With over 10,000 downloads, I know many of you are familiar with the Developers Toolkit for Dynamics CRM 4.0 but how many of you have discovered the Developers Toolkit for Dynamics CRM 2011? The latest beta version of the toolkit has been developed from the ground up to work with Dynamics CRM 2011 through seamless integration into the Visual Studio 2010 IDE. Shipping as part of the Dynamics CRM SDK 5.05 update, the Dynamics CRM 2011 Developers Toolkit can be found in the sdk\tools\developertoolkit folder together with the user’s guide (which can also be accessed from http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh372957.aspx).

From my perspective, the greatest change from the approach taken for the Developers Toolkit for Dynamics CRM 4.0 is that it works the way you do. By that I mean that your are not constrained to a specific Visual Studio project and solution structure. Additionally, the build and deployment process changes have relaxed the dependency to have a high degree of MSBuild knowledge and coupled with the Solutions import/export approach of Dynamics CRM 2011 provide a high degree of flexibility and choice to the developer.

At a high level, the Developers Toolkit comprises:

  • A suite of Visual Studio Solution and Project Templates for Plug-ins, Custom Workflow Activities and Web Resources
  • Automatic code generation and registration for plug-ins
  • A CRM Explorer tool window enabling interaction with your CRM instance
  • Direct configuration of Dynamics CRM 2011 from within Visual Studio
  • Packaging of the components you create within Visual Studio and deployment into Dynamics CRM 2011
  • The ability to optionally export a managed or unmanaged CRM Solution as part of your build so that you can script an automated Daily and CI build process

If you take a look at the user’s guide, there is a wealth of information to get you started. I hope you find this toolkit lets you focus on the business problems you are trying to solve and takes away the burden of writing boiler plate code.

Phil

Phil Hand
Principal Consultant
Microsoft Consulting Services UK

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