• Girish Raja's Blog

    CRM Portal Accelerators & Advanced Developer Extensions - Part 2


    Let’s take a deeper look at the portal accelerator this time. The new portal accelerator release also includes the updated Event management, eService & partner relationship management (PRM) accelerators. Portal accelerator v2 has plenty of new features such as content management, in-place editing, Windows Live ID (WLID) integration, improved calendar and service scheduling engine, basic Web-to-Lead functionality, integration with CRM marketing list and much more. Yet, the new accelerator is backwards compatibility with the first version of portal accelerator. The external portals themselves are flexible enough that you can deploy them in your own web server or on Windows Azure.

    In this video Reuben Krippner walks us through some of the benefits and usage scenarios of the new portal accelerator.

    I recommend watching the demo in WMV (High).


    As always you can download the accelerators at

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    CRM Portal Accelerators & Advanced Developer Extensions - Part 1


    Days before Convergence I had the opportunity to sit down with Reuben Krippner, a Senior Product Manager in the CRM product planning team about the exciting CRM Portal Accelerator release & SDK refresh that was released this morning. Accelerators are templates built by the CRM team to help you easily build CRM extensions thereby accelerating the value you derive out of Microsoft Dynamics CRM.


    On this first part of 3 part video series, we talk about the next generation Portal Accelerators that will be released in conjunction with May 2010 Service Update for CRM Online. It’s worth nothing that these new accelerators works with all CRM deployment models (On-premises, CRM Online or partner hosted CRM). The external portals themselves are flexible enough that you can deploy them in your own web server or on Windows Azure.

    This release also includes a CRM SDK refresh which brings new rapid development tools that allow developers to take advantage of the latest .NET features such as LINQ, ADO.NET data services, etc.

    Check them out and give us your feedback.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    What does CRM5 Technology Preview mean to you?


    What did we release today?

    Well, we did a press release! The announcement is saying that CRM “5” Community Technology Preview (CTP3) is being released to a handful of Microsoft partners for limited preview. Please note that this is not a public beta, so there is no public link to download bits or anything at this point.


    CRM “5” is still under active development and more than few months away to be released publicly. We are doing a limited release for 2 main reasons

    1. For early adopting Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) whose product lifecycle largely depends on closely aligning with next release of CRM.
    2. Getting feedback and validation on the features and functionalities of CRM from our closest partners.

    If you have a project coming up on CRM 4.0, is it time to panic?

    Relax, you will be fine. Continue to work on CRM 4.0 and all of the supported components & code will be compatible with CRM “5”.

    Also there are some amazing CRM 4.0 SDK enhancements that we will talk about at Convergence 2010 next month which makes it easy for you to move certain applications you build on CRM 4.0 to CRM “5” with very little or no code change. So please watch the news from convergence closely for the details on this.

    How can you get started with CRM “5” CTP3?

    If you are an Independent Software Vendor (ISV), limited seats are still available for working with CRM “5” CTP3 through the ISV Metro program run by Developer & Platform Evangelism (DPE) group at Microsoft. Talk to your ISV Evangelist or Microsoft representative in your region and ask them to nominate you for the Metro program.

    If you are not an ISV, please be patient and wait for a few more months. We’ll get you up-to-speed well in advance before the product ships.

    NOTE: There might be a few lingering bugs and issues in the product today as is the case with any preview software. What we are looking for is validation from you on whether we are building the right set of features and functionalities to enable your application development. So if you see an occasional error message or placeholder icons, do the smart thing.

    BTW, is it CRM 5.0 or CRM5 or CRM “5” or “CRM5” ?

    From my limited interactions with our legal team, “5” is just a code name for the product and not the final name. Any code name for pre-released versions should always have quotes (“5”) around it. It is up to the marketing team to come up with a dazzling name for the product before we ship. So for now, I’ll stick with CRM “5”. Or is it “CRM5”, ah now you got me confused :-)

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Office Business Applications (OBA) with Office 2010, CRM & SharePoint


    In my quest to bring Office, SharePoint & CRM closer together, I tweaked an old demo and got it working with Office 2010 & SharePoint2010.


