The Rise of Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform in the Real Estate, Property and Housing Market

I have recently published an article on MS Dynamics World discussion the rise of Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform in the Real Estate, Property and Housing Market. I also discuss the reasons for this and why other old-time established vendors are unable to compete. Keen to hear everyone views on this (no swearing!).

The post is inspired by our own firm’s experience (TechLabs London) in the Dynamics 365 platform and in the Property and Housing Industry through our solution (iProperty Cloud)

Here is a link to the article – feel free to comment below or on the article itself:

https://msdynamicsworld.com/story/rise-dynamics-365-real-estate-property-and-housing-market

 

 

Join my YouTube Channel and win a competition!

I don’t think many of the Dynamics 365 and the Power Platform community is aware of my YouTube channel. I currently have few videos including my sessions at Microsoft Ignite in Orlando. You will find videos talking about AI Chat Bots, Azure DevOps for ISV, Power Platform Vs Dynamics 365 and Building a Cloud strategy.

As many of us are now home-bound due to Corona virus outbreak and since my typical hectic schedule of flying to speak at events has now been reduced to 0 (can’t complain really), I have decided to do few Live Webinars and Recorded Videos then post them on my YouTube channel.

However, I would really like to be sure that my Video content will actually benefit the Dynamics 365 and Power Platform community.

Hence, I will much appreciate it if you can please subscribe to my YouTube Channel so you can get notified about my new videos.

Competition:

Moreover, the first 100 subscribers will have the priority (if they would want) to join me as guests on my first 25 Live sessions and Recorded videos and get 5 votes on which videos I should do first. All you need to do is just take a screenshot of your subscription showing current number of subscribers. Basically something similar to the screenshot below.

Subscribe to Mohamed Mostafa YouTube Channel
Subscribe to Mohamed Mostafa YouTube Channel

Download Microsoft Power Platform Governance & Administration whitepaper: Planning, deploying and managing an enterprise Power Apps deployment

Microsoft has published a new 117 pages whitepaper that outlines the considerations for planning, deploying and managing an enterprise Power Apps deployment.

The paper has extensive information on the governance and administration of Power Apps in an enterprise environment. It starts by giving a Power Platform overview and usage scenarios then goes into details on the Power Platform Architecture, environments and common data services.

This comprehensive white paper also covers the security, monitoring and alerting of Power Apps and their activities including auditing and logging.

There are also sections for deployment, ALM and Azure DevOps for Power Apps and the Power Platform. The paper then finishes with links to resources for additional information as well as a number of appendices with more details on related subjects such as the on-premise data gateway for Power Platform and CDS security roles.

You can download the full whitepaper free from the following link:

http://aka.ms/powerappsadminwhitepaper

 

Starting Microsoft Dynamics 365 Power Platform Client Performance Centre

If you are having client performance issues related to (or suspected to be related to) your user’s client, you can bring up the Client Performance Centre for the Unified Client Interface.

You can simply do this by pressing: “Alt + Shift + Q” at any time while on a UCI D365 screen.

You can even add “&perf=true” to your UCI App URL to load the performance centre automatically.

Moreover, you can also get a lot more details such as metadata and key performance indications if you click “F12” then navigate to Console and use these commands:
UCPerformanceTimeline.getMetadata()
UCPerformanceTimeline.getKeyPerformanceIndicators()

I found the above tips very useful, hence I thought I’ll share them.

Enjoy Client Performance testing (not!)

 

Collection of PowerApps Component Framework PCF Resources

If you read my previous post, Introduction to PCF: The Future is NOW! you will know that I am extremely passionate about PCF. However, this passion is not just because this is the direction Microsoft Power Platform, PowerApps and all Dynamics 365 1st Apps are going. It is a passion because I do believe it has filled a gap we always felt when building Dynamics 365 CRM solutions for many years. This gap was the lack of ability of building native components within a Dynamics 365 Form, View and Dashboard. Many years ago, we did IFrames (yeah – sounds bad but was normal then) and then we used Web Resources all the way. Now, it is PCF!

So, you want to learn more about PCF, here are some really interesting resources to get you going (updated regularly):

Microsoft PCF Resources:

The Infamous PCF Gallery: https://pcf.gallery/

Official Documentation: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/overview

PCF Tooling: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/create-custom-controls-using-pcf

Introduction to PCF: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WNDbZcgVMi0

PCF Forum: https://powerusers.microsoft.com/t5/PowerApps-Component-Framework/bd-p/pa_component_framework

 

Happy PCFing!

Introduction to PowerApps Component Framework PCF: The future is now!

Introduction:

Microsoft PowerApps Component Framework, widely known as PCF, is framework that allows PowerApps Makers and Dynamics 365 Developers build code components for model-driven and for canvas apps (currently public preview) to provide enhanced user experience for users to work with data on forms, views, and dashboards.

In other words, PCF is framework that can allow you to build any control to embed natively on any Model-driven form (and now canvas apps).

For example, a field that displays an integer value, can be replaced with a custom PCF control in the form of a colourful slider or a dial or a knob or whatever your imagination take you.

Many are asking how different is Dynamics 365 and PowerApps PCF from Web Resources that we have spent years using to build custom embedded screens. PCF is different. HTML Web Resources are rendered separate to the form, while PCF is rendered as part of the same context and loads at the same time as any other native component on any Dynamics 365 / PowerApps form. Most of Microsoft’s modern components and 1st Apps are built based on PCF. For example: Most of Dynamics 365 Marketing custom controls are build as PCF components and re-used throughout the Marketing solution.

You can read more about PCF in Microsoft’s official documentaiton:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/powerapps/developer/component-framework/overview

 

The Future is Now!

