Choosing a browser for CRM 2011

Anyone using CRM 2011 on-premises or Online can upgrade to Update Rollup 12 and get all the cross-browser goodness we waited for so long to get. Any new CRM Online organisation you start will have this already “baked in”. That means you can start using:

  • Firefox on Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8
  • Chrome on  Windows XP, Vista, 7 or 8
  • Safari on Mac OSX 10.7 / 10.8
  • IE 8, 9 or 10

But! This comes at a small price – the deprecation of IE7. IE7 is no longer a supported browser for CRM 2011 going forward with the minor exception of IE7 on XP for CRM On-Premises only, and even that will be taken away at the Orion release (by which time support for XP will be at an end so I guess MS feel it is OK to start ignoring this not-insubstantial userbase at that point).

Why upgrade if I am happy with IE7?

Internet Explorer 8 is four years old today. If IE7 is what you are using four years after it was superceded, it’s time to upgrade and get a much smoother experience since the JavaScript engine in IE has improved dramatically over the last few versions, to compete well alongside Chrome which had fast JavaScript performance as one of the key reasons to switch when it first came out (better partitioning of security between sites / tabs in separate threads was another, and still is, but if your primary use of IE would be for CRM only, using another browser alongside for your ‘net surfing, then this is not a big deal really).

IPad seems to be missing from the list

iPad support at the moment is only for CRM Online, only for the “COLA” entities (Contact, Opportunity, Lead, Account), intended for using iPad for a sales lead to deal platform only at the stage. Other entities are rendered in the read-only forms, or you can use Mobile Express (as always) for editing.

Control supported browser list

You can also decide which browser environments you want your users to use, and warn them if they try to connect to CRM with something else – see this MSDN article on how to Control which browsers your organisation supports for details.

Problem with unresponsive lookup field on CRM 2011 form

Recently had a minor problem with a form in CRM 2011 which I have resolved while trying to fix something else (isn’t that so often the way?).

Problem description / reproduction steps

I created a custom entity in CRM 2011 to use as a joining entity in a manual N:N relationship. In this scenario it was an “Attendance” record to link a Contact to an Event, and enable the business to track the status of the attendance (tentative, confirmed, attended, cancelled) along with relevant dates etc.

To reduce effort on the user’s part I made the primary “description” field on the record auto-filled based on the event and contact name, using jscript web resources. To observe sensible UI practice, I made sure the lookup fields came at the top of the form, then the description which was a result of those, so it should be obvious to the user what to fill in first, then by the time they get to the name field it is already filled in.

A blank new record form is shown below.

Attendance record blank screenshot

So, what went wrong?

When the user creates a new record, they expect to be able to get on with the job of typing in the fields. Although the Event or Contact was automatically filled in if they created the record from the context of the parent record to make life even easier, this still means that sometimes they needed to fill in one or the other field, and that’s where it got strange.

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