Odata Where Art Thou? A Microsoft CRM Mystery Unraveled!

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Recently, I took a look at the REST end point to provide a little CRM functionality that we'd developed for CRM 4. Imagine the following scenario, a person who is not an existing CRM contact sends you an email. Perhaps this person is a new contact at a sales prospect. You track the email in CRM and then proceed to create a contact record for that person. Now you associate the contact with the contact's company or Account as it is known in CRM.

At this point you have a contact associated with an Account, but what is missing?  The corporate mailing address! Our utility copies the account address to the contact record. Not too amazing, but useful. It's the kind of customization we typically do for ourselves and our clients. So how does this scenario relate back to the REST endpoint I mentioned earlier?

For CRM 4 we created a Web service that when used  performed a look up and returned the address of the parent Account. This web service had to run in its own web site. The client then made an AJAX call to the web service and the address magically appeared on the contact record. This worked well, but it does involve some development, error trapping, and of course testing once live on its own web site.

In comparison, the REST, or Odata, method simply makes an AJAX call to the Odata service and the contact record is updated. This provides the same functionality in a significantly shorter timeframe. A possible disadvantage to the Odata method is that it only works from within CRM and therefore cannot be deployed to external code, but when working from within CRM, it can't be beat. Contact Core today to see how our utilities can help improve your CRM experience.

by Core Solutions, a Massachusetts Microsoft Dynamics CRM Partner

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