When you think about PCF, don’t think of it as this future way of building components. While you can still build HTML Web Resources, PCF is the new norm and you better get used to it! Here at TechLabs London, we have re-built all of our custom components as PCF for both our IP add-ons and throughout our iProperty Cloud solution modules.

So, if there is anything you can take away from this Post, please make sure it is:

Starting building your custom components in PCF now and don’t wait until it becomes more widely used. It is the future, but we have it now!

Using Microsoft Azure Functions instead of Dynamics 365 Plugins, Custom Actions and Custom Workflow Activities

Microsoft Azure has a multitude of Services that are offering a significant number of features and capabilities that can help you extend your Microsoft Dynamics 365 Solution, built on the Power Platform, in many ways.

If I were to follow each and every one of these, it would easily take me hundreds of pages/posts. However, there is one service that if you are not currently already using, then you are genuinely missing out. This is: Microsoft Azure Functions.

Azure Functions is an event driven, compute-on-demand serverless functions that extends existing Azure application platform with capabilities to implement code triggered by events occurring in Azure, Dynamics 365, Power Platform, Power App or any third party service as well as on-premises systems.

There are many things to cover on Azure Functions alone, but the main point I want to cover in this blog post, is how Azure Functions are now literally replacing Power Platform / Dynamics 365 plugins, custom workflow activities and custom actions. This is not an official Microsoft guidance, this is more of a personal conclusion.

If you are a seasoned Dynamics 365 CRM developer, you will remember how we used to build console apps and windows services to do a variety of things for us inside Dynamics 365 (or Dynamics CRM as we called it) but in a complete isolation outside of Dynamics 365 Platform.

Remember all these console apps that would update or insert data inside Dynamics 365? Remember the windows services that would run every 5 minutes to pull data out of Dynamics CRM or insert/Update data in Dynamics CRM? In the old on-premise world, these were prominent ways of running apps or code components in isolation from Dynamics 365 for very good reasons. Nowadays, in the Dynamics 365 world, these can (and should) be done as Microsoft Azure Functions.

Azure functions can act as a webhook, be triggered by an event or setup to run at certain times/dates or ever set intervals. Azure Functions can dip into your Dynamics 365 instance securely, and do all the CRUD (Create, Read, Update, Delete) actions you want it to do. Azure Functions can connect and integrate your Dynamics 365 solution with any other solution including on-premise solutions. Azure functions have no depth like plugins do and are do not have maximum 2 minutes execute time like plugins. There are many more points of comparisons, advantages and differences but I’ll leave that to future posts.

Hence, if you are not using Microsoft Azure Functions in your Dynamics 365 Solutions today, then you should start now. There is a whole world for you out there that you haven’t explored yet.

 

Microsoft Dynamics 365 versus Power Apps! What’s the difference?

What is the difference between Microsoft Dynamics 365 and PowerApps? Are they the same thing? Is PowerApps different form Dynamics 365 CRM? What is common between PowerApps and Dynamics CRM or Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement?

I did a webinar on the 10th Mary 2019 where I tried to answer all these questions and I have also covered few more related points. Watch the video here or on my YouTube Channel 

 

 

 

 

Are you watching Dynamics 365 Fortnight Fridays?

No – I’m not referring to the current craze – Fortnite by Epic Games – I’m referring to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fortnight Fridays.

A very interesting Microsoft webinar takes place every 2 weeks is called Dynamics 365 Fortnight Fridays. The webinar is presented by members of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Product Group and it covers all the latest and greatest about Dynamics 365 features and capabilities. In my humble opinion, I think it is a must watch webinar for 1 hour on a Friday every fortnight.

Here is a link to register for this free online event:

Welcome to Dynamics Fortnight Fridays

 

Dynamics 365 Testing Frameworks – open source GitHub Microsoft Dynamics CRM Testing Tools

I have been asked by several Dynamics 365 consultants and customers about which test frameworks or Dynamics 365 Testing tools that are available. Hence, I thought I create this post to list all Microsoft Dynamics CRM Customer Engagement testing tools I trust. I will continue to update this post with more tools and if you have a tool that I missed which is worth checking, please let me know and I’ll try it out then add it to the list if I found it useful to the Power Platform community.

First on my list is EasyRepro by Microsoft. EasyRepro is an automated UI testing API for Dynamics 365. This is a Dynamics 365 Testing library that aims to help teams of consultants and developers with UI Testing of Dynamics 365 solutions. EasyRepor API’s provide an easy to use set of commands that make setting up UI testing quick and easy. The functionality Microsoft provided covers core CRM commands that end users would perform on a typical workday and which can be extended to cover more functionality.

Here is where you can find Microsoft EasyRepro on GitHub:

https://github.com/Microsoft/EasyRepro

Next on the list is Fake XRM easy by my friend and fellow Microsoft MVP Jordi Montana. Fake XRM easy provides developers and consultants with a framework to run tests on an in-Memory context and allows you to do mocks or fakes for testing you Dynamics 365 components.

Here is where you can find FakeXRM easy on GitHub:

https://github.com/jordimontana82/fake-xrm-easy

There is also Wael Hamze’s xRM CI Framework which provides tools to automate the build and deployment of Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement CRM Solution. Using the framework to implement a fully automated DevOps pipeline will allow developers to deploy more frequently with added consistency and quality. It is also important here to mention that continuous deployment and a fully automated DevOps processes, provides a robust approach for development, testing and deployment and will deliver tangible savings to projects and programmes via efficiencies in development, testing and deployment

Here is where you can find xRM CI Framework on GitHub:

https://github.com/WaelHamze/xrm-ci-framework