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Mastering Dynamics 365: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Custom Plugins

Mastering Dynamics 365: A Beginner’s Guide to Writing Custom Plugins

Title: How to Write a Simple Dynamics 365 Plugin: A Step-by-Step Guide

As technology advances and data handling becomes more complex, business tools must keep pace. One such tool that has evolved with these trends is Microsoft’s Dynamics 365. This solution offers businesses a robust platform to manage customers relations, marketing, finance, operations, and so much more. However, not every organisation’s needs fit the mould of Dynamics 365’s default settings. Enter the necessity for Dynamics 365 plugins.

In this blog post, we’ll guide you on writing a simple Dynamics 365 plugin—an exciting feature that can be customised according to your business requirements. It’s not as daunting as it sounds—even if you’re new to the field, this guide will help you get started.

## What is a Dynamics 365 Plugin?

A plugin is a custom business logic that you add into your Dynamics 365 environment to augment the system’s capabilities or alter its functionality. These are typically written in .NET Framework and use the Dynamics 365 Software Development Kit (SDK).

## Starting Off: Pre-requisites

Before starting, ensure you have:

1. A Dynamics 365 instance
2. Visual Studio
3. The Dynamics 365 Software Development Kit (SDK)
4. Basic knowledge of .NET coding

## Writing a Simple Dynamics 365 Plugin

### Step 1: Set Up Your Project

Start by opening Visual Studio and creating a new Class Library (.NET Framework) project. Make sure it targets .NET Framework 4.6.2 or above.

Next, add references to Microsoft.Xrm.Sdk.dll and Microsoft.Crm.Sdk.Proxy.dll, available in the SDK Bin folder.

### Step 2: Create a Class

Within your project, create a new public class. This class needs to implement the interface `IPlugin`, which comes from Microsoft.Xrm.Sdk. The `IPlugin` interface requires definition for just one method: Execute.

“`csharp
using Microsoft.Xrm.Sdk;
public class MySimplePlugin : IPlugin
{
public void Execute(IServiceProvider serviceProvider)
{
// You will add your custom logic here.
}
}
“`
The `IServiceProvider` argument gives access to several important instances, such as `ITracingService` for logging and `IOrganizationService` for interacting with CRM data.

### Step 3: Write Your Logic

Now, within the Execute method, write the custom business logic that the Plugin should perform. As an example, we will make a plugin that fires each time an account is updated.

“`csharp
public void Execute(IServiceProvider serviceProvider)
{
//Extracting the context.
IPluginExecutionContext context = (IPluginExecutionContext)serviceProvider.GetService(typeof(IPluginExecutionContext));

//Checking if the entity is “account” and the operation is “Update”.
if (context.InputParameters.Contains(“Target”) && context.InputParameters[“Target”] is Entity && context.PrimaryEntityName == “account”)
{
Entity account = (Entity)context.InputParameters[“Target”];

//Perform desired operation.
}
}
“`
### Step 5: Build and Register Your Plugin

Once your logic is complete, compile your project. This will generate a DLL file that you can register on your Dynamics CRM instance using the Plugin Registration Tool from the SDK.

Register a new Assembly and select the DLL file you compiled. Then, register a new step, specifying when your plugin should be triggered.

## Conclusion

Writing a Dynamics 365 plugin is a powerful way to extend the system’s capabilities and tailor the platform to your specific business needs. Though it may seem complex initially, by breaking down the process into smaller steps, even those new to the field can quickly get up to speed.

Remember, practice makes perfect. So, don’t shy away from exploring more possibilities and seeing how you can further enhance Dynamics 365’s functionality using plugins. Happy coding!

## Keywords:

Dynamics 365, Microsoft Dynamics 365, plugin, custom business logic, .NET Framework, Dynamics 365 SDK, Visual Studio, IPlugin, IServiceProvider, IPluginExecutionContext, IOrganizationService, Plugin Registration Tool, DLL file.

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