on the field level. The latest transaction will win (Overwrite). Developers might build some customization code to ensure the data integrity. However it requires lot of customization effort.

Provided in the latest SDK release is the ability to detect whether an entity record has changed on the server in the time between when your application retrieved the record and when it tries to update or delete that record.

The ConcurrencyBehavior Property specifies the type of optimistic concurrency behavior that should be performed by the Web service when processing this request:

Member name Description
AlwaysOverwrite Specifies the behavior where an update or delete operation is applied without regard to the version of the record in the database. Value = 2.If optimistic concurrency is not enabled for the target entity, the AlwaysOverwrite behavior is applied.
Default Specifies to use the default behavior. Value = 0. The default value is also used if no value is set in the ConcurrencyBehavior property of the request. The meaning of “default” is interpreted differently based on the calling context.
IfRowVersionMatches Specifies the behavior where an update or delete operation is only applied if the entity record in the database has the same row version as the entity or entity reference in the request. Value = 1.If no row version value is provided on the entity or entity references in the request, the request fails immediately.

The following sample code from SDK shows how to use optimistic concurrency for update and delete operations. The complete sample can be downloaded from MSDN: https://code.msdn.microsoft.com/Use-optimistic-concurrency-e0b0440d.

using (_serviceProxy = new OrganizationServiceProxy(serverConfig.OrganizationUri, serverConfig.HomeRealmUri,serverConfig.Credentials, serverConfig.DeviceCredentials))
{
CreateRequiredRecords();
// Retrieve an account.
var account = _serviceProxy.Retrieve(“account”, _accountId, new ColumnSet(“name”,”creditlimit”));
Console.WriteLine(“\tThe row version of the created account is {0}”, account.RowVersion);

if (account != null)
{
// Create an in-memory account object from the retrieved account.
Entity updatedAccount = new Entity()
{
LogicalName = account.LogicalName,
Id = account.Id,
RowVersion = account.RowVersion
};

// Update just the credit limit.
updatedAccount[“creditlimit”] = new Money(1000000);
// Set the request’s concurrency behavour to check for a row version match
UpdateRequest accountUpdate = new UpdateRequest()
{
Target = updatedAccount,
ConcurrencyBehavior = ConcurrencyBehavior.IfRowVersionMatches
};
// Do the update.
UpdateResponse accountUpdateResponse = (UpdateResponse) _serviceProxy.Execute(accountUpdate);
Console.WriteLine(“Account ‘{0}’ updated with a credit limit of {1}.”, account[“name”],((Money)updatedAccount[“creditlimit”]).Value);
account = _serviceProxy.Retrieve(“account”, updatedAccount.Id, new ColumnSet());
Console.WriteLine(“\tThe row version of the updated account is {0}”, account.RowVersion);
_accountRowVersion = account.RowVersion;
}
DeleteRequiredRecords(promptforDelete);
}

Hopefully you find it useful!
Thank you,
Zhe Chen

Dynamics CRM 2015 – Turn off the Navigation Tour permanently

The Navigation tour was introduced in CRM 2013. It shows up to users each time they access the system and user can select the “Don’t show me this again” check box to turn it off. However this configuration is temporarily stored in user’s local browser cache hence it will re-appear after cleaning up the cache or access the CRM from different device.

crm navigation & settings

crm navigation & settings

 

Now with the latest CRM 2015, system administrator has a way to enable/disable the Navigation Tour page permanently for the whole organization. Following is the definition of this new flag on MSDN:

Set whether users see navigation tour
Display navigation tour to users when they sign in When users start CRM, they’re presented with a welcome screen (navigation tour) that provides a quick overview of CRM. Choose No to disable this tour for all users in your organization.NoteThis feature is available if you’re using CRM Online and you have installed the 2015 Update, or if you’re using CRM 2015.

 

To do that, go to Microsoft Dynamics CRM > Settings > Administration > System settings > General tab. In Set whether users see navigation tour, set the Display navigation tour to users when they sign in to No, as shown below:

The details can be found on https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn832123.aspx

crm navigation2

I hope you find it useful!

