The DC CRMUG chapter also had the privilege of welcoming MVP Chris Cognetta from Tribridge via WebEx for a quick Demo of CRM 2013. Personally, I am extremely excited for CRM 2013. There are so many awesome new features and many new ways to eliminate code. This will make future upgrades easier because everything is built-in and will not need to be tested and re-written. I want to cover some of the key things he showed us without spoiling all the surprises.
When you first log in to CRM 2013 there is a quick welcome tutorial. This is great because it reviews the key changes to help users get started. 2013 is much easier to use but users will still struggle and this will help them with the adjustment.
As you have probably seen, the new screen layout removes the left hand navigation and gives you much more screen real estate to work with. Now there is a ribbon that you click down through to access each area. Some of your existing Ribbon customizations will work because it is modified in a similar way. Of course these still should be evaluated to make sure they fit the new model.
All of your classic forms will be migrated to the Basic form, meaning the nice new form without the process flow. You will need to modify these to improve the look and feel.
The new Business Process Logic is part of the form editor. It is a way to build Java Script that will work on all devices and without actually writing the Java Script. It allows you to take actions instantly on the screen, without needing to reload the form. You can do things such as When a field is set to a specific value set another field to equal that field or to a specific value.
We also have two new categories of Processes: Actions and Business Process Flow. Actions replace some functionality provided by plugins and SDK code. They can gather information and then use workflow steps to act on this information. Business Process Flow is process behind the new process driven forms. There is also the new option for Synchronous Workflows, these will run on the screen in real-time.
On the backend the ExtensionBaseTable has been removed and there will now be only one table per entity. This will help to prevent SQL deadlocks and improve performance. The merging of existing tables can be postponed so you do not need to do this at the same time as the upgrade.
The Outlook Client is also improved, most notably by breaking the processing into 3 separate threads: Outlook functionality, CRM Browsing, and Synchronization.
There was so much more covered but too much to be mentioned here. It will be a big upgrade to 2013 but all the changes are for the better. Be prepared to rewrite your code with Business Process Logic on the forms and the new Process types. This will help you be prepared when we welcome CRM 2014 or 2015. Also if you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you check out the Release Preview Guide to learn more about these changes.