Orion – waiting with trepidation

28 Jul

The problems that were caused by the release of Polaris give pause for thought for those who are awaiting Orion. Now that the dust has settled, the most important problem we are faced today is that the Flow Based users interface (UI) forms are not available in the on-premise edition of Dynamics CRM. In practical terms this means that prospective clients must be warned when evaluating the Dynamics using the 30 day on-line trial that the on-premise UI is entirely based on the classic forms.

The Flow UI is the default for Dynamics on-line for the Accounts, Contacts, Leans and Opportunities entities. This UI does not have the left-hand navigation or the familiar ribbon, and whilst the look is appealing, it introduced real inconsistencies into the user experience between entities that do and thoese that don’t have the Flow UI. Worst of all the Flow forms do not support JScript (the Microsoft version of Java Script that is needed for client side scripting). The last point is a troublesome one, and it means that some features will break. It is also not possible to create custom entities with the flow interface.

The Flow UI forms can be turned off and this is our practice at the present time. The worry is that they are going to be everywhere in Orion, and unless the implementation is complete (including the promised JScript) this will be problematic. For cloud hosted users it spells trouble, because there is little control of the CRM environment and version level. This highlights one of the benefits of on-premise installations – the system owner can control when new features and updates are applied. With one downside… at present Microsoft is allowing their on-premise offering to lag behind the features they release in the cloud.

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