Last week, Microsoft announced they are delaying availability of Microsoft Dynamics CRM cross-browser support until Q4 2012.
As a member of the Microsoft Dynamic CRM Technology Preview Program for CRM 2011 R8, I've had the chance (along with several other Microsoft Dynamics CRM MVPs and users) to test the cross-browser capabilities coming to Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 since March 2012 . The feedback provided over the past couple of months by the R9 TPP participants showed Microsoft that some more work and testing should be done to ensure a quality and seamless release. When given the option of releasing functionality with potential issues or work on them and release a quality product, I think Microsoft made the right choice.
However, I know there are many users out there that are used to accessing every other website with another browser so I decided to write these instructions enabling those users to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 via Firefox, Chrome, Maxthon browser and even Apple IOS devices.
Now, there are many reasons why Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 is not "available" for other internet browsers but I will try to explain this in two short sentences:
Internet Explorer uses the Trident instead of the WebKit rendering engine to access websites (including Microsoft Dynamics CRM). Most third-party browsers use the WebKit rendering engine and this is what makes you "unable" to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM the same way you access it via Internet Explorer.
The CRM 2011 R8 release will enable users to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 as it will become almost fully compatible with both rendering engines mentioned above. Before R8, you simply "couldn't" access the Microsoft Dynamics CRM Web Client from a separate browser. Could you?
Here is a little secret, I have been able to access Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (and CRM 4) from a third-party browser all along.
I found Maxthon Browser in 2005; I was an intern at The Academy of Florida and Omer Palo (then Senior Instructor at The Academy) showed me the browser he was using. He showed me all the cool features from Maxthon Browser (Maxthon was the first browser to provide Tab browsing – actually the only mode Maxthon was able to browse on since Beta I believe) along with the mind-blowing speeds to load pages compared to any other browser; he mentioned that the browser was created by a small team (1 or 2 people) in China, that it was free and that most of his colleagues (super smart guys like him) back in Turkey used it. I was using Mozilla Firefox at the time and I told them I was going to check it out while on my mind I told myself that "tab browsing will never stick around” (hey, I was a clueless intern back then!).
I am really happy I did. I fell in love with Maxthon's features and speed. As an intern I was in charge of setting up classes and troubleshooting computers or anything for the school. Maxthon was awesome to troubleshoot stuff related to the school's website, because it was lighting fast and at the same time it could access all the pages that were "Internet Explorer Only".
If you do some reading, you will find that Maxthon was called "MyIE2" and it was created with one purpose in mind: work (render pages) like Internet Explorer but have extra cool features that eliminated some of the "pain" you used to get from using Internet Explorer.
And here is why Maxthon works the best for me; it can render pages in Trident or WebKit out of the box, so I was always able to access all Internet Explorer only websites without having to change anything on my side and at the same time enjoy the lighting speed from the WebKit rendering engine.
Here is a screenshot of Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 in Maxthon Browser (http://www.maxthon.com/):
Now, I know that not everyone will be interested in trying my favorite browser. If neither Internet Explorer nor Maxthon are your main Internet browsers, there is still a solution for your WebKit engine rendering base browser like Firefox or Chrome.
The key to access all areas within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 (or CRM 4) with Firefox or Chrome is to install an Add-In. The Add-In you need will render the page in "IE Mode" (or Trident Mode) allowing you to see the page. For this post, I am using an Add In called "IE Tab", it is free and you can download the Add-In for Firefox and Chrome at http://www.ietab.net/.
Once you install the Add-In within your respective favorite browser, go to your CRM website and enable the functionality by either right-clicking on the CRM Tab -> Switch rendering engines:
Or in the case of Google Chrome, click on the "IE Tab" button next to the Address Bar:
I did a lot of research and I couldn’t find the same kind of solution for browsers running on Apple IOS or Android. Maybe this is due to the fact that IE Tab needs to run on a machine that has Internet Explorer installed into it. If you are an Android tablet or iPad user for example, there is an app called “OnLive Desktop” (http://desktop.onlive.com/) which connects you to a full Windows 7 Desktop in the cloud. The “plus” version of this app allows you to access all Microsoft Office applications and Internet Explorer amongst other cool features. Although the basic edition of application is available for free, the plus version costs $4.99 a month. The internet explorer navigation will connect to Microsoft Dynamics CRM and allow you to perform any task available from the web browser:
In summary, if you are used to surfing the web from a third-party browser, make a little tweak and access all the great features your Microsoft Dynamics CRM offers.
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