    This demo showcases a custom add-in within Office 2010 that helps a Project Manager to create a status report document. The code uses a formatted document template and a custom task pane that pulls data from CRM. From the task pane, you can directly insert data into the word document. Also you can take portion of the document content and publish them to a custom SharePoint 2010 list using the Client Side Object Model.

    You can download the current code for this project here:

    Disclaimer: Please note that this is demo quality code without any optimizations or clean-up.

    The code is currently using Visual Studio 2010 Beta2, Office 2010 Beta, WPF and SharePoint 2010 Beta.

    As we evolve this code, I’ll be updating the MSDN code gallery project page. Also I’ll post a Channel9 video soon that goes through the development process in detail. If you have any comments or feedback in the meantime, please feel free to send them my way.

    Happy Coding!

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Bridging SharePoint 2010 & CRM with Silverlight Webparts


    I have been working closely with Steve Fox lately to put together some interesting scenarios on how we can bring the line of business data from Dynamics CRM and surface that using the SharePoint 2010 platform.

    The first step in that effort is creating a simple developer demo wherein a Silverlight webpart running on SharePoint 2010 brings data from CRM 4.0 web services.


    In this demo, we have a data grid showing some CRM accounts and once you choose an account, it displays the opportunities within the account by using a Chart from Silverlight toolkit. The data grid is also editable, so you can make changes and save them back to CRM. Also when you choose an account and click on “Publish to SharePoint” button, it uses the new Client Side Object Model (CSOM) in SharePoint to publish the data to a custom list in SharePoint.

    You can download the current code for this project here:

    Disclaimer: Please note that this is demo quality code without any optimizations or clean-up.


    The code is currently using Visual Studio 2010 Beta2, Silverlight 4 Beta and SharePoint/Office 2010 Beta.

    As we evolve this code, I’ll be updating the MSDN code gallery project page. Also I’ll post a Channel9 video soon that goes through the development process in detail. If you have any comments or feedback in the meantime, please feel free to send them my way.

    Happy Webpartying!

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    WPC 2010 Partner Awards


    Conference gala is certainly here. The Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference (WPC 2010) is coming to Washington, D.C. this year on July 11-15, 2010.

    If you are building some great solutions on Microsoft technologies, make sure you nominate your organization for the various partner awards and get the recognition you deserve. This year there are over 65 awards including the Software-plus-Services and Windows Azure Platform Partner of the Year Awards. Remember that nomination closes by April 2nd, so hurry up. Below is an extract from the awards site:

    As a partner, you want press, industry, analyst, and Microsoft recognition. You want to differentiate your company from your competition. Don’t miss this opportunity to get your innovative solution recognized with a Microsoft WPC 2010 award!

    This year, the WPC 2010 Awards Program is being expanded to showcase more partner solutions than ever at the upcoming conference in Washington, D.C., July 11-15, including the newly added Microsoft Country Partner of the Year award. Past winners have demonstrated significant customer impact, solution innovation, speed to market, deployment, and utilization of advanced features in Microsoft technologies. They have optimized Microsoft technologies to meet customer business needs and exceed expectations.

    Submission Process

    The Microsoft WPC 2010 Awards submission period runs from February 22, 2010 until April 2, 2010. Review this year’s award descriptions, FAQ, tips, and program rules to learn more about the awards process and to help in preparing your submission. Get started today, and submit your award!

    Questions? Email the Microsoft WPC 2010 awards team

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Get Ready for Convergence 2010


    Convergence 2010, the premier Microsoft Dynamics conference is here shortly (April 24-27) and this year the event is organized a little differently, beginning on a weekend and with a virtual partner day. If you are thinking about attending Convergence, register now to take advantage of the $300 discount. This is valid until March 3rd, so why not register now and also remember that the better/closer hotels fill up fast.

    I will be there presenting a session on xRM & Cloud titled

    CSCRM22 Microsoft Dynamics CRM: Building Relationship Management Solutions in the Cloud

    Session Type: Concurrent Session
    Track: Microsoft Dynamics CRM
    Skill Level: 300 - Experienced
    Audience: Technical Decision Maker

    Session Description: Dive deep into how you can leverage Microsoft cloud technologies to develop solutions and connections within your business. Attend this session to see these key technologies in actions, including Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online, the Windows Azure platform, and the Microsoft Business Productivity Online Suite.

