Me and a colleague( Dick Clark ) of mine have started our learning podcast focused on Dynamics 365 and the power platform. This is intended towards beginners and those who would like to learn more about the new features coming out and the basics on how to get started. We hope to create awareness about low code initiatives for you to join and discuss core concepts of Dynamics 365 applications and architecture. Join us for some fun and friendly talk about our experiences and topics that we are passionate about. Our first episode is out now! You can also follow us on the podcast channel https://powerplatformpod.com/the-podcast/
Episode 01: The Intro
We’re open to recommendations, please comment below with topics you’d like us to cover!
For all those who follow my blog I would be giving a comprehensive session on solutions deployments and approaches at DynamicsCon coming this September 2020 on. If you have not gone in at voted yet, please do so at https://dynamicscon.com/sessions/ this is an amazing event for the community by the Dynamics Power Platform community leaders and experts. There are multiple categories and lots to learn from the industries best.
You’ll find my session under the Dynamics 365 Power Platform section, go out there and vote!
Note: I’m a firm believer in releasing only managed solutions to testing and production environments and maintaining an unmanaged solution on the development box only, therefore this post is based on the MS best practice architecture of exporting managed solutions for distribution.
To understand solution patches think of them in the direct definition of what a patch is, something to mend or fix up a weak or broken point. For example a complete wall with a hole or a small missing piece in it would require a patch not a new wall. Solution patches are meant to fix up or complete a deployed solution, not to deploy new functionality; I repeat, they are not meant to deploy new additional functionality. This generic definition should be your rule of thumb when deciding whether to create a patch and release that or a new major version release.
On the other hand whether you are in a situation of actually needing to release a patch level fixes or working on a new sprint in your project to release for UAT after the first version of the solution has already been release, creating a patch is always a good idea to keep your new sprint functionality separate from the main solution until you decided to release the functionality, as that helps a great deal in identifying/reviewing the changes done before they are merged into a new version of the solution( more on major releases to come in future posts)
In order to create a patch for an existing solution in your development box. Select the base solution and click on Create patch
You get the option to change version, ideally you should let the system recommended one stay as it is managed in order of creation if you create more than one patch
Once the patch is created you will see the base solution as well as the patch:
This patch is now ready to be exported as a managed solution independently and applied to target environment.
Solution’s are used to transfer and release functionality in a packaged manner for other environments to be imported to. This approach applies to the Power Platform Make portal and the Dynamics customization(old interface) for creating solutions. To make it easier I will mention navigation for both.
In order to create a solution in the power platform, navigate to https://make.powerapps.com/ and select the correct environment on the top right.
This will open up your environments context. After this click on the solution module on the left navigation pane and then New Solution.
Give it the solution name you’d like and either select or create a new Publisher(this will be the entity that is releasing the solution, for e.g partner name if an isv). The version can be changed manually, Microsoft recommends start from 9 as that’s the current CRM version we are on; the remaining parts can be decided by you .0.0.0.
Once you click create an unmanaged solution will be created in your environment. The shortest way to explain an unmanaged solution is through the new MS info about it so as per Microsoft documentation “An unmanaged solution is one that is still under development or isn’t intended to be distributed. When the unmanaged solution is complete and you want to distribute it, export it and package it as a managed solution.”
From here you can add all your existing components like power automates, canvas apps etc to your solution and create new ones inside the solution as well to package.
In order to create a solution from the old interface, follow steps below:
Goto your CDS/Dynamics environment url and click on advance settings:
From here goto settings>solutions
Click on new solution and same fields would be inserted as we did above when creating solution from make power apps portal
4 Years back when I started working on Dynamics Customer engagement and the common data service(now known as Dataflex Pro) was coming to life there were different admin fronts for managing, configuring and customizing each application and environment/instance. Those are still alive and functional but there have been new alternates introduced which are the way forward as everything transitions to the Power Platform. If you are new to the Power Platform or Dynamics 365 in general this is a good place to start and identify where to navigate for the specific task you want to achieve. I will try to list all of them on here as of July, 2020. The first one is the old CRM Admin center (https://port.crm.dynamics.com/G/Applications/Index.aspx) which was used for administering dynamics CE instances, installing solutions and applications, taking/restoring backups etc
This portal is still alive and well but there is a new alternate released by Microsoft offering the same and more functionality over the CE environments called Power Platform Admin center ( https://admin.powerplatform.microsoft.com/environments ) this offers analytics over the common data service, org capacity reporting, data polices and data integrator access. You also have the same functionality of managing environments, taking backups, initiating new environments etc as you did with the previous admin center. This is your gateway to environments if you are a developer or admin that works with multiple boxes, bookmark this one!
In order to customize and configure an individual environment whats still used is the customization portal through your crm environment as this offers detailed options on customization a lot of which have not been moved over to the power platform alternate yet
The new offering is the PowerApps portal(https://make.powerapps.com/environments/) from here you can create environment based Power automates(previously MS Flows), power apps, power portals, power virtual agents, AI builder etc basically all power platform services. You can also manage each component in solutions and have complete solution management available. So yea if you are doing anything on the power platform, bookmark this!
Those are the main ones, each power platform service has its own individual front as well which i did not mention here as they are all opened through these main portals. Below is the list of all portals we talked about and an additional one that was deprecated as soon as it was launched 🙂