MB2-710 – Customizing Dynamics CRM Online

As I revise for the MB2-710 exam I’m creating posts covering all aspects of my revision. Hopefully collectively they may help others prepare for the MB2-710 certification. (Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2016 Online Deployment.)

In this post, I will look at customizing Dynamics CRM Online.

As I often do I will start this post by looking at the skills measured statement.

  • Customize Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online
    • Create new fields; modify values for option sets; modify entity forms; create new entities and reports; modify views and dashboard.

I found this quiet a confusing “skills measured” statement! Why? Well the MB2-710 exam is “2016 Online Deployment” knowing how to create fields and modify views doesn’t seems to fall under the heading of deployment.

Creating entities, fields and forms are all topics I’d expect to see in the customization and configuration exam. (MB2-712)

But these topics are mentioned in the skills measured so we need to be prepared for some questions. I have previously covered these topics in detail as I created posts for the MB2-712 exam, so I will provide links to those posts.

Create new fields

Fields are sometimes described as attributes by developers, therefore the two terms are interchangeable.

  • Fields are used to store values of defined types. (For example a piece of text or a date.)
  • Sometimes fields of the same type can have different formats. (For example, a text field can be optionally formatted as an email address, URL, phone number etc.)
  • Fields appear as controls on forms. (Such as a text box, date picker, radio buttons etc.)
  • Fields can also be shown in user and system views and can be used as part of queries. (Advanced Finds.)
  • For each field a column is created in the SQL table for the entity.
  • Fields can be “simple” or calculated.
  • Fields can be created that contain rolled up values from related entities.

We have system and custom entities. The system entities will already comprise of many out of the box fields but we can add more custom fields as required. Although it is always a good idea to check a suitable system field doesn’t already exist before creating a custom one.

We create fields from the customizations area of settings in CRM. Simply open your entity and navigate to the fields option. Here you can add and amend fields.

When we create a field the screen looks like this;

I am unsure of the level of details you’ll need for the MB2-710 exam, but when I was preparing for the MB2-712 exam I created detailed notes on fields. You can find those notes here.

Modify Values for Option Sets

Option sets are simply pick lists. The value that is stored in the database is actually an integer but in the entity definition we relate each number to a text label. The text then shown as a label on CRM forms, views etc. They can comprise of a list of options just for that specific field or be a global optionset.

Again my revision for MB2-712 covered options sets, you can see the details here.

Modify Entity Forms

There are several types of forms in CRM. The main ones include;

  • Main – the main entity forms typically used in browser. But can also be seen in outlook and CRM mobile clients.
  • Main Form – Interactive experience – Similar to the main form but specific for the interactive service hub.
  • Quick Create – Short versions of the form used for record creation, typically used when creating a child record in context of a parent.
  • Quick View – These offer a simplified view of parent record information that can be added to child forms. (And also used in hierarchy views.)
  • Card Form – These are short versions of forms as used in the interactive dashboards in the interactive service hub.
  • Mobile – Express – These forms provide a version of the form that is optimized for a mobile experience. NOTE: Express forms have effectively been replaced by the latest version of the mobile app.

Each entity can have multiple versions of each of these form types. Sometimes access to alternative forms is control by enabling them for specific security roles and other times the users are left to select the version they feel is most appropriate at any comment in time.

To modify a form you load the entity in customizations in CRM, go to the forms option and select the required form. Below you can see an example of modifying the account form.

Note: Your best prep by far will be to simply modify or create some forms. You can’t beat hands on experience.

Again as I prepared for the MB2-712 exam I explained form modification in detail, you can see that post here.

Create New Entities and Reports

Entities are at the heart of anything and everything we do concerned with customizing CRM, obviously CRM ships with many out of the box entities such as contact, case and phone call. Beyond this you can create your own custom entities to extend the capabilities of the base product. One important concern here is knowing when to use an existing system entity and when to create your own from scratch.

Each CRM entity can be owned by the organisation or a user, this in turn helps drive what security options are appropriate for each entity.

Entities have many properties which drive their behavior, examples include being enabled for document management, having notes, supporting related activities, allowing connections or being enabled for mobile access. In this and future posts I will spend time covering many of these properties.

It is important to remember that any changes to entities will need to be published to make them show in the live application. You can use the publish option to publish the entity you are working on or use the “publish all” to publish everything. (Including changes being created by other developers!)

Each entity is made up of a number of components (or assets). These include forms, views, charts, fields, relationships etc etc.

I described entities in detail when preparing for the MB2-712 exam, you can see that post here.

There are several ways to create reports in CRM! Generally speaking the approach for CRM online and CRM on premise will be the same although SQL-based reports can only be used on-premise. Custom reports can be created using Visual Studio as a report writing tool. Making use of Report Definition Language (RDL).

You can also use the report wizard to create reports. The report wizard can be opened in the reports option by selecting the option to create a new report.

New reports can be created from scratch or based on an existing report …..

When creating a report from scratch you will give the report a name and pick primary entity. And optionally include a related entity.

You then define whatever filtering criteria is required ….

Next you define your report layout ….

And finally pick the report format …

When the report is run the template created by the wizard is used and the report content and format created as required;

It is currently not possible to schedule reports using CRM online. (At least not out of the box!)

Modify Views and Dashboards

Forms show one record at a time whilst views are used to present lists of records. Views can be included in dashboards or when you navigate to an entity within CRM. Views can even be included on CRM forms as sub grids, for example lists of recent cases on an account. We also see views when we search for data in CRM, for example as we filter results from an ID field. (As shown below.)

There are two types of views, system views and personal views. A personal view is a saved advanced find. Personal views and be shared with other users.

Alternatively, you can edit or create system views in the customization options of CRM.

I have explained views in detail when I revised for the MB2-712 exam, you can review that post here.

Dashboards can contain a collection of views, charts, iframes and web resources. Like views and charts you can have personal or system dashboards.

Personal Dashboards

  • All users can create personal dashboards
  • Initially only the user creating the dashboard can see it
  • Personal dashboards can be shared with other users and teams.
    • When sharing dashboards, it is important to ensure that all personal charts and views contained in the dashboard are also shared.
    • Sharing does not break any of the security model rules. You are sharing the dashboard not the underlying data!

System Dashboards

  • Out of the box various system dashboards exist by default.
  • System dashboards can be created by developers with the system customizer or system administration roles.
  • System dashboards can be made available to all users or have access restricted based on security role.

Beyond the standard CRM dashboards we now also have additional capabilities with Interactive Service Hub dashboards.

I describe the process of creating dashboards in more detail in this post.

Hopefully I have provided quite a bit of detail related to the skills measured statement. As always, you should spend time using CRM as part of your preparation for the MB2-710 exam. Enjoy. J

One thought on “MB2-710 – Customizing Dynamics CRM Online

  1. Pingback: MB2-710 – Complete Revision Guide | Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Unified Service Desk

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