    Here is the entire session catalog for your reference and please remember that this is still work in progress.

    Of course there will be keynotes, breakout sessions, interactive discussions and everything but the key part of any conference is networking with fellow attendees, organizers and to your social world out there. So make sure you take advantage of the tools to have a wonderful experience.

    facebook48twitter48 linkedin48 flickr48

    Remember to use the official hash tag: #CONV10

    See you in Atlanta.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Industry Demo Virtual Machines for CRM 4.0


    The Dynamics Demo team has just released four virtual machines and corresponding demo script for CRM 4.0 to demo to the following industries.

    • Public Sector: Municipal government and citizen interaction
    • Financial Services:Wealth management
    • Manufacturing:High-tech sales, order configuration
    • Professional Services:Scenario: IT services

    You can download the VMs on PartnerSource at this link:

    Or if you are a customer, you can download them at CustomerSource here:

    Please note that these four images are configuration examples of CRM in the Finance, Professional Services, Manufacturing and Municipality industries. These are not Accelerators, partner or ISV products. The new VPC images provide baseline demo capabilities and the scripts address very specific scenarios.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Silverlight & SharePoint coming at you fast


    If you are a CRM developer, there are quite a few beta technologies coming fast your way and you better be ready.

    SharePoint 2010 DeveloperOffice 2010 WorkshopFirst off, SharePoint 2010 and Office 2010 are really great products to watch out for and if you haven’t had the time to play with it yet, there is a Virtual Machine available for you to download and start right away. You can download the virtual machine here: 2010 Information Worker Demonstration Virtual Machine (Beta). Also don’t forget to checkout the developer training kits by clicking on the product logos above.

    Next up, I came across this video on twitter in which
    David Yack talks about Silverlight 4 & xRM. A short compelling video and there is no reason not to listen to it. After watching it, I realized that there is a whole series of such videos on MSDN as a podcast series called Bytes by MSDN.

    BytesbyMSDNBytes by MSDN is totally awesome. It is a collection of small podcasts usually under 5 minutes. Looking at the speaker line-up, it is a must add to your list of podcasts. The podcast feed is here:

    Finally these things have increased my coding adrenaline to create a code sample that integrates CRM 4.0, Silverlight 4 & SharePoint 2010. It is a very basic sample and is almost ready. Look for it here shortly.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Multi monitor support in Remote Desktop


    I just had one of those eureka moments and had to blog about it right away.

    For years that I thought remote desktop would just take up one monitor so I never used it for programming on a remote machine or anything like that.

    But I just realized that you could span your remote desktop session across multiple monitors! There is a neat little option in Remote Desktop (under Display tab) to enable the use of all monitors for remote session.


    Apparently the basic multi monitor remote desktop support has been enabled since Vista and Windows7 only makes it better.

    With Visual Studio 2010’s ability to drag individual code windows to separate monitors, this brings huge productivity gains (at least for me).


    So what are you waiting for? Get the extra monitor and start coding now.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    xRM ISV Case Study: CSSI


    The solution that CSSI built on xRM is a great evidence on how developers can rapidly innovate and at the same time minimize risk by building on a proven platform. CSSI specializes in creating software to help companies with an insurance business model streamline and automate core business processes. Capitalizing on the built-in components and native extensibility offered through the xRM platform, CSSI built its VUE IncentivePoint solution in four months—70 percent faster than originally projected.

    To quote Joseph Westlake, Vice President of Corporate Strategy, CSSI

    “The workflow engine alone in xRM saved us a year in development time and helped us keep our project team small.”

    Check out more about their solution on the case study page here:

    You can also download this case study for printing & distribution here: CSSICaseStudy.doc

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    xRM ISV Case Study: Spenta


    The case study that I’ll be showcasing today is a unique one because Spenta Consulting not only built a nice solution for the much needed public sector industry but also released most of the IP as an open source project you can download at Their solution not just showcases the capabilities of xRM but also shows how you can integrate SharePoint with xRM for various portal needs.

