The end of xRM Portals Community Edition

As 2020 comes to an end, so does xRM Portals Community Edition. On December 19th, 2020, I marked the GitHub project as archived, so that everything would become read-only, including the code, wiki, and issue management features.

I was a little hesitant to take this step because of my personal connection to the code, my career, and all the unsung developers that worked tirelessly to build it from its inception at Adxstudio all the way until its acquisition and one-time release by Microsoft. Nostalgia aside, I feel it was the right time, given the ever-increasing inactivity on the project and my judgement of it having accomplished the project’s goal of providing a migration path to Microsoft’s online portals service.

What follows is my retrospective of the project.

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Blog posts I’ve lost to the ethers of time

The web is an ephemeral medium, if you’re not careful. Throughout my career, I’ve written blog posts for the company I’ve worked for. Over time, those websites or their content have been removed, and before their removal I copied the posts to my personal blog to keep a record of what I’d written.

But alas, I missed two blog posts I wrote in 2014 working at Adxstudio and can’t find a copy of them. They were, admittedly, not very high quality content, and from what I can tell they were removed from the site within a few months by someone who must have thought they weren’t good enough to stay published!

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Announcing the CrmDataPackager PowerShell module

I’ve released a new PowerShell module, CrmDataPackager, that lets you unpack Configuration Migration data zip files into separate files per record, m2m relationship, and even individual fields.

This module’s commands help you achieve ALM for your Dynamics 365 / Dataverse / Power Apps / CDS / CRM data. The commands included are Expand-CrmData and Compress-CrmData, which are analogous to the pack and unpack operations of Solution Packager, but used for configuration data.

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Unexpected privilege error when linking knowledge article to case

My team recently encountered an error in Dynamics 365, and I thought it would be interesting to share the solution. Thanks to Microsoft support for providing an explanation.

We had created a custom security role with restricted privileges that could not create knowledge articles, and a user assigned to this security role would get an error trying to link a knowledge article to a case.

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Exploring the new FetchXML filtering feature in Dynamics 365 Configuration Migration Tool

On approximately December 9th 2019 Microsoft stealth-released a new feature in version 9.1.0.5 of the Dynamics 365 configuration migration tool to filter exported records. This has undoubtedly been one of the most desired features for this tool by those who have used it to prepare complex data sets.

I suspect this tool has historically been named the “configuration” migration tool to emphasize the limited intended use of this tool to be used for “configuration” data and not complex data migration purposes. Those who ignored this limitation would live with the fact that all records for the selected entities would be exported, and then post-process the exported data to remove unwanted records.

Now that the filtering feature is here, it should streamline data export efforts. I’ve done some some early exploring to see how it works and what it can do and here is what I found.

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Convert PowerApps Checker SARIF files to Excel using Power Query

The PowerApps Checker Powershell module introduces the ability to script the validation of solution files to analyze them for following best practices. This is an improvement over the Solution Checker which involves submitting solutions for validation through a web interface. One significant difference between the two tools is the Solution Checker makes the output available for download as Excel files whereas the PowerApps Checker outputs SARIF files.

SARIF files use the JSON file format and are meant to be consumed by other applications to display the information a human readable format. The SARIF website shows three existing tools that have been built for viewing these files, unfortunately they’re not conducive to being used in a team-based environment where the information needs to be shared, like Excel files can be.

One way to quickly convert these SARIF files to Excel is with Excel’s Power Query and its support for JSON files. After using the Power Query editor to create the query, it’s then possible to access the query in its raw text-based format so that it can be edited, or shared with others.

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