Do you want to be a Dynamics 365/Power Platform expert? then docs.microsoft.com is the Key.

When my colleagues are stuck on something, I always encourage them to do their best in Google search and then ask for help in the respective tech community, because good research is always important to nurture knowledge. But having said that, I always ensure that they check the Microsoft docs, if they haven’t, I suggest them to look into docs.microsoft.com.

Googling is a mandatory skill. BUT

Most developers start their career at the same pace and depend on random Google Searches. Even I started my career with a trust in blogs and communities. The blogs and videos are always helpful to make you understand the topics easily, but when you need deep technical knowledge, official documents or SDK documentation is the best source. These documents let you know the capabilities and limitations of the platform you work on.

Let’s take an example, if you are stuck at some point while using Power Apps Functions or D365APIs, what will you generally do? You might search it randomly and copy/paste the available piece of code (like we all do).

Can you imagine what can happen later to the system?

Is the code you copied supported by Microsoft?

Is it the optimal solution for your system and users?

SDK documentation is the answer to all these questions. It is your responsibility to ensure that you are not doing any unsupported customization.

We all know that the official documents are helpful but, do you know why people are not looking into these documents while working on something? It’s because we are all lazy…. These documents contain a broad range of technical information and are not as simple and easy to understand as individual blogs. But for technical knowledge and long-term future in D365 and Power Apps, it is advisable not to go with easy solutions. Reading through the official documents will definitely pay back your efforts. Once you start reading these documents and comprehend the topics, they become your true consultant.

In the start of our career, people may be short on time or lazy to check and read the SDK Documents. It wasn’t different for me either. But back in those days, I came across the blog of Ben Hosk and one of his statements struck me so hard “The CRM SDK can be stubborn, difficult, and renowned for not suffering fools gladly.” Reading this was the time when I decided to look into the Microsoft Documents along with the solutions from other Blogs and Videos available.

Now, referring the official documents for solution has more or less turned into a practice for me. If time does not permit to go through the documents, I would rather expand the deadline rather than compromise on the authenticity and quality of the solution. Moreover, I try to cover the topics during the weekend and learn something new from the official Microsoft Documents. So, if you are not familiar with these documents or fail to refer them even after knowing its benefits, it’s definitely a loss of opportunity to learn new things while at work. 

So, you should never bypass “learning something new with every customization you do”!!!!

Aggregate Grid PCF

When you have to see the Sum, Count, AVG of numeric columns in a subgrid, what is the easiest way? Export to Excel right? Now, there is an easier way: Aggregate Grid PCF Control. View Aggregates directly from Subgrid. This PCF control will list all numeric and currency columns in the view at the footer area, you just have to select the required column. This is not a production-ready control(I wanted to give life to an idea that came in during COVID19 lockdown) you can get the source code and unmanaged solution from here.

CSS & Grid design is from hovering list By Danish Naglekar.

Let’s Learn PCF Together

After adding Aggregate Grid Control to PCF gallery, I received many LinkedIn messages saying they love to build PCFs but they cannot as they are not pro UI developers. Trust me, I am not a pro UI developer just know the basics only :(, with the help of Awsome Microsoftcommunity, I managed to build a couple of PCF controls and for the last 6 months, every month am adding a new control to the PCF gallery. So now I have started a short video series of PCF control tutorial for beginners. these are 5 mins videos released once in every 3 days covering only one point per video. Hope this will be helpful for beginners. This is my first YouTube video series so am sure there is a huge scope for improvement 😅

Smart Grid PCF

One of my customer complained during a UAT session that, it’s too difficult for her to add new record using + button in a sub-grid, as it takes her to a new record window and she has to perform too many navigation. She was happy, when I enabled the quick create forms.

But, I was not happy and I wondered why OOB editable grid is not supporting this. I thought to give it a try using PCF controls, and this is the result.

Initially, it was not easy as we need to query the metadata to get field type for each column in the view. Following are the steps to configure smartgrid.