    Below is an extract from their case study which I personally love and vouch for.

    Because of their previous experience with the Microsoft .NET Framework, the development team was immediately familiar with the xRM object model. “For developers experienced with the .NET Framework, working with xRM is very straightforward,” says Sabater. “It provides a good object model and easy-to-use Web services.”

    Check out more about their solution on the case study page here:

    You can also download this case study for printing & distribution here: SpentaConsultingCaseStudy.docx

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    xRM ISV Case Study: Peak 15 Systems


    PEAK 15Like climbers summiting a wind-swept mountain on little oxygen, tour operators often face harsh business conditions and work long hours. PEAK 15 Systems, named after the geographical survey name for Mount Everest, aims to guide tour operators to business success by reducing labor costs and increasing profitability. The PEAK 15 Tour Operator Software Suite helps operators assemble trips and drive more sales at the greatest possible efficiency.

    Software Builder Guides Tour Operators to Success with Hosted Solution

    As this solution proves, xRM makes it easy to host your applications in the cloud and more importantly do it in a multi-tenant way.

    Check out more about their solution on the case study page here:

    You can also download this case study for printing & distribution here: Peak15SystemsCaseStudy.docx

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    xRM ISV Case Study: Client Profiles


    This week I’ll be showcasing some of the Independent software Vendors (ISVs) that have built industry vertical applications using xRM. Today we’ll take a look at Client Profiles' legal practice management software.

    Powerful Application Framework Saves Legal Software Maker $2 Million

    Check out more about their solution on the case study page here:

    You can also download this case study for printing & distribution here: ClientProfilesCaseStudy.doc

    Client Profiles saw an opportunity to develop legal practice management software that was easier to use than established solutions from Lexis-Nexis and Thomson Reuters. The company built a solution that takes advantage of the integration between Microsoft Dynamics® CRM and Microsoft® Office Outlook® to automate common tasks, such as retrieving new contacts for archival in a shared marketing database. To meet project goals, including rapid time-to-market, Client Profiles capitalized on the flexibility of xRM, the business application framework that underpins Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Developers accessed prebuilt workflow components and reporting services available through xRM to quickly infuse CRM4Legal with features that benefit multiple roles within any law firm. With xRM, Client Profiles dramatically reduced development time and achieved an estimated cost savings of U.S.$2 million.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Read and Recommended: Striving for Greatness in All You Do


    Recently I ran across an article about doing research and it affected so much that I wanted to share with you all. I would call this a required reading for any developer/engineer out there. The article is A Stroke of Genius: Striving for Greatness in All You Do written by R.W. Hamming. Yes, the same Hamming who invented the Hamming code.

    In the article Hamming spends a lots of time on choosing the right problem which is often overlooked by many (I’m no exception). This is especially true for developers (engineers) who can easily get excited by new technology and spend a lot of time on it without realizing if they’re solving a meaningful problem.

    The very crucial idea that Hamming addresses (at the end though) is “Selling”. Developers and engineers usually don’t care about Selling but if you don’t sell your idea, no body is going to believe it or buy it. It’s not an easy thing but you have to push yourselves out of your comfort zone to make progress. It was one of the best things I discovered taking up the Technical Evangelist role at Microsoft where it’s not just good enough to come up with the best code or solution; Being able to communicate and sell your ideas to others is the thing that defines your success.

    One thing I would like you to take away minimally from the article is:

    “Remember you have but one life to live”.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    xRM Acceleration Lab from 12/14/09 - 12/18/09 in Chicago


    <Cross-posting from Sanjay Jain’s blog entry>


    We are ready to host our 1st xRM Acceleration Lab from 14th Dec’09 to 18th Dec’09 at Microsoft Technology Center, Chicago, IL. This is an exclusive event tailored for leading industry ISVs. We would cover Executive Briefing (EB), Architecture Design Sessions (ADS), and Proof of Concept (POC) with the help of your team, on-site Microsoft experts, and off-shore development team, plus you would have access to Microsoft Dynamics Executives, all in one week.

