Create packages for the Dynamics 365 Package Deployer

 

Updated: November 29, 2016

Applies To: Dynamics 365 (online), Dynamics 365 (on-premises), Dynamics CRM 2016, Dynamics CRM Online

Microsoft Dynamics CRM Package Deployer lets administrators deploy packages on Microsoft Dynamics 365 (online) and Dynamics 365 (on-premises) instances. A “package” can consist of any or all of the following:

  • One or more Dynamics 365 solution files.

  • Flat files or exported configuration data file from the Configuration Migration tool. For more information about the tool, see TechNet: Manage your configuration data.

  • Custom code that can run before, while, or after the package is deployed to the Dynamics 365 instance.

  • HTML content specific to the package that can display at the beginning and end of the deployment process. This can be useful to provide a description of the solutions and files that are deployed in the package.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 provides you with a Visual Studio template for creating these packages that can be used with the Package Deployer tool to deploy them to a Dynamics 365instance.

System_CAPS_noteNote

With the CRM Online 2016 Update 1 and CRM 2016 Service Pack 1 (on-premises) release, the Visual Studio template for creating Dynamics 365 packages was enhanced to add support for new features such as runtime parameter support; import multiple language configuration files using a single package; ability to control whether to override or maintain customization while updating solutions; and more. Existing package projects can be updated to take advantage of the new feature set by updating the CRM Package Deployer assemblies using NuGet to version 8.1 or later.

  • Ensure that you have all the solutions and files ready that you want to include in the package.

  • Microsoft .NET Framework 4.5.2

  • Microsoft Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013, or Visual Studio 2015

  • NuGet Package Manager for Visual Studio 2012, Visual Studio 2013, or Visual Studio 2015

  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 SDK templates for Visual Studio that contains the package template. You can get it in one of the following ways:

Perform the following five steps to create a package:

Step 1: Create a project using the template

Step 2: Add your files to the project

Step 3: Update the HTML files: English and other languages

Step 4: Specify the configuration values for the package

Step 5: Define custom code for your package

Step 1: Create a project using the template

  1. Start Microsoft Visual Studio, and create a new project.

  2. In the New Project dialog box:

    1. From the list of installed templates, expand Visual C#, and select Dynamics 365 SDK Templates.

    2. Ensure that .NET Framework 4.5.2 is selected.

    3. Select Dynamics 365 Package.

    4. Specify the name and location of the project, and click OK.

    New project for creating a custom package

Step 2: Add your files to the project

  1. In the Solutions Explorer pane, add your solutions and files under the PkgFolder folder.

  2. For each file that you add under the PkgFolder folder, in the Properties pane, set the Copy to Output Directory value to Copy Always. This ensures that your file is available in the generated package.

Step 3: Update the HTML files: English and other languages

  1. In the Solution Explorer pane, expand PkgFolder > Content > en-us. You’ll find two folders called EndHTML and WelcomeHTML. These folders contain the HTML and associated files that enable you to display information at the end and beginning of the package deployment process. Edit the files in the HTML folder of these folders to add information for your package.

  2. You can also add the HTML files in your package in other languages so that the content in the HTML appears in the language based on the locale settings of the user’s computer. To do so:

    1. Create a copy of the en-us folder under PkgFolder > Content.

    2. Rename the copied folder to the appropriate language. For example, for the Spanish language, rename it to es-ES.

    3. Modify the content of the HTML files to add Spanish content.

Step 4: Specify the configuration values for the package

  1. Define the package configuration by adding information about your package in the ImportConfig.xml file available in the PkgFolder. Double-click the file to open it for editing. The following table lists information about each parameter and node in the config file.

    Parameter/Node

    Description

    installsampledata

    True or false. If true, installs sample data to Dynamics 365 instance. This is the same sample data that you can install from Settings > Data Management area in Dynamics 365.

    waitforsampledatatoinstall

    True or false. If true, and if installsampledata is also set to true, waits for sample data to install before deploying the package.

    System_CAPS_noteNote

    Ensure that you set installsampledata to true if you are setting waitforsampledatatoinstall to true.

    agentdesktopzipfile

    File name of the zip file to unpack. If you specify a .zip file name here, it adds a screen during the package deployment process that prompts you to select a location where you want to unpack the contents of the file.

