Create and manage custom business apps in Customer Engagement using code

Applies to Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0

Business apps in Customer Engagement are modular, purpose built apps that provide role-based functionality relevant for a particular area of work. These apps make it easier for users to quickly find things they need to do every day by providing a simple and intuitive interface. For example, the Sales business app provides a simpler, smaller sitemap with only the appropriate set of forms, views, dashboards, and process flows that are relevant for sales people.

System administrators and customizers can provide users access to these business apps using security roles; users can access only those apps that they have permission to. More information: Business apps in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement

In addition to creating custom business apps using the app designer, you can now programmatically create and manage custom business apps in Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement.

Important

You don't have to write code to build custom business apps if you don't need to! The app designer provides a much simpler and intuitive experience for building custom business apps without having to write code by providing a tile-based information structure and simplified interface. Check it out here: Design custom business apps by using the app designer

Creating a custom business app involves the following steps:

  1. Create an AppModule Entity instance to define your app and its properties.
  2. Add or remove components to your app such as entity, sitemap, and other components for your custom app using the AddAppComponents and RemoveAppComponents actions.
  3. Check your app for any required components thats missing by using the ValidateApp function.
  4. Publish your app.
  5. Associate appropriate security roles to your custom business app to provide access to users.

Create your business app and define its properties

You must have the System Administrator or System Customizer security role or equivalent permissions to be able to create an app. You can select from one of the following types for your app to specify the client that the app will the app will be used for:

  • Web: This is the classic Dynamics 365 web browser client..
  • Unified Interface: Runs on the new Unified Interface, which provides key accessibility and responsive design benefits. For more information about Unified Interface, see Unified Interface framework for new apps.

You select the app type by specifying an integer value for the clienttype attribute: 2 for Web and 4 for Unified Interface. If you do not specify the type for an app, the type is set to Web by default.

You must specify the following properties at a minimum to create an app:

  • name: Unique for your app
  • uniquename: This can be different than the name of your app, and can only have English characters and numbers. On creating this app, the name is automatically prefixed with your solution publisher prefix (for example 'new_').
  • webresourceid: ID of the web resource that you want to be set as the image icon for your app. The system provides you with a default web resource (ID: 953b9fac-1e5e-e611-80d6-00155ded156f) that you can use as an icon for your app.

The following Web API request creates an Unified Interface type of an app:

POST [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
OData-MaxVersion: 4.0
OData-Version: 4.0
Accept: application/json

{
    "name": "SDKTestApp",
    "uniquename":"SDKTestApp",
    "webresourceid":"953b9fac-1e5e-e611-80d6-00155ded156f",
    "clienttype": 4
}

The response OData-EntityId header contains the Uri of the created app.

HTTP/1.1 204 No Content
OData-Version: 4.0
OData-EntityId: [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules(dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be)

Add or remove components from your business app

You can add or remove components in an app such as sitemap, entity, dashboard, business process flows, views, and forms that you want to be included in your business app. For detailed information about components that can be added to a business app, see Add or edit app components in the app designer.

Use the AddAppComponents action or the AddAppComponentsRequest message to add components to your business app. The action requires you to specify the following:

  • AppId: ID of the app where you want to add components
  • Components A collection of components to be added. You need to specify the ID and the entity type of the component you want to add. For a list of entity types in Customer Engagement Web API, see Web API EntityType Reference.

The following Web API request adds a view (savedquery) and a form (systemform) to your app:

POST [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/AddAppComponents HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
OData-MaxVersion: 4.0
OData-Version: 4.0
Accept: application/json

{
    "AppId":"dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be",
    "Components":[
        {
            "savedqueryid":"00000000-0000-0000-00aa-000000666000",
            "@odata.type":"Microsoft.Dynamics.CRM.savedquery"
        },
        {
            "formid":"c9e7ec2d-efca-4e4c-b3e3-f63c4bba5e4b",
            "@odata.type":"Microsoft.Dynamics.CRM.systemform"
        }
    ]
}

To remove a component from an app, use the RemoveAppComponents action or the RemoveAppComponentsRequest message. This action takes the same set of parameters as the AddAppComponents action.