Author: Zhe Chen
Title: Lead Dynamics CRM Consultant @ Adisys
Email: zhechen@adisys.co

Dynamics CRM 2015 – Interact with the Business Process Flow controls in the form

With Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2015, the Xrm.Page.data.process namespace provides events, methods, and objects to interact with the business process flow data in a form.

This sample demonstrates how to switch to different stage using the new Xrm.Page.data.process methods.

Followings are the API used in the sample code:

getActiveProcess() – retrieve information about the active process

setActiveProcess()- Set different process as the active process.

getActiveStage()- retrieve information about the active stage

setActiveStage() – set a different stage as the active stage.

getActivePath() – get a collection of stages currently in the active path with methods to interact with the stages displayed in the business process flow control.

addOnStageChange(),removeOnStageChange() – add or remove event handlers for the business process flow control.

addOnStageSelected() – add a function as an event handler for the OnStageSelected event so that it will be called when a business process flow stage is selected.

removeOnStageSelected() – remove a function as an event handler for the OnStageSelected event.

moveNext()- move to the next stage

movePrevious()- Moves to the previous stage.

stageObj.getId() – Returns the unique identifier of the stage

stageObj.getName() – Returns the name of the stage

getEnabledProcesses() – retrieve the enabled business process flows that the user can switch to for an entity

 

Followings are the Javascript to demonstrate how to switch the process stage:

//move to new stage by stage name

function moveToStage(newStageName){

 

//get active stage

var activeStage = Xrm.Page.data.process.getActiveStage();

var activeStageName = activeStage.getName();

//get a collection of stages currently in the active path

var activePathCollection = Xrm.Page.data.process.getActivePath();

//Enumerate the stages

activePathCollection.forEach(function (stage, n) {

var name = stage.getName();

//search for specific stage by name

if( (newStageName == name) && (newStageName != activeStageName) ) {

//move to the new stage

Xrm.Page.data.process.setActiveStage(stage.getId() , onSetActiveStage);

}

})

}

 

//This callback function is passed the result to indicate whether the setActiveStage operation succeeded.

function onSetActiveStage(returnStatus){

switch (returnStatus) {

case “success”:

break;

case “crossEntity”:

alert(“crossEntity!”);

break;

case “unreachable”:

alert(“unreachable stage”);

break;

case “invalid”:

alert(“invalid stage”);

break;

}

}

 

//Progresses to the next stage

function moveNext(){

Xrm.Page.data.process.moveNext(onMoveNext);

}

 

//This callback function is passed the result to indicate whether the moveNext operation succeeded.

function onMoveNext(returnStatus){

switch (returnStatus) {

case “success”:

break;

case “crossEntity”:

alert(“crossEntity!”);

break;

case “end”:

alert(“Last stage”);

break;

case “invalid”:

alert(“invalid stage”);

break;

}

}

//Progresses to the next stage

function movePrevious(){

Xrm.Page.data.process.movePrevious(onMovePrevious);

}

 

//This callback function is passed the result to indicate whether the movePrevious operation succeeded.

function onMovePrevious(returnStatus){

switch (returnStatus) {

case “success”:

break;

case “crossEntity”:

alert(“crossEntity!”);

break;

case “beginning”:

alert(“Stage beginning”);

break;

case “invalid”:

alert(“invalid stage”);

break;

}

}

 

// Methods to manage event handlers

// on form load

function registerProcessEvent(){

//add OnStageChange event handlers for the business process flow control.

Xrm.Page.data.process.addOnStageChange(onStageChange);

//add OnStageSelected event handlers for the business process flow control.

