VSTO – Enabling Ribbon Controls at RunTime

I recently ran into an issue where I needed to enable and disable Ribbon controls in a VSTO plugin where the Ribbon controls were initialized through a Ribbon.xml file.

This can be a bit challenging s the controls in the Ribbon XML file are not available to your code at design time when you are trying to write the actual code.

In addition, I needed to trigger the decision handling logic from another section of code not associated to the Ribbon.

Accomplishing this task involved a number of steps and was done building an integration to Outlook (not sure if this would be similar in Word or Excel).

Identify the controls at run-time

In each control that I wanted to control the state on, at the time of the Ribbon’s instantiation I had them call

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Creating Your Own Business Unit

Business Units are one of those dicey concepts in Dynamics where if done right – they make sense and are of big value to your implementation.

But when done wrong, they can be a black hole that makes your life very hard to recover from.

When discussing with clients why they need a business unit there are a few things I generally look for;

  • Do you have groups within your organization that need to keep their data separate from one another?  The best example being a parent company with subsidiaries which need to use the same system but cannot see each other’s data (because they are partners).
  • Are you trying to do implement security with a Business Unit (i.e., what people can and cannot do?).  If so, you should look at security roles.

Generally, when

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Do you still Customize the Default Solution?

Since the introduction of the solution framework in CRM 2011 (and now Dynamics365), I have not customized the default solution and find no value in doing so going forward.

Apart from their deployment and product shipping functionality, solutions provide a container where I can specifically look at what I am customizing and am working on as it pertains to my own entities.  Whether it is an unmanaged solution in Production or Development (hopefully not in Production), at the very least I have a container that takes me two minutes to create that nicely encapsulates all the changes I have made.

With the Default Solution, I see the world, everything that is in it and everything that is a part of it.  If I were to step away from this solution for a

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Default Solution and Publisher Ids

In writing my last post on Creating your own Dynamics Publisher, I stumbled across the below information on the default solution and publisher Ids within Dynamics.

Both, the default solution and publisher are the same Guids across all Dynamics environments.

DefaultPublisherId  – {d21aab71-79e7-11dd-8874-00188b01e34f}

Furthermore, you can access the Default Solution Id (consistent across all environments).

DefaultSolutionId – {FD140AAF-4DF4-11DD-BD17-0019B9312238}

I did a quick validation between an on-premise CRM 2015 tenant and my online Dynamics instance and both lined up.

Reference: https://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg328257.aspx

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Understanding Publishers with Dynamics

A Publisher in Dynamics is the entity by which your solutions are deployed to Dynamics CRM.

No publisher means no solution being deployed.

In any Dynamics install, there is always a Default Publisher which you can use across your solutions (if you like) but exists as the publisher for customizations made to the base system.

Creating a publisher can be accomplished by simply going to Settings >> Customizations >> Publishers and creating your own publisher.

But that’s pretty boring, so we’re going to create one using code.

Creating your Publisher

Once you initialized a connection to Dynamics, put together a little console app and use the following code to create your own Publisher that can be used for deploying your own solutions.

 Entity crmPublisher = new Entity("publisher");
 crmPublisher["uniquename"] = "ForgottenCoder";
 crmPublisher["friendlyname"] = "Forgotten Coder";
 crmPublisher["supportingwebsiteurl"]															

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