    This is commonly used for creating packages for Unified Service Desk for Microsoft Dynamics 365. For information about Unified Service Desk, see TechNet: Unified Service Desk Administration Guide.

    agentdesktopexename

    Name of the .exe or .msi file in the zip file or a URL to be invoked at the end of the deployment process.

    This is commonly used for creating packages for Unified Service Desk.

    crmmigdataimportfile

    File name of the default configuration data file (.zip) exported using the Configuration Migration tool.

    • You can also import a localized version of the configuration data file based on the locale ID (LCID) specified using new runtime settings while running the package deployer. Use the <cmtdatafile> node (explained later) to specify the localized versions of the configuration data file in a package and then use the OverrideConfigurationDataFileLanguage method (explained later) to specify the logic for importing the configuration data file based on the locale ID specified using the runtime settings. You cannot import more than one configuration data file using a package at a time.

    • For Dynamics 365 (on-premises), if your configuration data file contains user information, and both the source and target Dynamics 365 instances are on the same Active Directory Domain, user information will be imported to the target Dynamics 365 instance. To import user information to a Dynamics 365 (on-premises) instance on a different domain, you must include the user map file (.xml) generated using the Configuration Migration tool in your project, and specify it along with the configuration data file using the usermapfilename attribute in the <cmtdatafile> node explained later. User information cannot be imported to Dynamics 365 (online) instances.

    <solutions> node

    Contains an array of <configsolutionfile> nodes that describe the solutions to import. The order of the solutions under this node indicates the order in which the solutions will be imported on the target Dynamics 365 instance.

    <configsolutionfile> node

    Use this node under the <solutions> node to specify the individual solutions and the following information for each solution to be imported:

    • solutionpackagefilename: Specify the .zip file name of your solution. Required.

    • overwriteunmanagedcustomizations: Specify whether to overwrite any unmanaged customizations when importing a solution that already exists in the target Dynamics 365 instance. This is optional, and if you do not specify this attribute, by default the unmanaged customizations in the existing solution are maintained on the target Dynamics 365 instance.

    • publishworkflowsandactivateplugins: Specify whether to publish workflows and activate plug-ins in the target Dynamics 365 instance after the solution is imported. This is optional, and if you do not specify not specify this attribute, by default the workflows are published and plug-ins are activated after the solution is imported on the target Dynamics 365 instance.

    You can add multiple solution file names in a package by adding as many <configsolutionfile> nodes. For example, if you want three solution files to be imported, add them like this:

    <solutions>
        <configsolutionfile solutionpackagefilename="SampleSolutionOne_1_0_managed.zip"
                            overwriteunmanagedcustomizations="false"
                            publishworkflowsandactivateplugins="true"/>
        <configsolutionfile solutionpackagefilename="SampleSolutionTwo_1_0_managed.zip"
                            overwriteunmanagedcustomizations="false"
                            publishworkflowsandactivateplugins="true"/>
        <configsolutionfile solutionpackagefilename="SampleSolutionThree_1_0_managed.zip" />
    </solutions>
    

    <filestoimportnode> node

    Contains an array of <configimportfile> and <zipimportdetails> nodes that are used to describe individual files and zip files respectively to be imported.

    <configimportfile> node

    Use this node under the <configimportfile> node to describe a file to be imported to Dynamics 365. You can add multiple files in a package by adding as many <configimportfile> nodes.

    <filestoimport>
      <configimportfile filename="File.csv"
             filetype="CSV"
             associatedmap="FileMap"
             importtoentity="FileEntity"
             datadelimiter=""          fielddelimiter="comma"
             enableduplicatedetection="true"
             isfirstrowheader="true"           isrecordownerateam="false"
             owneruser=""
             waitforimporttocomplete="true" />
      <configimportfile filename="File.zip"
             filetype="ZIP"
             associatedmap="FileMapName"
             importtoentity="FileEntity"
             datadelimiter=""
             fielddelimiter="comma"
             enableduplicatedetection="true"
             isfirstrowheader="true"
             isrecordownerateam="false"
             owneruser=""
             waitforimporttocomplete="true"/>
    
    </filestoimport>
    

    This has the following attributes:

    Attribute

    Description

    filename

    Name of the file that contains the import data. If the file is a .zip file, a <zipimportdetails> node must be present with a <zipimportdetail> node for each file in the .zip file.

    filetype

    This can be csv, xml, or zip.

    associatedmap

    Name of the Dynamics 365 import data map to use with this file. If blank, attempts to use the system determined import data map name for this file.

