• Girish Raja's Blog

    Public Sector Webcast: Microsoft Dynamics CRM for Developers


    I will be presenting a webcast tomorrow (October 15th) for public sector developers on how they can leverage Dynamics CRM platform to build line of business applications.

    Date: Wednesday 10/15/2008, from 2:00PM- 3:00PM EDT

    You can register for the webcast at the below URL

    Below is the overview on what I’ll be presenting

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 uses familiar components such as Web Service endpoints, Windows Workflow Foundation, SSRS reporting, and more; making it a general purpose platform for any line-of-business applications. Developers can use their existing .NET skills to take advantage of various features of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform. This webcast drills into the details of such development and explains how developers can connect, extend, and embed with the Microsoft Dynamics CRM platform. The webcast includes presentations and demos that we hope you will find informative. Please join us!

    If you’re a developer in Public Sector, I also strongly encourage you to subscribe to the Public Sector Developer Blog.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Peek at what Live Mesh SDK can do


    I've had the honor to play with Live Mesh and so far I'm very impressed.

    Right now you only have the folder sharing scenario. Yet it was cool to have my Onenote notebooks synchronized across my tablet and workstation and share with other people.

    For people that kept asking what the "Mesh Platform" can do, check out the below article to look at a simple yet powerful scenario.

    Disclaimer: These postings are provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confer no rights. Information posted here is subject to change without notice.

    Having a task tracker application that runs on all my mesh devices and synchronize their state: simple yet wicked cool.


    Come to PDC to learn more about the Mesh Platform, the SDK and make sure you do ask questions directly to the people who built this stuff. They'll all be at PDC!

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    Connecting Silverlight to Dynamics CRM


    As I promised in the channel9 video on CRM & Silverlight, I'm posting the sample code with a slight (3 weeks!) delay. Sorry folks.

    For information on Microsoft Silverlight and its development, please view the Get Started page.

    There are a variety of ways you can connect a Silverlight client to CRM. In the below example we're using a proxy approach by having a WCF service sitting in between Silverlight control and CRM web services.

    1. Download the code

    2. Download the public VPC and the below differencing disk containing the deployed solution.

    Note: This source code and VPC is provided "as is" and without any warranties or support from Microsoft.

    Creating a Silverlight control for CRM

    3. Download the video

    If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave me a comment on this blog or contact me through the Email/Contact form.

    Happy coding!

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    CRMUG Session: Building Complex Business Applications


    This Thursday, I'm co-presenting a session with Reuben Krippner titled "Using the CRM Platform for Building Complex Business Applications". The session will be held as a CRM User Group workshop.

    crmug_banner Date: Thursday 9/4/2008, from 12:30PM- 2:00PM EDT

    Psst, I'll show some pieces of the demo from the "Dynamics Duo" videos and will be available for any questions you might have.

    The event details and link to register are available here. Below is an excerpt from the description.

    Are you leveraging the integration of Dynamics CRM with the Microsoft Stack? Microsoft Dynamics CRM is a robust platform that can be used to build different line of business applications besides the out of box functionality of sales, service and marketing. We’ll look at how one such business application could be built and how it can provide a seamless user experience by integrating with various technologies like WPF, Silverlight, SharePoint, and the Office Business Applications.

    Please join us as we reveal the hidden power of a robust, integrated solution for your business!

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    A book on CRM Platform Development


    BookFrontI just got an autographed copy of the xRM Developer book that David Yack has published. I must say that this is a great resource for Developers and David has packed every ounce of his CRM knowledge into this book.

    After you get the book, don't just read the book. If you glance through the pages you'll realize that this is a Developer book with plenty of code snippets. So get the jumpstart framework and code samples from the book website, sit in front of Visual Studio and work with the samples.

    I'm sure David would have loved to embed video into many places within the book but unfortunately publishing technology hasn't caught up yet! For that lone reason, it is worth checking out the screencast videos that David is creating for out of the book experiences.

    MVP tips within the book are equally valuable. Also remember to follow the blogs of the MVPs to get more tips and tricks.

    I'm planning to read from cover to cover and I'd suggest the same for any developer aspiring to work on CRM. I only wish I had the time to do that right away :-)

    Many thanks to Dave and Julie for bringing this book to the community.

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    Creating a CRM WPF Offline Application


    Windows Presentation Foundation (not Framework!) allows you to create rich interactive user experiences. If you've watched the channel9 video on using WPF with CRM, below code sample and screencast will help you to hit the ground running on WPF development for CRM.

