Invalid stage transition. Transition to stage {0} is not in the process active path.

Introduction

With latest release of Dynamics 365, Microsoft has restricted skipping BPF stages and throws above error. When we try to change BPF stage programmatically and if we skip any BPF stage, then user will get above error.

Understand the error with the help of an example

Let’s say we have below Business Process Flow on Opportunity.

sample BPF

With D365, only below transitions are allowed.

  1. Qualify to Develop
  2. Develop to Propose
  3. Propose to Close

Below transitions are not allowed.

  1. Qualify to Propose
  2. Develop to Close
  3. Qualify to Close

How my earlier code (prior to D365 release) worked and suddenly stopped working?

Before D365 release by Microsoft, the above scenarios were considered as unsupported and there were no restrictions forced by Microsoft. Hence our code used to work in these unsupported scenarios as well. With D365 release, Microsoft has restricted these unsupported scenarios and users will start receiving the error with same code.

How have I come to this conclusion?

  1. I got the error log file with error code and same error code (-2146885629) is now available in SDK (you can search in CHM file).

SDK Error Code

  1. I raised a support ticket with Microsoft and as per confirmation from MS Support, it has turned out to be by-design. I received below response from MS Support Team.

Reply from MS Support

Note: Even though Microsoft has mentioned Environment as CRM Online, as this is by-design in D365, it applies to CRM On-premise deployments as well.

Summary/Resolutions

  1. After thinking about these unsupported scenarios, it makes sense to use logical branching to skip the stages if needed and if not, then we should follow the path mentioned in BPF.
  2. The resolution to this issue can be programmatically iterate the record through all the stages or use conditional branching in BPF.

How to use Business Rules to determine Form Type in Dynamics CRM

Introduction

One of the frequent requirement we receive is doing basic form customizations based on Form Type. E.g. Show few fields while creating record and hide those fields once record is saved.

First option which comes in developer’s mind

As we cannot check entity’s form type using Business Rules, we must use JavaScript to achieve this requirement. Hence, usually developer will write a JavaScript method and register an event on Form Load.

This will be time consuming task as compared to the solution which I have explained below. Also, it will need technical person to achieve this requirement, because it involves coding.

An option that usually skips from developer’s mind

As we know, Created On field is populated only when record is created. Also, CRM does not allow to set Created On field to the user, we can take help of this field to determine whether user is on Create form or has opened existing record.

Below screenshot shows how Business Rule can be configured to unlock the Account on Create form and lock it for existing record.

business rule

Simple solution, but we usually miss it.

How alternate key is useful while importing data into CRM?

Introduction

In this blog, I have explained how an alternate key column can be used to import the data into CRM using OOB import/export facility.

We get frequent requirements to perform initial data load for customers and contacts. In almost all cases, we are asked to link the Contacts to the customers.

This can be achieved easily using Alternate Key in CRM.

In this blog, I have assumed that we have Account Number field as an alternate key on Account entity and Contact Number (custom field) as an alternate key on Contact entity.

How to achieve this?

Case 1 (initial load): We have 2 separate Excel/CSV files as per below screenshots.

Customers

1

Contacts

2

  1. We will first import the data of Account (as it is straightforward I have not explained about it in this blog).
  2. Then we import the contacts. This is also straightforward except one below check in field mapping.
    1. In field mapping we have to select the Account Number as a matching field for Company Lookup field.

3

Case 2 (Update existing data): Now we have contacts with accounts selected, on Accounts we need to select primary contact.

Let’s say we have below CRM view and we click on Export to Excel and put the contact numbers appropriately in Primary Contact column in Excel.

4

If you note in below screenshot, I have renamed Primary Contact field to Contact Number which contains Contact Numbers.

5

NOTE: IF WE DON’T RENAME THE COLUMN, IMPORT WIZARD WILL NOT SHOW FIELD MAPPING WINDOW AND WILL DIRECTLY START IMPORTING THE DATA AND EVENTUALLY WILL RESULT IN FAILURE.

  1. Now we save the exported Excel with contact numbers and start data import with the same file. It will again give similar field mapping dialog where we have to select Contact Number as a matching field for Primary Contact field.

