The Future of Adxstudio Portals v7
This past week any Microsoft Partner involved in the legacy Adxstudio Partner program received a letter from Microsoft stating the end of the Adxstudio Partner program. Now that Adxstudio has been part of Microsoft for a little over a year this is expected and part of the integration process.
What was more significant was the announcement that as of January 8, 2017 the “legacy” Adxstudio Portal (v7) would only be sold on approval from Microsoft and partners would need to justify why the Dynamics 365 Online portals were not being positioned.
While there have been many great improvements to the Dynamics 365 Portal, it still does not yet have functional parity with the legacy Adxstudio v7 portal (e.g. Custom development, eCommerce, Government Portal Templates) and the v7 portal is the only Microsoft option for on-premise installs.
It will be interesting to see how these announcements will be play out and if we can hope to expect more details about the future of the portal product especially as it relates to on premise and self-hosted options.
A couple updates have come out recently for both the Dynamics 365 Portals (v8) and the Adxstudio Portal (v7) product.
Colin Vermander of Adoxio has a great blog outlining the new features. I would encourage you to check that out here:
Dynamics 365 Portals (v8.2) Updates
I am pretty exciting about the ability to surface charts on a portal page. I believe this will become a pretty key feature on future portal projects.
The other feature that addresses a serious gap in the online portals is the new approach to multi-language portals.
In Adxstudio v7 (and below) and the initial version of the online portals required you to create a full copy of your website and translate all of your static content (the portal would pull the language details for entity lists, entity views and webforms based on the CRM language pack).
Anytime changes were made (new web pages, entity lists, webform steps, etc) , you would need to replicate these changes for each individual language portal.
From an online portal licensing standpoint, this would require customers to subscribe to another full portal subscription.
Now that languages are incorporated into one online portal, you only need to make structural updates once, and only require one online portal subscription. You still need to translate the actual static content.
Note that the new Multi language features are only available for the Dynamics 365 Portal.
Adxstudio Portals v7.0.0023
Despite the initiative from Microsoft to discourage the sale of new Adxstudio portal installs, there still are many existing deployments that need to be patched and upgraded.
The release of v7.0.0023 brings a series of bug fixes and none of the new Dynamics 365 Online portal features.
One new feature of the Adxstudio portal is a new user interface to select entities that will trigger web notifications for cache updates. Caching is important for portal performance. However, you generally want any updates to CRM data to immediately reflect on the portal. Adxstudio has a series of asynchronous plug-ins that will refresh the cache when records are added or updated. By default, these plug-ins will run for *every* record create and update in CRM. For larger systems, this can cause performance issues with CRM. The new UI allows configurators to choose only the particular entities that should update the cache.
This week I am presenting a session on portal development at ExtremeCRM in Newport Beach. I will be covering the different options and techniques available to Dynamics 365 developers with respect to the portals.
Hopefully I can meet some of you in person.