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Microsoft CRM - Do developers like it?

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    So my employer asked me to take a look at Microsoft CRM from a developer-perspective. I've been checking it out for the last hour and it seems pretty cool.

    It looks as though you can write C# code to respond to events raised by the application. These are generally called callouts and fall within the group of "pre" or "post", happening before and after the registered event.

    The only thing I'm not familiar with was the FetchXML stuff. Queries via XML, huh wha!? Seems pretty verbose, but fortunately they have a reference online in the SDK.

    So my question is, how many developers here have experience working with this package, and what type of work have you done with it?

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    Yes, it is pretty good and should be ... as the licence to run it is expensive.

    OK, perhaps cheaper on the TCO than a Mainframe specially now powerful wintel servers are as cheap as chips.

    However, draw up your list of requirements of stuff it must do! Follow the MOSCOW principles,

    MUST have this requirement to meet the business needs.

    SHOULD have this requirement if at all possible, but the project success does not rely on this.

    COULD have this requirement if it does not affect the fitness of business needs of the project.

    WOULD have this requirement at later date if there is some time left (or in the future development of the system)

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    There's some information that I'm having trouble finding. We plan on having our CSR's use Internet Explorer, so I'm wondering how they are authenticated with this system. I see that Role-Based authority is used, but that doesn't tell me how they login, etc.

    Secondly, since we're not going to be using the Outlook Client version, I'm wondering if there are any shortcomings with the IE-Option, and if so, what are they.

    I'm not sure if you can help me with these questions or not, but if you can I would sincerely appreciate it.


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    I've been deploying CRM 3.0 in several enterprise environments for a couple months now, and I like it. Even the CRM 4.0 ("Titan") bits I have been playing with are pretty cool from a developer's perspective.   You will enjoy working with CRM as a developer!

    The cool stuff we have been doing is aggregating several backend systems to integrate data into CRM, and exposing that (through custom UIs throughout the enterprise) using custom Web Services. We have done this leveraging the Web Service Software Factory (see CodePlex). We took to architecting mappers and accessors for schema-mapping our business objects with FetchXML calls from the data layer. It's actually pretty fun to see all the nuts and bolts come together.   I've also been writing custom SSRS reports against the filtered views, which is interesting to get around issues here and there. ("Table variables are our friends...")

    I'm enjoying CRM because you need a bit of ActiveDirectory/IIS/Exchange/Kerberos experience intertwined with SQL/.NET WS dev skills and you cross product lines a bit more than normal (SQL Server 2005/Windows Server 2003/SharePoint Server 2007/Exchange Server 2003/BizTalk 2006).

    Becoming a "CRM Developer" is no trivial task IMHO.. you need exposure to other facets of the Microsoft stack to be a tried and true CRM Developer at the enterprise level.   A great place to start is the SDK, but for all the intracacies involved, your skills will surely be continuously challenged and rewarded.  Cool

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