Tip #1308: Secret support in SDK

We usually don’t “tip” about SDK releases but 9.1.0.3 just landed in Nuget and it is too good not to be mentioned.

By popular demand, support for not one but two new authentication types have been added:

  • Current User ID login when using Online flows with OAuth (Including constructor/connection string support). This allows you to use the current logged in user for Windows integrated authentication (SSO)
  • ClientID / Client Secret when using OAuth flows (Including constructor/connection string support). Certificate-based authentication is better but it’s been such a pain in the neck…

The other goodness is in the Solution Packager:

  • Support for Environment Variables (definitions and values). All we are missing now is the feature to be released as part of the Wave 2.
  • Support for Connectors. Ditto.

Note. From 9.1.x forward, new packages requires a minimum version of ADAL 3.19.x and has been tested to ADAL 5.2.

At last! If you are adding this to an existing project, please be aware that you must update ADAL as well as the CrmServiceClient. ADAL 2.x cannot be used at all and if you want to peg to a specific version, binding redirect is your best bet.

These changes will surface in the SDK Tools and PowerShell modules shortly after the release of the main Nuget packages. Stay tuned.

Cover photo by unsplash-logoKristina Flour

Tip #1307: PowerApps designer makes your work in progress easier

Today’s tip is from EY Kalman. Got a tip? Send it to jar@crmtipoftheday.com (and include either your Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile link for the eternal appreciation link).

Late last night I decided to start playing around with entering the data fields directly into the entity first (the aim is to drive a Model App eventually). Managed to get some stuff done, then headed to bed.

This morning I brought it all up again, and picked up from where I left off. Something immediately jumped out at me – the fields I was adding were shown in bold (as outlined in the image below)

This intrigued me – originally I thought that perhaps I was creating a field that was named the same as a default schema, and the system was letting me know this somehow. However, this wasn’t the case at all.

What it actually is, is showing the new fields that have been added (whilst the entity hasn’t yet been saved). Once you save the entity, then the bolding of the name disappears.

So quite a useful way to see new fields, and work out exactly where you are with things!

Imagine the following scenario:

You’re in the middle of editing the values of specific fields within Dynamics. Suddenly a colleague comes over to your desk to ask you something, or you get a phone call (obviously to assist with a technical matter!). You spend some time on the call, and deal with whatever is needed. You hang up, and look back at the screen.

Hold on. The train of thought is gone. You’re looking at the overall entity, and can’t remember if you did update a specific field, or you didn’t? And if you did, did you already publish the entity, or not?

You’ll need to open up each field that you’re needing to update, to see if you already dealt with it or not. MAJOR pain and headache, and loss of productivity.

Well…not to fear! When dealing with field values in PowerApps Entities, there’s an extremely helpful visual cue for this (outlined below):

How it works is simple:

  1. You open up an existing field in the Entity Designer, and edit something, anything at all, within it
  2. You save it
  3. Bingo! The icon shows next to it!
  4. When you then Publish the entity, the icon disappears

Now, what could we possibly do with all of that time saved…

Cover photo by unsplash-logoCarl Heyerdahl

Tip #1306: Business rules do not work on editable grid

Today’s tip is from Eric Regnier. Got a tip? Send it to jar@crmtipoftheday.com (and don’t forget to include either your Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile link for the eternal appreciation link)

Do you know that business rules (scope = entity) work on editable grids? Pick one of the following answers:

  1. Nope didn’t know but will try it out right before putting my kids to bed!
  2. Yeah but it’s really buggy so I try to avoid it…
  3. Yup and I abuse them!

If your answer is anything between 1 to 2, here’s a quick tip to keep in mind:

Business Rules will only work if the conditional field is also a column on the grid.

If the field is not a column then the BR won’t work…

BR with conditional field on Created On field

BR with conditional field on Task field

Cover photo by Miguel Constantin Montes from Pexels

Tip #1305: Test and enable mailboxes failure because of throttling

This next tip comes from Marius “Why are you still on-premises” Agur Lind. Got a tip of your own? Send it to jar@crmtipoftheday.com (and don’t forget to include either your Twitter handle or LinkedIn profile link for the eternal link appreciation).

Have you ever used an on-premise deployment and found that some testing and enabling mailboxes fail at weird intervals? Have you double, triple, and quadruple-checked the password and it’s still failing? Tried to see if dirsync is failing and updated the user password?

Well here’s what be ailing you:

Go check out the details of the warning message under alerts, and you might just find the following:

System.Web.Services.Protocols.SoapException: The server cannot service this request right now. Try again later.

