Let’s take a look at solutions in CRM 2011–a new feature that offers a great way to create a flexible, maintainable bundle of your CRM customizations.   They are an important change to how work is done in CRM and how to save yourself time later in your implementation.  Solutions also allow you to include individual modules of functionality, like our PowerPack items.


What can a solution contain?

A breakdown of the elements that can be stored in a solution are provided below:

Elements of solutions in CRM 2011

You’ll notice that a fair amount of information can be stored in a solution.  To create a new solution, first we must create a new publisher.  If you navigate to the Settings tab in the bottom left corner of the screen and then click Customizations under the Customization header, this is the view you should see:

Create a publisher to create solutions in CRM 2011

When you select Publishers, you probably notice at least one entry here, the Default Publisher.  Selecting this entry we see that some very basics fields have been created for us:

CRM 2011 customizations

While it is okay to start using this default publisher, it can be more beneficial to create your own and name it something you will recognize.  All custom entities that you add in the future will prepend the Prefix field to their names and this will hold over to any Organization where your new solution will be imported.

So, let’s create a new publisher.  We select new in the Publishers View and fill the fields out as follows:Solutions for Dynamics CRM 2011

Click Save and Close and you should now see the new Publisher in the view.  Let’s navigate over to the solutions now and click New:

This is where you find solutions in CRM 2011

The first thing we’ll do is select our Publisher using the lookup form:

CRM 2011 Solutions

Here, we’ll select our new Publisher and click OK:

Solutions CRM 2011

With that selected we’ll finish filling out the remaining fields for our new Solution.  I’ve left the Configuration Page and Description Fields blank.  The Configuration Page is an advanced topic that we can cover at a later time:

CRM 2011 Solutions

After clicking Save, more options become available to you, including a breakdown of the components that this solution contains along the left-hand navigation and the ability to export the solution at the top:

CRM 2011 Solutions

For this example, let’s create a custom entity, click Entities and New and begin filling out your new Entity:

CRM 2011 Solutions

You notice that the Name of the Entity is prepended with our new Solution name as we mentioned earlier.  Click Save and you’ll now have an Entity that is related to your solution:

Solutions CRM 2011

In upcoming blogs, we’ll share even more information and best practices with Solutions including the differences between Managed and Unmanaged Solutions as well as how to utilize plugins, workflows and security roles.  For now, be happy knowing that you’ve just created your first customization that you can use anywhere.

Happy CRM’ing!

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Joe CRM is a CRM superhero who runs on pure Microsoft Dynamics CRM adrenaline. As the face of PowerObjects, Joe CRM’s mission is to reveal innovative ways to use Dynamics CRM and bring the application to more businesses and organizations around the world.