Thursday, May 19, 2011

Exporting Customizations in CRM 2011

In CRM 4.0 exporting customizations was straight forward. You just went into the Customizations | Export section of CRM, selected the entities you wished to export and export. You could then make modifications to your exported files (such as the Site Map or ISV.config) and go into CRM and re-import the modified file.

With CRM 2011, this process has become slightly more involved due to the introduction of the concept of "Solutions". You can still very easily export all customizations by navigating to Customizations | Customize the System | Export Solution.

However what if you just want o export individual files as you could do in 4.0? It is easier to make modifications to say the Site Map if it's the only exported file than trying to work with the global export file.

As the Site Map and ISV.config (now Application Ribbon) are arguably the files you most frequently want to export, you may want to create a solution for each of these and then another general "export" solution for backing up other customizations files. Something like what is shown below:

...with the SiteMap solution (for example) just containing the SiteMap extension in it:

From now on to export the Site Map, all you'll need to do is open up the Site Map solution and click Export Solution.

It goes without saying that the above is not to get around the "solution" functionality in CRM. You should use solutions for what they were intended - managing the delivery of new functionality. But for quick tweaks such as modifications to the Site Map - while you can be a purist and create a solution for each one - it might make more sense to follow an approach like the one listed above.

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