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Mark Rockwell, Rockton Software

CRM Package Deployer

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Inside of the Microsoft Dynamics CRM SDK, there are a number of tools available from Microsoft that you may or may not have worked with.

At Rockton Software, we've been testing out with the Package Deployer tool provided to see how that will help us put Rockton Connect, small business accounting inside CRM, into the hands of our customers.

The idea behind it is a good one. You can create small packages that will install your product from a central interface. For most, smaller projects, installing into CRM is as simple as importing a single solution file. Because of the size of our product, we need to install 2 CRM solution files along with some system data. The Solution Packager is perfect for getting everything into the systems with the minimal amount of user interaction.

Additionally should another ISV build a custom integration that leverages Rockton Connect, they can create their own install package and everything can be installed from the same place. This is something that would not be possible if we were to write our own custom installer.

One trouble spot that we came across, with the Package Deployer tool, was that they offer the ability to import a collection of sample data from a .zip file. Problem being was that the file would fail to import when it was in a .zip format. What was found is that when you .zip the files together, you need to add a [Content_Types].xml file inside of the .zip file. I borrowed a copy of this file from a CRM Customizations export as that same file is included there as well.

The data inside the file is as such:

<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Types xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/package/2006/content-types">
<Default Extension="xml" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />
<Default Extension="xaml" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />
</Types>

If you look in the SDK documentation for this key piece of information--you will not find it anywhere. I do have a few friends in the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support world and have recommended this to be added to the documentation. But until that is officially updated, hopefully this will help you be able to move past this sticking point in your own testing of the Package Deployer. I do suggest trying it out if you have to install multiple solutions into a CRM environment. There are a lot of places that you can make the tool your own. Besides just importing solutions, you can add your own logos, run custom code logic, and install sample data.

Click here to read more on the Package Deployer.

If you have any other tips or tricks around using the CRM Package Deployer or a different CRM tool, please share below. I'd love to hear about them!

Written By Bryan Page, Rockton Software, a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Add-On Partner.

4 Responses to “CRM Package Deployer”

  1. Arkajit says:

    I am trying to import multiple solutions and sample data files.
    There is one sample data file for each solution and it should be imported just after the import of the related solution.

    Example-
    Import solution1
    Import Sample data file for Solution 1
    Import solution2
    Import Sample data file for Solution 2

    Kindly suggest how to achieve this functionality

    • Hello there,

      The way that the tool is created, it is set up to import the solutions, then the files.

      There are some built in connection points in the PackageTemplate.cs file to add custom code, but I am not specifically seeing a way to interject in the process order the way that it is configured.

      In most of our setups, we have multiple solution files and data specific to each solution as well. What we are doing is to import all the solutions and then break down the data imports to run in sequence after all of the solutions have imported.

      If running the import that way is not possible for your situation, I would suggest creating multiple Packages and then run them one after another. That would be one way get your solutions and data to execute as the method you desire.

      Hope that helps!

  2. Bryan Page says:

    Hey Mark,

    I looked at this briefly and ran a test import successfully from their extracted files without having to make any modifications.
    One thing to note is that this is a CRM 2015 install file, so it will fail trying to import into CRM 2013 or 2011.

    Other than that, there should be an error message that may give clues to the cause of the error. They do write to a log file that should have all the details and is very useful. The path should be located under the Roaming user profile:

    C:\Users\\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Microsoft Dynamics® CRM Package Deployer\1.0.1.123

    Hope that helps you progress further.

    Bryan

  3. Mark Parssey says:

    I have been trying to deploy a Microsoft provided package for Event Management Template https://pinpoint.microsoft.com/en-AU/Applications/12884985852.
    It errors that it fails to load the solution.
    I have checked that EventManagement.zip is in the package folder and it does have a [Content_Types].xml .
    I have tried editing the ImportConfig.xml to specify a full path to EventManagement.zip but that hasn’t worked.
    While I might try going back to Microsoft who know how long that could take, if ever.
    Hope you can help.

 

 
 
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