Originally published at http://goo.gl/XXm6z5
I wanted to bring your attention to two items that can be very useful for all of us working on Dynamics CRM.
As you are aware, CRM customization and development has never really worked well with enterprise focused application lifecycle management (ALM.) The export capability (even with Solutions in 2011) has never worked very well with source code control and change management. In addition, scripting of builds and deployments for customizations have never been what I would call straight-forward or even possible.
In the SDK released for Rollup 10 a Solution Packager command-line application that takes an exported solution file and breaks it up into its individual pieces. This combined with the command-line Solution Export tool in the MSCRM Toolkit provides the pieces necessary to automate CRM solutions in a system such as TFS or Git. (http://intovsts.net/2012/12/28/integration-of-dynamics-crm-2011-solutions-with-tfs/)
Of course, the next request in enterprise development is automated deployment. As a holiday gift to the CRM world ADXStudio released a beta of their ADXStudio ALM Toolkit (http://community.adxstudio.com/products/adxstudio-alm-toolkit/) – licensing and pricing have not been announced so we’ll have to wait and see. This toolkit includes PowerShell Scriplets that allow for creating organizations and user and automated deployments of solutions, it includes a number of PowerShell scripts to demonstrate usage. It also includes a very valuable command-line tool to copy data from a source system to a file and then import the data during a deployment – this is especially useful for simplifying the process of loading configuration/base data during deployment.
Taken together these tools provide the pieces necessary to fully automate the build and deployment process for Dynamics CRM. Many environments do not need this level of automation and the overhead for these tools has to be justified by the requirements. That said, for those environments where the needs justify the time/expense of full ALM it is good to know the requirements can be met with using pre-built tools.