There are four main areas of the customization area customizers should be aware of:

  • Customizations
  • Solutions
  • Solution Marketplace
  • Publishers

 In the following section, we will take a closer look at each of these areas and examine the use and intention of each of them.

Customizations

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, many of the customization methods customizers have become acquainted with in earlier versions are available. However, there are several important improvements and features added to the solution capabilities.

 The following are new terms introduced in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011: 

Name

Purpose

Client

Extensions

Site map and application ribbons found on the global application and form levels.

Connection

Roles

Connection definitions available between different kinds of records within the application.

Dashboards

New or existing dashboards let users view graphical depictions of data through charts or grids. Users can see external resources within dashboard components.

Entities

Collection of items which constitute record management for a particular functional piece of a solution. An entity is analogous with a table.

Field

Security

Profiles

Profiles which let a customizer to configure field level security settings for particular security roles or teams.

Option Sets

New term that is used for picklists. Option sets can be either specific to a form or globally available to multiple forms.

Plug-in

Assemblies

Custom coded extensions to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 which are created and deployed as assemblies into the platform layer of the application.

Processes

Automated procedures that can either run without direct user interaction to progress from one step to another (workflows) or require direct user interaction to progress from step to step (dialogs).

SDK

message

processing

Software Development Kit (SDK) messages available to a solution and its plug ins.

Security

Roles

Microsoft Dynamics CRM security collections of privileges and access levels.

Service

Endpoints

Interfaces which let developers connect to a web service. Without this endpoint definition, the code cannot interface with a specific web service.

Web

Resources

Custom components which can be embedded into forms for an improved user experience. The available Web Resource types include the following:

  • Web Page (HTML)
  • Style Sheet (CSS)
  • Script (JScript)
  • Data (XML)
  • PNG, JPG, GIF, ICO images
  • Silverlight (XAP)
  • Style Sheet (XSL)

Solutions

In Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, customizers can package customizations into Solutions. These Solutions can be individually exported, imported, deleted or published. If a specific set of customizations must be removed while other customizations must be kept in place, the solution itself can be eliminated without affecting the other customizations.

Solution Marketplace

The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace helps people discover applications and professional services that extend the value of Microsoft Dynamics. This online service is a searchable and filterable catalog of applications and professional services together with user evaluations and feedback capabilities to help discover the optimal solution. Visitors to the site can download applications from the marketplace and connect directly with Microsoft Partners.

Microsoft Partners can showcase their applications and professional services to the worldwide Microsoft Dynamics community and connect with prospects through built-in lead management capabilities. Microsoft Partner solutions already profiled in Solution Profiler are automatically transferred to the Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace. The Microsoft Dynamics Marketplace can be accessed directly from Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011. This makes it easier to find solutions. 

Publishers

As part of the customization solution management functionality in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011, customizers can create multiple Solutions to be individually exported/ imported or removed from a deployment. As part of this solution management functionality, each solution is required to have a Publisher.

A Publisher defines the following attributes of a solution:

  • The schema prefix for a particular solution's custom entities and attributes
  • Option Value Prefix
  • The contact details for the Customizer such as the following:
    • Phone Number
    • Website
    • E-mail Address
    • Address Information
  • The provider name