October 29, 2014

Open CRM 4.0 and CRM 2011 instances using previous Internet Explorer versions

Dynamics CRM 2015 will be available soon but many customers are still using successfully CRM 4.0 (released in 2007) or CRM 2011 (nearly 4 years old) for their business processes. On the other hand we have Operating Systems and browsers updated regularly due to security reasons or machine upgrades.

Dynamics CRM has been always compatible with Internet Explorer but not with all the versions, we can't expect to use Internet Explorer 6 with the latest version or pretend to use IE11 with CRM 4.0.

As developer I faced this issue when I upgraded my PC to Windows 8 and Internet Explorer 11, I wasn't able anymore to use a CRM 2011 instance, the mobile version was prompted to me.

CRM 2011 is compatible with Internet Explorer 11, but it must have Rollup 17 installed, and that wasn't the case.
Which Internet Explorer version can be used in order to access correctly Dynamics CRM? Assuming we don't know if a rollup is installed, the IE versions that can be used with RTM are:

Internet Explorer 6 and 7 for CRM 4.0
Internet Explorer 7, 8 and 9 for CRM 2011
Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10 for CRM 2013

Based on this data Internet Explorer 7 is the best candidate for CRM 4.0 and CRM 2011. We can rely on a Virtual Machine in order to use a previous Internet Explorer version without messing up our current environment.

Creating a VM is a tedious process and it can take several hours. Lucky for us Microsoft provides a set of Internet Explorer VMs ready to be downloaded.
They are available at modern.IE, the intended use is to test a website compatibility with old browsers but they are also good to access occasionally to Dynamics CRM. I wrote occasionally because these VMs are not meant for a production use and the Windows version included is a trial.
If it's necessary to use constantly an older browser (or you have a Mac) it's better to build a proper VM with the right licenses.
The following VMs are available at modern.IE:

IE 6 - Windows XP
IE 8 - Windows XP
IE 7 - Windows Vista
IE 8 - Windows 7
IE 9 - Windows 7
IE 10 - Windows 7
IE 11 - Windows 7
IE 10 - Windows 8
IE 11 - Windows 8.1

Personally I use VirtualBox (you need to disable Hyper-V in Windows 8 to get better performances) but the VMs are available also for Hyper-V, VMWare, Virtual PC and Parallels.

October 20, 2014

Google Chrome 38 Lookup Fix

In my previous post I analyzed the lookup issue caused by the latest version of Google Chrome (link) but I wasn't able to provide a solution.

Google Chrome 38.0.2125.111 fixed the lookup error, please update it.

Some days ago Jon Grant wrote a JavaScript patch based on my post, you can find it here:

His solution is unsupported but effective. Starting from his JavaScript patch I created a managed solution that includes this (unsupported) fix in all the entity forms.
The solution works with CRM 2013, but it's not tested with CRM 2011 UR12+.

Download from Codeplex:


October 10, 2014

Lookup errors with Google Chrome 38

Google released a new version (38.0.2125.101) that breaks (again) Dynamics CRM. When users try to open a lookup they get the following error:

Currently there isn't a fix for this issue and it is not related to the previous showModalDialog issue.

Google Chrome 38.0.2125.111 fixed the lookup error, please update it.

A managed solution (unsupported) that fix this issue is available:
Google Chrome 38 Lookup Fix

Offline installers of Google Chrome V37 (32 and 64 bit) are available:
Google Chrome 37.0.2062.124 32 bit (MD5: 6CF617A12FB9B7169B6C69D328F63389)
Google Chrome 37.0.2062.124 64 bit (MD5: 91644DE37A8EC506163FCBBCBD9AD0E4)

Microsoft Support KB Article regarding this issue: http://support2.microsoft.com/kb/3008160

Now I will explain what and how Google Chrome broke the lookup functionality:

When the user opens a lookup, CRM calls the web service AppWebServices/LookupService.asmx (message RetrieveInlineSearchResults) in order to fetch the preview records:

With Internet Explorer and Firefox the web service returns 200 (OK) but with Google Chrome it returns 500 (Internal Server Error). Which is the difference between the POST request made by Chrome and the other browsers?
The correct request body is the following:
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8" ?>
<soap:Envelope xmlns:soap="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/" xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance" xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema">
        <RetrieveInlineSearchResults xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/crm/2009/WebServices">
Chrome V38 doesn't add the piece
causing the web service call to fail.
I debugged the CRM JavaScript and I found the connected piece of code (JsProvider.ashx):
!isNullOrEmptyString($v_D) && $v_0.SetParameter("values", $v_6);
$v_6 contains the text inside the lookup, after CRM will put this value inside an array called aParameters (script global.ashx) in order to build the SOAP request.
CRM doesn't use an object but an array to handle the values and check with a function called IsNull if the value is already inside the parameters:
function pushCommandParameter(oParameter) {
    // oParameter.Name is "values"
    if (!IsNull(aParameters[oParameter.Name])) // Google Chrome returns always true when oParameter.Name is "values" !!!
        aParameters[aParameters[oParameter.Name]] = oParameter;
    else {
        aParameters[oParameter.Name] = aParameters.length;
Google Chrome returns something when you access the property "values" of an array. This can be easily tested:
var myArray = new Array();
alert(myArray['values']); // it returns function values() { [native code] }
alert(myArray['anotherparameter']); // it returns undefined
Due to this new behavior of the arrays the SOAP request is not created correctly (the missing <values><string></string></values> piece) and CRM returns 500 (Internal Server Error).

Which is the reason of this change? Google Chrome V38 introduced a partial support for ECMAScript 6, including the method Array.prototype.values() that causes this behavior and consequently the lookup errors inside Dynamics CRM.

A fix is not available (an update of Google Chrome or Dynamics CRM is the only solution) so if you still have Google Chrome V37 you can disable the auto-update (instructions here) or use another browser (Internet Explorer or Firefox).

October 9, 2014

The Xrm.Page.data.refresh method

CRM 2013 introduced new client APIs, one is the Xrm.Page.data.refresh method.
The MSDN definition is:
Asynchronously refreshes and optionally saves all the data of the form without reloading the page.
Xrm.Page.data.refresh(save).then(successCallback, errorCallback);
Why we leverage on this method?
The obvious reason is that we want the actual data displayed on the form, the inner reason is due to the Dynamics CRM platform, a record can be updated in several ways including workflows or plugins operating server-side.
Most of the server-side events don't refresh the UI, but with the Xrm.Page.data.refresh method we can manually force the page to display the current values.

If we want a simple refresh we can just write:
A small advice will appear during the operation

October 7, 2014

Dynamics CRM Compatibility List URLs

Microsoft updated the support page for Dynamics CRM and divided the Compatibility List based on the version.

The new URLs are:

Compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013
Compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
Compatibility with Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0

My page Resources for CRM Developers has been updated to include these links.

October 4, 2014

Create custom currencies by code

Dynamics CRM allows to create custom currencies in addition to the standard ones provided by the system.

The entity involved is transactioncurrency and the follow attributes are required to create a new currency:
  • currencyname (string)
  • currencyprecision (int)
  • currencysymbol (string)
  • exchangerate (decimal)
  • isocurrencycode (string)
The attribute isocurrencycode requires an additional check, it must contains always three letters, digits and special characters are not allowed.

Entity newCurrency = new Entity("transactioncurrency");

newCurrency["currencyname"] = "My Currency";
newCurrency["currencyprecision"] = 2;
newCurrency["currencysymbol"] = "@";
newCurrency["exchangerate"] = 2m;
newCurrency["isocurrencycode"] = "MCU"; // 3 letters

Guid newCurrencyId = service.Create(newCurrency);