The reason why you’re getting this error is most probably because you’ve hit the outgoing email threshold of your Exchange Online. Wanna know how to fix it? Add more licenses.

Yes, I’m not kidding, the Exchange Online threshold policy is based on the number of user licenses, so if you’re hitting this limit you just have to try again later. There is no queue system, you just have to handle it yourself.

Could be worse, but there you have it.

Cover photo by unsplash-logoJp Valery

Tip #1304: Why can’t I export my failures?

You use the import utility in Dynamics, and sometimes you get the option to export your failed row and sometimes you don’t. What gives?

The answer is it depends on your import file type. If you import from XML or from CSV, you will get the Export error rows option.

If you import from xlsx, the export error row option will not be there.

Tip #1302: Should I recreate the account entity?

When deploying Dynamics 365, there are frequently multiple types of companies and organizations that you will be tracking in the system. Some represent customer/client organizations, some may be support and advisory organizations like accountants and legal firms, and some may be miscellaneous types of organizations, such as trade associations.

How should you manage multiple categories of company relationships?

The most common approach is to use the account entity for all organization types, and use a field like relationship type or a custom option set to flag companies by their type or category. Views can be filtered based on the type of company, and business rules can conditionally show or hide field and form components based on type.

Another approach is to create custom entities for each type of company. One reason commonly sited is “I might need to use accounts for another reason in the future, so I don’t want to customize the account entity.”

Before recreating the account entity as a custom company entity, consider strongly what you give up by doing this:

  • Multiple addresses: Account has a unique address capability that supports multiple addresses—the first two addresses are displayed on the company form, but these address records live in the related customer address entity. While you can create a custom address entity tied to a custom company entity, recreating the unique logic where the addresses are stored in the related entity as well as displayed on the form and entity views would require development. If you need multiple addresses, use the account entity.
  • Contact hierarchy: Accounts are the parent of contacts. Activities related to contacts roll up to the parent account record. This hierarchy cannot be replaced by a custom company record—you can create additional relationships with custom company entities, but the standard account/contact relationship cannot be replaced. If the company has contacts with their primary company relationships to this type of company, or if you want to roll up activities from contacts to companies, use the account entity.
  • The standard map control does not support custom company entities.
  • Hierarchical relationships between parent/child accounts and the standard hierarchy visualization and roll up of child account activities to parent account only work with standard account entity.
  • Dynamics 365 includes a special type of polymorphic lookup field called a “customer” field. This field allows a record to be linked to a company/account or a contact. Dynamics 365 does not allow for custom entities to be selected from polymorphic lookup fields.
  • Marketing won’t work: Marketing lists can only work with contacts, accounts, and leads, no custom entities. Dynamics 365 for Marketing can send to accounts and contacts, but not custom company entities.

So in almost every situation, the account entity should be used for company records of all type.

What are the exceptions?

  • Minor types of companies that are not relational and have minimal attributes—think of a type of organization with no contacts, address, and just there for lookup purposes.
  • Unqualified/unverified companies imported from business cards or web forms that we don’t want to pollute the account entity. For these you could use the lead entity (or maybe not https://crmtipoftheday.com/501/should-you-use-the-lead-entity/).

Don’t believe me? Here is what other MVP’s have to say:

Using a custom entity for companies is at the top of the list for 10 things you never ever want to do in your customer engagement system. I run into this all the time where clients think they need to set up a different entity to track vendors separately from their customers. put them all in the account entity which is the bucket for businesses and filter them based upon a option set if you don’t go down this path you lose all the built-in functionality of parent-child relationship of businesses to contacts and you end up destroying the overall Integrity of your business model.

Jerry Weinstock

We always use the account as a base for organizations. Then if we need to extend it say it’s a school with specific requirements around it, we then create an entity ‘school’ but looked up to ‘account’ which hold all the basic info like you pointed out. Or sometimes it’s a matter of adding a flag to the account. But I can’t remember an instance in the last 12+ years of creating a custom account entity.

Gayan Perera

The logic of creating custom company entities doesn’t make a lot of sense. The only time I’ve ever thought of not recommending account or contact is if they plan on deploying multiple third party solutions to the same instance.  But even then, just be thoughtful in your design and understand the third party components.

Jim Novak

I had a customer once that had repurposed the contact entity and created a custom contact entity. They ended up not being able to use any marketing-oriented solution or feature.

Ulrik Carlsson

If they don’t use the account entity, they might as well just get CDS without any first-party apps and rebuild everything from scratch. Cases, Opportunities, Contacts, all roll up. Are they going to avoid those as well? (For what it’s worth, ClickDimensions handles using Accounts for different relationship types like vendor/partner/customer just fine).