    I’ll be participating in this event as an advisor for one of the ISV teams. We did a couple of events last year similar to this focused around startups called the CRM Incubation Week, however this time around working with leading ISVs will be a different experience and we’ll be blogging more about these on-site and will share our findings and experiences with the community.

    If you have any more ideas for events like these or would like to conduct one of these events in your area, please let us know.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    PDC - Phone Company CRM & Azure Demo


    Here is the full video of the “Phone Company” demo that shows the integration of Dynamics CRM “5”, AppFabric Service Bus and Windows Azure.


    Get Microsoft Silverlight

    View & comment on Channel9

    Note: Updated video (audio issue fixed) posted as a Channel9 screencast. To download this video, right click and download here. For better viewing experience, view this video in full screen.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    3 xRM sessions at PDC09


    Just found out that Barry Givens and Nikhil Hasija are doing another xRM session at PDC09. So that brings the total tally of xRM sessions to three! It might sound very low but this year PDC is only 3 days and almost the entire mornings on Day1 and Day2 will be spent in keynotes. Considering that, it’s a lot of sessions.

    BTW if you are not at PDC, don’t worry, you can still catch all the actions online. The keynotes will be streamed live and all breakout sessions will be available on-demand for free within 24 hours.

    So here is the final list of xRM sessions:

    1. Managing the Solution Lifecycle for xRM Applications on Tuesday at 12:30 PM
    2. Developing xRM Solutions Using Windows Azure on on Wednesday at 1:30 PM Thursday at 3:00 PM
    3. Build a .NET Business Application in 60 Minutes with xRM and SharePoint on Thursday at 12:45 PM

    If you are at PDC, don’t forget to check out the hands on lab area for CRM ‘5’ labs. Near by, we’ll also have the xRM/CRM booth, so please feel free to swing by and chat with one of the product team members.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Dynamics CRM at PDC09



    On November 17 the Professional Developers Conference (PDC) kicks off in Los Angeles and xRM & Microsoft Dynamics CRM will be there to make sure you have a good show.

    For those who don’t know what PDC is, it is the definitive Microsoft conference that showcases and gives you a roadmap of what’s coming out in the future from Microsoft.

    This year xRM/CRM will be highlighted in the keynote speeches and in two three break-out sessions.

    PDC09Bling_BeforeAfter_240Andrew Bybee is presenting a session on Developing xRM Solutions Using Windows Azure, Nirav Shah is presenting on Managing the Solution Lifecycle for xRM Applications and Barry/Nikhil team will Build a .NET Business Application in 60 Minutes with xRM and SharePoint

    If you’re involved with CRM & xRM in any capacity, you must hear Andrew Bybee (a.k.a Andy) speak. Both Andy and Nirav work in the R&D team and are responsible for the core features of the platform, so make sure you come with your list of questions.

    During one of the sessions, you’ll be able to catch a really cool demo that I’ve been working on recently . It is a demo that integrates CRM, Azure & .NET Services together and I’ll spare the details for later.

    You will also have the first opportunity to touch and play with CRM ‘5’ at PDC09. That’s right! At the hands on lab section in the Expo hall, my team has been working hard to have two hands on lab showcasing the Visualizations and Solutions packaging feature of CRM ‘5’.

    Of course I’ll be there at PDC with a camera for Channel9 interviews. So if you have some interesting development work to show, make sure you flag me down.

    See you in LA!

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Windows 7 RTM version available for MSDN subscribers


    logo_7Today the first public release of Windows 7 will be available to all MSDN Subscribers. I’m truly excited about Windows 7 as it a game changing platform in many aspects.

    Today, you will be able to download all Windows 7 Client (x86 and x64) Retail and VL Editions – English only on MSDN subscriber downloads. Along with this, you can also download language packs, WAIKs, WDKs, SDKs, and symbols in all available languages.


    To support the variety of languages and builds, 893 different images are being released to MSDN Subscriber Downloads in three waves through August 21st.

    And while the download is going on, don’t forget to checkout the Windows section on Channel9.


