CRM Development: Intellisense, Schemas and Useful Resources
So here I am working on the specs for new exciting CRM5 features and exploring some scenarios. As part of my research I was exploring some features of Visual Studio and realized that some developers may not know that they can make their lives a lot easier by leveraging things like intelligence. The concrete case was editing CRM related files (XML files) using Visual Studio (or any other XML editor for that matter).
I quickly came to the realization that developers were, contrary to my belief J, taking advantage of intellisense as depicted in this post by Jonas Deibe. Still I noticed that there was something that could be further simplified in the method described in that post and remembered that one of our technical writers, Jim, had already published a great article in our resource center walking you trough a very well explained process; the key of that article (that relates to intellisense) is that Jim collapsed in a single XSD file all the required schemas so that you can edit the customizations.xml file (the file that MS CRM generates when exporting customizations) and have intellisense guide you. A very important caveat here: you should only edit portions of the XML file that are supported to be edited: SiteMap and IsvConfig, if you modify any other sections you are on your own and Microsoft support may not be able to help you if something goes wrong.
Perhaps even more important for CRM developers is to realize that there are great articles posted in our resource center and other Microsoft properties and they should take advantage of them (btw, our User Assistance team is already working to improve the discoverability of such articles). Also note that the Resource Center is also available as part of the product (if you have CRM just click on the Resource Center button in your navigation, usually in the bottom left). Anyhow, if you are a CRM developer make sure you periodically check these sites as they contain information and links to pretty much all you need to know about CRM development.