Friday, January 31, 2020

Dynamics 365 and Power Platform monthly reading list December 2019

Technical topics (Configuration, customization and extensibility)

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

Thursday, January 16, 2020

Dynamics 365 or Power Platform New Year's resolutions

We are already 3 weeks in 2020 but there is still time for New Year's solution so choose one of the 12  potential Dynamics 365/Power Platform New Year's resolution as proposed in Episode 69 of the CRM MVP Podcast hosted by @gusgonzalez2.

I will try to take at least 10 out of 12 in 2020 so what is yours?
  1. Write a valuable blog article every week - I probably want to go for 52 blog posts this year.
  2. Deliver at least 4 webinars or  community presentations in a year
  3. Register for the Dynamics Insider program and commit to test every new release and provide feedback to Microsoft
  4. Answer 60 questions on the forums (Microsoft Dynamics Forums, CRMUG Forums, etc...) 
  5. Attend a training from a Dynamics 365/Power Platform expert that you admire or who you consider to be a top expert in the domain
  6. Create a XrmToolBox plugin 
  7. Speak at a major conference
  8. Contribute 24 tips to @crmtipoftheday by sending an e-mail to
  9. Learn something new about Power Platform/Dynamics 365 every month - you can learn a lot by dedicating 8 hours a month on a single topic
  10. Teach something new about Power Platform/Dynamics 365 every month e.g by delivering a lunch&learn session in your company
  11. Use "new" functionality in Power Platform/Dynamics 365 at least once every month e.g. use Flow/Power Automate instead of using workflows or use the new Admin portal and solution designer
  12. Release a free solution to the community  e.g. a PCF control 

Update on Dynamics 365/CDS request limits

End of August Microsoft announced an API based limitation which is based on users and the type of licenses they have - the latest documentation is available on  as well as PowerApps and Microsoft Flow licensing FAQs for October 2019. I would recommend regularly checking these pages as they have been updated quite a few times in the last months.

During interactions with Microsoft the last couple of months, they explained that the allocated number of API calls within the different licenses are based upon internal telemetry on the current Dynamics 365 customer base. The claim is that 95% of customers fall within the standard allocated API limits. But if you are using a lot of integrations, you might need to  re-architect part of your solution.

Listed below are the key takeaways:
  • Users with a Dynamics 365 Enterprise Application license have 20.000 API requests allocated in a 24 hour window.
  • Technical/non-interactive/application users get allocated 100.000 API requests if at least one Dynamics 365 API license is available.
  • If a user exceeds the limits the admin for the tenant/environment will receive a notification - end users will not be blocked from using the app.
  • This new licensing went into effect for new customers who on boarded after October 2019. Existing customers have a transition period until October 2020 or when their licensing contract expires. Whichever is longer. For customers with an enterprise agreement this will be the end of their EA (in most cases I know these contracts are valid for 3 years), customers on a CSP contract typically have a yearly expiration date. Reach out to your licensing partner or Microsoft for more details. 
  • The currently available statistics in the Power Platform Admin Center are still quite rudimentary but are a good starting point to assess the impact on your environment 
  • It is possible to purchase additional blocks of 10,000 daily API requests for $50 per month (For details reach out to your licensing partner)
  • Batch requests (Executemultiple) only count as 1 API call, so you can wrap a 1.000 individual calls in one ExecuteMultiple call.

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

My perspective on the PowerApps Build Tools for Azure DevOps

Mid July 2019 Microsoft released a preview of a set of PowerApps specific Azure DevOps Build tasks.  In the last months this tooling has been updated on a quite regular pace which indicates that  ALM (Application Lifecycle Management) for Power Platform (and Dynamics 365 Sales/Customer Service/etc..) is high on the priority list for Microsoft.

For those of you who are new to Azure DevOps, here is a small summary. Azure DevOps is a set of services hosted on Microsoft Azure cloud which support your full software development lifecycle  e.g. you can use Azure Boards for work tracking and backlogs, Azure Pipelines for  CI/CD, Azure Repos for source control, and much more.  Azure DevOps is successor to  Visual Studio Team Services (VSTS) and the best thing of all you can get started with it for free. (For more details see Pricing for Azure DevOps). You can start learning Azure DevOps by exploring the Azure DevOps Hands-On Labs

In the past most Dynamics 365 CE consultants largely relied on a BYOALM (Bring Your Own ALM) approach meaning that you need a combination of PowerShell script, SDK extensions, etc … to automate the build and release of Dynamics components. I even think that in the majority of cases there is no fully automated build and release process in place - meaning that a deployment relies on a number of (hopefully documented) manual steps.  In one of the projects I recently worked on - we have been using the excellent Dynamics 365 Build Tools for Azure DevOps from Wael Haemze so there are other extensions available for Azure DevOps as well.

After you have installed the PowerApps Build Tools you will see a whole set of build and release tasks that you can use in your build and release pipelines. To explore the possibilities you can start with the PowerApps Build tools for Azure DevOps Hands On Lab files which contains a walk through of the different scenarios like for example using the PowerApps Solution Checker (see reference section for more information on this)

If you compare the PowerApps Build Tools with the Dynamics 365 Build Tools, you will probably see that Dynamics 365 Build Tools currently still offers more capabilities but it does seem worthwhile to start exploring the newly released Microsoft tooling.  I recently also got feedback within the context of a Microsoft support case that they recommended to use the new PowerApps build tooling because they would not troubleshoot issues with other extensions on top of Azure DevOps in combination with Dynamics 365.

I  also expect more information to come available in the coming weeks as we are getting closer to the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform 2020 Release Wave 1 . In the meanwhile I will be sharing more information in some upcoming blog posts.