  1. Get the solution from here
  2. Import solution
  3. Add control to sub-grid
  4. Give required parameters.
alt text
  • Primary Lookup: Logical name of the lookup field for the relationship. for example contact sub-grid in the account is “*parentcustomerid_account”.
  • Primary Entity Set: Entity set name of the current entity where the sub-grid is added

This is to set the related lookup using Web API, you can use Rest Builder to get these parameter values correctly, for example if contact sub-grid in account form is using parent customer relationship, to set the account lookup in contact following code is used var entity = {}; entity[“parentcustomerid_account@odata.bind“] = “/accounts(xxxxx-xxxx-xxxx)”;

Known bugs.

  • Does not support N:N
  • Validation for empty rows.
  • Does not support composite fields(customer lookup).
  • Poor CSS 🙂

Planned enhancements

  • Inline editing.
  • Validation for mandatory fields

This is not a perfect replacement for Quick create form, but you are always welcome to enhance and add features to Smart Grid Github Repo here.

Canvas-Apps for Approvals in Dynamics 365-CE

There are scenarios where we need to configure approvals in Dynamics 365, for example, mark an account as a premium customer after approval or qualify leads after approval etc. We used dialog control to capture approval request and comments but, now dialog controls are depreciated and not advised for use in new projects.

As per Microsoft’s initial announcement

Dialogs are deprecated and are replaced by mobile task flows (available as of the December 2016 update), and business process flows. Both task flows and business process flows will continue to evolve to make the transition easier.

But either tasks flow or business process flow was not a perfect replacement for Dialog. Knowing this pain from users, Microsoft has now modified the announcement.

Dialogs are deprecated, and should be replaced by business process flows or canvas apps

Even though I knew canvas apps can be now embedded in model-driven apps, I hadn’t thought of this option until I came across this new announcement, so tried replicating my approval dialogs with a canvas app and it works fine. Pheww!!!! 🙂

For testing purpose I replicated the dialog for creating approval request for Account entity.

  1. created a canvas app to create approval request.
This sample app changes account status to pending verification and captures the comments in one custom field.

2. Now we need to call this app from account form, obtain the app ID from app details section.

select app details to get the App GUID

3. I need to call this canvas app as a popup when user clicks a button. I created a custom button for account entity-> added a JavaScript as button action to call an HTML web-resource and embedded my canvas app in this html I-frame.

<html><head>
<title>Approval</title>

<meta http-equiv="content-type" content="text/html; charset=UTF-8">
</head>
<body style="padding: 0px; font-family: arial; overflow-wrap: break-word;" onload="LoadPowerApp()">
<center>


<iframe id="Approval" width="800" height="600"></iframe>



</center>
<script id="myScript">
function LoadPowerApp()
{
var AccountID = window.parent.opener.Xrm.Page.data.entity.getId().slice(1, -1);
var url ="https://web.powerapps.com/webplayer/iframeapp?source=iframe&appId=/providers/Microsoft.PowerApps/apps/56123673-f45c-4b96-b9e6-ece1b0a8069a&ID="+AccountID;
document.getElementById("Approval").src=url;
}
</script>


</body>
</html>

I know you have many questions now. "https://web.powerapps.com/webplayer/iframeapp?source=iframe&appId=/providers/Microsoft.PowerApps/apps/56123673-f45c-4b96-b9e6-ece1b0a8069a&ID="+AccountID;

This is the key and I will breakdown it into parts “https://web.powerapps.com/webplayer/iframeapp?source=iframe&appId=/providers/Microsoft.PowerApps/apps/APP GUID&CUSTOM PARAMETER NAME=”+PARAMETER VALUE

App GUID I explained in step 2, now regarding custom parameter, I deliberately didn’t mention it when we discussed the app creation and kept for this section. When we open this canvas from an account form(like we start a dialogue) the app needs the record GUID to update the account status

I have used form control in the canvas app and filtered the item using the ID Parameter.

4. Now try your button and you can see the magic.

You can download the sample APP from TDG Power Apps bank.

Please note this is a basic app I tried for testing purpose and needs many improvements to use in a live project. you are always welcome to discuss with on this app.

Hope this helps….. 🙂