Matt Wittemann

Cover photo by Blaz Erzetic from Pexels

Tip #1301: When Dynamics 365 for Marketing segments disagree with Advanced Find

Today’s tip is from marketing superstar Allison Fierce. Got any tips? Send them to jar@crmtipoftheday.com.

Are you trying to reference a custom lookup field on your contact record when building Segments in D365 for Marketing? Are you not getting any members? It might be because of you haven’t enabled the entity for segments.

Enabling an entity for Segments requires you to set up two components:

  1. Change tracking must be enabled on the entity itself
  2. You must check the box for that entity under Customer Insights sync
     

You can enable change tracking, if it isn’t already on, by going to your preferred solution and making that customization to the entity record:

For our Customer Insights sync, you’ll make the configuration in the D365 for Marketing Settings area. Under the Marketing Settings subgroup, you’ll find the Customer Insights sync configuration for your environment. Only entities that are enabled for this will work with your Segments tool.

To make your custom lookup function with a segment, check the box here and then be sure to click the “Publish” button at the top of the entities list.

It may take up to 30 minutes to see the system reflect this change.

Please keep in mind, these settings cannot be turned off once they are enabled. They do affect your system’s performance, so the best practice is to only enable the entities you need to use with segments.
 

Once you enable the entity for use in segments, you can choose to build your segment referencing that entity.  Below, you can see a segment built to look for Active Contacts whose related user record (our lookup field) equals a specific user.

Tip #1300: CDS vs Dynamics 365 instances

Dynamics 365 Apps are built on top of Common Data Service

Citizenship in IT, 2019 edition

If that’s the case, we should be able to install/uninstall Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Apps at will, right? Yes. In theory. In the future. Decoupling Dynamics 365 CE from the underlying platform is a long and painful process.

Our special UK correspondent Mohamed Mostafa reports. (Would you like to be our special correspondent yourself? Send the tip(s) to jar@crmtipoftheday.com.)

With many new customers adopting PowerApps, they are building instances (environments) of type CDS Only and building Apps on these new instances. Although, CDS only instances do look almost the same as a new Dynamics 365 instance, they are indeed different. As it stands, you cannot currently install a Dynamics 365 1st Party app (for example Field Services) on a CDS only instance. Additionally, there is no way currently to upgrade a CDS instance directly to be a Dynamics 365 instance.

Take this example scenario: A “Lead Capture” PowerApp created on a CDS only environment gets widely adopted by an organisation and it becomes essential to add more built-in features and functionality from the Dynamics 365 Sales App and the Dynamics 365 Sales AI (Sales Insights) App. At the moment, adding these Dynamics 365 Apps to a CDS only instance is not possible. A direct upgrade of this CDS only environment to be a Dynamics 365 instance is also not possible. The only solution in this case is to migrate the CDS instance with all its data, configurations and Apps to a new Dynamics 365 instance. This now becomes a migration project not just a simple upgrade.

Hence, it is essential for any individual or team looking to build a new PowerApp to consider the future of this App. If the use of Dynamics 365 1st Party Apps is expected, then they should build this PowerApp on a Dynamics 365 instance not on a CDS only instance.

Cover photo by unsplash-logoRaquel Martínez

Tip #1299: Split email personalities

In the world of the email router, incoming and outgoing profiles were separate, so one user or queue could have separate email servers. Let’s say you wanted incoming email to come from exchange, but you wanted to send outgoing email via SMTP, you could do it.

With the deprecation of the email router, the only option is server-side sync. With server-side sync, the incoming and outgoing email settings are on the mailbox record, and there is only one mailbox per user or queue.

So what to do if you want email to come in via Exchange and go out via SMTP or or some other connection?

MVP Gustaf Westerlund makes a strong case for using forward mailbox for this scenario. With forward mailboxes you can split the channels.

One additional approach is set up two different queues and associate the email address with both queues. the “in” queue is only set up for server-side sync for incoming email and associated with an email server profile for your exchange server. The “out” queue is set only set up for server-side sync for outgoing and associated with an email server profile for your SMTP server.

When an email comes in, it may still go to the “out” queue, since it matches by email address. To prevent this, simply create a real time workflow that creates a queue item when an item is added for the “out” queue, adding the item to the “in” queue. This will make any items added to the “out” queue get moved to the “in queue.

Then, when you send your responses to items in the “in” queue, select the “out” queue as the “from.”

If it confuses users to see two queues, only give them access to the in queue and use a real time workflow to change the “from” on emails sent from the “in” queue to the “out” queue.

Cover photo by unsplash-logoLinh Pham