    Note for RC users: If you’re still using the Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) release, license expiration messages will begin on Feb 14, 2010 and it will time-bomb (shutdown every 2 hours) starting March 1, 2010.

    For subscribers who receive media, the media for Windows 7 will be included in the November shipment.

    Happy downloading and installing!

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    PDC 09 is on. And yes, xRM will be served!


    Get ready for the coolest developer event on the planet. Coming to Los Angeles again, PDC09 will be held from Nov 17th – 19th 2009.

    I had a blast at last PDC and I really look forward for this year’s event. One of the reasons I really look forward is because we’ll definitely be talking about xRM. Titles of a few talks this year are published on the site’s ‘Sessions’ area. Note that we’ve only published a sub-set of ‘Sessions’ and there is many more to come. So stay tuned.

    Developing xRM Solutions Using Windows Azure


    You might ask how you can keep up with all the updates and sessions announcements. We’ve got an answer for you in feeds. When you’re on make sure, to check out the RSS/ATOM feeds and subscribe to the ones that you’re interested in.


    Registration for PDC 09 is now open. Register by September 15th at and get a $500 early bird discount. Not bad, huh.

    We’ll see you soon in LA.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    A simple definition of Windows Azure


    Here is an interesting video that’s informative as well. It’s Friday evening after all , so chill out and enjoy this really nice & simple video that Steve Marx created to explain “What is Windows Azure?” with simple terms and hand drawn sketches.

    Now that was a great, wasn’t it. Check out Steve Marx’s blog post that goes into much detail on how he created this video.

    Maybe it’s time for me to fire up my tablet pc again. I’ll soon tell you about an interesting way in which I use my tablet pc.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Check out the Dynamics CRM Twibe


    I was really surprised when my twitter account had a large number of new followers over the weekend. Now I know why.

    After I caught up with my RSS feeds, I realized Menno did a great job of compiling the “influential” Microsoft Dynamics CRM people on twitter. You can see the list of people in the Dynamics CRM tribe twibe here


    Thanks for the honor. You’re now the official keeper of “List of twitter addicts in the CRM community”!

    Time to get back to CRM evangelism, 140 characters at a time!

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Azure Pricing announced at WPC


    Today, at WPC, we announced the business and partner model for the Windows Azure platform. Here are few highlights from the announcement.

    • Commercial availability at PDC 2009 in November.
    • SQL Azure will be available as a cloud-based relational database platform built on SQL Server.
    • Free until the release in November. Now is the time to go check out the free CTP.

    You can sign-up for the free CTP account for Windows Azure & .NET Services at SQL Azure will be available later this summer.

    The basic pricing that we announced today is in the table below. As part of the Microsoft Partner Network, partners receive an additional 5 percent promotional discount.

    Windows Azure SQL Azure .NET Services
    • Compute @ $0.12 / hour
    • Storage @ $0.15 / GB stored
    • Storage Transactions @ $0.01 / 10K
    • Web Edition - Up to 1 GB relational database @ $9.99
    • Business Edition – Up to 10 GB relational database @ $99.99
    • Messages @ $0.15/100K message operations , including Service Bus messages and Access Control tokens
    Bandwidth across all three services will be charged at  $0.10 in / $0.15 out / GB

    More details on pricing are available here on Windows Azure Team Blog.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Dynamics Duo: Wide World Importers Demo


    Ben and I took some time to chat about this really neat demo that shows how you can combine the Microsoft Web Platform with Dynamics CRM to quickly build and deploy self-service solutions.  This is a 5-part “Dynamics Duo” video series and you can view the full set of videos below and also be sure read more about them on Ben’s blog .

  • Dynamics Duo Rides Again

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

  • Dynamics Duo: Everybody needs an Identity

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

  • Dynamics Duo: Wide World Importers Code

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

  • Dynamics Duo: Composition with Third-Party Web Services

    Get Microsoft Silverlight

  • Dynamics Duo: Silverlight and Jazz Hands

    Get Microsoft Silverlight


    As Ben put in his post, both of us enjoyed recording this series.  We hope you enjoyed them as well.  If you have comments or suggestions for other topics, feel free to add comments below or email me or (Ben) directly.

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