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Creating a Birthday Contact List

Creating a Birthday Contact List

  • Comments 6

Today we welcome our guest blogger CRM MVP Darren Liu from the Crowe Horwath company.

Have you ever been asked by someone to get a list of contacts having birthdays during a certain time period from CRM? If so what have you done to perform this task? Within the application, birthdays are tracked on Contact records as a single date (including year). This causes problems when searching for birthdays in a certain time period as the birth date is evaluated including the year. To illustrate, consider the following example:

· John Dole, 10/1/1980

· Adam Smith, 9/1/1970

· Mark Francis, 10/10/1960

Within CRM, searching for date is done by range. There is no easy way to identify from the above contacts all those having birthday in October as any range you choose will include the year. Wildcard functions on date fields are not a workable solution.

There are several solutions to this problem including JavaScript to parse birthday on the onChange event, a custom report or a plug-in. The desired functionality is to be able to search by birth month, birth day, and/or birth year, allowing the user to quickly identify all birthdays in a certain time period.

In this blog, I will show you how to use a pre plug-in to parse the birthday field into day, month and year. This way, the users will able to perform searches using Advanced Find. I have chosen the plug-in approach because it will help me parse the birthday field not only when the users update the birthday on the contact form but also when updating the birthday through the CRM web service for data imports and data integration.

Implement the pre plug-in

1. Create New Attributes

Create three new attribute on the Contact entity form in CRM. After creating the new attributes, publish the Contact customization.

Display Name

Schema Name

Type

Searchable

Values

Birth Month

new_birthmonth

Picklist

Yes

Jan = 1, Feb = 2, Mar = 3, Apr = 4, May = 5, Jun = 6, Jul = 7, Aug = 8, Sept = 9, Oct = 10, Nov = 11, Dec = 12

Birth Day

new_birthday

Int

Yes

Min Value = 1

Max Value = 31

Birth Year

new_birthyear

Int

Yes

Min Value = 1900

Max Value = 9999

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2. Create pre plug-in using Visual Studio

Create a plug-in project name Crm.Plugin, copy and paste the following code to your Plug-in project.

using System;
using System.Collections.Generic;
using System.Text;
using Microsoft.Crm.Sdk;
using Microsoft.Crm.SdkTypeProxy;
 
namespace Crm.Plugin
{
  public class MonthDayYearContactPlugin : IPlugin
  {
    public void Execute(IPluginExecutionContext context)
    {
    DynamicEntity entity = null;
 
    if (context.InputParameters.Properties.Contains(ParameterName.Target) &&
        context.InputParameters.Properties[ParameterName.Target] is DynamicEntity)
    {
        entity = (DynamicEntity)context.InputParameters[ParameterName.Target];
        if (entity.Name != EntityName.contact.ToString()) { return; }
    }
    else
    {
        return;
    }
 
    try
    {
        if (entity.Properties.Contains("birthdate"))
        {
            CrmDateTime _birthdate = (CrmDateTime)entity["birthdate"];
            if (_birthdate.IsNull)
            {
                entity["new_birthday"] = CrmNumber.Null;
                entity["new_birthmonth"] = Picklist.Null;
                entity["new_birthyear"] = CrmNumber.Null;
            }
            else
            {
                DateTime birthdayValue = _birthdate.UserTime; 
                entity["new_birthday"] = new CrmNumber(birthdayValue.Day);
                entity["new_birthmonth"] = new Picklist(birthdayValue.Month);
                entity["new_birthyear"] = new CrmNumber(birthdayValue.Year);
            }
        }
    }
    catch (Exception ex)
    {
        throw new InvalidPluginExecutionException("An error occurred in the Month, Day, Year Plug-in for Contact.", ex);
    }
    }
  }
}

3. Register the plug-in The last step is to register the plug-in. To register the plug-in, you may use the Plug-in Registration tool from the MSDN Code Gallery. After the assembly is uploaded, you need to associate the following steps to the plug-in:

Message: Create
Primary Entity: contact
Filtering Attributes: birthdate
Eventing Pipeline Stage of Execution: Pre Stage
Execution Mode: Synchronous

Triggering Pipeline: Parent Pipeline

Message: Update
Primary Entity: contact
Filtering Attribute: birthdate
Eventing Pipeline Stage of Execution: Pre Stage
Execution Mode: Synchronous

Triggering Pipeline: Parent Pipeline

Message: Create
Primary Entity: contact
Filtering Attributes: birthdate
Eventing Pipeline Stage of Execution: Pre Stage
Execution Mode: Synchronous

Triggering Pipeline: Child Pipeline

Message: Update
Primary Entity: contact
Filtering Attribute: birthdate
Eventing Pipeline Stage of Execution: Pre Stage
Execution Mode: Synchronous

Triggering Pipeline: Child Pipeline

Summary

That’s all there is to it! The users will now be able to use Advanced Find to quickly identify their contacts birthday in a certain time period from now on. For the existing contacts previously stored in CRM, you will need to write a one-time SQL script to update the birthday fields in the MSCRM database in order for CRM to return the correct data back to the users. Hopefully this will help you on your next CRM project.

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Cheers,

Darren Liu

  • thanks,I have Created my List,good job.

  • We luv to hear about success. Thanks for sharing!  :o)

  • Hi there!  My interest is in the birth date 10/10/60.  That is my birthday and I noticed that in your example, Mark Francis has the same.  Is he a real person or just an example, because I have been searching for nearly a year for other people that turn 50 on 10/10/10 because I think it would be interesting to create a party somewhere. I am not in the market for software, but just was interested to know if Mark was a real person and if that is really his birthday.  If so, he would be a candidate for the party.  I know this is a little off the wall, but if you can be of any help it would be greatly appreciated.  Thank you for your time and I hope you are having a great day!

                                Brenda Mende

                                Bluskeyesonly1@yahoo.com

  • Hi Brenda,

    Sorry to tell you that Mark in this example is not a real person.

  • Hoho, it works, thank u so much.

  • Thank you for sharing.

    Just wondering why you need to create plugin for both parent and child pipeline?

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