Andrew Bybee and Girish Raja had a pre-recorded session released on the PDC10 site, called Building Business Applications in the Cloud with Dynamics CRM Online. Not surprisingly, this presentation was revolving heavily around Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 and how it’s new features can help developers build XRM applications on top of Microsoft’s cloud architecture: Windows Azure, SQL Azure, AppFabric and, last but not least, CRM Online. You can view the full session here, below are a few takeaways from that session for the CRM crowd.
The concept of XRM is probably pretty clear to most of us by know, but since PDC is not a Microsoft Dynamics event, an introduction was of course presented. The example used by Andrew here was the familiar HR scenario for processing job applications.
In the next slide the MS pieces of the puzzle are laid over the solution components.
With the native support for SharePoint integration in CRM 2011 (limited but extendable through SDK), drawing the document management box inside the XRM platform is already perfectly valid. ERP in the cloud is not a scenario actively promoted yet, but that’s where AppFabric and CRM 2011′s Azure aware plug-ins come into play, allowing the cloud apps to exchange data with on-premises apps. The whole Azure side of things is of course presented in less detail, as these are more of generic services rather than the XRM framework which Dynamics CRM 2011 tries to deliver us. Anyway, compared to the first application development platform talks around Dynamics CRM, it’s safe to assume that Microsoft’s cloud message will become inseparable from the XRM story and form a single Cloud XRM concept. In order to challenge SFDC and Force.com, the hybrid model and power of choice will of course remain in the marketing materials, but I’m sure no one wants to build a non-cloud demo for these kind of conferences anymore.
Back from a long time of inactivity, I decided to resurrect this blog with some content taken from the recent PDC09 sessions. Just like last year, presenting the feature set of the upcoming CRM version wasn’t really the main point in PDC (that’s what Convergence is for), but when someone gives a developer demo using the new platform, there’s always going to be interesting snippets of information also for us non-developers. So, last night I watched the three CRM/xRM related session recordings and took some notes and screenshots from them (which explains the low image quality, sorry about that).
On the technical side, CRM 5 will be running natively on .NET Framework 4.0, which means it will be riding on the wave of the latest .NET version released, unlike CRM 3.0 or 4.0. In the presentations there were talks about WCF (Windows Communication Foundation), .NET RIA Services, system types and all kinds of developer lingo that goes way above my head. There’s a great summary article here by Marco Amoedo.
Now, let’s move on to the CRM application itself.
We’ve all seen the upcoming ribbon UI in CRM5 already, so that wasn’t big news. Looking at the start page ribbon content, there’s a button called “Add connection”, which hopefully is about the creation of ad-hoc relationships between any entities, but none of that was shown in the session. Another interesting thing was the “Get started with accounts” instructions pane. That might be just a feature of CRM Online, which was used for the demo, but I sure would welcome a better way to provide customized instruction links to users right within the CRM UI.
More of the same here under the Service menu. The out-of-the-box views don’t seem to have evolved, but it would be interesting to see what’s behind that Views tab on the top. The order of the Quick Find box and the views dropdown menu was somehow messed in this early version of CRM5.