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Microsoft Dynamics CRM 4.0 Form Reporter

MSDNcodeGallery

I recently posted the Microsoft CRM 4.0 Form Reporter in MSDN Code Gallery. Form Reporter is an application that creates a Word 2007 document detailing the configuration of all customizable Microsoft CRM 4.0 forms, including tabs, sections and information about each field. This document can be used for planning form customizations or documenting the current state of form customizations. This solution requires Word 2007 and .NET Framework 3.5.

Microsoft CRM 4.0 Form Reporter uses the exported customizations.xml file. You must have a copy of this file to use the Form Reporter. For best results, the exported file should include all entities because relationships defined between any missing entities will not be included.

Why Form Reporter?

As a member of the team that prepares documentation – we occasionally get requests for a way to generate documentation about a CRM implementation. I know that this can be a big time-saver for implementers who have a deliverable to document their solution or for trainers seeking to provide materials that relate to a specific implementation.

I had noticed that Merijn van Mourik had posted a Microsoft CRM Documentation Generator for CRM 3.0 on CodePlex in January of 2007. That solution uses an add-in for Office Excel 2007 to generate a table. While I have pointed others to that solution for CRM 3.0 – I had never downloaded or installed it myself. Like the Form Reporter – it uses an exported customizations.xml file. But it doesn’t support Microsoft CRM 4.0.

How it was made

I was documenting the Form XML Reference for the SDK and I realized that most of the data needed for documenting forms was in the exported customizations.xml file. Since I do a lot of work with XSL for our content development infrastructure – I started making a transform to present the data in an ASPX page. This was something I worked on during rainy weekends.

But a web page that generates tables with information about forms would not be that useful for most of the types of documentation work implementer and trainers need to do. Probably the most useful output would be Word so that people can easily copy and paste portions that they need. At the same time the Open XML Format SDK 2.0 was released in September. This SDK makes it relatively easy to create Word 2007 documents based on XML data.

Finally I decided to create a simple Windows Forms application that would transform the customizations.xml file into a Word 2007 Document. I posted both an installation MSI and the code so non-programmers can use it right away. The code is pretty basic, but it provides an example of using the Open XML Format SDK to create a Word Document. A developer who knows XSL should be able to modify the ToWordTransform.xsl to get different results based on the data available in the customizations.xml. Developers can also modify the Styles and Theme files to get a different look and feel.

I hope this little application makes some of your documentation tasks easier.

Jim Daly

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