Dynamics CRM 2013: Technical Improvements
This fall, Microsoft will be releasing version 2013 of Dynamics CRM, code-named Orion. A new version means brand new features aimed at improving every aspect of the application. In this series of articles, we will take you from user experience and new functionality through technical improvements to the upgrade process to demonstrate that the wide range of transformations make this release notably compelling.
In this article, we will show you what new technical capabilities provide you with the ability to further extend the automation available in CRM.
Improved Outlook Client
The current CRM Outlook Client design lumped its processes within the Outlook memory stack. The effect has been lower stability and reliability because of high memory use, leaks and fragments.
The new CRM Outlook client isolates its processes into two separate memory stacks. This way if there are a lot of customizations, and if they happen to leak memory, they won’t affect the overall Outlook experience.
One difference between the Outlook Client and the Web Client is since Outlook has the left hand navigation, CRM will continue to use it allowing for more space at the top of the screen.
Mail Server Synchronization
Currently synchronizing emails between an email server and the CRM server worked through either Outlook or the CRM email router.
Synchronizing though Outlook requires Outlook to be up and running. The Email Router needs to be installed on an on premise server and be administered separately from CRM.
CRM 2013 can now synchronize directly to a mail server without the need for Outlook or the Email Router. If the mail server is Microsoft Exchange, emails, tasks, appointments and contacts are synchronized. Other POP3/SMTP mail servers will only sync email. The sync configuration is handled all within CRM which enables it to be used in online deployments. Besides users, email processing can also be configured for CRM queues.
Future enhancements will support hybrid configurations (i.e. CRM Online with Exchange On-Prem).
Business Rules Designer
Real Time Workflows
Actions are a new function similar to workflows that can now perform a collection of record changes that depend on variable input or output parameters across steps in the process. Previously this functionality had to be performed by multiple web service calls.
Access Team Configuration
Access to entity records can be granted to users that become part of a team for that record. This is separate from record ownership so that users can still own records, but have different teams of users that can collaborate on a process for the record.
If the teams that exist can all be defined and are static, team ownership of the record is a preferable solution. Access teams are useful when collaboration on entity records is dynamic.
Other Technical Improvements
- CRM 2011 customizations will work in the new 2013 user experience. Migrated form events will fire in the new UX. Web resources are supported in the web client.
- Entities have a new form type to be configured for quick create.
- A new simplified authentication mechanism is available for custom mobile apps.
- A new image field type now exists. You can have one image field per entity. A new phone field type now exists that will allow you enable your communications software (Skype, Lync) to call when the field value is clicked.
- Windows 8 and iPad tablets do not require a separate form.
- The auto save feature will batch any changes and post them. The OnSave plug-ins will fire during auto save. To prevent all plug-ins from always executing on this save event, the best practice is to make them fire on specific field updates, not general updates. The GetSaveMode() method can also be used to detect the auto save so that you can manipulate when changes are posted to the database.
- FetchXML can now do a left outer join so you can, for example, retrieve all leads that have no activities.
- Exporting and importing CRM Solutions will include all the new capabilities like business rules, actions and process flows. Activity Feed entities are now filtered from solution exports. You now cannot import a solution from a newer CRM version to an environment with an older CRM version.
- Unsupported CRM 2011 customizations may not work in 2013. HTML DOM manipulations will throw script errors. The CRM 4.0 client API is not supported any longer.
Other articles in this series: