Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Contact Address Solution

In my previous post I provided some background with regards to the challenge of managing account and contact addresses in CRM. I also provided a solution for handling a simple scenario where the contact's account only ever has a single address. But the reality in most cases is more involved than that.

We will be walking through the scenario described at the end of my previous post i.e.
It would therefore be better to stick to a single account with multiple addresses and allow for the contact records to be associated to one of these account addresses. In the next post, I will present an elegant approach to handling this requirement.
The objective of this solution is to provide the flexibility of a custom lookup solution while not compromising any features/functions in the system by ensuring that the default (out of the box) address fields are populated with the address information.

This requirement covers a number of configuration scenarios and therefore may be useful as a good overall "configuration" tutorial. Topics referenced:

  • Default vs. Custom entities - when to resort to custom
  • Use case for the "Related Records Filtering" configuration option
  • Distribute Workflow
  • Plugin requirement

First of all, we need to create a new address entity. The reason we do so is because the ability to leverage the default More Addresses entity is limited. Specifically, the system does not allow custom relationships to be created against More Addresses which is a key requirement to the solution we are trying to implement. So first of all, we create a custom entity like the one shown and in order to eliminate user confusion we rename and remove the default More Addresses from the account and contact forms.

 Next we create an N:1 relationship with Account - this essentially replaces the More Addresses link in the account entity.

... and a 1:N relationship with Contact - this is going to allow for an address selector at the contact level.

We now add the relationship field created in the step above to the contact form. In the "Related Records Filtering" section we need to filter it to the Parent Account. This will limit the addresses shown in the lookup dialog to addresses defined at the parent account level.

The next thing we need to do is to add some jscript to the form. The objective here is to retrieve the address fields from the address which has been selected and copy it to the corresponding address fields on the contact record. The jscript below will perform the following logic:

  • Copy/Clear Address fields based on address selected from lookup using the REST API (note this use the retrieveEntityByID function described in this post)
  • Make fields read only if address is selected via the "picker" (the idea here is that you can enter an ad-hoc address if you want at the contact level, but if you select from one of the lookup values then the address values will be controlled by the official parent address records).

function AddressPicker_OnChange() {

 var entity = "snt_address";
 var entityid = Xrm.Page.getAttribute("snt_addressid").getValue();
 var fields = "?$select=snt_Street1,snt_Street2,snt_Street3,snt_City,snt_State,snt_Zip,snt_Country"
 if (entityid != null) {
  entityData = retrieveEntityById(entity,entityid[0].id,fields,UpdateAddressFields);
 } else {


function UpdateAddressFields(entityData) {
 if (entityData != null) {  

function AddressRender() {
  -- Add function to form onload function
  var disabled;
  if (Xrm.Page.getAttribute("snt_addressid").getValue() != null)
   disabled = true;
   disabled = false;


For the sake of illustration, after the above jscript is implemented, when an address record is selected the fields are copied as shown:

Now we need to implement logic that will keep addresses in sync. For example, if the address shown in the screenshot is changed and there are 5 contacts that are linked to this address, then we want to make sure that the address fields are propagated to all 5 contact records. This is fairly easy to accomplish using the distribute workflow. The screenshots below show the 2 workflows required in order to configure this option.

The last piece of the puzzle requires a plugin. Basically at this juncture we can define addresses against the account entity that will appear in the lookup for contacts tied to this account:

But what about the address defined on the account itself? This in essence is the Primary address of the account and we also want it available for selection for the contacts. Therefore the plugin logic required here is to automatically maintain the PRIMARY address as shown above based on the values entered on the account form (as additional validation, you should also define jscript on the address entity to make the fields read only when the address name = PRIMARY and prevent manually keying in address with this name i.e. reserve PRIMARY for the plugin only).

The end result? A lookup on the contact form that allows you to select from the specified account addresses.

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