    Download the code

    Creating a CRM WPF Offline Application

    Download the video

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    Creating an OBA - Word Add-in for CRM


    It's Office time folks. If you you've watched the channel9 video on CRM-OBA, here is some sample code and screencast that'll get you going.

    Download the code

    Creating an OBA - Word Add-in for CRM

    Download the video

    WPF code and screencast are coming right out. Keep coding folks!

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    Customizing Main Navigation of CRM 4.0 - Part3


    In part 1 and part 2 of the navigation series, we saw how to customize CRM's navigation. Custom navigation along with custom entities, allows you to start creating Line of Business (LOB) applications in a variety of vertical industries. In the final part of the navigation series, we'll see how we can take the end result of simple customizations and deploy it on the server.

    I've posted the sample customization files (entities and sitemap)  for a simple professional services scenario as referred in the channel9 video here. You can download these file below

    Download Entity customizations

    Download Sitemap customizations

    Please note that this is a sample only and NOT a real application for professional services.

    To assist you in the process to getting started, below is a screencast that shows how you can import the entity and sitemap customizations into your CRM system.

    Customizing CRM's Entity Model and User Experience

    Download the video

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    Creating a custom SharePoint webpart for CRM


    Continuing the back to basics series, I thought I'd write a simple SharePoint webpart that pulls data from the CRM 4.0 VPC. If you've watched the Dynamics Duo talk on SharePoint, this should help you get to the next step and dig into some code.

    After a little bit of challenge, I was able to get the sample code published in Code Gallery for download.

    Download the Code

    I also captured the process of creating a CRM-SharePoint custom webpart as a screencast and you can view it below.

    Creating a custom SharePoint webpart for CRM

    Download the Video

    The example shows how you can build it from the group up. You can obviously use SharePoint project template and deployment packages to automate some of the steps.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Customizing Main Navigation of CRM 4.0 - Part2


    If you have tried editing CRM Navigation as described in part1, you'll be more than relieved to know that there is a tool that'll act as a GUI editor for the navigation.

    It is called Demo Tools and it is available for download here:

    Microsoft Dynamics CRM Demonstration Tools (for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0)

    As the name states, it is a great set of tools for CRM mainly targeted for delivering a demo. But hey, nothing stops us from using it is for development! I'll have to plug-in the standard disclaimer that it is not supported through Microsoft Technical Support.

    The tool has a bunch of features besides Sitemap editing like string replacement, dependant picklists, etc.


    The major takeaway here is that it makes editing Sitemap a breeze. You can open existing Sitemap XML files and visually edit them. Once you've made the changes, you can save it back to the XML file.

    The tool also takes it one step further so that you can directly open the Sitemap from CRM, make all your changes and publish back to CRM without downloading any intermediate (.xml,...) files. See those buttons "Open from CRM" and "Publish to CRM" in the above screenshot, that's what they do.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Customizing Main Navigation of CRM 4.0 - Part1


    While we're posting the Channel9 videos, I thought it'd be good to get back to basics and show how we built some of the components in the demo. With CRM's entity/relationship system under the hood, it is very easy to create "xRM" applications that looks completely different. For example in the screenshot below, to the left is the out-of-box UI and on the right is how you can modify it with simple customizations.


    We did a few things to the navigation here

    • Added additional navigation items like Time and Expense, Projects, Knowledge Center, etc.
    • Renamed Sales to Business Development.
    • Removed the out-of-box Resource Center.

    Let us look at how a developer can go about to do these changes. There are couple of ways you can do that.

    Changing Sitemap.xml

    All of CRM's main navigation is stored in this single file. The way you edit is you goto Settings -> Customization -> Export Customizations and export "Site Map". The sitemap will download as a compressed file and you can modify the .xml within to change the navigation as you like. The tool I commonly use is either Visual Studio 2008 or one of the advanced notepad editors like Notepad++.

    Details on the SiteMap schema can be found here within the SDK. Most importantly, if you screw up the navigation,  check out this section on how to recover from errors. You have got to bookmark this. Trust me, I've panicked number of times without realizing I could recover.

