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Up until recently, options for end user portals that exposed Dynamics CRM data and forms were limited to custom development options, various software components that expose specific functionality like lead capturing or case management, and portal software that requires a developer to fully configure it. With The Portal Connector for Dynamics CRM building "anything" portals is as simple as dragging and dropping data items and point and click configuration.

In this multi-part post I will walk through how The Portal Connector is used to create flexible forms for data entry directly into Dynamics CRM and how you can present data to users for any type of portal.

Creating an "Add Account Form"

Once The Portal Connector (TPC) is installed and configured it's as easy as using Sitefinity's built-in functionality.

Add a New Form

  1. Navigate to "Forms" in Sitefinity. This should be located under the "Content" menu item.
  2. Click the "Create a form" button.
  3. Add a title "Accounts" and click "Create and go to add content".

    Create a Form

Configure the Form

  1. LayoutOn the form designer, the first thing you need is a "CRM Form Layout". The CRM Form Layout acts as a container for data that will be submitted to CRM. Each CRM Form Layout represents a Dynamics CRM entity record like account or contact. This means that you can set the form to submit multiple records of any type back to Dynamics CRM.
  2. Once the layout is on the form designer other layout types can be applied to provide multiple columns.
  3. The only other requirement for a form to be submitted to Dynamics CRM is that it needs a CRM Form Configuration. The CRM Form Configuration is a required element and is responsible for identifying what type of data is to be submitted to CRM. It will list all of the configured CRM entities to choose from.

    CRM Form Configuration
  4. Now we are ready to add CRM fields to the form. There are a number of field types that can be used to submit data to CRM and you can explore each as they are designed to only submit the proper data to the proper fields in Dynamics CRM. I will start with the CRM Text Field.

    TPC Widgets
  5. Select a "CRM Text Field" from the list of fields under "The Portal Connector" grouping and drag it into one of the layouts.

    CRM Text Field
  6. Clicking on "Edit" for the CRM Text Field element will provide you with the configuration options for this field type.
  7. The first step in configuring any field type is to select the CRM field it will map to from the drop down list.

    CRM Text Field Designer
  8. After selecting a field you have the option of configuring it further for appearance as well as any type of field masks like telephone, postal code, etc.
  9. I've added and configured several other fields and ended up with a form that looks like the following:

    Completed Form
  10. Now the only thing left is to publish the form and add it to a content page.
  11. To publish click the "Publish" button in the top left corner.

Add the Form to a Page

  1. To add the form to a page, navigate to the "Pages" section.
  2. Add a new page or open an existing page.

    Accounts Page
  3. Drag a "CRM Form Manager" widget onto the page.

    CRM Form Manager
  4. Click "Edit" for the CRM Form Manager.
  5. Select the new account form created and click "Save".

    CRM Form Manager Config
  6. Publish the page.


Data submitted from this form will now be inserted directly into your Dynamics CRM 2011 or 2013 system.

Completed Form

In my next post I will demonstrate how we can turn this form into an edit/update form as well as a add/insert form. I will also demonstrate how we can display a listing of records to choose from. Images for this post can be found here.

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