6

  1. After completing import wizard steps, you will see the result as below:

7

Understanding organization’s base currency in Dynamics 365 (CRM)

Introduction

In this blog, I have explained what should be the base currency of an organization and what problems you may encounter if you do mistakes in selecting it.

What is organization’s base currency?

Organization’s base currency is the currency which is selected at the time of installing D365 On-Premise or while configuring D365 Online.

Where currency is used?

All entities in CRM have a lookup reference to Currency entity. This lookup reference determines the currency in which all the Currency type fields should be captured for a record. E.g. On opportunity record, we have a lookup to Currency entity i.e. we select currency on the opportunity record. So based on selecting the currency on opportunity all its currency fields like Est. Revenue, Total Amount, Discounts are captured.

What is _base field which gets created for each currency type field?

If you have observed, when we create a field of type Currency, its corresponding _base field is created automatically by CRM. This field always gets calculated in Organization’s base currency.

How multiple currencies work and how the exchanges rates are applied?

When you install the CRM, by default it enables only single currency which is considered as organization’s base currency. The Exchange rate of Base Currency is set to 1 and we cannot change it.

When we add new currency (from Setting > Business Management > Currencies), we select the currency code and put Exchange rates which are corresponding to the base currency. These exchange rates are used later while calculating base amounts.

How to capture/update exchange rates and how it impacts existing records?

Exchanges rates in CRM are not captured automatically. You will need to manually put exchange rates either at the time of enabling currency or update it later in existing currencies.

When we update exchange rates in CRM, it does not apply to existing amounts of the existing records. When any amount field gets updated on existing records, the updated exchange rates are used to calculate base values.

Understand with examples

Let’s say, we have below setup in our CRM Environment.

Organization Currency: US Dollar (USD)

Additional Currencies:

  1. Indian Rupees (INR) with Exchange Rate: 1 USD = 68.03 INR
  2. Australian Dollar (AUD) with Exchange Rate: 1 USD = 1.39 AUD

Below table contains examples of quote records with different combinations of currencies.

Quote ID Currency selected on record Total Amount

(captured using currency selected on record)

Total Amount _Base

(captured using organization’s currency)

DLKJ548 INR INR 158900 USD 2336.18
KEIK902 USD USD 59800 USD 59800
PELJI7453 AUD AUD 6500 USD 4681.88

 

Unforeseen problems which might occur later

  1. Organization’s base currency can be selected only at the installation/configuration time of CRM. We cannot change base currency once CRM is installed/configured.
  2. Sales goals are always captured in organization’s base currency. We cannot change currency on Sales Goal record.
  3. If you select base currency incorrectly, then for reporting purposes, you might always need to convert the amounts in your currency using exchange rates.

Case studies

Case 1

Contoso is Indian company which works on Indian Rupees currency. All the clients of this company are Indian clients and they don’t have any other clients from other countries.

Solution: In this case, only single currency is needed which will be organization’s base currency i.e. Indian Rupees (INR).

Case 2

Contoso is Indian company which works on Indian Rupees currency. This company has clients across globe like US, Australia, New Zealand etc. The company has 85% clients from US and remaining 15% customers are distributed among other countries.

Solution: Even though, the company has 85% customers from US, and no customers from India, the company works on Indian Rupees currency. Hence, the organization’s base currency should be set to Indian Rupees (INR) and additionally USD, AUD, NZD currencies should be enabled with their respective exchange rates.

Case 3

Contoso is Indian company which works on US Dollar currency. This company has clients across globe like US, Australia, New Zealand, and India etc. The company has 85% clients from India and remaining 15% customers are distributed among other countries.

Solution: Even though, the company is Indian company and has 85% customers from India, the company works on US Dollar currency. Hence, the organization’s base currency should be set to US Dollar (USD) and additionally INR, AUD, NZD currencies should be enabled with their respective exchange rates.

How data can be sorted on date field in SSRS report in Dynamics CRM?

Introduction

This is a short and simple article which explains how we can avoid sorting issues on date field in SSRS report in Dynamics CRM Fetch Based report.