    However editing Plain Old XML (POX) is not a favorite thing to do. In the next part, let me show you a tool that simplifies this into a much easier process.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Chatting on CRM Platform


    Ben has posted the first video in a series of videos we shot at Platform Adoption Center (PAC) reg. the demo we built at DPE. You can check out the video here

    You can watch the video on the built-in Silverlight player, but at a low resolution, it smudges some of the screens that we try to show. So I recommend viewing this in WMV (high) quality. You can do this by clicking on "Downloads" area underneath the post and opening it as pointed in the screenshot below.


    Ben is sort of a Ninja style interviewer. As Erik of CWR mobility says, he'll ask the questions you never thought he'd ask and when you least expect it :-) It still was a lot of fun doing those videos.

    And of course, more cool stuff and visualizations are on their way. So stay tuned.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Get Your Head above the Clouds at PDC2008


    <marketing> If you're still thinking whether to attend PDC this year, remember that Early Bird Discount of $200 is ending in another 10 days. So hurry up and register. </marketing>

    BTW, if you are really wondering what PDC is going to be all about and not sure if my marketing bling (yeah right!) is convincing enough, you have got to check out the new show "Countdown to PDC2008".

    Countdown To PDC2008 : Producing a Ginormous Conference in 10 Minutes or Less!

    Mike and Jennifer stick to the clock (analog buzzer!) and get it done in 10 minutes. No exceptions! Actually there are a series of videos on channel9 regarding PDC and you can view them all here

    Truly any conference that Microsoft conducts is enormous and you'd be amazed at the amount of planning that goes on internally. I mean think about the fact that a geek like Mike Swanson's fulltime job now is to plan events like PDC!

    BTW if you work for Microsoft, there is an internal countdown video series as well by Mike and Jennifer. Do check them out. Hold on, there is a lot of non-Microsoft people reading this post. Am I going off limits and crossing the corporate boundary out into the open clouds? Oh well, if my applications can do that, why not me ... Oops, I seem to have slipped a clue by accident.

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    WPC Wrap up


    IMG_2308WPC was indeed Texas-sized this year with over 10,000 people in attendance and 4 days of packed action. Needless to say, I'm yet to fully recover from all that happened in Houston :-)

    Software+Services and CRM both were heard all across the conference. Even though wall street doesn't very much agree on Microsoft's online investments, like Ina Fried, the attendees of WPC knew Microsoft's huge potential in this market. Of course Microsoft will continue to invest in its on-premise software and server applications as well.

    On-demand software will be hot in markets like US and Europe. However partners from the Middle East and Asia seem to disagree. After talking to them, I realized that infrastructure improvements still needs to happen in many places around the world. At the same time, industries with enough wealth and resources don't want to cut corners by moving to on-demand software. No wonder making CRM 4.0 available both on-premise and on-demand resonates well with our customers.

    By the way, don't worry if you missed the action at WPC. You can always watch the major keynotes and breakouts from WPC on demand at

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Xbox 360 to stream Netflix content


    xboxLogo That's right. The streaming is supposedly available in the fall update to Xbox. Check out the Gizmodo article:

    netflix_logo Both me and my wife love the Netflix "instant viewing" even though their catalog of movies & TV shows for streaming is limited. Finally I don't have to use my laptop & VNC connection to the media center PC as a lousy remote control. Even though I haven't played anything other than Fuzion Frenzy 2 since I bought my Xbox Elite 2 months ago (busy times, you know), this update would help me justify the price tag of Xbox to my wife!

    If makes the move to Xbox, I'll be well on my way to cancel my cable connection. Can't wait for that to happen.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Pre-conference day at WPC 2008


    Monday was the pre-conference day at Microsoft and we had a blast at the ISV track. Judging by previous experience at conferences, I was prepared by wearing sneakers and rolling laptop case to make that 5-mile walk across the conference center from session to session. This year the WPC organizers have that through this and made all of the ISV sessions in the same room and most of the other session I wanted to attend were pretty nearby. Nice!

    Eric Weis, a program manager for the Metro program hosted a great session for ISVs titled "Making the Decision to Adopt the Latest Microsoft Technologies" to clear the myths and doubts on early adoption of Microsoft software. BTW, if you are not aware of the Metro program, it is Microsoft's structured program around early adoption of our technologies run by the Developer and Platform Evangelism (DPE) group. In this session, one of our very own CRM partners RDT was showcased. Mark Bates, CEO of RDT spoke clearly about the good, bad and ugly of early adoption.

