Extending CRM 2011: Fellowship of the Plugin


Our story continues with our diminutive hero exploring the world of Plugins and their place in extending CRM 2011.  As mentioned in my previous post, I am not a developer…but am pursuing the Extending CRM 2011 (MB2-786) certification to improve my abilities to consult, write design documents and in general be a greater asset to my team.  In this post, I will discuss my review of concepts related to CRM Plugin development, the tools that I used and my thoughts on the topic.

It may surprise you that I have never written an actual plugin…no, really…it’s true. (Not sure if you could sense the sarcasm…but I was laying it on pretty thick right there.)  To remedy that situation, so that the information had a “muscle memory” component to my learning, I attempted to write my first plugin using the step by step procedure within the Microsoft Official Curriculum.  Remember in the last post where I said I was NOT a developer?  Yeah, you guessed it…still not a developer, but at least have some experience setting up the project, adding references and getting the experience of the attempt.  I got the CRM Developer Toolkit setup, I added my references (Microsoft.Xrm.Sdk.dll, Microsoft.Crm.Proxy.dll, Microsoft.Xrm.Sdk.Deployment.dll) and made sure that it was using IPluginExecutionContext….and then I hit the wall.  In the sake of doing a review of ALL the material, I decided that I would have to write that Autonumber plugin another day.  🙂

As I mentioned, I was reviewing the Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) and the elearning videos for this part of the review.  My experience was mixed.  While I reviewed Plugin basics, IPluginExecutionContext, Impersonation in Plugins, Entity Classes and more…I felt that the videos dragged a bit and didn’t really provide much more than the MOC.  Also, the MOC seemed a bit outdated since it made no mention of the CRM Developer toolkit and its benefits.  I understand that it does not hurt to learn the “old school” way of doing things, but as the tools that extend Microsoft Dynamics CRM and in most cases, the “real world” user scenarios that support the certification change…so should the certification training materials.

I answered the questions at the end of the chapter and I got 4 out of 6 correct.  For those of you keeping track, that is a 66%…you need an 80% to pass the exam.  I’ll need to circle back on this topic before Friday.  Tomorrow…Application Event Programming.  I’ll be back to let you know how it went!

Shawn (CRMHobbit)

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Author: crmhobbit

The CRMhobbit (Shawn Tabor) is a CRM Architect and a licensed securities representative. He has 12+ years experience in the Financial Services industry and 10+ years working with Microsoft Dynamics CRM and other CRM solutions. The purpose of his blog is to share his knowledge, experience and thoughts regarding CRM in the hopes of benefiting those in the CRM community. If anything on this blog has helped you, please comment or rate the posts. Thank you!

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