Tip #826: USD goodness unleashed

Whether you are an experienced Unified Service Desk developer or just about to dip your toes into the dark waters of USD, you are on a constant lookout for good code samples and snippets. But hey, why not to take it one step further?

Jayme Pechan, one of the USD fathers, has made the entire library of USD goodies available on Github. Full list of components is available and, apart from the Parature article list, they all look extremely useful, especially Controller.

If nothing else, you should be able to study the code to see how things should be done in USD!

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Tip #825: Tabs Gone Wild – Edge and IE

This tip shouldn’t be confused with a politically incorrect reference to ‘Girls Gone Wild’. So let’s get past that and into the issue with Learning Path and IE 11 and Microsoft Edge Browsers.

If you open your Dynamics 365 instance in one of these browsers you will get an uncontrollable situation where new tabs start opening faster than you can move your mouse and click to close them.

Learning Path Opens Multiple Tabs

Learning Path Opens Multiple Tabs

This is an issue in Edge and IE currently if you have Learning Path enabled. It doesn’t happen in Chrome or FireFox.

So if you want to use either of these browsers than just opt out of learning path. This is a temporary workaround. A true fix is in the works.

Click on the gear icon and then select Opt Out of Learning Path.

Opt Out of Learning Path

The fix should be created to MVP Extraodinaire Rhett Clinton.

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Tip #824: Track messages when you send them with Folder Level Tracking

Happy Valentine’s Day. Here’s a tip you may love if you use Folder Level Tracking.

One common criticism of Folder Level Tracking is you can’t track a message at the same time that you send the message, like you can when you use CRM for Outlook. You can move the message from the Sent folder to the tracking folder after you send the message, but there is no way to track the message when you send it. This is incorrect.

If you use Outlook (any version since 2007), you can track your messages at the same time you send them via Folder Level Tracking. When you compose your email, go to the Options tab of the ribbon.

sentoptions

Click the “Save Sent Item To” button, then browse to the desired tracking folder. When you send the message, the sent email will be saved to the selected folder, rather than saving it to the “Sent” folder. The message will then be tracked, and set regarding to whatever record to which that folder is linked.

 

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Tip #823: Custom Action editor wipes out parameter list

Love the tips sent to a jar@crmtipoftheday.com – always something new! Today, Elliott Hulburd unmasks a truly unpleasant bug in custom action a.k.a workflow editor that could literally cost you hours of trying to figure out why suddenly all your calls to a custom action fail.

When working with Custom Actions in CRM 2016 recently, I noticed a strange bug with the parameters. If you include speech marks in the description box for a parameter, and then save and close the process, when you open it up again, the parameter will have completely disappeared! No warning message or validation error or anything!

Custom action editor bug

I’ve only tried this in 2016, but also haven’t found anything about this anywhere online.

Tipp Jarr double tipp

Thanks Elliott for the heads up! I think I saw this behaviour but just didn’t pay attention to it as I should have. Confirmed that the bug is still present in Dynamics 365 and it’s not limited to double quotes. Looks like someone from the dev. team did a Spießrutenlaufen-worthy mistake and forgot to XML-encode the parameter description. As a result, saving custom action will wipe out your entire parameter list clean if any of the descriptions contains one of the following: "&'<>. Don’t be fooled by the presence of the parameters after you press the Save button – they are good as gone at this stage.

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Tip #822: Getting Started with Connected Field Service

We are glad to report that video tipping service has been restored and eligible customers can apply for a refund.

In this video, we look at Dynamics 365’s new Connected Field Service IOT capabilities. We will walk you though how to install and configure the solution both in Dynamics 365 and Azure, how to configure the simulator, and how to working with and respond to alerts inside Dynamics 365.

Give us your feedback, all of it: good, bad, and ugly, I’m sure we can take it. Suggest new topics either in comments or by sending your ideas to jar@crmtipoftheday.com.

Don’t forget to subscribe to http://youtube.com/crmtipoftheday!

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Tip #821: Troubleshoot Xrm.Tooling connection to Dynamics 365

We’ve long been recommending the use of CrmServiceClient in your applications that connect to Dynamics 365. But what to do when the client just wouldn’t connect?

The easiest way to start troubleshooting connectivity to Dynamics 365 is to run LoginControlTester.exe that has long been part of the SDK and can be found in <SDK>\Bin folder. As the name suggest, when you run it, the standard Xrm Tooling login dialog is displayed and it gives you a short Aye or Nay. The difference is that in config file for this small app tracing levels are maxed out and, in addition, there are some listeners for IdentityModel, ServiceModel, and even ADAL.

