Site Map Modification in Dynamics CRM: Leave a Trail

This is going to be a short blog post – but I think it is important nonetheless. Within Dynamics CRM, the Navigation Pane has a number of items on it as illustrated in the following:

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You can customize the contents of the Navigation Pane in Microsoft Dynamics CRM by editing the Site Map. There are a lot of things you can do with the native XML code within the Site Map. Some of the things you can do by editing the Site Map include:

  • Reorder the Items listed in Areas
  • Add or Remove Entities in the Areas
  • Change the Names of Areas in the Navigation Pane
  • Add Areas to the Navigation Pane

For example, a  client with whom I recentlyworked  wanted to expand functionality around Project Management. We created some custom entities for them to try out as illustrated in the following:

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Now in the course of this modification, I went through the following steps:

  1. Created a Solution, which contained my MS Dynamics 2011 Site Map
  2. Exported my Solution
  3. Unzipped my export file
  4. Opened the Customizations.xml file
  5. Edited the XML to reflect the changes that I needed to see in my Navigation Areas
  6. Re-Imported the Solution

So what did I forget? Anything? The answer is: “An Original”. Without an original file to reference, I could get into a situation where I need to get back to the “original” or some other point in the configuration process. I haven’t had it happen a lot of times, but when it does happen it can be painful.

A very good consulting practice is to constantly make “Original” and periodic time-stamped “Backups” of any customized code elements in an implementation. This would include any significant changes in Web Resources and JavaScript as well. For my Commercial Insurance project, I went back and exported my “Original” Site Map one more time and created a file structure to reflect it, as follows:

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It sounds simple – which it is – but it can save you a lot of headaches if you at least make a few “Original” copies.

Good luck in your 2011 Implementations!

by Customer Effective, A Georgia Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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