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How to Start with Dynamics CRM 2011

Posted on 2013-06-19
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Last Modified: 2013-06-22
Hi guys,

Although I have extensive expirence in .Net/C# I am a newbie in Dynamics CRM. I need to do the following:

1. Install a new Dynamics CRM server 2011 for development purposes
2. Define custom entities with custom attributes (I don't know if this is explicitly needed but see below; I don't need this step to be programmatically done but preferably over standard UI)
3. Create a piece of code which creates new entities of the custom type and set their properties
4. Be able to see the new inserted entities (as part of the validation if the code works fine; also not needed programmatically but preferably over standard UI)

I need some good tutorials and/or hints how to do that, including the setup, the usage of plugin, workflows and/or workflow activities and testing the whole thing. Can you help?

Thanks.
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Question by:TheAvenger
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by:feridun
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As you will discover Dynamics CRM is a huge product and has extensive customization capabilities.

To answer your questions in full could take days of training!

For setting up a new CRM I would refer to the Implementation Guide (http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=3621) and for programming guidance refer to the software development kit (http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/download/details.aspx?id=24004).

For an install you will need Windows Server 2008 and SQL Server 2008 64-bit. You should consider using Hyper-V to make setting up servers a bit simpler.
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by:TheAvenger
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Thanks for the answer.

Let me paraphrase the question so that it does not look like days of training needed:

- After I install Dynamics CRM where do I go to see existing entities?
- Do I need to / how do I register custom entity types and their properties?
- Where can I find a simple tutorial to build, deploy and run a simple piece of code? I already have the SDK and saw several examples, so creating the entity seems to be pretty easy and straightforward. However I cannot find any complete example which shows all the steps. I find pieces like programming something or registering an assembly but not really how to make a "hello world" piece of code and execute it
- Where can I see the entity I create in my code?
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by:feridun
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OK, thanks for clarifying.

After crm is installed, browse to the website that was created during the installation. For example:

http://servername:5555

If you accept the defaults during an install CRM is installed to port 5555.

The left hand navigation shows out of the box entities. Entities that you add are shown wherever is specified under the entity settings. You might for example choose to show an entity under the Sales button.

Have a look at Settings | Customization | Customize the System and then expand entities. You should see your and OOB entities there.
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by:TheAvenger
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Great, I'll do that.

What about the easiest way to write some code and run it? I see plugins are run on some event (pre/post entity creation), so this is not very nice for easy tries. Workflow seems to be somewhat more fit but requires a workflow and some activities. Is there a way to just put some code and run it?
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by:feridun
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CRM is a web-based system so you can programmatically work it. Your code must run as a console-based application or web-based application. If web-based you must not use the CRM website but add pages to your own website.

There is some stuff in the SDK that covers the above.

If you develop a Silverlight application you can add that to CRM as a web resource.
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by:TheAvenger
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I saw those possibilities (not in detail) but I need the code to run inside CRM, not as a separate application of any kind.
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by:feridun
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Sorry, I can't advise on how to do that.
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by:TheAvenger
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I signed up for a free 30 day trial on Office 365. I can see the UI and I can see the entities (not sure if I can upload code yet).

Do you know how I can see all entities of a specific type, e.g. I want to see all existing "accounts"?
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feridun earned 500 total points
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Navigate to Sales | Accounts. If no records show on the right, then either change view from My Active Accounts to Active Accounts are there are no accounts.

You can install sample data from the Settings area (I think in Data Management).
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