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  • Blog Post: Why MS-CRM isn't a CRM product

    For the longest time I've held the belief that the underlying infrastructure behind MS-CRM was there to support arbitrary business applications. It's funny, for the last six months I've been betting my career on that belief, and even more today, I truly believe that the core value proposition is that...
  • Blog Post: Multiple forms per "entity"?

    Why not? I was just thinking about yesterday's post and had one of those disturbing thoughts that I get when I want to make software do something that its authors didn't intend (well, maybe, sorta, kinda). Let's say I want to create multiple forms per "entity" (note the quotes). One way I might...
  • Blog Post: Dealing with many 1:M CRM relationships

    I while back I mentioned in the CRM newsgroups that it was possible to create multiple relationships between two entities. For the most part this is true, but there are some hoops to jump through and each of those hoops is ringed in fire. More specifically, using this approach to solve the "many relationships...
  • Blog Post: Any uptake on the RSS connector for CRM?

    Is anyone actively using the RSS connector CRM? If so, how are you using it and did you customize it any way? If not, what are the reasons for not using it? This is really for my information. The CRM team might watch this space and have some desire to use the information, but that's not why I'm...
  • Blog Post: What is a "necessary evil"?

    Charles Eliot stopped me in the café at lunch today and asked me to clarify my comments about why direct database access in MS-CRM is a necessary evil. Actually, I think I used the phrase "evil-but-absolutely-necessary" when I described the design and implementation of filtered views. Way back...
  • Blog Post: New CRM blog and blogger

    Note: free exposure to CRM team members' blogs. Charles Elliot, a good friend and recently a co-worker of mine, has finally jumped into the blogging world . Knowling Charles I'm expecting a lot of goodness to come our way. In particular, I'm waiting for him to start talking about music and his take...
  • Blog Post: Announcing the RSS connector for MS-CRM 3.0

    We've finally released the RSS connector for MS-CRM. I've mentioned this tool a few times . This has been a long release mired in a few documentation, legal, and technical issues. But, that's not your concern, you probably just want to download this thing, install it, and make things happen. Well, here...
  • Blog Post: Inside MS-CRM goes Outside

    It all started with an email to a few guys working on a replacement lead management solution for MSN. The point of that email was that we could change the way software was built and create a new model for our partners around linking software to services in the clouds. Wow, now that I look back on it...
  • Blog Post: Using the CRM SDK offline

    I've been meaning to write something about using the CRM SDK in an offline state, and I've been meaning to write it for a few years now. I guess I never had the right prodding, but recent newsgroup posts show that there are people interested in this, and that they're stuck. So, I started doing...
  • Blog Post: RSS connector revisited

    I'm getting close to finishing the RSS connector now. I've finished the cache code and I've switched the query engine over to use the CRM 3.0 web services. I'm not sure how we'll release this, but I suspect it'll be part of the CRM GotDotnet sandbox somewhere. Stay tuned.
  • Blog Post: Where is the RSS connector for CRM 3.0

    It's stuck in LegalLand right now. It's not really Legal's fault either. When I put the original prototype together for the BizSummit and PDC I was able to take liberties with the set of APIs that I used. Yup, I ended up using unsupported functionality. Shouldn't be much of a surprise, I have access...
  • Blog Post: CRM metadata browser

    It was interesting to see Mitch Milam's post about the metadata browser. This was a little tool I put together pre-V1.0 ship, but which didn't make the schedule until V3. Mitch points out the "published" component which displays the entity metadata in a nice format. If you edit list.aspx you'll see two...
  • Blog Post: Why duplicate detection is hard

    In a past life (I'm fairly certain it was a past life because there are days when I'm sure I'm paying for it), I worked on a pair of very large-scale data-cleansing systems. They will go unnamed, except that I'll refer to them as System DBS and System ES. Both systems had a specific set of goals and...
  • Blog Post: The "F" in the DMF

    [Note: This is personal opinion, it doesn't reflect the viewpoint of Microsoft or the Microsoft CRM team. This is my take on the DMF and both its shortcomings and ultimate potential. Don't assume that anything that seems like a prediction here is apt to happen. I'm only peripherally involved with the...
  • Blog Post: 3.0 SDK is now live on MSDN!

    This just showed up in my inbox. Enjoy! From: Amy Langlois Sent: Friday, December 16, 2005 9:30 AM To: CRM Team Subject: 3.0 SDK is now live on MSDN! I am happy to announce that the online version of the Microsoft CRM 3.0 SDK is now live on MSDN: http://msdn.microsoft.com/library...
  • Blog Post: Old Inside Microsoft CRM blog is back

    It took me a while, but the folks over at Blogger were able to dig up all the old posts and get them back online. Several articles were already reposted here, but there are a few that never made it (including the one that started this whole conversation). Hopefully the MS-CRM community will find the...
  • Blog Post: How to add an "auto number" to a CRM entity

    Warning: unsupported territory ahead Adding an “auto-number” field to MS-CRM is one of those features that has been requested several times. The problem is that there isn’t a solution that really meets everyone’s needs. I was asked during V3 to come up with a way to do this for an internal customer...
  • Blog Post: MS CRM V1.2 Logical Model on MSDN

    Quite a few people have asked for the database schema for CRM 1.x. Well, we were a little hesitant about handing it out for a few reasons. One, we really don't think you should be partying on the database directly. Two, there was no reasonable delivery mechanism for doing so. Well, this morning our UE...
  • Blog Post: More fun with CRM web services

    I’ve received a dozen or so requests for the sample WSDL wrappers for CRM. I haven’t forgotten about sending these, I’ve been working on cleaning up and extending the sample code so it’s slightly more useful and includes some missing functionality that I think ISVs are using. Shouldn’t be long now.
  • Blog Post: Playing with Microsoft CRM programming models

    I’ve spent the last few days playing with a new programming model on top of the CRM platform. This work was part prototype, part investigation, and part complaint. I wanted to see what might be possible if I took a completely radical approach to the API. Some of you might remember an earlier article...
  • Blog Post: Should CRM services return an error for invalid attributes?

    It turns out that I was always working with an altered version of the CRM platform which silently was ignoring invalid-for-create and more importantly invalid-for-update attributes. Why is this important? Well, my recommendations for creating a friendlier programming environment were missing a critical...
  • Blog Post: Roles, Privileges, and CRM Security

    One of the feature requests that we get on a regular basis, and a feature that a few enterprising ISVs have started to build, is the ability to have per-role UI. This also comes under the name “field-level security” – but only because hiding access to attributes in the UI is a possible, but insecure...
  • Blog Post: What's with the CRM security descriptor?

    In response to a number of questions I'm seeing on the Microsoft CRM newsgroup I've gone back through the archives and dug this up. I hope it helps. There's been lots of speculation around the security descriptors in Microsoft CRM, and none of it is quite right. The “real” story behind the SD columns...
  • Blog Post: CRM callouts are just plain hard to write

    Building callout handlers for MS-CRM is hard. It’s just plain hard. Not because writing a COM object that implements an interface is hard – we’ve got a boatload of tools to help with that. They’re hard to write because the model is inconsistent and incomplete. The v1.x callout interface is very simple...
  • Blog Post: Add / Entity scenario in CRM 2005

    I’m trying to get a feel for how ISVs and VARs might use custom tables and custom entities in MS-CRM. The canonical example around building 110 is that someone would add a BankAccount child entity to a customer (likely an Account). But that sure doesn’t seem like a valid solution. I mocked up a student...
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