    importtoentity

    Can be the name of the exe in the zip file, a URL, or an .msi file to provide a link to invoke at the end of the process.

    datadelimiter

    Name of the data delimiter used in the import file. Valid values are singlequote or doublequotes.

    fielddelimiter

    Name of the field delimiter used in the import file. Valid values are comma or colon, or singlequote.

    enableduplicatedetection

    Indicates whether to enable duplicate detections rules on data import. Valid values are true or false.

    isfirstrowheader

    Used to denote that the first row of the import file contains the field names. Valid values are true or false.

    isrecordownerateam

    Indicates whether the owner of the record on import should be a team. Valid values are true or false.

    owneruser

    Indicates the user ID that should own the records. The default value is the currently logged in user.

    waitforimporttocomplete

    If true, the system waits for the import to complete before proceeding. If false, it queues the jobs and moves on.

    <zipimportdetails> node

    This node contains an array of <zipimportdetail> nodes that describe the files included in a zip file that is used to import to Dynamics 365.

    <zipimportdetail> node

    Use this node under the <zipimportdetails> node to provide information about an individual file in a .zip file that is specified in the <configimportfile> node.

    <filestoimport>
    ...
    ...
        <zipimportdetails>
          <zipimportdetail filename="subfile1.csv" filetype="csv" importtoentity="account" />
          <zipimportdetail filename="subfile2.csv" filetype="csv" importtoentity="contact" />
        </zipimportdetails>
    </filestoimport>
    

    This has the following attributes:

    Attribute

    Description

    filename

    Name of the file that contains the import data.

    filetype

    This can be csv or xml.

    importtoentity

    Can be the name of the exe in the zip file, a url, or an .msi file to provide a link to invoke at the end of the process.

    <filesmapstoimport> node

    This node contains an array of <configmapimportfile> nodes to import. The order of the map files in this node indicates the order in which they are imported. For information about data maps, see Create data maps for import.

    <configimportmapfile> node

    Use this node under the <filesmapstoimport> node to provide information about an individual map file to import in Dynamics 365.

    <filesmapstoimport>
        <configimportmapfile filename="FileMap.xml" />
    </filesmapstoimport>
    

    <cmtdatafiles>

    This node contains an array of <cmtdatafile> nodes that contains localized version of the configuration data file to be imported.

    <cmtdatafile>

    Use this node under the <cmtdatafiles> node to specify the localized configuration data files along with locale ID (required) and user information map file (optional). For example:

    <cmtdatafiles>
       <cmtdatafile filename="data_1033.zip" lcid="1033" usermapfilename="UserMap.xml" />
       <cmtdatafile filename="data_1041.zip" lcid="1041" usermapfilename="" />
    </cmtdatafiles> 
    

    You can define your custom logic in the OverrideConfigurationDataFileLanguage method (explained later) to import a localized configuration data file instead of the default one (specified in crmmigdataimportfile) based on the locale ID (LCID) value specified using the runtime settings (explained later).

  2. Click Save All.

    The following represents the contents of a sample ImportConfig.xml file.

    <?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-16"?>
    <configdatastorage xmlns:xsi="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema-instance"
                       xmlns:xsd="http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema"
                       installsampledata="true"
                       waitforsampledatatoinstall="true"
                       agentdesktopzipfile=""
                       agentdesktopexename=""
                       crmmigdataimportfile="data_1033.zip">
      <solutions>
        <configsolutionfile solutionpackagefilename="SampleSolutionOne_1_0_managed.zip"
                            overwriteunmanagedcustomizations="false"
                            publishworkflowsandactivateplugins="true"/>
        <configsolutionfile solutionpackagefilename="SampleSolutionTwo_1_0_managed.zip"
                            overwriteunmanagedcustomizations="false"
                            publishworkflowsandactivateplugins="true"/>
        <configsolutionfile solutionpackagefilename="SampleSolutionThree_1_0_managed.zip" />
      </solutions>
      <filestoimport>
        <configimportfile filename="SampleOption.csv"
                          filetype="CSV"
                          associatedmap="SampleOption"
                          importtoentity="sample_option"
                          datadelimiter=""
                          fielddelimiter="comma"
                          enableduplicatedetection="true"
                          isfirstrowheader="true"
                          isrecordownerateam="false"
                          owneruser=""
                          waitforimporttocomplete="false"/>
        <configimportfile filename="File.zip"
                          filetype="ZIP"
                          associatedmap="FileMapName"
                          importtoentity="FileEntity"
                          datadelimiter=""
                          fielddelimiter="comma"
                          enableduplicatedetection="true"
                          isfirstrowheader="true"
                          isrecordownerateam="false"
                          owneruser=""
                          waitforimporttocomplete="true"/>
        <zipimportdetails>
          <zipimportdetail filename="subfile1.csv"
                           filetype="csv"
                           importtoentity="account" />
          <zipimportdetail filename="subfile2.csv"
                           filetype="csv"
                           importtoentity="contact" />
        </zipimportdetails>
      </filestoimport>
      <filesmapstoimport>
        <configimportmapfile filename="SampleOption.xml" />
      </filesmapstoimport>
      <cmtdatafiles>
        <cmtdatafile filename="data_1033.zip"
                     lcid="1033"
                     usermapfilename="UserMap.xml" />
        <cmtdatafile filename="data_1041.zip"
                     lcid="1041"
                     usermapfilename="" />
      </cmtdatafiles>
    </configdatastorage>
    

