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Beringer Technology Group

Improve Efficiency with XRMToolBox

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Improve Efficiency with XRMToolBox

As a Microsoft Dynamics CRM professional I sometimes receive configuration requirements that, despite how powerful the system is out of the box, can be repetitive, time-consuming, frustrating, and downright impossible. Fortunately, I have a secret weapon: XRMToolBox. XRMToolBox is a completely free set of plugins that improves productivity and efficiency when working with Dynamics. Currently, there are 137 plugins available via XRMToolBox. This may seem overwhelming, so I've assembled a short list of the plugins I find most useful and interesting.

 

Bulk Workflow Execution

XRMToolBox

From time to time, it may be necessary to retroactively run workflows on existing records. For example, a workflow that is only triggered onCreate of a new record will never run on existing records, even if they need to be updated by the workflow. If the workflow is configured to be run On Demand, it can be manually triggered on appropriate records, but Dynamics limits the number of records on which this can be done. When dealing with tens of thousands of records, this becomes nearly impossible. That's where the Bulk Workflow Execution plugin comes in.

 

Simply select the desired workflow and the view that contains the desired records, click Validate Query, and click Start Workflows.

 

XRMToolBox

 

If an appropriate view isn't configured, FetchXML from an Advanced Find can be used by clicking the "Use Custom FetchXML Query" button and pasting it in.

 

FetchXML Tester

XRMToolBox

 

That brings me to another extremely useful XRMToolBox - FetchXML Tester. FetchXML is Microsoft's proprietary query language used in their Common Data Service. It's very difficult to configure Dynamics without encountering this language, and it can be very useful in advanced applications (think plugin development and querying in JavaScript). When working with FetchXML, the validity of a query in a given environment can be tested with FetchXML Tester.

 

Any FetchXML query can be pasted into the request tab and executed.

 

XRMToolBox

 

The response tab then shows the records returned from Dynamics.

 

XRMToolBox

 

In this case, my FetchXML query was looking for Accounts that begin with 'A' and also have primary contacts whose first name begins with 'B'. The query returned one result and is operating as expected!

 

View Layout Replicator

 

I don't have occasion to use this plugin very often, but it's an invaluable tool when I need it. I included it here because it's a fantastic example of the breadth and depth of plugins available in XRMToolBox. I've found that if I need to perform a specific action in Dynamics, there's a good chance I'm not the first person to identify that need and someone else has developed a plugin that can help! This plugin helps replicate the columns and layout configuration of a single view across a range of selected views. Select a source view and the target view(s) to which the layout will be copied, and click "Save Views".  It's that simple!

 

Data Transporter

 

Perhaps the most well-known and useful tool in all of XRMToolBox, Data Transporter allows the user to copy records from one environment to another. This is useful when backfilling test data into development and UAT environments, or when provisioning UAT and Production environments in which records need to be assigned with the same GUID as in the development environment.

 

 

Select the desired entity from which the records should be transferred, enter a FetchXML filter to narrow down the records, and then select the relevant attributes. Data transporter even gives you the option to differentiate between creating records or updating existing records.

 

Conclusion - Improve Efficiency with XRMToolBox

Hopefully this article has shown you how useful some of XRMToolBox's plugins can be when configuring Dynamics. The plugins mentioned here have been exceptionally useful to me, but there are a wealth of other options within XRMToolBox. If you need further help configuring Microsoft Dynamics, Beringer Technology Group is here to help; contact us today at 800.796.4854!

 

Beringer Technology Group, a leading Microsoft Gold Certified Partner specializing in Microsoft Dynamics 365 and CRM for Distribution. We also provide expert Managed IT ServicesBackup and Disaster RecoveryCloud-Based Computing and Unified Communication Solutions.

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