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October 2010

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CRM and ViewState

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 doesn’t use ViewState, or Sessions.  Indeed, they are disabled in the web.config file.  This can be a bit of a surprise to an ASP.NET developer working on a custom page in the /ISV directory. 

Three possible solutions on ViewState:

1) Don’t use ViewState. 

This requires re-initializing any data with every postback.  One thing you can do is minimize postbacks.  You’ll see CRM does this in many places by encouraging the use of Javascript and popping extra windows to handle immediate-response things like filling in or validating a lookup field.  If you are displaying a grid, it will be empty after postback because it wasn’t re-populated from viewstate, so you need to repopulate it on every request – which means you also need to deal with the possibility that values may have changed due to another user editing records in the meantime.  Some simple strategies to start with are to refer to records by guids instead of by row numbers and to minimize updates to only the fields your user actually changed, and to code defensively.

2) You can enable viewstate for a particular page by adding it to the page directive at the top of the page:

<%@ Page . . . EnableViewState="true" . . .

Note that if you have a server cluster and use viewstate, you’ll either need to set a machine key in web.config or else disable viewstate validation with another Page directive:

<%@ Page . . . EnableViewState="true" EnableViewStateMac="false" %>

Disabling ViewStateMac means your users will be able to tamper with the viewstate, so just keep that concern in mind if you have custom permissioning rules in your app beyond CRM’s built in permissioning.

3) You can enable viewstate for all of your ISV pages by setting it up as its own app. 

Create a virtual directory under /ISV, point it to your pages, and give yourself a web.config that sets enableviewstate for your pages (and a machine key).  See, for example, this guide at xrmlinq.

Remember that if you’re going to use viewstate, you should keep an eye on viewstate size ; perhaps you don’t want to transfer a megabyte of serialized grid data with every page load.  You can see how big viewstate is by viewing source on your page, or by adding some code to your pages (If Request.IsLocal is true and DEBUG is defined, I tack on a label with the size from LosFormatter; see example code at scottonwriting ); but in general, if you use viewstate on a grid or listbox, you’re going to be storing a lot of data.  If you’d rather repopulate your grid or listbox with every request instead of serializing their data, simply databind them before viewstate begins being tracked - during init instead of during load.  See ASP.NET Page Lifecycle.

As for Sessions, I would recommend avoiding them.  You’ll probably have some real headaches if you need to support the offline client and rely on sessions, and it can be hard to anticipate (and test for) how sessions will be affected by one user popping several windows open.  In general, if data is ephemeral it can be handled well by viewstate.  If data is not ephemeral, you probably want to be storing it in a database.  So pass on session.

Posted by David Eison on Tuesday, October 19, 2010 3:04 PM
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Sitecore: Setting and Customizing the Rich Text Field Editor

This is well documented in the Sitecore documentation and elsewhere, but I always forget where so this post is definitely for my own benefit (and anyone else like me who doesn’t know where to look right away).

There are two ways of changing around the rich text editor that I’ll cover, I’ll start with the easier one:

1. Setting the source property for the rich text field on your template



I was pretty thrilled to learn this, just go into your content editor or template manager, open up the template with the rich text field that you want to set this for and choose one of the following options as the source (in italics).

Rich Text Default:

/sitecore/system/Settings/Html Editor Profiles/Rich Text Default

This is the default (shocking!) and the control portion looks like the following:rtdefault

Rich Text Full:

/sitecore/system/Settings/Html Editor Profiles/Rich Text Full

This is a much more filled out editor shown below:


Rich Text Medium:

/sitecore/system/Settings/Html Editor Profiles/Rich Text Medium

This is the middle of the road editor, more than just the default and less than the Full version.


Our next method of changing the rich text editor comes about when the above (or the ones not listed: IDE, Mail) do not meet your needs, or if they Almost do but need to be adjusted.

2. Modifying the default rich text editor

To do this you need to switch to the Core Database – at the bottom right in Desktop view is a little grey icon: click that and choose Core from the popup.

Once the screen refreshes open up the Content Editor and we need to browse to the HTML Editor Profiles (the paths above are where we are going). If you want to change the properties of the default editor for all rich text fields Copy the Rich Text Default and rename it (just in case!) and then you can pick and choose items from the other Profiles – just copy them over to the Rich Text Default item.

rtfull-folder As seen on the left there are a number of folders and then sets of toolbars: the toolbars are where the magic is at and the folders contain data that can be displayed and modified.

For example, you can change the inline styles that are available by selecting the inline style item, and then changing the children (or adding new children for your own custom styles).

If you wanted to add Inline styles to your Rich Text Default you can do the following: make sure to copy the Inline Styles folder to Rich Text Default, and then make sure to add the drop down option for css (called Css Class in Toolbar 3 from Full) to the toolbar in Rich Text Default.

Each toolbar is separated by a solid line around it or displayed on a new row on the edit screen and you can add, copy, modify or rearrange items as you wish like any other set of items. They can be deleted as well, so it’s always a good idea to keep a copy of the profile you’re editing if something goes wrong.

I hope that helps anyone else who has wanted to make changes to the default rich text editor and wasn’t sure where to begin!





Posted from: Amy’s Sitecore Adventures!

Categories: Sitecore
Posted by Amy Winburn on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 1:11 PM
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CRM 4 to CRM 2011: SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended

The constant parameter for SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended has changed in CRM 2011.

CRM 4 CRM 2011
SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended(crmForm.all.new_notbillablereason_c, FORM_FIELD_TYPE_NORMAL, ""); SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended(crmForm.all.new_notbillablereason_c, FIELD_NOT_REQUIRED, "");
SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended(crmForm.all.new_notbillablereason_c, FORM_FIELD_TYPE_RECOMMENDED, ""); SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended(crmForm.all.new_notbillablereason_c, FIELD_RECOMMENDED, "");
SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended(crmForm.all.new_notbillablereason_c, FORM_FIELD_TYPE_REQUIRED, ""); SetFieldRequiredOrRecommended(crmForm.all.new_notbillablereason_c, FIELD_REQUIRED, "");

Posted by Eric Stoll on Wednesday, October 13, 2010 9:54 AM
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CRM 2011 - Living in Outlook

Right now, the Microsoft CRM Team is posting videos about CRM 2011.  The most recent one is Living in Outlook.  If you use Outlook and/or CRM at all, prepare to have your mind blown.  The level of integration between CRM 2011 and Outlook is absolutely amazing!  and the best thing is, since it uses Outlook's features to expose CRM data, as Outlook is updated, you get more features in CRM. Of course, that's a double-edged sword.  If you're struck on Outlook 2003, you're not going to get a lot of these cool features, as they disn't exist in Outlook 2003. Here is their full blog post as well:


Posted by Wayne Walton on Monday, October 4, 2010 4:27 PM
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