Step 5: Define custom code for your package

  1. In the Solution Explorer pane, double-click the PackageTemplate.cs file at the root to edit it.

  2. In the PackageTemplate.cs file, you can:

    1. Enter custom code to execute when the package is initialized in the override method definition of InitializeCustomExtension.

      This method can be used to let users use the runtime parameters while running a package. As a developer, you can add support for any runtime parameter to your package by using the RuntimeSettings property as long as you have code to process it based on the user input.

      For example, the following sample code enables a runtime parameter called SkipChecks for the package that has two possible values: true or false. The sample code checks if the user has specified any runtime parameters while running CRM Package Deployer (either by using the command line or PowerShell), and then accordingly processes the information. If no runtime parameter is specified by the user while running the package, the value of the RuntimeSettings property will be null.

      public override void InitializeCustomExtension()
      {
            // Do nothing. 
      
            // Validate the state of the runtime settings object. 
            if (RuntimeSettings != null)
            {
                  PackageLog.Log(string.Format("Runtime Settings populated.  Count = {0}", RuntimeSettings.Count)); 
                  foreach (var setting in RuntimeSettings)
                  {
                        PackageLog.Log(string.Format("Key={0} | Value={1}", setting.Key, setting.Value.ToString()));
                  }
      
                  // Check to see if skip checks is present. 
                  if ( RuntimeSettings.ContainsKey("SkipChecks") )
                  {
                        bool bSkipChecks = false;
                        if (bool.TryParse((string)RuntimeSettings["SkipChecks"], out bSkipChecks))
                        OverrideDataImportSafetyChecks = bSkipChecks; 
                  }
            }
            else
                  PackageLog.Log("Runtime Settings not populated");
      }
      

      This lets the administrator use the command line or the Import-CrmPackage cmdlet to specify whether to skip the safety checks while running the Package Deployer tool to import the package. More information: TechNet: Deploy packages using CRM Package Deployer and Windows PowerShell

    2. Enter custom code to execute before the solutions are imported in the override method definition of PreSolutionImport to specify whether to maintain or overwrite customizations while updating the specified solution in a target Dynamics 365 instance, and whether to automatically activate plug-ins and workflows.

    3. Use the override method definition of RunSolutionUpgradeMigrationStepto perform data transformation or upgrade between two versions of a solution. This method is called only if the solution you are importing is already present in the target Dynamics 365 instance.

      This function expects the following parameters:

      Parameter

      Description

      solutionName

      Name of the solution

      oldVersion

      Version number of the old solution

      newVersion

      Version number of the new solution

      oldSolutionId

      GUID of the old solution.

      newSolutionId

      GUID of the new solution.

    4. Enter custom code to execute before the solution import completes in the override definition of the BeforeImportStage method. The sample data and some flat files for solutions specified in the ImportConfig.xml file are imported before the solution import completes.

    5. Override the currently-selected language for configuration data import using the override method definition of OverrideConfigurationDataFileLanguage. If the specified locale ID (LCID) of the specified language is not found in the list of available languages in the package, the default data file is imported.

      You specify the available languages for the configuration data in the <cmtdatafiles> node in the ImportConfig.xml file. The default configuration data import file is specified in the crmmigdataimportfile attribute in the ImportConfig.xml file.

      Skipping data checks (OverrideDataImportSafetyChecks = true) can be effective here if you are sure that the target Dynamics 365 instance does not contain any data.

