Convert a Classic Customized Dynamics 365 Site Map to a Unified Interface App

The new Unified Interface provides a faster, easier way to navigate Dynamics 365 and Model-Driven PowerApps. However, there are still many Dynamics 365 implementations that are still using the “classic” web interface.

The best practice approach to convert from a classic interface to the new Unified Interface is to create a series of “role based” model-driven apps for specific workloads or job functions.

In some cases, users roles may require them to perform a series of different duties, and having to “jump” from different model-driven apps may become tedious (and defeats the purpose of an easier to use interface).

Custom Areas in the Classic Web Interface

Traditionally, when creating “xRM” applications on the classic interface, many consultants and developers would create specialized custom “Areas” on the Site Map for each specific feature or function.

Classic Web Interface with a custom area

The XrmToolBox provides a easy to use interface for creating and modifying the out-of-the-box Dynamics 365 Site Map. A developer can add custom areas or hide/change existing areas.

XrmToolBox Site Map Editor

CRM, Sales and Customer Service Hubs

Currently, any specialized Areas or changes to the Site Map are not automatically converted to the new Unified Interface. Currently, on Dynamics 365 Online, you will likely notice that there is at very least the “CRM Hub” but potentially Sales and Service Hubs as well. These are standard and will not show any custom Areas or links to custom entities.

CRM Hub – where did my custom Area go?

Role-based Unified Interface Apps

The common and recommended approach is to create a “Role based” app that contains the user interface for the specific Business App/Role. This is actually a great way to remove the “noise” of other features and entities to a specific population of users that only needs to access a specific set of features.

Role based App -> just the basics for a specific role

In some cases, the “full” set of features is more desirable, especially for power users or users that need to perform a variety of roles. In this case, creating distinct model-driven apps for each role becomes tedious for users to need to “flip” between specific applications.

Convert a Complete Classic Site Map to a Complete Unified Interface App

The following are steps to very quickly convert an existing “classic” Site Map to a Unified Interface Model-driven App that will contain all the specific areas, custom entities and navigation as a customized classic web interface.

Navigate to web.powerapps.com and login with your Dynamics 365 credentials. In our example, we are using the new “Maker” experiences.

Create a new solution, and add the existing Site Map to the solution. This Site Map will contain all of the customized areas and entities.

Add solution, add Site Map

The next step is to create a new Model-Driven App. This will be the new Unified Interface App that contains “everything”.

Add a new Model-driven app

Give the App a name and be sure to check “Use existing solution to create the App”.

Create new App.

Choose the solution that was just created and also specify the Site Map.

Specify Solution and Site Map

The SiteMap essentially will be ready to go. However, it may be a good idea to clean up some specific areas, etc. When the Site Map is ready, Publish and run the App.

Site Map Editor

The new Unified Interface app will be a reflection of the existing “Classic” Web App, with all the Areas, custom entities, etc. This way users will not need to “flip” between specific role-based Apps.

New full Unified Interface App following Classic Site Map

While the App will function, you will likely want to work on cleaning up some of the Forms and Views to take better advantage of the new Unified Interface features. You will also need to replace some of the deprecated features (like Dialogs) to ensure a smooth transition.

Conclusion

The new Unified Interface is a much easier, much faster and much more intuitive way to interact with Dynamics 365 and Model-driven PowerApps. Having all the custom areas and entities in one user interface will be very helpful to users that need to access a lot of different parts of the application.

Cover Photo by Alvaro Reyes on Unsplash

Nick Doelman is a Microsoft Business Applications MVP, focusing on Portals, PowerApps and Dynamics 365 for Customer Engagement. Nick will be presentating in Toronto and Montreal on May 10th and May 11th at Dynamics 365 Saturday events.

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