As I prepare for my MB2-716 exam I’m producing a series of blog posts that collectively should help others revising for the MB2-716 Certification. (Microsoft Dynamics 365 customization and Configuration.) This time I will look at mobile forms, views and dashboards.
As I often do, let’s start by considering the skills measured statement!
This tells us we’ll need to know about quite a long lists of “stuff” ….
Mobile is becoming an increasingly important aspect of any Dynamics 365 development! The frequency that users demand mobile capabilities is increasing. Meaning we must almost always carefully consider how our applications will transform for use on phones and tablets. Dynamics 365 has a concept of build once – deploy everywhere. Meaning customizations we create for the web client should happily run on mobile devices. But there are a “few” things to consider!
Enable for mobile
The different form factors that phones and tablets provide mean our forms work differently. From a developer point of view the same forms rendered in the web client do run on mobile they “just” look a little different. We do however have some additional capabilities to add some mobile specific controls to our forms. (More on that later!)
By default not all entities will be available to mobile. As developers we’ll need to consider which entities are enabled in the mobile application. If you view the entity properties in customizations you can see that each entity can be enabled for mobile.
Note: Phone express is an earlier version of the mobile client with cut down functionality. Here I am describing the functionality related to selecting “Enable for mobile”.
Additionally we can define the entity as being just read-only in the mobile client or if it available off-line. (The read-only option can be applied on most entities but is not available on notes or activities.)
“Obviously” enabling this feature will enable the entity in the mobile client. You might also need to know that additionally it enables the preview mode in customizations. Allowing me to view what the mobile form will look like whilst I’m customizing. I have shown an example of what this looks like below;
Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets uses the same sitemap data to provide navigation options as the web application except that it is optimized for presentation in the mobile apps.
If an entity that appears in the navigation bar for the web application is enabled for Dynamics 365 for phones and tablets, it will also appear on the navigation bar in the mobile apps.
A grouping within an Area on the web client is ignored in the mobile apps, which show entities as a flat list. You can add an entity to multiple groups on the web client. The mobile apps will display a flattened list and will not show any repeats. Users won’t see an entity unless they have read access to that entity.
The order of the items in the nav bar is determined by the order in the site map. If there is a duplicate, only the first instance will show.
The main entity form we see in the web client is the form the users will see in the mobile application. As already mentioned the form will look a little different in the mobile client. Let’s look at an example! Below you can see my Competitor form displayed within the web client.
And below you can see the same form displayed on a windows tablet. (Other tablets are available!!);
Notice that fields are grouped in columns (or panels) on a mobile form. The first panel here is the form header from the web client. (Containing ticker symbol and reported revenue fields)
We then see each tab from the form as a panel on the mobile form.
For completeness I have also shown the same form again, this time displayed on my iPhone. (Other makes of phone are available, including Windows!)
The smaller form factor of a phone comes into play here! Each panel we saw on the tablet translates to a page on the phone. The user can then scroll left / right to view the available panels. This interface provides pretty much the same functionality of that found on the tablet. Although you might find a few minor differences. Such as the tablet has an “Open in Browser” option that isn’t available on the phone.
Tip: One design tip here! As the first panel is the header from the web client form this should prompt you to give a little additional thought to what goes in the header! Especially when you consider that will be the first screen shown to a phone user. Maybe ensuring the most essential fields are included.
Some entities, such as opportunity and case will most likely have a business process flow. I have shown an example of one of these in the phone form below. These look a little different on the mobile form! But clicking on the process bar will show you the steps included in the selected stages. And a next stage option will be available. Meaning that whilst they look a little different all of the functionality form the web form is maintained.
Below you can see the from layout for a main web form.
Below you can see how that form layout will be translated to the tablet experience. Hopefully this gives you a really clear image of what will be displayed where on the tablet forms.
Some more things to note:
- Forms in Dynamics 365 for tablets are limited to 5 tabs (or 75 fields and 10 lists). This limit includes hidden fields.
- Activity Feeds and Yammer are not supported in Dynamics 365 for tablets.
It is important to consider differences in how views are displayed on the web client, tablet and phone. As the differing form factors force some differences. As an example I have shown a grid of competitors on my opportunity form.
My web form looks like this. With the competitors sub grid in a tab. And showing 5 columns.
On a tablet (or phone) the view on the form is going to look at little different. Notice that the “sub grid” on the tablet can include the entity picture. (Yes that is my dog!!) Also notice that only there fields are displayed.
You are actually limited to 4 fields. One of which is the entity image.
On the tablet I can click on the heading “All Competitors”, this will open a wider view and show me all of the columns. The small form factor of a phone does not support this widening of the view.
This means you need to consider the sequence of columns for the mobile application. I my example, if knowing the competitors strength / weakness was important you’d want to position those columns before website and city!
All personal and system dashboards can be enabled for mobile. For example, below you can see that I have selected the enable for mobile option whilst creating a personal dashboard.
Note: Having enabled even a personal dashboard for mobile you will need to close and restart the mobile app to view it.
In the full web client I created a personal dashboard that looked like this;
After restarting my tablet application the same dashboard showed like this. Notice that the layout is different but the same information is displayed. Also note that the limitations discussed with views on forms also applies on dashboards!
As you’d expect, on the phone each panel shown above will show as a separate screen. And you swipe to move between panels.
When working with system dashboards, as you’d expect security roles drive which dashboards people can see. Just as they do in the web client. Plus each dashboard has to be enabled for mobile. In pretty much the same way as I have shown for personal dashboards.
When users first load the mobile client they will see a home page that is their default dashboard. Out of the box this will be the Sales Dashboard. Users can specify another dashboard as default. But you cannot disable the system dashboard “Sales Dashboard” from being enabled for mobile. (This effectively forces at least one dashboard to always be enabled for mobile.)
This Microsoft technet article will give you additional information and is useful to read as part of your revision.
I hope this post has given you a good introduction to considerations around mobile forms, views and dashboards. In my next post we will look at customizing the forms for use in mobile situations. As always part of you MB2-716 revision should include plenty of hands-on time. So download the mobile client and become familiar with its navigation. (Including differences between phones and tablets.)