    6. Enter custom code to execute after the import completesin the override definition of AfterPrimaryImportmethod. The remaining flat files that were not imported earlier, before the solution import started, are imported now.

    7. Change the default name of your package folder from PkgFolder to the package name that you want. To do so, rename the PkgFolderfolder in the Solution Explorer pane, and then edit the return value under the GetImportPackageDataFolderName property.

      
      public override string GetImportPackageDataFolderName
      {
          get
          {
              // WARNING this value directly correlates to the folder name in the Solution Explorer where the ImportConfig.xml and sub content is located. 
              // Changing this name requires that you also change the correlating name in the Solution Explorer 
              return "PkgFolder";
          }
      }
      
    8. Change the package name by editing the return value under the GetNameOfImport property.

      public override string GetNameOfImport(bool plural)
      {
           return "Package Short Name";
      }
      

      This is the name of your package that will appear on the package selection page in the CRM Package Deployer wizard.

    9. Change the package description by editing the return value under the GetImportPackageDescriptionText property.

      public override string GetImportPackageDescriptionText
      {
             get { return "Package Description"; }
      }
      

      This is the package description that will appear alongside the package name on the on the package selection page in the Package Deployer wizard.

    10. Change the package long name by editing the return value under the GetLongNameOfImport property.

      public override string GetLongNameOfImport
      {
           get { return "Package Long Name"; }
      }
      

      The package long name appears on the next page after you have selected the package to install.

  3. Additionally, the following function and variables are available to the package:

    Name

    Type

    Description

    CreateProgressItem

    Function

    Used to create a new progress item in the user interface (UI).

    RaiseUpdateEvent

    Function

    Used to update the progress created by the call to CreateProgressItem.

    ProgressPanelItemStatus is an enum:

    public enum ProgressPanelItemStatus
    {
        Working = 0,
        Complete = 1,
        Failed = 2,
        Warning = 3,
        Unknown = 4
    }
    

    RaiseFailEvent

    Function

    Used to fail the current status import with an exception message.

    IsRoleAssoicatedWithTeam

    Function

    Used to determine if a role is associated with a specified team.

    IsWorkflowActive

    Function

    Used to determine if a specified workflow is active.

    PackageLog

    Class Pointer

    This is a pointer to the initialized logging interface for the package. This interface is used by a package to log messages and exceptions to the package log file.

    RootControlDispatcher

    Property

    This is a dispatcher interface used to allow your control to render its own UI during package deployment. Use this interface to wrap any UI elements or commands. It is important to check this variable for null values before using it as it may or may not be set to a value.

    CrmSvc

    Property

    This is a pointer to CrmServiceClient class that allows for a package to address Dynamics 365 from within the package. Use this to execute Dynamics 365 SDK and other actions in the overridden methods.

    DataImportBypass

    Property

    Use this to specify whether CRM Package Deployer skips all data import operations such as importing Dynamics 365 sample data, flat file data, and data exported from the Configuration Migration tool. Specify true or false. Default is false.

    OverrideDataImportSafetyChecks

    Property

    Use this to specify whether CRM Package Deployer will bypass some of its safety checks, which helps in improving the import performance. Specify true or false. Default is false.

    You should set this to true only if the target Dynamics 365 instance does not contain any data.

  4. Save your project, and then build it (Build > Build Solution) to create the package. Your package is the following files under the <Project>\Bin\Debug folder.

    • <PackageName> folder: The folder name is the same as the one you changed for your package folder name in step 2.g of this section (Step 5: Define custom code for your package). This folder contains all solutions, configuration data, flat files, and the contents for your package.

    • <PackageName>.dll: The assembly contains the custom code for your package. By default, the name of the assembly is the same as your Visual Studio project name.

    The next step is to deploy your package.

After you create a package, you can deploy it on the Dynamics 365 instance by using either the Package Deployer tool or Windows PowerShell. For detailed information, see TechNet: Deploy packages using CRM Package Deployer or Windows PowerShell.

While creating packages, developers must ensure that the package assemblies are signed.

While deploying the packages, Dynamics 365 administrators must:

  • Insist on a signed package assembly so that you can track an assembly back to its source.

  • Test the package on a pre-production instance (preferably a mirror image of the production instance) before running it on a production instance.

  • Back up the production instance before deploying the package.

Microsoft Dynamics 365

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