Today we continue with the blog series D365 V9.0 – A Feature a Day, and I am enjoying the self-discovery process of all the new improvements that have been made to the V9.0 platform. Today’s feature will be focusing on the newly introduced AutoNumber.
Today’s Feature – Auto Numbering in V9.0
Native auto number is finally here! First previewed by Matt Barbour in the Microsoft Dynamics 365 CE Update for Developers presentation, what do we need to know about this new attribute type?
- Supports the following format tokens:
- Static String
- DATETIMEUTC:[format] e.g. ddmmyyyy
- At present this attribute type can only be added through the API.
- A user interface is currently in development to allow Auto Number attributes to be set up without code.
Matt also explains that this feature has been released due to the solutionization of the Customer Engagement platform, where previously it had been available to the core (i.e. Quote entities, Case entities etc) it now has been released to integrators and third parties to allow separate ‘apps’ to be developed with auto numbering in-built.
So what does it look like?
Once Auto Numbering has been configured for your new attribute you will see a locked field, in this case I’ve created a new attribute called Auto Number Test that follows the format of CNT(string)-(SEQNUM)-(RANDOM STRING 6 CHARS).
So how can we configure autonumber today?
The only official method at the moment is through the API as mentioned previously. The following is a code snippet from the CE Platform Update presentation.
(edit: Note that the Ignite presentation had the wrong DATE keyword, it should read DATETIMEUTC:[DDMMYYY], thanks to Jonas Rapp for picking up on that)
However, the Dynamics Community has been quick to embrace this new attribute type by creating managed solutions and an XRMToolBox plugin.
- An incredibly easy to install and configure managed solution that makes it easy to create autonumber attributes created by Brian Illand of Dynamics365Heroes.
EasyAutoNumber (Managed Solution) by Brian Illand
- An XRMToolBox plugin called Auto Number Manager by Jonas Rapp of Innofactor (http://anm.xrmtoolbox.com/).
In the past custom auto number solutions had several disadvantages, such as the requirement of a separate entity to store the configuration details (seed, format, counter, target attribute, target entity) and sometimes unreliable operation through the background workflow that enabled auto numbering to work in the past. I’m glad that the Microsoft Dynamics product team have now released this feature to integrators and third parties, and it will certainly enable us to develop better products for our clients.
Stay tuned for my next blog in the V9.0 series! Until then, thanks for reading.
If you’re keen on trying this new feature out yourself, head on down to https://trials.dynamics.com/Dynamics365/Signup