Understanding Concepts

  • When we write fetch based SSRS report for Dynamics CRM, for complex field type, we always get 2 attributes in SSRS dataset. E.g. Lookup, Option Set, Date and Time, Currency etc.
  • From above 2 attributes, one contains the display string and other contains data value.
  • In Case of Date and Time field, as per below screenshot, we got 2 attributes in SSRS dataset for Est. Close Date field which is of type Date and Time.

dataset-fields

  • If you run the simple query (FetchXml of Open Opportunity view) in Query Designer, you will see data in below way.

query-designer-output

  • As we have display data and value data in separate field, for display purpose we should use display field (estimatedcloseddate in this case) & for data manipulation we should use data field (estimatedclosedateValue in this case).

How to sort data in Tablix based on date field?

  • As we have seen above how the dataset contains the data, we have to select data field in sorting expression to sort the data in required order.
  • To achieve this, go to Tablix properties and Sorting section and configure as per below screenshot:

tablix-sorting-configuration

Note: The Order (A to Z / Z to A) is just to determine Ascending or Descending order. It does not mean we have to provide only string type fields in Sorting Column. SSRS understands the data type and sorts the data accordingly.

How to send SSRS report as a PDF in Email in Dynamics CRM Online

Introduction

In this blog, I have explained how to create an email record in CRM by executing SSRS report and exporting as a PDF attachment to the email. This is frequently asked requirement by many clients and it is very simple to execute SSRS report and export as a PDF in CRM Online.

In this blog, I have kept focus on generating PDF format report using coding. I have also provided the code of generating PDF format report. I have not covered creating email record with attachment and reference links from this blog can be used to achieve the same.

Problem Statement/Assumptions

  1. We have a CRM Online environment with below things setup.
    1. Fetch based SSRS report with name let’s say ‘Quotation.rdl’.
    2. Assume, Quotation.rdl has below GUID.
      • 12f3c105-fd95-44a9-b1af-ad79dfe3ad16
    3. Quotation report is pre-filtered by Quote GUID. (What is pre-filtering?)
    4. On Quotation entity, we have a button called Send Quotation.
      • The purpose of this button is to execute SSRS report, Export it as a PDF, Create Email record with above generated PDF as an attachment & open Email record on successful completion of above operations.

Data/Events flow

data-flow-how-to-send-ssrs-in-pdf-format-in-email-in-crm-online

Step-by-step procedure

  1. Create an action in CRM on Quote Entity.
    1. Input Parameter: PDFString (String type)
    2. Output Parameter: EmailID (EntityReference to Email entity)
    3. Create email record in action definition.
  2. Write a plugin on above custom action that will read input parameter which is a string that contains base64 formatted SSRS report. Create an attachment using the string and attach the same to email.

To know more about actions in CRM: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn481600.aspx

  1. Create a web resource with below JavaScript code (Code has the commenting to understand the code).

function sendQuoteAsPDFInEmail() {

    //1. Execution starts here.

    var arrReportSession = executeReport(); //2. Execute the ssrs report and capture the response. Response will be an array.

    convertResponseToPDF(arrReportSession); //3. Convert the response in base 64 string i.e. PDF.

}

function executeReport() {

    // GUID of SSRS report in CRM.

    var reportGuid = “12f3c105-fd95-44a9-b1af-ad79dfe3ad16”;

    //Name of the report. Note: .RDL needs to be specified.

    var reportName = “Quotation.rdl”;

    // URL of the report server which will execute report and generate response.

    var pth = Xrm.Page.context.getClientUrl() + “/CRMReports/rsviewer/QuirksReportViewer.aspx”;

    //This is the filter that is passed to pre-filtered report. It passes GUID of the record using Xrm.Page.data.entity.getId() method.

