Dynamics 365 portals: Administrative Wizard

With the release of the July 2017 update for Dynamics 365, comes v8.3 of Dynamics 365 portals. One of the new features of this release is the new administrative wizard which allows you to easily add an entity to the portal. This can really make the pace for development increase and removes the barrier to creating all the components necessary to properly surface Dynamics 365 data on your external portal. Below we will walk through what exactly the administrative wizard create for you and how you can access and use it yourself.

Firstly you need to decide what you want to expose on the portal. This could just be creating a new page and not associating any data other than just CMS content or other web templates. But the administrative wizards real power is that it also allows you to configure full entity interaction on the portal by it creating all the necessary components like entity list, entity form, web pages, and entity permissions. This could be an out of box entity or a custom entity you have created.

For our example we are going to use a custom entity Economic Development Sites. Whichever entity you decide to use you will want to ensure you configure the CRM forms and views that you will expose on the portal prior to starting the wizard.

To start the administrative wizard, in Dynamics 365 navigate to Portals, then with 8.3.x solutions installed you will have a new Administration section with a tile called Portal Management.

Within the Portal Management select Create Portal Content.

You should now be presented with a Create Portal Content dialog which will allow you to create a web page and optionally display an entity. At a minimum you need to fill in the Page Name field. This will auto populate the title and the partial URL with the same value as page name automatically. You can select the parent page you want to associate this new page to (it will default to the home page of the selected website), and change the default layout for the web page.

Optionally you can now enable an entity with this page in the portal by changing the “Display organization entity in the portal” to yes which will review some additional options. Namely you need to first select which entity you want to display, then the view(s) (which can be multiple), the form that will be used for details, edit, and create forms.

Creation can be turned on and off, as can anonymous access. If anonymous access is turned off you will need to select the contact relationship which will require your entity to have a reference/lookup to the contact entity.

Finally you can enable editing of a record as well as if the records should be filtered to only those owned by the user.

With all your options selected you can then click the create button and the wizard will go about creating all the portal data components for you. It will create multiple web pages (if you have enabled create, and edit), entity forms for each function (create, edit, details), an entity list to display all the records on the main web page, and finally an entity permission that allows the functions enabled to work.

On complete of the creation you will be navigated in the CRM to the newly created web page, which has your entity list linked and if you check the child pages will include the create, edit and details web pages with the appropriate entity forms associated to each.

The wizard also does have some error checking so if you were to try to create the same partial URL that already exists to the parent page it will prevent this.

The administrative wizard is a great way to quickly get the scaffolding for your entity on the portal even if the initial configuration isn’t your desired output. With all the portal data it quickly creates it can help cut down your time entering all the information manually and you can now easily go and further enhance each of the components.

Dynamics 365 portals: Upgrade to July 2017 Update (v8.3)

The July 2017 update for Dynamics 365 portals is now available for existing portal customers in the North American region and rolling out to other regions over the coming days and weeks. How can you get this update and all the new cool functionality that is in it is a little different from the previous releases.

When the Dynamics 365 portals came out, you had no control over the time in which your portal was upgraded. With the July 2017 update this changes somewhat. Portal code updates will still be managed and done automatically but now the Dynamics 365 solutions for the portal must be customer initiated.

To initiate your portal solution upgrade you need to navigate to the Dynamics 365 Administration Center where you can manage all the instances in your tenant. From the instance listing select the organization that has the portal already installed and select the edit icon beside solutions in the right hand pane.

Within the Manage Solutions listing for the organization if the upgrade has been made available you will see “Upgrade Available” beside your existing installed portal solution. Highlighting the solution will provide you the details of the upgrade and also allow you to initiate the upgrade process.

Upon selecting upgrade you will be prompted to select the terms and the installation will start.

This process can take some time depending on the portal upgrade you are doing. From my experience and those at Adoxio we have seen this range from 30 minutes to 4 hours. So ensure you plan an appropriate window for this maintenance as it could cause the portal service to be unresponsive at times due to the solution upgrade/install process with the Dynamics 365 instance. To monitor the installation you can just refresh the Manage Solutions or go into the Dynamics 365 instance and go the solutions listing and wait until all solutions show as version 8.3.x.

As in previous upgrades the portal code is fully managed and not currently customer driven. You can check your current portal version by navigating to https://[portaladdress].microsoftcrmportals.com/_services/about. If you do have an 8.3.x portal and signed as an administrator you will now also see a lot more details about your portal including a new admin tool for clearing the cache!

If you haven’t yet got the 8.3.x update then you can still subscribe to the early update functional outlined in Dynamics 365 portals: Early Upgrade Option – July 2017 Update.

WEBINAR: Wondering what to do with your Adxstudio Portal?

Things are changing in the world of portals for Dynamics 365 or Dynamics CRM. The platform is advancing forward at a rapid pace with new portal options from Microsoft being released and older legacy versions needing to be evaluated for their longevity.

I am often asked to help organizations understand and select the option that is right for them as existing Adxstudio customers looking to be properly supported in the future, or new customers considering what Microsoft portal options are available to them. To help make this content available for everyone I will be giving a webinar with Adoxio Business Solutions on Tuesday, June 27th at 10:00am PST / 11:00am MST / 1:00pm EST.

I invite anyone interested in portals for Dynamics 365 to join. If you already have burning questions you would like answered I would be more than happy to try and answer them during the webinar. Please see the full invitation from Adoxio below and a link to register as well as submit your question prior to the webinar.

Register Now Submit a Question

Join Adoxio on Tuesday, June 27th at 11:00am MST / 1:00pm EST for a webinar that will outline considerations for the future of your Adxstudio Portal. There are a lot of changes in the near future for portals from Microsoft for Dynamics 365. The portal source code will be released, bringing with it another choice for implementations. What does the future potentially hold for the legacy Adxstudio portals? What choices do you have for on-premises deployments?

Get answers to these and more with Colin Vermander, Technical Director for Service Delivery at Adoxio. You will leave understanding what your options are as a current or future portal customer, and get key insights into what Adoxio is recommending.

By attending this webinar, you will learn:

  • Overview of Microsoft’s announcement & their plans to release the code
  • How this will affect you?
  • Solutions and your options moving forward

Dynamics 365 portals: Early Upgrade Option – July 2017 Update

As we near the July 2017 Update for Dynamics 365 it looks like an option for early upgrade has shown up for portal add-ons.

You can find this option on new and existing portal add-ons in the CRM Administration Center under Applications and Manage your Portal Add-On. This option should be used with some caution as it will mean you are in the first release program for portals. What will you get? The next portals release! That release previously was looking to be version 8.3 based on all the information provided at eXtreme365 and the other information available, but it is looking like we might be making the jump to version 9.0 sooner than expected. The roadmap items are still the same as published on roadmap.dynamics.com.

Here is what the new option will look like in the portal add-on management:

Check this box with caution!

Update 6/23/2017: Correction to the versioning, as earlier expected the portals released now will be v8.3 not v9.

Dynamics 365 portals new documentation!

Microsoft Dynamics 365 team has been transitioning all documentation to the new docs.microsoft.com site and just launched now is the new documentation for portals. This is a great change to see and is starting to bring the breadth of documentation in alignment with what is available on the legacy Adxstudio Community site. Having it in the Microsoft docs site will help make the content much more accessible and easier to refer to in blogs, forums and all other ways of sharing :).

The documentation is still a little short on the newest components that are available (no chart liquid object and a couple other items) but I look forward to this being continuously updated as new releases come out. This is only the first release of the documentation and I think we can expect it to be updated regularly.