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Dynamics Duo: Wide World Importers Code

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Description

In this episode we dive into some of the real code behind Wide World Importers Conference site.  Girish walks us through the code-behind for the contact/profile and conference registration options pages.

There’s not really a lot of magic here.  In fact, I would say it’s quite simple to understand.  If you’ve used ASP.NET before it’s not much different when you’re writing for Windows Azure as we are here. 

The only difference is that here we’re sending the data to Dynamics CRM using the SDK.  That’s infinitely more useful for your customers as the information becomes actionable immediately.  We should mention that, in this case, we’re using a 3rd party toolkit by Microsoft Gold Partner, ADXSTUDIO Shan McArthur and his team at ADXSTUDIO helped us to put this site together and their toolkit naturally uses the CRM SDK.  It abstracts the SDK it out a little more to make writing and reading the code even simpler.

We use the Live ID token that we’re getting from the Live ID service, as we discussed in the previous episode, to allow the user to retrieve and update their profile information.  It’s the unique key, of sorts, to their record in the CRM data store.

Girish promised in this episode to publish the code so expect to see that soon on his blog.  We’ll have to hold him to that.  Smiley

This episode is part of a 5-part series. In this series we’ve tried to explain how you can combine the Microsoft Web Platform with Dynamics CRM to quickly build and deploy self-service solutions. The full set of videos include:

  1. Dynamics Duo Rides Again
  2. Dynamics Duo: Everybody needs an Identity
  3. Dynamics Duo: Wide World Importers Code (this video)
  4. Dynamics Duo: Composition with Third-Party Web Services
  5. Dynamics Duo: Silverlight and Jazz Hands 

Both Girish and I enjoyed recording this series. We hope you enjoyed them as well. If you have comments or suggestions for other topics, feel free to add comments below or email Girish or me (Ben) directly.

 

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    The Discussion

    • Dutchman

      Dynamics Duo, thanks for these great videos!

       

      Girish, I've been in contact with some Microsoft CRM and Azure team members who are telling me that it is currently not possible to authenticate into CRM Online from a Windows Azure application, but obviously it's possible because you showed it! So, maybe others are missing what I'm trying to do.

       

      In short, my company created an CRM ISV application (a CRM activity/notes/attachments roll-up app) that we've been selling to on-premise CRM customers. I recently attempted to deploy the application (recompiled in VS2008 with Azure tools) to Windows Azure to test it with CRM Online. But when I started researching how to get the app to talk to CRM Online I found blogs and was told by others at Microsoft that Azure can't authenticate into CRM Online because 1) Registry settings are needed for Live ID authentication and you can't write to the registry in Azure or 2) an SSL certificate is needed and there's no way to store a cert in Azure and pass it to CRM.

       

      In light of the mixed information out there about Azure authenticating into CRM Online, I think it's important for someone on the CRM team to provide detailed guidance in this area. Various articles/blogs have documented the process of creating Windows Azure applications well enough so far but there is a lack of documentation on Azure-to-CRM Online authentication -- from registering the Azure application with Windows Live, obtaining a cert, utilizing server-to-server and delegated authentication, impersonation, etc. 

       

      Our "activity summary" app, for example, has a simple requirement -- it lives in an IFRAME and, when loaded, needs to consolidate all activities, notes, and attachments for the current record and for the logged-in CRM Online user. Again, the app works great for on-premise deployments but we've received numerous requests from CRM Online customers who want the same capabilities. And ideally we'd like to host the app in Azure!

       

      I'll keep an eye on your blog and others for more details. I know that Azure is still in CTP so we all can't expect too much right now, but whatever information the CRM team can share on hosting apps on Azure will be most appreciated!

       

      Thanks again,

       

      -Tim

       

      Tim Dutcher

      Solutions Architect

      Altriva Solutions

      Bellevue, WA

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