Xrm.Page.data.process.addOnStageSelected(onStageSelected);

 

//show current process

retrieveActiveProcess();

 

//show current stage

retrieveActiveStage()

 

}

 

//Retrieve active process

function retrieveActiveProcess(){

//Get active process

var activeProcess = Xrm.Page.data.process.getActiveProcess();

var processName = activeProcess.getName();

var processID = activeProcess.getId();

alert(“Acitve process is ” + processName + ” ID = ” + processID);

}

//Retrieve active stage

function retrieveActiveStage(){

//Get active stage

var activeStage = Xrm.Page.data.process.getActiveStage();

var stageName = activeStage.getName();

var stageID = activeStage.getId();

alert(“Acitve stage is ” + stageName + ” ID = ” + stageID);

}

 

//event handler for Stage Change

function onStageChange(){

alert(“On stage change event”);

}

 

//event handler for Stage Selected

function onStageSelected(){

alert(“On stage Selected event”);

}

 

I hope you find it useful!

 

 

Author: Zhe Chen
Title: Lead Dynamics CRM Consultant @ Adisys
Email: zhechen@adisys.co

Dynamics CRM 2015 Business Rules – Are you ready?

Dynamics CRM 2015 – Scope of Business Rules

Business Rules was introduced in Dynamics CRM 2013 which was restricted to client side only. Now with  latest CRM 2015, server side business rule is available which will help business user easily configure validation logic and reduce the development effort.

There are three levels of scope:

Scope Where it runs run
Entity All forms and server
All forms All forms
Specific form Just that form

 

In the top right of the form, use the Scope field to set the scope for the rule. “Entity” scope level is new in CRM 2015. Setting the scope of the business rule at an entity level, forces the business rule executed on both server and all clients side.

 

For example, on update of an entity record we will set “Description” field mandatory based on some conditions. So in this case we can create Business rule as below:

Business Rules #1

Business Rules #1

  • Server Side Validation

 

To test this business rule validation on server side, we create a real time workflow to update this record which should trigger the validation logic:

crm 2015 bpa2

Trigger the workflow from a record and get below error message immediately:

crm 2015 bpa3

The record cannot be saved due to “Business Process Error”:

crm 2015 bpa4

Download log file and we can find the trace details:

 

<TraceText>

[Microsoft.Crm.ObjectModel: Microsoft.Crm.ObjectModel.SyncWorkflowExecutionPlugin]

[1769c1b5-1784-e411-80c5-00155d016814: ] Starting sync workflow ‘Test Scope of Business Rule’, Id: 0e69c1b5-1784-e411-80c5-00155d016814

Entering UpdateStep1_step: Sync workflow ‘Test Scope of Business Rule’ terminated with error ‘Attribute ‘new_description’ cannot be NULL’

</TraceText>

 

  • Client Side Validation To test this business rule in client side, we just simply update the record on the form and the error message show up as expected:

 

crm 2015 bpa5

Conclusion:

 

To implement the same validation logic in previous CRM version, we have to develop plug-in in server side. Now CRM 2015 offers us a much simple way to apply the same logic on both server and all clients without writing coding. You can also set the rule select a specific form.

I hope you find it useful!

Author: Zhe Chen
Title: Lead Dynamics CRM Consultant @ Adisys
Email: zhechen@adisys.co

CRM 2013 – Workflows – Schedule workflows using ISV Provider North52

We’ve requirement to schedule workflows to run at certain times/dates. The workflows can be created in CRM and then run by a console tool or something by a Windows schedule service.

We have used Windows Service or Scribe Insight to trigger workin some project and it works as expected. Today we will introduce another CRM tool N52 which is highly configurable and easily setup.

Below are the steps to set up the workflow schedule by using N52:

 

1. Download N52 solution from North52 website: http://www.north52.com/business-process-activities/download-solution/

2. Import the N52 solution into CRM:

North 52-1

3. Create an on-demand workflow on account entity which is used to send notification on daily basis:

North 52-CRM-2

4. Create a new N52 Schedule from N52 menu. You can specify the workflow to be executed; Select the frequency, start date time and end date time. The Fetch XML query is required to retrieve the records:

North 52-3

5. Start Schedule:

North 52-4

6. After the workflow is triggered, you can review the running status in N52 Schedule tab:

North 52-5

 

I hope you find it useful!

Author: Zhe Chen
Title: Lead Dynamics CRM Consultant @ Adisys
Email: zhechen@adisys.co