What’s new for Customer Engagement developer documentation in version 9.0
With the release of Dynamics 365 (online), version 9.0, there are a lot of changes in our developer documentation:
- New location: https://docs.microsoft.com/dynamics365/customer-engagement/developer/
- New name: Developer Guide
- No more monolithic SDK download
- Separation and fusion of reference content
- Client API documentation overhaul
- Detailed entity documentation
New name: Developer Guide
A Software Development Kit (SDK) is a combination of documentation and resources that developers use to build software. Until now, we were using the term “SDK” to refer to the developer documentation for Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement and for the download package containing assemblies, tools, and the offline (CHM) version of the documentation. To clear up this confusion, and to be consistent with the terms we use for all our documentation, we will now refer to the developer documentation as the Developer Guide. This is a more descriptive name for the content that supports developers in creating software using the available APIs.
No more monolithic SDK download
Probably the greatest single change is that we are no longer providing a single download package for all the documentation, tools and sample code.
Going forward, instead of shipping a single package with everything in it, we will offer an a-la-carte approach so that you can download the individual things as you need them.
- Get the assemblies and tools you need. SDK assemblies and tools will be distributed only via NuGet. We will provide a script that will allow you to download the assemblies and tools from NuGet. See Where to find the NuGet SDK packages and Download tools from NuGet.
- Self-serve offline content generation. The new docs.microsoft.com site will allow you to download a PDF for any of our content areas so that you can read and search the documentation while offline.
- Sample code availability. All our sample code will be available on msdn.microsoft.com or on GitHub. The code.msdn.microsoft.com site is designed for sample code and provides a good experience as well as providing us better metrics on usage.
- Download only the pieces you need. Various assets we have included in the download package will be available as individual downloads. This way, if one of the assets needs to be updated we can just update it without releasing the entire SDK package.
Contextual reference content
In the documentation for previous versions the conceptual content came first, followed by the programming reference topics (Dynamics 365 Customer Engagement Programming reference). While the conceptual pages linked to the relevant reference pages, this caused you to lose context of the page you were reading.
One of the cool features of docs.microsoft.com is the ability to present reference and conceptual content together. This provides the opportunity to bind the relevant conceptual content together with the most relevant reference content. This allows for fusion of the conceptual and reference information for a specific set of APIs.
Here are the individual links to programming reference:
- Client API
- Deployment Service
- Online Admin API
- Organization Service
- Outlook Client
- Package Deployer
- Virtual Entities
- Web API
Client API documentation overhaul
The client scripting or client API has grown a lot since it was originally introduced with CRM 2011. With this release, we have restructured the content to allow for better search results for individual APIs by providing dedicated pages for each API. This should help improve discoverability and provide us with more space to grow with samples and any new APIs which may come.
We have added new information to help you get started: Walkthrough: Write your first client script.
Detailed entity documentation
For a long time, we have written individual topics about selected entities where we provide a broad overview of the entity and relationships along with some lists of supported messages. But when it came to details, we referred you to use separate tools to browse the metadata for your organization or to refer to an Excel spreadsheet in the SDK package.
For this release, we are leveraging the entity metadata to generate reference documentation for most entities in the system together with a complete list of all the properties, attributes and relationships. You can find this here: Entity Reference. This is similar to the Web API EntityType Reference, which still exists, but the new entity reference also reflects the structures used when programming with the SDK assemblies.
Included with the entity reference is a listing all the available operations for each entity. There are links describing which operations can be performed using either the Web API or the SDK assemblies. You can see an example of this here for the Account entity messages.
Entities for common solutions
This entity reference can’t contain any custom entities you have in your system. But it does include entities, attributes, and relationships added by the following common add-on solutions available for Dynamics 365:
- Connected Field Service for Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Field Service
- IoT Connector for Microsoft Dynamics 365
- Project Service Automation
- Unified Resource Scheduling
These solutions have entities with names that begin with msdyn_. For example the msdyn_approval Entity is added by the Project Service Automation Solution.
We hope that you find these changes valuable, and we would love to hear your feedback. If you find something wrong or have ideas for improvements to the Developer Guide, please let us know by using the comment capability at the bottom of each page. To provide feedback on Dynamics 365 features, please add or vote up your ideas here: https://ideas.dynamics.com/ideas/.