Thursday, February 28, 2013

Reporting From MVP Summit and Answers to your Questions

I try to get out three blog posts per month and, given it is a short month I am therefore writing a blog post while I sit in an MVP session. I generally shy away from doing this as, frankly it is ‘safer’.

Other than telling you I am sitting in a room amongst the greats of CRM listening to the Product Managers of CRM impart their vision and thoughts, my hands are very much tied as to what I can say. Microsoft take the MVP NDA very seriously and I respect that. What I can say is the dialogue between the Product Managers and the MVPS is healthy, robust and respectful and I am proud to be part of it.


My Rules For Answering The Questions

In my last post, I encouraged readers to ask me questions to ask at Summit. While I can say the information provided about CRM now and in the future was comprehensive the rule I must follow is “I can only talk about it if I can find it online” or if I get formal approval. From a practical perspective this means I can mostly talk about Polaris and, to a lesser extent, upcoming releases such as Orion and Leo ( The good news is I passed on this blog to the Microsoft product team and have received the formal green light. For additional information, if history is any guide, most of what we learn at Summit comes out at Convergence anyhow Winking smile

The Questions

Ankit Shah asked about:

  • When shall Dynamics CRM support HTML 5?
  • What happens, post-Orion with custom ribbon buttons
  • Is the new Flow UI going to be the end of jscript? What is the alternative for us?
  • Will the internet lead capture be made available internationally?
  • How do we change the goal roll-up system job scheduling time?

Simon Hertzel asked about:

  • The upgrade path from here and beyond and whether fixes will be delivered separately to feature improvements
  • Code parity between online and on-premise
  • The provision of development and test environments for CRM online

Roman Finkel asked about:

  • Can we convert field types rather than delete and re-create fields?
  • Can we have dependent option sets?
  • Can we have online forms?

Jeff Loucks asked:

  • Do you prefer Magiannos or McCormicks?
  • What are the four steak restaurants in Bellevue?

The Answers

Html 5 Support

The Polaris cross-browser client is HTML 5 compatible so you can start developing today. Please note that if your client uses an older browser (or iPad safari) they may not be fully HTML 5 compliant.

Custom Ribbon Buttons

I cannot talk about post-Orion but I can tell you Polaris supports classic form custom buttons by putting them in their own bar at the top of the form.

J-script support in Flow Forms

Polaris ‘Flow UI’ forms have no support for jscript. However, as stated here ( ) it is intended for Orion to bring back form scripting.

Internet Lead Capture Form

I have no information to share on the availability of the internet capture form, or any web form in the product.

Goal Roll-up Scheduling Time

Similarly I have nothing to share on this one, sorry.

Upgrade Path and the Delivery of Fixes vs Updates

Again, Extreme 2013 comes through with the goods ( ). Bob confirmed that fixes would be delivered as rollups and these would NOT contain feature updates, which will, therefore, need to be delivered separately.

Code Parity

Reading between the lines of this (, this ( and this ( suggests Microsoft is adopting an ‘online first’ policy with on-premise catching up annually.

Provision of Test and Development Environments

According to this ( Office 365 allows for multiple instances but charges a monthly fee, as feared by Simon. If the amount is $500+ as suggested my Simon in his original post to me, this would be difficult to maintain when a system is on-going for a small business. In fact, it may be cheaper to fire up a new Office 365 account, add in a couple of users for testing and pay for it this way i.e. $50 per user per month or thereabouts. There may even be an option of firing up an ‘on-premise’ version on a cloud IaaS with an MSDN license, if it is for development.

Field Type Conversion

Nothing to share on this.

Dependant Option Sets

The simplest way of achieving this today is with filtered lookups as per my article here. For now it makes sense to stick with that.

Online Forms

Nothing to share on this.

Magianno’s or McCormicks?

Personally, I would take McCormicks every time.

The Four Steakhouses of the Apocalypse

This is a trick question as there are, according to Bing, five of them (


There are a lot of interesting things that have been happening in the release of Polaris and all indications are it is not letting up in Orion. We are, indeed, living in interesting times.


Anonymous said...

Hi Leon,

I’m not sure whether you missed the point of my questions or you just were not allowed to answer them?

Most of the above is as I was already aware (or suspected) so it's no surprise about releases to CRM Online first and On-Premise later or fixes distributed separately to rollups etc. My question centred around **how** this will all work (because it sure isn’t working now).

Unless you had a lot of foresight/luck (or want to fly by the seat of your pants with Beta software in your Live environment) new Dev/Test environments with CRM Online are no longer possible since the latest service update. See for more details.

If it's not working now I can only see it getting worse with the shortened release cycles, widening gap between online/on-premise and separate fixes and new feature patches.

My advice to clients since the service update is increasingly “don’t use CRM Online” – period. Unfortunately there is nothing in the answers you’ve been able to relay from Microsoft to persuade me I’ve got it wrong...


Leon Tribe said...

Hi Simon,

I did not miss the point but, other than intent, I literally know nothing more. Other than one sentence, which was factually inaccurate, Microsoft did not alter or censor my blog article.

My guess is they will deliver rollups for fixes and every six months deliver a 'special rollup' which will be functional only. This is not based on anything at Summit but seems like a sensible way to go about it.

As for not using online, the benefit of online is getting the latest features first, as we can see with Polaris. The disadvantage is the lack of a clear story for things like backups and testing environments.

If your clients are looking for staged deployment in their Dynamics CRM system I also, at this stage, would recommend on-premise.

As for code parity, the proof of the pudding will be their annual 'realignment', based on Perficient's timeline and description, coming in September with Orion. I agree the jury is out but, based on what I saw at Summit, I am willing to see how they go. I have no doubt they will do whatever is in their power to keep things on track and stable.

Unknown said...

Hi Leon, Thanks for sharing this.
Dynamics CRM