    The next session was by Eddie Amos, the GM  talking about the Software+Services. The surprise of the day was the final session on how learnings from gaming software could be applied to enhance business applications. Entellium showed how you could build a WPF application that acts as a smart client and provide amazing User eXperience such that the users will love what they're doing. Working on the CRM demo where we did WPF and Silverlight samples for CRM Online, I was totally able to relate to that. If we could collaborate with our friends and intuitively play the games, why not our business applications!

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Developer Ramp up Kit for Dynamics CRM 4.0


    Many of our ISV partners might be familiar with the DPE Metro (formerly Ascend) early adopter training content that we used to ramp-up the partners on CRM 4.0 platform(code named "Titan"). We're now happy to announce that the materials are now updated and being released to the entire development community as Developer Ramp up Kit for Dynamics CRM 4.0. Any .NET based developer can use this kit to easily ramp up on the CRM platform and start building line of business applications well within a week's time.

    The kit is available at the MSDN development center here

    The kit includes

    1. Presentation slides and videos: Twelve modules covering the different extensible aspects of the platform.
    2. Hands on Labs: To assist in hands-on learning of each module. Lab manuals along with completed source code are included. Note that we have three different packages, one for each deployment model namely on-premise, partner hosted and CRM Online.
    3. VPC environment: For practicing the on-premise labs.

    No prior Knowledge of Microsoft CRM is required. Familiarity with the .NET Framework, Microsoft Visual C#, Jscript, Microsoft SQL Server and general web development is recommended.

    The content has come a long way since its inception and has been refined and well tested in the field. Going back to 2006 with CTP2 build of Titan, revised completely for CTP3, the materials were delivered in-person to several of our ISV developers world-wide. Earlier this year, it was forked off and we created materials for the Software+Services scenarios focusing on CRM Online and Partner Hosted CRM.

    We've listened to your feedback and the ramp up kit now unifies all of this into one single package that we hope will be a useful resource for our developer community. Many thanks to all those involved that helped in shaping up the content and releasing it. You know who you're!

    Please let me know via comments or email if you have any questions or need any further information.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Houston - Here we come


    I will be there at Houston for the World Wide Partner Conference 2008 along with several of my colleagues in Dynamics Evangelism group. If you're an ISV and are interested in CRM, please do come talk to us.

    You can also find me wandering in the CRM booths, so please feel free to stop by and chat about the ISV opportunities in CRM.

    Texas is always an exciting place for me. It is where I first landed in the US and spent 4 years of my life doing my Masters and my very first job. After spending the last couple of years in New York and Seattle, I'm not sure if I can sustain the hot, humid Houston for a week. Maybe a quick little trip to Galveston should help.

    See y'all in Houston. Adios for now!


  • Girish Raja's Blog

    CRM ISVs at WPC 2008


    WPC2008-1Partnering with Microsoft is a wonderful opportunity for the partners and a huge bonus to our customers. Seriously, I haven't seen any other  major software vendor having such a great partner eco-system.

    To illustrate that we're not just ranting about it, Nikhil Hasija, a Senior Product Manager for CRM team showed us a preview of some of the ISV solutions that'll be showcased at WPC this year. Ben, Sanjay and John have covered the solutions in details and the sessions you wouldn't want to miss at WPC.

    What's interesting to me is the way ISVs have creatively used the CRM platform and how they've seamlessly integrated with products like Silverlight, Virtual Earth, Live Messenger,...

    If you are at WPC, do attend these sessions and find out how you as Partners, can leverage solutions like this in the eco-system to help your customers.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Using 64-bit machines for CRM development


    imageIt seems like a lot of developers are hesitant to install 64-bit OS like Vista or Windows Sever 2008 on their dev.  machine. I don’t want to go into driver compatibility issues but want to discuss what it means to write code and build applications for MSCRM on a 64-bit dev. machine. As  Ben mentions, I’ve been working on a demo that uses an array of products on top of CRM. I personally took the challenge to build and deploy them all on my 64 bit machine and some on the public CRM 4.0 VPC (which is 32-bit BTW). Overall, I had a wonderful experience and I’m glad that I made the leap to 64-bit for my dev. machine.

    For those of you who aren’t familiar with 64 bit architecture, let me just say that the popular AMD x64 architecture can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications. What a relief! Windows basically runs this using a mechanism called Wow64 (Windows on Windows).

    In my next few posts, I’ll walk you through my experiment with 64-bit development.

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  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Regsvr32.exe PDC2008


    No, you can’t do it from command line. You have to use the GUI available at to register for PDC 2008. I know, we’re working on it!

