I recently spent some time trying out the AbleBridge EditAble CRM Grid for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2013. In this article, I’m providing an overview of the product that can help you make an informed decision if you are looking for a rich data grid experience for your Dynamics CRM implementation.
AbleBridge EditAble CRM Grid can be installed in CRM Online and On Premise. There are two main steps to install the add-on.
There are 2 CRM solution files to import (Core & Data Grid) to your organization.
Once the solution files have been imported, a license XML file must be generated by AbleBridge. It contains a key that’s tied to your organization and customer, it also brings in information such as user count and expiration date.
The solutions files (Core & Data Grid) are very small (less than 1.5 MB combined) and they import very quickly, showing how lightweight the add-on is.
EditAble CRM Grid Configuration
After the solutions have been imported, you can navigate to the Settings àAbleBridge Data Grid list view to take a look at the existing EditAble CRM Grids or create new ones.
To create a new EditAble CRM grid, create a new Data Grid Configuration record. Doing so will take you to a wizard that will guide you through the configuration steps of your view. The basic steps are
Grid basic configuration information
- Grid name
- Entity to show in the grid
- Grid “mode” (Editable or Read Only)
Columns Selection & Configuration
- Record Selection setup: select whether you want records to be shown based on a specific filter (entity list view) or related to a parent record (child entity sub-grids)
Notice that at step 2 above (add and configure columns), we do not get the option to add columns from related entities. When using the AbleBridge EditAble CRM Grid, you can get the same behaviour by configuring a custom field in the grid (not described in this article). I am told it will have more native support in a future release.
Once you have gone through the basic grid configuration wizard, you are presented with the Grid configuration record itself. It presents many more options to configure the grid. Let’s review some of the options. We’ll go through most sections of the configuration record so you can see all available config options.
As you can see in the image above, a few buttons have been defined and provide with the ability to
- Refresh Grid Definition: this will take you back to the configuration wizard I talked about earlier to redefine your grid’s basic configuration
- Publish Grid Configuration: same concept as CRM customization, a Grid Configuration needs to be published for users to see its latest configuration
- Preview: you can preview a grid layout and functionality. This is a nice feature to allow you to make sure that your configuration is correct before publishing it.
- Copy: used to copy a grid configuration
The available options for the general section are the row functionalities and the display options.
I particularly like this feature. It can be viewed as an alternative to the out of the box dashboards that are not available with the grid. Plus if users are used to the “Group By” functionality in Excel, this gives them a very similar type of experience.
Columns Detailed Configuration
For each column, you can set additional details such as their visibility, read only, alignment and enable grouping. You can also change the column order.
There are more options available. I wanted to point out two options in particular
- Filters: like a regular CRM view, you can select filter criteria that will be applied to the EditAble CRM Grid
- Custom Events: you can write code using AbleBridge EditAble CRM Grid custom API. Your code can fire at different type of events (grid events, column events or toolbar button – yes you can create your own toolbar button for a grid)
Viewing the Grid
The views are web resources. They can be configured to be visible in the sitemap or as sub-grids. Below are a few examples of grid configuration.
The AbleBridge EditAble CRM Grid is a very good add-on for Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Being able to edit grids inline is a feature that’s been missing in CRM for a long time and as consultant, we very often get ask to inline editing feature. AbleBridge brings that, and more.
The feature set is very rich, enabling for deep customization of the grid. A few examples are columns sizing, ordering and visibility, grouping, export to Excel. The grid respects the CRM security (security roles, teams, FLS). AbleBridge also provide the ability to write code that can be executed on various events such as grid load, refresh, column change, toolbar button clicked.
The grid currently supports four languages (English, Danish, French and German) and more can be added upon need/request.
Unfortunately, with the grid we lose the ability to have the charts displayed with the view and everything that comes with it. But grouping and calculated fields (sums, counts) are a good alternative for summarizing and filtering data. The other thing that bothered me is not having the possibility to easily add columns from related entities which is a set back from the OOB views. Finally, we faced some issues with users running IE8, we didn’t spend time fixing it and moved them to a different version. It would be interesting to know if there is an easy fix or if IE8 is not really supported.
AbleBridge EditAble CRM Grid offers the classic two license models:
- Monthly Subscription option (pay a monthly price per CRM org based on the number of users)
- License Purchase option (one-time fee based on the number of users)
In addition to that, you can pay for annual maintenance which covers compatibility with supported version of Microsoft Dynamics CRM (only applies to license purchase option, included in monthly subscription model).
Hope this helps!