The new updated view designer to customize and extend Dynamics 365 apps or to build your own model driven Power Apps became generally available (“GA”) this past week.
Dynamics 365 and Model Driven PowerApps in their simpliest form are really just a excel list of data (“view”) and the details can be viewed in a form. The view of data can be modified based on business and user interface requirements. This has been a feature of Dynamics CRM and Dynamics 365 since day 1.
The editor interface used to modify, create and extend views pretty much has been the same interface since Dynamics CRM version 3.0;
The new view designer is a refreshed, new maker experince and addresses a number of wish list items that the original view designer didn’t have.
The new view designer works not only for the Unified Interface, but will also work with the classic Web UI if you still haven’t made the transition yet.
Getting to the New View Designer
To access the new view designer;
- Navigate to https://web.powerapps.com, login using you Dynamics 365 credentials (you will need appropriate security access)
- Locate the Solution list
- Locate your Solution
- Locate the Entity
- Click on Views
- Double-click the view to open the new editor
This experience replaces the classic “Solution Explorer” and is considered the new maker experience for working with solutions. Asides from a few specific features (Modifying Status Reasons, Rollup Fields issue and missing button to Add Existing Components) the new solution experience has all the features as the classic.
Adding Fields and Intuitive Column Widths
In the classic view editor, it would take a couple of clicks to locate and add a field to your view. Then to change the width, you could choose a specific width in pixels. The only way to make adjustments was exporting the solution and hacking the XML or using the XrmToolBox.
The new interface allows you to easily drag and drop a field on the view, and adjust to width to anything you want by dragging the border!
You could also specific the width in pixels with a number as opposed to a preselected list.
An issue that you may have run into in the past is the create a view where the filtering clause is with a related record.
For example, if we wanted to create a view showing Accounts that did not have any related cases, we could not create a system view to replicate an Advanced Find.
Using Advanced Find, this was no problem. We could add the related entity and enter a clause for “Does Not Contain Data”
However, if we wanted to build a system view, we were limited using the classic View Editor;
In the new view designer, we now have the ability to add these types of clauses to our system views, that we only could add via the Advanced Find.
Special thanks to Ulrikke Akerbæk who asked me a portals related question that led to the discovery of this particular View issue and the resolution. Read her article on this feature on LinkedIn.
Viewing Actual Data
The new view designer will actually show live data from your Dynamics 365 and/or your CDS database. This provides some features such as being able to adjust the width of your columns based on actual data and also see the results of your filtering. These might be small features but will save hundreds of clicks and navigations over time, making it more efficient to design and build your views.
Save and Publish
While maybe a small thing, the ability to Save and Publish is a big deal (its a bigger deal in the new Form editor, but that is still in preview). Again, saving clicks will pay off in the long run.
MIA – Custom Column Names
One that that was mentioned in the April 2019 Release notes was the fact that a feature would be added to allow for editing of column names. This feature has since disappeared, hopefully it will come soon so we can create views with custom column names.
There currently is no reason not to at least try out the new View Editor, even if you are still using the classic Web Interface. The existing “classic” editor is still available and accessible. However pretty much all of the features that one would need in creating and designing views for Dynamics 365 or Model Driven PowerApps exists in the new interface.
Nick Doelman is a Microsoft Business Applications MVP and will be attending the Business Applications Summit in Atlanta on June 9-11th. Nick also co-hosts “Refresh the Cache” a podcast on the CRM Audio network dedicated to Dynamics 365 and Power Platform Portals.