As part of its continual evolution of Microsoft Dynamics CRM, Microsoft will soon release its December 2012 Service Update, codenamed Polaris. (Following the Polaris release, there will be three more star or star constellation themed releases: Orion, Leo and Vega.)

The Polaris release contains a range of new capabilities, including new sales and customer service user interface options, cross browser support, new integration points for Yammer, Skype, and Bing Maps, Microsoft Office 2013 compatibility, and a bulk data API. More information on this release, including an official Release Preview Guide from Microsoft, can be found on the Microsoft CRM site http://crm.dynamics.com/en-us/polaris.

This release will be rolled out from mid/end December and through January, and while most of the changes in this Service Update will be for customers using Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Online, those using the on-premise release will also be able to take advantage of cross-browser support. What does this mean? To quote from the documentation: “Microsoft is expanding the range of browsers supported to include versions of Mozilla Firefox and Google Chrome on Windows PCs. Firefox and Apple Safari will be supported on Macintosh desktop computers. There will also be Safari support on Apple iPad tablets for sales users. This sales experience on iPad adds flexibility for the mobile salesperson.”

This potentially has an impact on any current deployments of Dynamics CRM 2011 that contain any JavaScript or HTML programming (for example, any. web resources that have been created to hide/show fields etc.). Organisations that are potentially impacted by this update need to work with their service providers or themselves to ensure that any JavaScript that has been deployed will comply with the cross-browser update.

The process to review the code is as follows and the time it will take will depend obviously on the complexity and functionality of the JavaScript that has been deployed:

1. Download and install the ‘Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Custom Code Validation Tool’ solution from Microsoft at http://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=30151 . This tool is free to download.
2. Import your CRM solution into the your UAT/DEV environment.
3. The solution will run and provide a colour-coded review of the code in the solution, identifying code items that will fail and might fail following the release of the December 2012 update.
4. For any areas where the code may break, a developer will be required to update the code and fix the issue; this may be as a result of an upgrade where the JavaScript has not been fully converted (using old V4 supported code) or where there are specific commands that only Internet Explorer can interpret.
5. Once the changes have been applied, the updated solution needs to be tested and rolled out.

As a guide, we would expect for most customers this process will take from 4-8 hours to complete; for larger, more complex implementations this process may take longer.

The following blog post by Microsoft details this process in far more detail: http://community.dynamics.com/product/crm/crmtechnical/b/crmteamblog/archive/2012/06/21/microsoft-dynamics-crm-2011-custom-code-validation-tool-released.aspx . If you would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Intergen (http://intergen.co.nz/Contact-Us/enquiry-form ).