After you run the tests, collect your output in the same folder in the form of LoginControlTesterLog.txt and CrmToolBox.svclog files. You can use notepad of your choice to mule over the .txt file content, .svclog file can be viewed by Service Trace Viewer that is part of .NET tooling. Chances are that you’ll be able just double-click .svclog file to get it open.

Service log viewer

Lots of troubleshooting goodness here, and if you’re dealing with the support to resolve the issue, these files are something they would definitely ask for (or they should).

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Tip #820: Running multiple USD instances

If you ever tried to run Unified Service Desk more than once, you’d be very familiar with this message:

Multi USD error

Why would one want to run multiple instances? It’s handy during the development and testing to try various deployment scenarios, compare the look of a deployment after configuration changes, and connect to different organizations at the same time. As it turned out, it’s not that difficult at all:

  • Open USD installation folder which by default would be something like C:\Program Files\Microsoft Dynamics CRM USD\USD
  • Go level up, copy entire USD folder and paste it elsewhere, e.g. on a desktop
  • Inside you’ll find UnifiedServiceDesk.exe that you can run independetly of the installed copy

So now you can start customizing the copy, keeping the main installation as a reference point:

Multi USd splash screen

You can even connect as different users (licensed, of course):

Multi USD cases

(As you can see, some agents are busier than others).

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Tip #819: Project Services Lead to Opportunity

Today’s tip is from Matt “Almost Resident” Johnson.

I recently came across this little conundrum when progressing a Lead through to Opportunity. Maybe this will save someone else a head scratching moment or two.

If you convert a Lead to Opportunity by pressing the Qualify button. It will work but the Opportunity it creates will use the “Opportunity” form which doesn’t have all the Project Service functionality on it, even if you’ve got the “Project Information” form set as your default. If you try and change the form to the “Project Information” form, it will just jump right back to the “Opportunity” form.

Turns out there’s a new field on near the bottom of the Lead form in Details section called Type. You need to change that to “Work based” and then when you Qualify the Lead it will use the correct “Project Information” form.

PSA lead to opportunity

Hope that helps someone.

It most certainly will! – t.j

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Tip #818: Quick surveys using Microsoft Flow

Surveys are a tricky business. Make them too long and people won’t fill them in, make them too short and you won’t collect the information you are after. However, in customer service, surveys can be conditional. First, we ask customer if they are happy with the support received. If yes, there is nothing more to ask, if not, we can follow it up using perhaps another survey, or email, or even a phone call.

For the “binary” surveys we could use Voice of the Customer, or a custom web page, but Microsoft Flow provides a nice and easy way to solicit responses using Approval Emails.

Let’s create a flow that waits for the cases to be resolved:

Flow - case resolved

If case was resolved, figure out the email address by querying the contact record and send approval email asking customer how did we go.

Flow - send approval

When Send approval email step is executed, the customer receives an email and the flow pauses waiting for a reply:

Flow - approval email

Clicking through will generate a message for the customer and the flow will continue its execution:

Flow - thank you

I wouldn’t push the envelope trying to solicit more choices from the customer but as a nice and easy binary response system it does the job surprisingly well. What’s still unclear is for how long flow will wait for a response (that may never come) – I didn’t find any easy way to introduce parallel wait. Perhaps some kind of twisted Do Until construct?

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Tip #817: Display knowledge articles in the portals using custom templates

Dynamics 365 portals come with a specially crafted pages for browsing Knowledgebase Articles by category as well as for displaying the content. KB content page is based on a rewrite-style template and is not customizable.
It’s not difficult to put together an entity list and entity form to display the list of the articles and their content, however, the HTML content will be displayed:

HTML encoded

The reason is that entity forms in portals use textarea element to render the multi-line text content and the result, of course, is encoded.

There are two ways to solve the issue and get the content inline:

Do not define Details button for entity list that displays an overlay form. Instead, simply provide Web Page for details view. For that page use one of the liquid templates, e.g. Full Page Without Child Links and then insert the article by using liquid directly into the page content:

{% assign id = request.params['id'] %} 
{% assign kb = entities.knowledgearticle[id] %} 
{{ kb.content }} 

Knowledge article will be displayed in a separate page that portal will navigate to when you click the article number in the list.

If you insist on using overlay form, the solution is to replace <textarea> with a <div> element using javascript that you can define in the Custom JavaScript field:

$(document).ready(function() {
  var ctrl = $("textarea#content");
  var div = $("<div>").html(ctrl.text());
  ctrl.replaceWith(div);
});

Result:

HTML decoded

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