    //This filter shows example for quote report. If you want to pass ID of any other entity, you will need to specify respective entity name.

    var reportPrefilter = ”                      “;

    //Prepare query to execute report.

    var query = “id=%7B” + reportGuid +

        “%7D&uniquename=” + Xrm.Page.context.getOrgUniqueName()

        + “&iscustomreport=true&reportnameonsrs=&reportName=” + reportName

        + “&isScheduledReport=false&p:CRM_QuoteId=” + reportPrefilter;

    //Prepare request object to execute the report.

    var retrieveEntityReq = new XMLHttpRequest();

    retrieveEntityReq.open(“POST”, pth, false);

    retrieveEntityReq.setRequestHeader(“Accept”, “*/*”);

    retrieveEntityReq.setRequestHeader(“Content-Type”, “application/x-www-form-urlencoded”);

    //This statement runs the query and executes the report synchronously.

    retrieveEntityReq.send(query);

    //These variables captures the response and returns the response in an array.

    var x = retrieveEntityReq.responseText.lastIndexOf(“ReportSession=”);

    var y = retrieveEntityReq.responseText.lastIndexOf(“ControlID=”);

    var ret = new Array();

    ret[0] = retrieveEntityReq.responseText.substr(x + 14, 24);

    ret[1] = retrieveEntityReq.responseText.substr(x + 10, 32);

    //Returns the response as an Array.

    return ret;

}

function convertResponseToPDF(arrResponseSession) {

    //Create query string that will be passed to Report Server to generate PDF version of report response.

    var pth = Xrm.Page.context.getClientUrl() + “/Reserved.ReportViewerWebControl.axd?ReportSession=” + arrResponseSession[0] + “&Culture=1033&CultureOverrides=True&UICulture=1033&UICultureOverrides=True&ReportStack=1&ControlID=” + arrResponseSession[1] + “&OpType=Export&FileName=Public&ContentDisposition=OnlyHtmlInline&Format=PDF”;

    //Create request object that will be called to convert the response in PDF base 64 string.

    var retrieveEntityReq = new XMLHttpRequest();

    retrieveEntityReq.open(“GET”, pth, true);

    retrieveEntityReq.setRequestHeader(“Accept”, “*/*”);

    retrieveEntityReq.responseType = “arraybuffer”;

    retrieveEntityReq.onreadystatechange = function () { // This is the callback function.

        if (retrieveEntityReq.readyState == 4 && retrieveEntityReq.status == 200) {

            var binary = “”;

            var bytes = new Uint8Array(this.response);

            for (var i = 0; i < bytes.byteLength; i++) {

                binary += String.fromCharCode(bytes[i]);

            }

            //This is the base 64 PDF formatted string and is ready to pass to the action as an input parameter.

            var base64PDFString = btoa(binary);

            //4. Call Action and pass base 64 string as an input parameter. That’s it.

        }

    };

    //This statement sends the request for execution asynchronously. Callback function will be called on completion of the request.

    retrieveEntityReq.send();

}

  1. Register a JavaScript action on button that calls ‘sendQuoteAsPDFInEmail’ method.
  2. That’s it.

References

  1. Create Email and Attachment in CRM using C#

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/hh210217.aspx

https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg328344.aspx

  1. More about Actions in CRM

https://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dn531060.aspx

  1. Snapshot of code to generate Email record with PDF from base64 string.

 generate email with pdf attachment code snapshot

Relevance Search is Next Generation Search

Introduction

In last release Microsoft introduced Next Generation Search (AKA Relevance Search) as a preview feature. In the latest release, i.e. November 2016 update, Microsoft has made this feature generally available. In this blog, I have covered this feature in detail.

Types of search

With relevance search, CRM now have 3 types of searches.

  1. Quick Find View – This search is restricted to particular entity. This is the basic search available since CRM 4.0
  2. Categorized search – This search was introduced in CRM 2015 release and is also known as global search. It searches the data across multiple entities using entity’s quick find view and shows the data categorized by particular entity.
  3. Relevance Search – With relevance search, you will get the results which are relevant to the search terms you are searching for. Relevance search will not be restricted to any entity type or any field, but it will search based on the relevance to your search terms.

What is Relevance Search?

  • Relevance search delivers fast and comprehensive search results based on the relevance across multiple entities.
  • It uses dedicated search service provided by Microsoft Azure which is external to Dynamics 365.
  • With relevance search, you can still use the other two types of searches.
  • Below are the benefits and enhancements provided by relevance search:
    • As external search service provided by Microsoft Azure is used to search the data, search performance is improved drastically and search is performed outside the D365 environment.
    • It uses semantic searches hence results may include inflectional words like win, won or winning, etc.
    • It returns results with matching the search term in any words and in any field in the entity.
    • The result is not categorized by the entity type, but it is returned and sorted based on the number of words matched and how the words are related to each other.
    • In the results, the words which are matched are highlighted.

