Tag Archives: development

CRM 2015: Get your field value without losing focus

In CRM 2015 (and most probably in 2013), an entity attribute is not updated with the typed-in value until you exit that particular field via pressing Tab or by clicking somewhere else.

We have a few entities where we don’t necessarily expect the user to exit a field that needs to be validated. Usually these are end-of-form fields, where there’s nowhere else to go in that form, if you get what I mean. If they type a value and save the entity, the value wouldn’t register and the user would get an error, even though they are seeing their typed characters right in front of them.

Pretty confusing.

Seeing this, I wrote a very simple, quick JavaScript function that’s accessible to all our entities, since it resides in what we call our “root” script library. This is unsupported code, but we know and accept the risks; I expect that you understand that before going ahead and implementing this. Here’s the code:

function GetValue (fieldName, getText) {
    var inputType = Xrm.Page.getControl(fieldName).getControlType();

    if (getText == null) getText = false;

    if (inputType == "lookup") {

        if (getText)
            return Xrm.Page.getAttribute(fieldName).getValue()[0].id;
            return Xrm.Page.getAttribute(fieldName).getValue()[0].name;


    if (inputType == "optionset") {

        if (getText)
            return Xrm.Page.getAttribute(fieldName).getText();
            return Xrm.Page.getAttribute(fieldName).getValue();


    if (inputType != "standard") return null;
    var id = fieldName + '_i';
    var inputElement = document.getElementById(id); 
    if (inputElement !== null)
        return inputElement.value;
        return Xrm.Page.getAttribute(fieldName).getValue();


The first thing we do is check the type of field we’re working with. Using that, we have some code to send back values for lookups and option lists. The parameter getText allows you to get the name or text descriptions if it’s set to true for these type of fields.

We now evaluate if the field is standard type; if not, we return a null value.

Finally, this is the part where we do the switcheroo. We create an id for a DOM element. The reason for this is that when a CRM field gets focus, an HTML input element is created on the fly; this is where you actually type into. As soon as you focus out of the field, that input is gone. The name format for that element is attributeName + “_i”. 

We build that name and then try to get an element with that name in our DOM. We only do it once because your cursor can only be focused in one field at a time. Wrapping things up, we check if the HTML input element exists (meaning that a field has focus and hasn’t been exited by the user). If found, we return the value of this input, otherwise we return the actual attribute.

Pretty straightforward, and works like a charm for us.

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Using Telerik’s Fiddler to work with Microsoft Dynamics CRM

5-19-2015 1-51-56 PMWhat? You don’t have Fiddler?

My friend, you’re missing out, big time. Okay, let me help. First go here to the Telerik website and download the latest version. It’s free. I’ll wait here until you install it.

Got it? Okay, then let’s talk about it.

You might be wondering what my fuss is all about. You might also be wondering if this is some sort of paid advert, but I can assure you, I’m not related to Telerik in other way than as a customer. Turns out that Fiddler is one of the best tools you’ll find for debugging your CRM customizations.

This is how it works: In simple terms, when it’s active Fiddler intercepts every single web traffic call that is made from or to your computer to any other server, be it in the Internet or inside your company network. Not only does it catch all this traffic, it also presents the traffic in great detail.

This won’t be a full Fiddler tutorial, but I will list some ways you can use Fiddler in your CRM debug work. Also, I won’t show screenshots because I work at a financial institution and there’s a very slight possibility that some information might be decoded from any URLs I show here.

Reload an entity form

You know that with CRM 2013 and 2015, if you press F5 while debugging a page, you’ll go back in your form history to wherever you started. This is pretty bad when you’re using something like the IE Developer Tools script debugger, because you need to navigate all the way into the entity form you’re debugging, and then set up your break points again.

What Fiddler allows you to catch is the actual URL of the form being worked on. You can get this URL by clicking on the appropriate entry on the web traffic list (you’ll know what I’m referring to when you see it), select Inspectors from the upper-right area (the request area), and then select Raw view. Now you can happily copy this address, paste it into the browser, and press F5 to your heart’s content.

Missing web resources

Your form is not working properly and you have no idea why. Maybe you have a web resource that references another JavaScript library and it’s not finding it? Or some images are not loading? What could it be? Well, just by looking at the traffic, we can see any calls that are marked in red. Those calls have failed, and now we can use the inspector view for the request to verify if we have the correct path, although you could also do this in the timeline itself.

Failed service calls

You create your pretty request for the Organization Service to bring in some data and you get nothing. Hmm. Well, looking at in in Fiddler you can find out if the call itself has the correct syntax, and if so, you can look at the response with the JSON formatter and figure out if you actually got something back. Also works in the same manner with your on WCF services. Pretty handy, huh?

Performance evaluation

You can select however many rows from the traffic list and then switch the the Timeline graph showing the time spent on each call. This helped us a lot when fine-tuning the performance of our CRM implementation.

System element addresses

You want to use a certain CRM graphic (like a “Loading” GIF), but don’t know where it is? With a bit of trial and error you can find out the exact location of that resource, and then use it in your own web resources.

Are you still thinking about it?

As you can see, Fiddler is an excellent weapon in the arsenal of the well-prepared CRM developer. It helps us deal with some of the quirks we find when debugging CRM customizations, and even can help us figure out how Microsoft has put together some of the parts in the forms.

It’s solid, it doesn’t bog performance, it’s free, and it’s from a reputable company. Can’t ask for much more! Do you have any other ideas or ways in which Fiddler can help? Let us know here!

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