CRM 4.0 Plug-in Developer Tool Extended

Published 2/14/2008 by Henry in CRM
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I am in the process of developing CRM 4.0 Plugins. This is very different from the formerly known Callouts.
One of the differences is that these assemblies can be deployed to the database, they need to be registered inside CRM.  When plug-ins are registered in Microsoft Dynamics CRM, they become part of the primary operation of the CRM system. Which is different from CRM 3.0 also.
The object model is different, now the assembly must implement the IPlugin interface that lives inside the Microsoft.Crm.Sdk assebmly that comes witk the CRM 4.0 SDK.

Registering the Plugin is done by using API's provided by the CRM 4.0 SDK. The SDK provides the (C#) sourcecode that compiles into a Windows Forms Application that calls these API's to register a Plugin.
With this tool you can register the plug-in on disk or in the database. Here a screenshot from the mainform of that application the 'Plugin Registration Tool for CRM 4.0': 

CRM 4.0 Plugin Developer Tool
Plugin Registration Tool for CRM 4.0

While struggling with this process, I stumbled on the next tool:
http://blogs.msdn.com/crm/archive/2008/02/04/crm-registering-plug-ins-made-easy.aspx

This tool is more complete than the 'Plugin Registration Tool for CRM 4.0' provided as sample code with the SDK. It is developed by the Microsoft Dynamic CRM Team.

New and re-engineered PluginRegistration tool
New and re-engineered PluginRegistration tool


The team addressed 3 core scenarios with this tool.

  1. Developer Scenario:
    An ISV creates a plug-in and registers it on Contact Create as PreCallout (Aka BeforeMainOperation Plug-in). He can then debug the plug-in by registering on Disk. Once the errors are fixed, he can then update the pluginassembly to be uploaded to the database.
  2. Deployment Scenario:
    An ISV builds few plug-ins and registers on multiples steps. Images are registered on few of them. He tests them in the Dev environment but would like to port the registrations to a different organization. PluginRegistration tool supports Export and Import of the solution xml to solve this scenario.
  3. Admin Console:
    Couple of ISV installs their plug-ins on a Customer Organization. Admin at the Customer side saw some problems with “Contact Create” action. He would like to know what plug-in are fired and what the pipeline is for the “Contact – Create”. He then finds the trouble causing plug-in and disables it. So it is all about troubleshooting. PluginRegistration tool solves this problem by allowing Enable/Disable/Unregister operations on steps, plug-in.

The "New and re-engineered PluginRegistration tool" as the team calls it themselves on their blog can be found on code.msdn.microsoft.com here: http://code.msdn.microsoft.com/crmplugin/Release/ProjectReleases.aspx?ReleaseId=90

Henry Cordes
My thoughts exactly....


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