It has been a few months since the new release of Dynamics CRM 2011, Polaris, was rolled out to the online customers. Recently, I signed up for the online demo to play around with some of the new features. The top two big features in my mind are:

  • Browser compatibility – Dynamics CRM will now support cross browsers
  • Custom workflows activities – Now allow online instances to register custom workflow assemblies.

If you use Dynamics CRM as an ‘any relationship’ XRM tool, you may not realize some of the changes geared specifically for sales, services and marketing. A few of the out of box entities (Contact, Opportunity, Lead, Account and Case) now have a new look, known as the ‘process ui’ or ‘flow ui’. This new look is aimed at streamlining the process for managing this data. It will help cut back on the multiple pop-up windows. While this may serve well for the sales teams, I found it a little more restrictive than the more traditional ‘classic’ view. My concerns are specifically about the missing ribbon and the lack of total support for javascript. If you are like me or many of our clients, the forms have been customized with javascript functions to satisfy business needs. In Polaris process ui, there is currently no support for onload, onsave, onchange events. You may also have added buttons to the ribbon to extend some of the functionality which will be no help to you in the process ui view.

If you like, you can easily set the default form back to the ‘classic’ view of the form and continue leveraging your CRM as you might have in an on-premises install. This is done by restricting the permission of the new forms. This should also be the time that you clean up any references to the crmForm API within your javascript and ensure your forms are cross browser compatible. Microsoft also offers a nice tool (http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30151) to validate your javascript and identify any potential issues.

I am incredibly excited about the next release of CRM 2011, Orion. I am anxious to see if they have implemented javascript support to the new forms to make it more consistent with current on-premises installs.

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