1442 Wednesday, June 1, 2016 |
Suresh Maurya
Dynamics CRM Consultant at IBM

Understanding Entity Change Tracking in Microsoft Dynamics CRM

In CRM integration projects, your business requirements often dictate that you should only retrieve those transaction records that have been recently created or modified in your source system since last integration. When your CRM system is the source, you would typically use CRM FetchXML query to pull data from the CRM system by comparing the record's modifiedon field, which is not a solution that is reliable enough and may not perform well when the source entity has a significant number of records.

To address this particular challenge, CRM Online 2015 Update 1 release introduced the Change Tracking feature, which offers a reliable and efficient way to track transactional data changes for CRM entities.

Turn on Change Tracking

In order to track data changes of a particular entity, you have to first turn on "Change Tracking" option for the entity. You would do so by going to the entity's customization page, and tick "Change Tracking" option under "Data Services" section.

Retrieve Changes

After Change Tracking has been enabled for the entity, you can use CRM SDK RetrieveEntityChangesRequest message to pull changes from CRM server. The following is a snippet that demonstrates how to pull changes from the CRM server.

 using (var service = new OrganizationService(crmConnection))
{
var request = new RetrieveEntityChangesRequest();

// Set which entity to get changes for.
request.EntityName = "account";
request.Columns = new ColumnSet("accountnumber", "name", "creditlimit");

// Set paging preferences.
request.PageInfo = new PagingInfo() { Count = 5000, PageNumber = 1 };

// Set change token returned from last pull.
request.DataVersion = changeToken; // set to null or remove this line to do an initial pull

// Get the changes.
var response = (RetrieveEntityChangesResponse)service.Execute(request);

// TODO: Process all the changed records (see the code snippet below)

// Save the token somewhere for future use
changeToken = response.EntityChanges.DataToken;
Console.WriteLine(changeToken);
}

Walk through Changes

After retrieving the changes, you will get two types of results. The first type of result is the newly added or updated records, and the second one is for the records that have been deleted since the last pull.

// Replace the TODO line in the above snippet with the following code
foreach (var change in response.EntityChanges.Changes)
{
if (change.Type == ChangeType.NewOrUpdated)
{
var changedItem = (NewOrUpdatedItem)change;
Entity newOrChangedEntity = changedItem.NewOrUpdatedEntity;
// TODO: Process new or updated entity record
}
else if (change.Type == ChangeType.RemoveOrDeleted)
{
var deleteditem = (RemovedOrDeletedItem)change;
EntityReference deletedEntityReference = deleteditem.RemovedItem;
// TODO: Process deleted entity records
}
}

Note that the returned NewOrChangedEntity is an instance of Entity class, while the RemovedItem (the deleted record) is an instance of EntityReference class.

Some Closing Notes

There are a few things that you should be aware when using this feature:

  • The "Change Tracking" option is an entity-level setting. It has to be enabled for the entity before you can use RetrieveEntityChangesRequest to pull data. If the option is not enabled, and you try to use this feature, you will get an error message telling you "Entity: account isn't enabled for change tracking" where account can be any entity name that you are working with.
  • Due to the fact that the "Change Tracking" option works at entity level, you would need to keep track of the change token for each entity individually. There is no organization level tracking token.
  • There is one special situation that you should watch out for. Suppose there is a newly added record after last pull and it was deleted before the new pull, you will get the record in the Delete result set, which you may not have knowledge about it.
  • In the case that you have selected to return a lookup field, the field's Name property is not returned.
  • When change collection has more records than the page size that you have specified, you would have to page through the change collection.
  • Based on my preliminary testing, it appears that CRM keeps multiple token versions, which is really nice. However, I imagine keeping too many versions on the server side would not make sense as each version would consume a certain amount of database space. There must be a limit in terms of how many versions are kept on the CRM server side. It could be either a time-based limit (say 90 days probably, which could still be a lot of change versions if I keep pulling from the server every 30 seconds) or a number-based limit. This is something that has yet to be confirmed.
  • When you retrieve changes using this feature, you will get the records in their current status, the old values before the change are not returned.
  • The user account needs to have organization level read (or so-called "Root Read") privileges for the concerned entity in order to uses RetrieveEntityChangesRequest to retrieve changes.
  • More details about this feature can be found at the CRM SDK documentation page: Use change tracking to synchronize data with external systems.

Process control in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

This demo shows the different ways in which managers can gain greater control of their business processes using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011.

 

[Job] - Accenture: Microsoft Dynamics CRM, India

Accenture

Company: Accenture

Location: Pune, India

 

Job description

"Role:- Developer Years of experience:- 3 to 4 years

Must to have:-

• Experience with Microsoft CRM 2011 Modules and features related

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• Experience with developing and implementing web/windows applications with Microsoft Visual Studio .Net

• Experience with developing XML Web Services and Server components

• Experience in writing oData and Linq

• Identify build or development changes, code and peer reviews and unit testing

• Experienced working on development project Good to have:"


- Basic qualifications

Full Time Graduation

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[Job] - Microsoft : Sr. Support Engineer-Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Company: Microsoft

Location: Las Colinax (TX), United States

As a Microsoft Dynamics CRM Support Engineer (SE), you are a technical leader and will be driving the discovery of potentially unique solutions for each customer situation as part of a team. We’ll provide you with abundant resources, including training, advanced diagnostic tools, the Microsoft Dynamics CRM product group, and the experience of tenured engineers around you. You will also have the opportunity to collaborate and help your colleagues by sharing the results of your investigation. In this professional role, your contribution and overall impact is self-directed and the opportunities are plentiful.

Troubleshooting at this level is not scripted. You will be responsible to resolve potentially unique solution for each of your customer’s situations. During the course of troubleshooting, you may uncover software defects and have opportunities to improve the customer experience as well as to influence the current and future design of Microsoft Dynamics CRM by working directly with the product team. Our continuous learning environment expects that you will develop ever increasing depth skills as a subject matter expert. You will become the world’s best in your area of expertise.

This position will require you to work a rotational On-Call schedule. You may have the opportunity for some occasional domestic and or international travel.

Responsibilities:
Be part of a team and develop your skills as you solve complex technical issues in Microsoft Dynamics CRM.
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Programming skills are useful but not required, preferably in C
Degree in Management Information Systems, Computer Science, Computer Information Systems, Computer Engineering (preferred)

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IGH Solutions saves by switching to Microsoft Dynamics CRM

Hear how IGH Solutions switched over from Salesforce.com to Microsoft Dynamics CRM allowing them to save significant amounts of money and enjoy a cohesive environment in which their multiple business units can work.

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  1. Create a solution add the entity what you want and export it and extract it xml designer.
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  3. Next add button by specifying the id, command, sequence, Alt, label text, image 16 and 32, templatealias, tooltip title and description under the tag CommandUIDefinition>
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