Microsoft Dynamics basics – Day 2.

Dec 23, 2020 | Server administration, Technology | 0 comments

I was saying during my blog post yesterday that I am finding the training on Dynamics fundamentals to be very interesting. Today we were only scheduled to look at the field agent’s functionality and data exports and exports.  But we flew through those parts of the course, so I got to spend some time investigating some of the pros and cons of model-based apps verses canvas apps. Firstly, both kind of apps are very data driven.  They also support this notion of (low code). That means you can get up and running with quite a decent app without writing a single line of code.  But if there is something you want to do like refreshing the form when a button is clicked for example, you have the option of using JavaScript.  The interesting thing I took from the comparison of model driven verses canvas was the fact that both are using strongly typed datasets. Okay. The model is exposed directly to the model-based app even at run time but even in a canvas app, it is still using the data model of the solution that it is built on so that for example, if you create a canvas app based on a table, the fields are presented by default.  So too are default actions like select, insert, update and delete.  It reminds me of creating a strongly typed model using entity framework.  If you want, you can have it create default actions that you can use in your controllers.  Sure, there is no customization in these methods, they just select everything for example instead of a subset of the rows in that table, but it is still really nice that this is done by default. It also makes understanding some of this a little easier as they share concepts across technologies.

Oh, one thing that we covered yesterday but that I completely forgot about is the same connection strings that allow you to connect Power BI to Dynamics could also be used for connecting SQL Server Management studio.  But wait.  Before you go poking around your live Dynamics database, be aware that this locks the tables when you are connected! Yeah. I am glad that we covered that.  This is probably something I would have done just to go poking around.  However, I also learned today that canvas apps can use connections to different solutions.  So, you could even create an app on one tenancy and connect that to a Dynamics solution in another tenancy. That is quite nice.   However, it is not possible to do this in a model driven app. That little nugget blows one of my earlier ideas out the window.

Another interesting thing I learned today Is solutions can be exported and imported.  Solutions contain the Common Data model, the views, graphs, dashboards and everything else excluding the data that makes up a Dynamics installation.  The CDS Common data Service is still something I am not sure of.  According to the documentation this is stored in the solution. But that just does not make logical sense to me.    Sorry. I am going off point.  What I am trying to say is this is fantastic for a few reasons.  Firstly, it makes migrating changes along the dev to release pipeline easy.  Your version your solutions and just export / import them from dev to test staging to production.  What is even better is you can tie in Git hub to regularly back up your solutions.  Again, that contains your CDM, CDS, views, dashboards, graphs, site aps and everything else (excluding the data) in your Dynamics instance.  When you export the solution, it arrives on your computer as a repository of XML files. So, you could even run comparisons on these files.

There is a great way of kicking the tires on this.  I wish every service were as open.  Go to  and sign up for each dynamics component you want to test.

It is very clear as I go through this system more and more each day that it is interconnectivity with Power platform is now at the core of dynamics.  Now with the unification of the UI to match that of Power Platform, it is becoming hard to see where one ends and the other begins.  Of course, with any UI migration, it has not done and dusted over night, but I think I said this last night.  It seems that I am coming to the Dynamics world at a really good time.


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