Tip #641: Die, subject, die!

Categories entityWith the exception of the Queen who, according to Oscar Wilde, “is not a subject”, subject entity has always been a subject for complaints. Simple search on Dynamics CRM Feedback site shows a long wishlist where people wanted to filter the subject tree, being able to type in subject lookup, have multi-lingual support, use it in dialogs, etc.

But inability to customize the subject entity is arguably the biggest drawback of them all. In short, with the exception of a very few narrow scenarios concoted in early naughties,

Subject entity is next to useless and delivers nothing but a substandard user experience and pain for administrators and customizers

Enter sparkling Category entity, available in CRM Online 2016 Update 1 and CRM 2016 Service Pack 1 (on-premises). Don’t get the location of the entity under Settings > Service Management > KB Management to fool you. The only thing KB articles get that you can’t is native N:N relationship. Here is the short list of features of the entity designed to, uhm, categorize CRM records.

  • Customizable with the exception of N:1 and N:N links. Custom properties, views, business rules and even dashboards
  • User owned (read: security and tree filtering)
  • “Normal” lookup dialog with typeahead and other features
  • Auto-numbering
  • Hierarchy with the ability to order children using SequenceNumber attribute (some assembly may be required)
  • Need many-to-many? Enable categories for Connections and link away
  • Use it in dialogs, plugins and processes (cannot itself be enabled for business process flows though)
  • Anything else?

I’m sure there is more to it and we’ll be seeing steady migration from the subjects. But is it too little too late and everybody has already implemented their own taxonomy?

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