Power Platform Enterprise Architecture

There are a myriad of new features being released to Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform right now. It’s tempting to try out new features and, perhaps push a new feature through to production if you or your customer is willing or agile enough. For some larger organisations however, there’s more of an importance placed on standards and governance than ensuring the continued agility of getting new features and new applications quickly to production.

But how do, or how should Enterprise Architecture standards apply to those of us who have invested our time in these newfangled Power Platform based solutions. How can we ensure an organisations approach is both agile and structured?

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PowerApps and Dynamics Portals Design Decisions

A lot has been said and written about ‘Portals’ since Microsoft bought ADX Studio in 2015. If you are unaware of the background, ADX Studio at the time was the de-facto market leader and default solution for building portals to front and expose data from Dynamics CRM.

With the ADX Studio product being built in a configurable way, it seemed like a good acquisition from Microsoft. This was a departure from earlier acquisitions of  technically different products which had to be integrated to Dynamics – see Parature (cough) or Marketing Pilot (splutter), which have since died a slow death. ADX Studio was a product that, on the face of it, could more easily integrate and slot in to the new approach.

Since 2015, Microsoft has been on a journey to integrate and extend this old ADX codebase onto what has since become Dynamics 365 and, more recently, the Power Platform. ADX Studio in its old form – a .NET website and configurable code framework – is now effectively dead* – the Microsoft shift to the cloud is nearing completion, with new features being added regularly. Continue reading “PowerApps and Dynamics Portals Design Decisions”

Dynamics 365 Fantasy License League

I listened with interest to Steve Mordue on the MS Dynamics World podcast today about his views on the recent announcements at the NAV Directions conference last week. Steve is a Microsoft Partner with an opinion worth listening to on everything Dynamics, but primarily CRM. As a Dynamics partner or interested customer, If you haven’t listened to the podcast I would recommend doing so, but first have a read of his blog post here which is a great read as well as includes as a bit of drama!

Listening to the podcast gave me some food for thought based on some conversations I have been having with some customers and other partners recently. With that in mind, I thought I’d share my own opinion here.

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Dynamics 365 v9 – Changes for Developers

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After the Dynamics 365 v9 preview sessions we are now getting a little bit more detail direct from the Microsoft website detailing what the changes mean in practical terms for users, configurers and developers.

Head over to https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/get-started/whats-new/ to see the full details or just read my summary below.

Here is my take on some of the major points that caught my attention.

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Dynamics 365 V9.0 Summary (July 2017 Update)

Today I dropped into the Dynamics 365 Insider program for day one of a series of reveals we have all been waiting on for some time now. With the NDA lifted on what Dynamics CRM 9.0 will be, it was an interesting set of changes. To quote some of the technical leads, this is the biggest release Microsoft have made to Dynamics 365 so lets understand what is involved to make it a smooth transition.

Because of other commitments, I only dipped in and out of the sessions so I don’t have all the detail, but here’s a quick summary of the major features I took in and some of my musings around them. As I find out more, I will update this post accordingly.

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Summit EMEA Review – Day 2

Summit EMEA

Day 2 of Summit EMEA started with some useful breakout sessions by Microsoft Partners and MVPs. The first session I attended covered some use cases of Custom Entities. Adam Vero’s session gave an interesting overview of how custom entities can be used for things other than storing business data. The 5 main use cases for custom entities covered were, replacing pick-lists, N-N intersect entities, custom auditing, 1-1 records and for applying arbitrary security privileges to the ribbon or site map. One of the things missing from the Microsoft documentation is covering general CRM design patterns like this, and this session reinforced my understanding of best practice in data modelling in Dynamics 365. Tip of the session was the advice to create a 1-1 relationship to extend the user record with fields that are updated frequently. If you don’t, you may experience performance problems – this is because the browser security cache is invalidated when the user record is updated.

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Install Dynamics 365 Developer Toolkit with Visual Studio 2017

Visual Studio was officially released today, and with it’s release comes the dilemma for Dynamics 365 developers. Do you keep going with VS 2015 (or maybe VS2013, VS 2012 or 2010!), or do you bite the bullet and install Visual Studio 2017?

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In the past, I would normally hold off on a new Visual Studio installation until there is a service pack available, but after reading that Visual Studio 2017 is focused on performance improvements and speed, I decided to install it on an Azure Developer VM to see if I could get the Dynamics 365 Developer toolkit working on it.

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