Limitation

  • Relevance search is not available for D365 On Premise environments.
  • There is no limit on number of entities you can search, but there is a limit of 1000 index you can have per organization. While configuring entities for relevance search, you can see how many indexes are needed to enable the respective field and entity.
  • As relevance search is hosted on Microsoft Azure cloud platform, any changes to the data in D365 environment takes 15 minutes to get synced with Azure Search. Also, for average to large data it takes an hour or more to complete the full sync between D365 environment and Azure Search Service.

data-flow

  • Below fields are not supported for relevance search:

Find Fields

  1. Lookup
  2. Option set
  3. Rollup & Calculated fields
  4. Non-text

View Fields

  1. Lookup
  2. Option set
  3. Fields of related entities

Filter Fields

  1. Lookup
  2. Option set
  3. Fields of related entities

How Relevance Search makes a difference?

  • In quick find view search, i.e. entity level search, when user searches for a phrase, it tries to search all the sentence exactly in the fields of the entity and if all the words matches then only it returns the result.
  • In categorized search, i.e. global search, it also gives same result as quick find view, but it searches across the entities and maximum entities which can be searched is 10.
  • In relevance search, individual word from the search phrase is searched across the entities and in all the fields. The more relevant results are shown first. The relevancy is decided based on the number of words matched against the searched data and how close the words are to each other. For e.g., if the search term is found in an address and in an article, then result with address will be considered as more relevant data than the article.
  • There is no limit on how many number of entities you can search using relevance search.

How to configure relevance search?

Configuring relevance search is 3 steps process. First you need to enable the relevance search and then enable the entities which should be involved in the relevance search, and at last you need to configure the fields which should get included in relevance search.

Step 1: Enable relevance search

  1. You need to have system administrator/customizer role on D365 environment.
  2. Go to Settings > Administration > System Settings.administration_system-settings
  3. In General section, you will see an option as Enable Relevance Search. Select Yes and click OK on the popup shown.
    enable-searchpopup
  4. Once you enable the relevance search, it becomes your default searching option and can be changes later to categorized search from your personal settings options.
    personal-optionsdefault-search

Step 2: Enable entities for relevance search

  1. Go to Settings > Customizations > Customize the System.
  2. Under components, expand Entities, and click on Configure Relevance Search option.configure-relevance-search
  3. Select the entities and click okay. Publish all customizations.

Note: If you want to include any entity for relevance search, then below highlighted managed property of the entity should be set to True.

set-managed-properties

Step 3: Enable fields for relevance search

  1. Go to Settings à Customizations à Customize the System
  2. Go to Quick Find View of an entity for which you are configuring the relevance search.
  3. Select the find columns for the entity. By default, the fields you add in find columns of quick find view become part of relevance search. There is no limit on maximum number of fields allowed, but as explained earlier, there is limit on number of indexes involved in relevance search.

How to use relevance search?

  • Once you enable, relevance search becomes your default search. Just like global search, you can start searching your data and it will return data using relevance search.
    ordering-productshow-to-use
  • As you can see in above image, on left side you can filter the records and also select any particular record type to reduce your result set.
  • You can easily switch between relevance search and categorized search.swith-between-searches

Difference between Relevance Search & Categorized Search with few examples

  • Below screenshot shows my available data:

available-data

Case 1: I search for ‘need 110 item’ term.

  • Relevance search returns below datacase-1-1
  • Categorized search did not return anythingcase-1-2

Case 2: I search for term ‘ 10 items + need’

  • Relevance search returns below datacase-2-1
  • Categorized search did not return anything

case-2-2

References

Know more about relevance search

https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics/crm-customer-center/use-relevance-search-for-faster-comprehensive-search-results.aspx

https://technet.microsoft.com/library/5ec1a73d-06cb-4d40-adab-8bb293bcedbb.aspx

Learn how to search data with relevance search to get accurate data

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/rest/api/searchservice/Simple-query-syntax-in-Azure-Search