My “crash course” in Dynamics CRM 2011 Development

cross post from here

Here’s my recommended training plan to become a Dynamics CRM 2011 developer (it’s what I used).  The foundational technologies you will need to understand are:

  • Visual Studio 2010
  • .NET Framework 4.0
  • SOAP based Web Services
  • OData (aka WCF Data Services)
  • Windows Workflow Foundation
  • Silverlight (optional)
  • HTML
  • JavaScript
  • XML (many customizations requiring tweaking XML or using tools that tweak XML)
  • SQL Server Reporting Services

There are other technologies that many CRM development efforts include as part of the overall system solution.

  • Excel & PowerPivot for advanced Business Intelligence & Reporting
  • Claims-based Authentication and ADFS 2.0
  • Windows Azure Platform
  • BizTalk Server
  • Team Foundation Server

The first set are almost always used.  When to use the second set is highly dependent on the needs of the overall solution architecture.  I’ll be blogging about some of these over time.  Why is TFS in the second set?  I wish I could say TFS is almost always used, but just like other forms of development, it would surprise you how many people aren’t using good ALM tools.  You should strive to make TFS part of the first groupSmile.  There are all sorts of resources around the web to learn fundamentals of most of these technologies.  I am not going to make this post about those.  If you are looking for a one stop shop to ramp up on the above, then you might want to take a look at Pluralsight On-Demand.  I get nothing out of endorsing them.  I’m just one of many satisfied subscribers.  I consider them top notch.  I recently asked them about CRM training through their contact form.  The response was that it is on their TODO list.  The more people that ask, the higher priority it will get.  I already had the fundamental knowledge above when I began my CRM dev journey.  What’s next is what I did to ramp up and dig in to Dynamics CRM 2011 specifics.

After you’ve installed the SDK, go immediately to the [InstallDir]\tools and [install]\templates directories.  There two folders in particular that are golden nuggets of dev productivity: templates\xrm.pagescriptprojecttemplate and tools\developertoolkit.  Both of these add enhancements in the form of VS templates and other helpers that you won’t want to miss. 

There are some very useful / productive tools and accelerators on CodePlex as well:  You’ll also want to bookmark the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Developer Center on MSDN.

Stayed tuned for posts and videos diving deeper on many of these topics and more.

-Marc (@devkeydet)