The following Web API request removes a view (savedquery) from your app:

POST [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/RemoveAppComponents HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
OData-MaxVersion: 4.0
OData-Version: 4.0
Accept: application/json

{
    "AppId":"dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be",
    "Components":[
        {
            "savedqueryid":"00000000-0000-0000-00aa-000000666000",
            "@odata.type":"Microsoft.Dynamics.CRM.savedquery"
        }
    ]
}

Validate your business app

Validating an app involves checking for any dependencies for the components you have added in your business app to ensure that your app works fine. This is the same as clicking Validate in the app designer. More information: Validate your app

Use the ValidateApp function or the ValidateAppRequest message to validate your app. The following Web API request shows how to validate your business app with ID: dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be:

GET [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/ValidateApp(AppModuleId=dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be)

If there are no validation errors, the response is as follows:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
OData-Version: 4.0

{
    "@odata.context": "[Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/$metadata#Microsoft.Dynamics.CRM.ValidateAppResponse",
    "AppValidationResponse": {
        "ValidationSuccess": true,
        "ValidationIssueList": []
    }
}

If there are validation issues in your app, the response displays errors/warnings in the ValidationIssueList collection:

HTTP/1.1 200 OK
OData-Version: 4.0

{
    "@odata.context": "[Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/$metadata#Microsoft.Dynamics.CRM.ValidateAppResponse",
    "AppValidationResponse": {
        "ValidationSuccess": false,
        "ValidationIssueList": [
            {
                "ErrorType": "Error",
                "Message": "App does not contain Site Map",
                "DisplayName": null,
                "ComponentId": "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000",
                "ComponentType": 0,
                "ComponentSubType": 0,
                "ParentEntityId": "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000",
                "ParentEntityName": null,
                "CRMErrorCode": -2147155684,
                "RequiredComponents": []
            },
            {
                "ErrorType": "Warning",
                "Message": "Account doesn’t reference a form or view. App users will see all forms and views.",
                "DisplayName": null,
                "ComponentId": "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000",
                "ComponentType": 0,
                "ComponentSubType": 0,
                "ParentEntityId": "00000000-0000-0000-0000-000000000000",
                "ParentEntityName": null,
                "CRMErrorCode": -2147155691,
                "RequiredComponents": []
            }
        ]
    }
}

Publish your business app

After you have added required components to your custom business app and validated it, you must publish it to make it available to users.

Use the PublishXml action or the PublishXmlRequest messageto publish your custom business app. The following request shows how to publish your business app with ID: dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be:

POST [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/PublishXml HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
OData-MaxVersion: 4.0
OData-Version: 4.0
Accept: application/json

{  
  "ParameterXml":"<importexportxml><appmodules><appmodule>dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be</appmodule></appmodules></importexportxml>"
}

Manage access to business app using security roles

To provide users access to your apps so that they can access it from their Settings > My Apps area or the Dynamics 365 home page, you can associate security roles to your business apps. Users assigned to the associated security roles and can see and use your business apps in Customer Engagement.

Use the appmoduleroles_association navigation property of the AppModule Entity entity to associate a business app with a security role. The following request shows how to associate a business app with a security role:

POST [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules(dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be)appmoduleroles_association/$ref HTTP/1.1
Content-Type: application/json; charset=utf-8
OData-MaxVersion: 4.0
OData-Version: 4.0
Accept: application/json

{  
  "@odata.id":"[Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/roles(<roleId>)"
}

To disassociate a security role from a business app, you use the DELETE request with the same navigation property. For example:

DELETE [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules(dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be)/appmoduleroles_association/$ref?$id=[Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/roles(<roleId)

Manage your business apps and its components

This section provides you information information about retrieving your apps, updating app properties, retrieving app components, and deleting apps.

Retrieve published apps

To retrieve published apps, use the following request:

GET [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules?$select=name,clienttype

Retrieve unpublished apps

To retrieve unpublished apps, use the RetrieveUnpublishedMultiple function. For example:

GET [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules/Microsoft.Dynamics.CRM.RetrieveUnpublishedMultiple()?$select=name,clienttype

Retrieve components in a published business app

To retrieve app components for a business app, use the RetrieveAppComponents function or the RetrieveAppComponentsRequest message. For example:

GET [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/RetrieveAppComponents(AppModuleId=dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be)

Retrieve security roles associated with published business app

To retrieve the security roles associated with your business app, use the $expand system query option with the appmoduleroles_association navigation property. For example, here is the request to retrieve all the security roles associated to a business app with ID: dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be:

GET [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules(dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be)?$expand=appmoduleroles_association&$select=name,appmoduleroles_association

Delete business apps

Use the DELETE request to delete a business app. For example:

DELETE [Organization URI]/api/data/v9.0/appmodules(dd621d4a-d898-e711-80e7-00155db763be)

Client API support for business apps

You can use the following client APIs to work with business apps:

See also

Design custom business apps by using the app designer