    To be or not to be

    If you’re sort of the developer looking out of for the next gen. stuff and an early adopter of technologies, PDC is the right place to be. On the other hand, if you’d prefer technologies that have only been released and out in the market, maybe TechEd is right place for you. FYI, there is a TechEd happening next week, so watch out for lots of pure refined content.

    $2195 USD, yeah right

    Undoubtedly many will feel that it is slightly higher. But consider this, Microsoft is not making even a single cent of profit out of this. In fact, we’re losing some which is compensated by the event sponsors. I’m volunteering for one of the event activities for PDC and I’m told that my budget is near to $0. It takes a lot to run a conference for 4 days and host around 8,000 geeks. So $2195 (includes $200 early bird discount) should be totally worth it. If you’re an early adopter anyways, why wait and pay an extra 200 bucks.

    Personally, if I were to attend only one conference a year (or couple of years!), that would undoubtedly be PDC. Being a developer wouldn’t you want to goto the coolest conference and jell with all the other geeks!

    What can one expect

    Lots of good things around the Cloud. Many new “stuff” will be there. Of course, CRM will definitely be there. So I hope to see you there.


    BTW, many bloggers have posted the “Brain in a can” picture for PDC. I kind of find that disturbing. Do you?

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  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Calling ISVs – Get Credit for your Indirect Customers


    Of course it would be unfair if you don’t take credit for the work you do.

    For ISVs (in the US only), improvements have been made to the indirect customer registration process in VOICE. For more information on this announcement and instructions on how to register your indirect customers, check out this article.

    Indirect Customer registration process changing for US, Canada and LATAM ISVs beginning May 18th, 2008

    Obviously there are quite a few benefits in keeping your list of customers up-to-date. If you’ve been to Convergence this year, you might have noticed several people wearing batches indicating that they’re members of the “President’s Club”. Wonder what it takes for you to wear one, check out the below excerpt from the article.

    ISVs can achieve FY07 President’s Club by adding 53 total new customers in FY08 (combined total of direct and indirect customer adds).

    BTW, I should remind myself of the first statement in this blog post!

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    Whitepaper on CRM Platform Development


    We have released a whitepaper on the Platform Goodness of Microsoft CRM 4.0 and how Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can leverage the platform to build all sorts of applications/mashups on top of the platform.

    The whitepaper is available for download here:

    imageDavid Yack from Colorado Technology Consultants helped us with authoring this paper and please give a big shout out to him.

    Notice that we highlight the xRM capabilities of the platform in this paper and it also drills down into different scenarios where you can use and integrate with the platform.

    Though the paper covers a lot of ground, it is a great start to think about various possibilities you may have overseen all along. So I strongly recommend reading this not only for the breadth of developers and technical decision makers out there but also for seasoned MSCRM implementers.

  • Girish Raja's Blog



    I love Onenote and evangelize it’s use equally as I evangelize CRM.

    This sarcasm from Office Offline blog by David Salaguinto is the best blog humor I’ve seen in a while.


    His blog is one of the reasons why I don’t effectively use my time at work :)

    BTW, shouldn’t he call it Office Dead (Live) instead of Office Offline. Hey, I’m just following the rules of our marketing here.

  • Girish Raja's Blog

    New Way to Submit Product Suggestions


    Updated in 2010 with new Connect Program Links

    Do you ever feel that you want to make a direct impact on the next version of the Dynamics Product?

    Being a Dynamics partner myself a few years ago, I’ve always wondered about an easy way to submit my thoughts directly to the product planning team.

    For all those Dynamics Partners and Customers out there, here is how you can do it in less than 5 minutes from the comfort of your desk/couch.

    Already a member? Click here and first search to see whether another community member has already entered a similar suggestion. If a similar suggestion already exists, simply use the voting mechanism in Microsoft Connect.

    If you have established that no similar suggestion has been submitted, click the “Submit Feedback” button and type in your suggestion along with the other relevant product and company information and click Submit. It’s that simple.

    Few things about this approach makes it my absolute favorite.

    1. It is build on the MS Connect so I’m very confident in entering my data and I can see this right next to the other programs that I’m part of.
    2. You can Rate/Validate an existing issue so that the product planning team takes a good look at it.
    3. You can submit your suggestions either publicly or in private. This lets me post some of the intricate details of my problem which I can’t do in a public newsgroup.

    So what are you waiting for?

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