Tallan's Technology Blog

Tallan's Top Technologists Share Their Thoughts on Today's Technology Challenges

Using T4 Templates to Generate C# Enums from SQL Server Database Tables

Lenni Lobel

When building applications with C# and SQL Server, it is often necessary to define codes in the database that correspond with enums in the application. However, it can be burdensome to maintain the enums manually, as codes are added, modified, and deleted in the database.
In this blog post, I’ll share a T4 template that I wrote which does this automatically. I looked online first, and did find a few different solutions for this, but none that worked for me as-is. So, I built this generic T4 template to do the job, and you can use it too.
Let’s say you’ve got a Color table and ErrorType table in the database, populated as follows:

Now you’d like enums in your C# application that correspond to these rows. The T4 template will generate them as follows:

Before showing the code that generates this, let’s point…

New to Office 365 in April

Tallan Partner

Several Office 365 updates this month can help companies of all sizes accelerate the digital transformation within their organization. Microsoft released Outlook Customer Manager, introduced Microsoft To-Do in Preview, extended Designer to PowerPoint on iPad, added support for Office 365 Groups in additional Office apps and more. Read on for the details.
Outlook Customer Manager is rolling out worldwide
Outlook Customer Manager makes it easy for small businesses to track and grow customer relationships without leaving Outlook. Today’s rollout includes several new capabilities based on feedback Microsoft received during the First Release of Outlook Customer Manager. It’s easier to manage customers and upcoming deals with automatic reminders about customer inquiries, suggested company information from Bing and integration with Microsoft Flow. You can also access Outlook Customer Manager on the go in Outlook for iOS and Outlook on the web. Read more about…

EDI: Still Essential After All These Years

Tallan Partner

Back in 2011, Gartner analyst Benoit Lheureux wrote a blog post titled: “EDI is Hot, No, Really!”
That was probably stretching it then and six years later…well, let’s just say “hot” is perhaps overstating it. But there’s no overstating the continued importance of EDI to many businesses.
“Bottom line: EDI remains — and will remain for years to come — a high impact, valuable asset to business,” Lheureux wrote in his report. “… EDI is a well-established approach that is still a vital component of most companies’ overall B2B strategy and easily contributes to B2B, cloud computing, business intelligence, et al.”
Like the Internet, EDI has its roots in the military. The scale and complexity of the 1948 Berlin airlift required the exchange of information about transported goods—over a 300-baud teletype modem, no less. The effort led to standards that eventually became EDI as…

Making the Case for Entity Framework in the Enterprise

Recently, I was met with some friction by the IT department at a client where, they asserted, that a decision had been made years ago to ban Entity Framework. Like many enterprise environments, this client was understandably concerned with the potential pitfalls of embracing Entity Framework. That meant that my job was to convince them otherwise – not to discount their apprehension, but quite the contrary – to demonstrate how EF can be leveraged for its advantages, and avoided for its shortcomings.
Entity Framework (EF) is a broad framework with many optional parts. There are several aspects of EF that provide great benefit, while others are a source of great consternation – particularly from the perspective of the database purist. As the cliché goes, “with great power comes great responsibility,” and so this blog post explores different aspects of EF, and…

The Top 5 Reasons to Upgrade to SQL Server 2016

Tallan Partner

Upgrading your software can be daunting, Microsoft knows. The fast pace of business makes it easy to tell yourself, “I’ll do it later when I have time.” Microsoft gets it! But here are five key reasons to make time to upgrade to SQL Server 2016, which was named DBMS of the Year in 2016 by DBengines.com.

