This week’s feature highlight is short and sweet. I wanted to call out a few cool new, under publicized, features related to Processes (previously known as Workflows) that may have otherwise gone unnoticed. J If you did not already know, Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011’s workflow system is now based on Windows Workflow Foundation (WF) 4.0 which brings with it all kinds of performance and reliability improvements. This article is purely about application-level features and changes available in the beta.
New Entities Supported
First, with all the new features in CRM 2011, the list of entities that support workflows has obviously expanded. There is however one entity (Queue Item) that was in CRM 4.0, but previously did not support workflows. CRM 2011 brings a number of improvements to queues (which frankly haven’t been touched since v1.0) and with them came the ability to perform workflows on Queue Items.
- Connection Role
- Queue Item
- Recurring Appointment
- SharePoint Site
Process Instance (System Job) Detail View:
The product team has also taken some steps to help with troubleshooting processes. This is going to be especially useful, now that Visual Studio XAML-based workflows are supported.
- Retry Count – This was always in the database, but is now available on the form. This simply shows how many times the workflow has failed and been tried again.
- Postponed Until – Again, always in the database, but it is now available on the form. This shows until when the workflow is postponed. If it is waiting “indefinitely” this will be some date in the year 9999.
Detailed Error Information (!)
- This one I really like! This shows the full XML error and exception that was produced by Workflow Foundation
- Note: You could previously get some of this information by creating a custom view in Advanced Find or looking in the database, but that was certainly a pain.
Process Editor (Workflow):
The editor also enables a new cool feature.
Per Workflow job deletion – In CRM 4.0, this was handled globally via a registry key setting. This is a much more elegant approach. This is a major improvement from CRM 4.0 which could only be set globally. Now you can decided if you want to preserve history on some workflows, while deleting lots of noise from others.
More changes may be coming post-beta, but that is all for now. See you next week (hopefully) J
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