Maintain Managed Solutions

[Applies to: Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011]

Before you release your managed solution you should consider how you will maintain it. Uninstalling and reinstalling a managed solution is practically never an option when the solution contains entities or attributes. This is because data is lost when entities are deleted. Fortunately, solutions provide a way to update your managed solution while maintaining the data. Exactly how you update your solutions will depend on the characteristics of the solution and the requirements of the change. The content in this topic introduces basic concepts. For more comprehensive guidance, see Enterprise Solution Lifecycle Management.

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Require a Minimum Version

By default each managed solution can be installed in any Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 organization. However, you can restrict installation of your solution so that it cannot be installed to an earlier version. For example, you may want to require that specific service packs are installed before your solution is installed.

If you export your managed solution and extract the contents, you can edit the solution.xml file containing the solution manifest. The <ImportExportXml> root element contains a version and minimumversion attributes. The version attribute describes the version you are using to export your solution. The minimumversion attribute default value is “”. Increase this value to specify the minimum version required to install your solution. After you have set this value, select all the extracted files for your managed solution, including the solution.xml file you edited, and create a compressed file. Distribute this managed solution to your customers.

Create Managed Solution Updates

There are two basic approaches to updating solutions:

  • Release a new version of your managed solution

  • Release an update for your managed solution

Release a New Version of Your Managed Solution

The preferred method is to release a new version of your managed solution. Using your original unmanaged source solution, you can make necessary changes and increase the version number of the solution before packaging it as a managed solution. When the organizations that use your solution install the new version, their capabilities will be upgraded to include your changes. If you want to go back to the behavior in a previous version, simply re-install the previous version. This overwrites any solution components with the definitions from the previous version but does not remove solution components added in the newer version. Those newer solution components remain in the system but have no effect because the older solution component definitions will not use them.

During the installation of a previous version of a solution Microsoft Dynamics CRM will confirm that the person installing the previous version wants to proceed.

Release an Update for Your Managed Solution

When only a small subset of solution components urgently requires a change you can release an update to address the issue. To release an update, create a new unmanaged solution and add any components from the original unmanaged source solution that you want to update. You must associate the new unmanaged solution with the same publisher record as was used for the original solution. After you finish with your changes, package the new solution as a managed solution.

When the update solution is installed in an organization where the original solution was installed the changes included in the update will be applied to the organization. If an organization needs to ‘roll back’ to the original version they can simply uninstall the update.

Any customizations applied to the solution components in the update will be overridden. When you uninstall the update they will return.

See Also

Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
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