Seamless step-up without rewriting apps. Thanks to November’s SQL Server 2016 Service Pack 1 (SP1), SQL Server now has one programming surface across all editions. If you switch from Express to Standard, or Standard to Enterprise, you don’t have to rework code to take advantage of additional features. Time saved! In addition, the change brings access to innovative features across performance, security, and analytics not previously available in Express or Standard—a great reason to upgrade applications that run on those editions. The Enterprise edition of…

Automatic Deployment and Extraction from CRM Using PowerShell Scripts

Hayden Lee

Recently I was tasked with the task of creating an automatic extraction and importing solution using PowerShell Scripts. To do this I created two files one for export and extracting with the other in charge of pack and importing the solution. I was using the Visual Studio template of CRM Package that comes with the sdk.
Export and Extracting The Solution
First thing I did was implement the export and extraction of the CRM solution. The PowerShell script first exports the solution from the web using a module called Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell. Then it extracts the downloaded zip into a folder for the correct file structure. A nice thing about using the Microsoft.Xrm.Data.PowerShell dll is the fact it gives you additional CRM commands you can do. For example before downloading the solution it allows you to change the version number of the solution before downloading.

 
As…

Quick Measures Preview

Tallan Partner

Quick measures, a new feature Microsoft released in their April Power BI Desktop update, lets you quickly create new measures based on measures and numerical columns in your table. These new measures become part of your model and can be used in any of your charts, just like manually created DAX calculations. You can also see the underlying DAX, and edit it if you need to tweak the results.
You can create measures based on 19 different calculations across five different categories. Let’s take a look at those five different categories.
Aggregate within category
These calculations let you apply different aggregates at different levels in your data. For example, you can sum revenue up to the month level, and then take an average of that total to display at the year level.

The result would look something like this:

The calculations included in the Aggregate…

Solving Plugin Types Import Failure on Dynamics 2016 up 1 On Premise

Chris Magrane

This is the error I received when trying to import a managed solution into an organization where an early version of it already existed.
From the import log :
Plugin Types import: FAILURE. Error: Plugin: [PluginAssemblyName], Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken=c66c1d5121b276ee of PluginTypeName: Microsoft.Crm.Entities.PluginType and PluginTypeNode: System.Xml.XmlElement caused an exception.
This one was new to me and caused me to have to do some digging, first I had to be reminded how to start digging, and the first step should be to enable tracing, which you can find here : https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/907490/how-to-enable-tracing-in-microsoft-dynamics-crm.  Then after that do your import and go to the TraceDirectory to find the internal exception causing this import exception.
 
That lead me to this exception from the trace logs :
>Crm Exception: Message: Plugin Types import: FAILURE. Error: Plugin: [PluginAssemblyName], Version=1.0.0.0, Culture=neutral, PublicKeyToken= of PluginTypeName: Microsoft.Crm.Entities.PluginType and PluginTypeNode: System.Xml.XmlElement caused an exception., ErrorCode: -2147188718, InnerException: Microsoft.Crm.CrmException: A managed…

New Chatbot Assists Educators with Quick and Easy Access to Office 365 Training and Teaching Resources

Tallan Partner

The Microsoft Educator Community recently launched a new bot built with the Bot Framework to provide educators with a personal human-like assistant that can direct them quickly to relevant content. One of the key roles of the bot is to help educators better engage with Office 365 and develop their teaching skills with Microsoft’s Office products.
Since the bot was added to the site in January, engagement with the bot has been high, with over 40,000 messages from educators being exchanged. Educators have found the bot to be human-like, valuable, and easy to use. They shared positive praise for its assistance and helpfulness. In fact, Microsoft is beginning to see a trend towards educators preferring to start their engagement on the site with the bot. Educators who use the bot during their visit to the site have 3-times longer session duration…

How to Drive and Plan an Envisioning for a Business Intranet

Patricio Cabrera

Introduction
We have all encountered intranets in our professional lives. Often, the intranet is where information goes to die and is forgotten. How do we break away from this pattern? Depending on whom you ask, some users may view the intranet as a tool to find HR Related information; others may use it to work collaboratively with a team who works remotely, and some will simply resist using it at all.
The road to overcoming common intranet missteps and misconceptions begins with a proper envisioning. We will discuss the process of envisioning a successful intranet, starting with a handful of factors: user and business stakeholder interviews, project requirements, documentation, and being mindful of the unique needs of your users as intranet solutions are not one-size-fits-all between companies—or even between departments within a single company.
Business Stakeholders
The first group of people you are going…

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