Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Dynamics 365 monthly reading list May 2019

Technical topics (Configuration, customization and extensibility)

Topics for Dynamics 365 Business Application Platform analysts, project managers and power users

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

PowerApps Component Framework available in public preview

On April 23th the PowerApps Component Framework (PCF) and the PowerApps CLI was finally made available for public preview. The PowerApps Component Framework (PCF) is the foundation for all controls used in the new Unified Interface released with Dynamics 365.

PCF allows 3d party developers to build visual components using the same framework which is used internally by Microsoft (see picture below for some examples) in the unified interface.

Components created using the PowerApps Control Framework are solution aware and can be used to build a more compelling user experience. The Dynamics365 developer community immediately picked up on this exciting news and Andrew Ly already shared the source code for 3 different controls  - Progressbar control , keybinding example  and countdowntimer.

Guido Preite  @crmanswers also set up PCF Gallery which contains a list of different controls like a timeline control, data card and UK postcode validator. Everyday new controls based on PCF are added.

The PowerApps Component Framework has been in private preview for quite a while but some details were already shared on a number of occasions in 2018. Initially the framework was called Custom Controls Framework and I you encourage to take a look at some interesting post from Bob Guidinger on this topic (see references below). Do keep in mind that there are some changes between the private preview and public preview – see Update existing custom components for more details.

You will notice from the documentation that most samples are using Typescript to implement custom components so I added also some other reference links below which might help you to get started. For a brief introduction you might also want to take a look at the PowerApps April community call recording (PCF presented from 00:47:00 onwards). One thing to note though is that this is a framework which is clearly targeted at professional developers so the Dynamics consultant who occasionally writes some Javascript web resources or some simple plugins in C# will face a steep learning curve. I even think that pure Javascript/.NET developers even have an edge on the average Dynamics consultant when trying to learn the necessary skills required for PCF development.


Tuesday, May 21, 2019

General availability of PowerApps Solution checker makes it easier to check Dynamics 365 solution quality

On May 2th Microsoft announced the general availability of the PowerApps Solution Checker, tooling which allows you to run a static code analysis of your CDS and Dynamics 365 solutions against a set of best practice rules. By running these checks, you can identify problematic patterns in your code base which might impact performance or maintainability/upgradeability of your code.

Tooling like this is a must have for Dynamics 365 CE Online where releases are delivered on a continuous basis (with bi-weekly releases). With this release schedule, the risk of low quality solutions (from ISVs or SIs) interfering with Microsoft updates becomes more probable.

But this is not only about Microsoft safeguarding their Dynamics 365 SAAS platform but also about delivering value quicker and in a reliable fashion. I truly believe that code quality is a good indicator about how quickly developers can add business value to a software system. Static code analysis tools such as PowerApps solution checker might not be the holy grail but they at least give you an indication of the amount of technical debt that you have amassed within your Dynamics 365 instances.

I have been using PowerApps solution checker since a couple of months now and for projects with lots of different teams working on solution it allows you to have some indication of code quality without having to delve through 10.000 lines of code.  I also think that announcements such installing the solution checker by default, introduction of the Solution Health Hub and the announcement of PowerShell script support coming soon are showing Microsoft’s commitment on finally delivering on a good DevOps story for Dynamics 365.


Monday, May 13, 2019

Dynamics 365 monthly reading list April 2019

Technical topics (Configuration, customization and extensibility)

Topics for Dynamics 365 Business Application Platform analysts, project managers and power users

Sunday, May 12, 2019

Quick tip: solving rendering issues in PowerPoint presenter mode

After upgrading to a newer version of Office, my PowerPoint slides displayed incorrectly in presenter mode – see screenshot below. I googled around but did not find anything useful.

Fortunately I remembered  a similar issue that I had in Internet Explorer 11 see Solve image rendering problems in Internet Explorer 11 on HP ZBooks. It seems that PowerPoint has a similar setting – go to Options>Advanced and underneath the Display section I had to check the “Disable Slide Show hardware graphics acceleration."

Monday, March 25, 2019

Dynamics 365 monthly reading list March 2019

Technical topics (Configuration, customization and extensibility)

Topics for Dynamics 365 CE business analysts, project managers and power users

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Dynamics 365 certifications and course material update March 2019

Warning: I will update this blog post on a regular basis as new material becomes available or changes on certification are made by Microsoft

Updated March 31th: Added information on new roles (field service functional consultant and marketing functional consultant) and exams

For consultants wanting to certify on Dynamics 365, quite a few changes have been announced the last couple of months. In December 2018, Microsoft announced that they were retiring a whole set of Dynamics 365 exams (see Exam and Certification Retirement Roundup, December 2018).  Microsoft stated that many of the upcoming changes are part of the evolution to focus more on role-based certifications – for Dynamics 365 CE there are following roles defined but some content is not there yet (these roles were announced on Introducing New Certifications for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Functional Consultants )

Meanwhile Microsoft also started retiring the content on the Dynamics Learning Portal (the traditional source for training content on Dynamics 365) and decided to made new content available as shorter learning paths on Microsoft Learn. The applicable learning paths are listed on the exam requirements pages listed below. But there are also a number of self-paced trainings available on . Big thanks to @Jukkan and @nz365guy for providing the direct links to these hidden treasure. The retirement dates below have already shifted a few times (initially the first retirement of Dynamics 365 exams was planned for March 31th)

Exam Number Exam Name Retirement Date Replace Exam Course material
MB2-715 Microsoft Dynamics 365 customer engagement Online Deployment June 30, 2019 MB2-200 (Beta)

Dynamics 365: Power Platform applications (8 hrs)
Dynamics 365: Power Platform automation (8 hrs)
Dynamics 365: Power Platform integrations (8 hrs)
Dynamics 365: Power Platform test and deploy (8 hrs)

Dynamics 365 core exam study guide created by @JonasWauters1

MB2-717Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Sales June 30, 2019 MB-210 (Beta)

Dynamics 365 for customer engagement for sales (8hrs)

Dynamics 365 for sales exam study guide  created by @JonasWauters1

MB2-877 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Field ServiceJune 30, 2019 MB2-240 (Beta – published March 31th)
MB2-718 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Customer ServiceAugust 31, 2019 MB2-230 (Beta)

Dynamics 365 for customer engagement for customer service (8 hrs)

Dynamics 365 for customer service exam study guide created by @JonasWauters1

MB2-719 Microsoft Dynamics 365 for MarketingAugust 31, 2019 MB-220 (Beta – published March 31th)

A new exam which has been introduced is Exam MB-900 Microsoft Dynamics 365: Fundamentals