Getting Started with the Dynamics Web API

The Dynamics Web API is the new “preferred” method for interacting with Dynamics entities from web-based applications.  If you are writing plugins and coded workflow activities, you would still use the pre-existing Dynamics SDK.

Getting familiar with the Web API is a bit of a leap of knowledge as you will dabble in Azure Authentication, JSON and Async implementations (if you’re not familiar with it).

Even though the API has been around since 2016, it’s disheartening to see there not being a singular location for Dynamics developers to bridge their current knowledge of the Dynamics SDK to the Web API.

Lots of trial and error still exists and this isn’t helped by the naming of the API either.

Also note, if you are hoping to get away with the now “vintage” Dynamics SDK, in

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Accessing the Dynamics SDK in v9

If you are moving your work from an old Dynamics instance to v9, there are a few SDK to know about before you get started.

First – there is no SDK to download anymore.

Well, there is, but you do it through Nuget (and it’s great).

To install the core SDK framework – use the following Nuget command.

Install-Package Microsoft.CrmSdk.CoreAssemblies -Version 9.0.0.7

This will install all the core assemblies you need (i.e., not things like workflow assemblies).

To get the workflows you would need to execute the following Nuget command;

Install-Package Microsoft.CrmSdk.Workflow -Version 9.0.0.7

Different from the last few versions of Dynamics where you could get away with re-using SDK tools between different versions, with v9, you now need to download the updated set of tools via Powershell and use them from there.

Before downloading the

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Don’t use your Methodology as a Band-Aid

I can’t remember a time when software development methodology was not a hot, contentious topic of discussion.

“We need to be Agile, because that will make us go faster”

“Scrum will save us from everything we are doing wrong”

“Waterfall is the devil’s child”

“Design Patterns are the only way to go”

“Design Patterns don’t work for me”

The problem with every architecture style and delivery methodology (new and old) is the same as it was yesterday, last year, five years ago and most likely in the 80s.

We refuse to look at what the problem is that we are trying to solve and instead are content with slapping a band-aid on it and calling it “fixed, because we now have #INSERT FAVOURITE METHODOLOGY HERE#”.

If you are not will to identify what is wrong with your delivery

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Dynamics Workflow Registration Mismatch

Recently I was deploying an update to a workflow when I received the following message.

workflowfail

Upon further investigation, the cause of the problem were the dll references I was using for deploying this particular code to this particular environment.

I had updated my Dynamics SDK to use the latest set of dlls (8.2.0.566) while the environment I had already deployed to was on (7.1.0001.3108).  A few updated file references later and I was back in business – coding, registering, deploying and testing my code.

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Don’t Sweat the Customizations

Dynamics365 (and it’s previous incarnations) is designed and built to be customized and integrated into your pre-existing Line of Business applications and/or seamlessly integrate into your new ones.

That’s the goal of the platform (in my humble opinion).

To this extent, the only times you should be afraid of performing customizations on the core or extended system are;

  • You don’t understand the requirements and are changing things willy, nilly all over the place.
  • You have gone beyond writing your own code and are now changing underlying code which may or may not be supported in future upgrades.
  • You are recreating functionality that already exists in the system in your own variant.
  • You are taking something called an account and making it look like a “cat” but then having to create another thing called an “account” because

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