Posted on 21. November 2015

Option-Set, Lookup or Autocomplete

In the constant struggle to improve data quality it is common to avoid using free-text fields in favour of select fields. This approach has the advantage of ensuring that data is entered consistently such that it can easily be searched and reported upon.

There are a number of choices of approaches to implementing select fields in Dynamics CRM. This post aims to provide all the information you need to make an informed choice of which to use on a field by field basis. The options are:

  • Option-Set Field - stored in the database as an integer value which is rendered in the user interface as a dropdown list. The labels can be translated into multiple languages depending on the user's language selection.
  • Lookup Field - a search field that is stored in the database as a GUID ID reference to another entity record. The Lookup field can only search a single entity type.
  • Auto Complete Field - a 'free text' field that has an auto complete registered using JavaScript to ensure that text is entered in a consistent form. The term 'autocomplete' might be a bit misleading since the field is not automatically completed but instead you must select the suggested item from the list. This is a new feature in CRM 2016 that you can read more about in the preview SDK.
The following table provides an overview of the aspects that this post discusses for each option:
  • Number of items in list – The larger the list and the likelihood that it will grow, the more this becomes important.
  • Filtering based on user's business unit - This is especially important where you have different values that apply to different parts of the business and so the list of options must be trimmed to suit.
  • Adding new Items - Ease of adding values frequently by business users.
  • Removing values – Ease of removing values without affecting existing records that are linked to those values.
  • Multi-Language – Having options translated to the user's selected language
  • Dependant/Filtered options - This is important where you have one select field that is used to filter another such as country/city pairs.
  • Additional information stored against each option - This is important if you have information that you need to store about the selected item such as the ISO code of a country.
  • Mapping between entities - Is the option on multiple entity types? Often the same list of items is added as a field in multiple places and multiple entities. This can be important when using workflows/attribute maps to copy values between different entity types.
  • Number of select fields - The more select fields you have across all your entities, the more important this becomes.
  • Filters, Reports and Advanced Find - When creating advanced finds and views, a user should be able to select from a list of values rather than type free text.
  • Configure once, deploy everywhere – One key design goal should be that once a field is configured, it should be easily used across the web, outlook, tablet and phone clients.

Option-Set Fields

Option-Sets are the default starting point for select fields.

Number of items in list (Option-sets)

No more than ~100 for performance reasons. All items are downloaded into the user interface which will cause performance problems for large lists – especially where there are lots of option-sets on the same form.

Filtering based on user's business unit (Option-sets)

Requires JavaScript to filter items dynamically based on the user's role/business unit.

Ease of adding values frequently by business users (Option-sets)

Option-Sets require a metadata configuration change and a re-publish that would usually be done out of hours by an administrator. It is best practice to do this on a development environment and then import a solution into production. Adding new values to the list isn't something that can be done by business users.

Removing values over time (Option-sets)

Removing items causes data loss in old records. Items can be removed using JavaScript to preserve old records, but Advanced Find will still show the values.

Multi-Language Options (Option-sets)

Each option-set item can be translated into multiple languages.

If you need to have the select field multi-language then an option-set is probably your best choice unless it is going to be a long list, in which case you'll need to make a compromise.

Dependant/Filtered options (Option-sets)

Requires JavaScript to filter options.

Additional information stored against each option (Option-sets)

It is not possible to store additional data other than the label and integer value of the option-set. You would need to store somewhere else in a lookup table format.

Mapping between entities (Option-sets)

Use a global option-set that can be defined once and used by multiple option-set fields.

Number of select fields (Option-sets)

You can have as many select fields as your entity forms will allow. The more fields you have the slower the form will load and save. 

Search/Filtering (Option-sets)

Option-sets are always presented as a drop down in advanced fine and view filters.

Configure once, deploy everywhere (Option-sets)

Works across all clients including phone and tablet native apps.

Option-sets are the most 'native' choice for select fields and will work in all deployment types without much consideration.


Lookup Fields with Custom Entity

Lookup fields allow selecting a single reference to a custom entity using a free text search.

Number of items in list (Lookup)

Unlimited list items subject to database size. Since all list items are not downloaded to the user interface (unlike option-sets) the user can search quickly for the item they need.

Filtering based on user's business unit (Lookup)

Security Roles can be used in combination with a user owned lookup entity so that lookup records are visible to subset of users.

Ease of adding values frequently by business users (Lookup)

New records can easily be added by users using the 'Add New' link. Control over who can add new items can be done using Security Roles.

If you need business users to add values regularly then a Lookup field is a good choice. The Configuration Migration tool in the SDK can be used to easily move values between environments.


Removing values over time (Lookup)

Old items can be easily deactivated and will no longer show in lookup fields (including in advanced finds) however existing records will retain their selected value (unlike when option-set items are removed).

If you need to make changes constantly to the list and remove items without affecting previous records then a lookup field is most likely your best choice.


Multi-Language Options (Lookup)

Not possible without complex plugin server side code to dynamically return the name in the current user's language.

Dependant/Filtered options (Lookup)

Lookup filtering options can be added in the form field properties or can be added via JavaScript for more complex scenarios.

Lookups are the easiest and quickest to setup dependant lists without writing code. This filtering will also work on tablet/mobile clients without further consideration.

Additional information stored against each option (Lookup)

Additional information can be stored as attributes on the lookup entity records. Lookup views can show up to 2 additional attributes within the inline lookup control.

If you are integrating with another system that requires a special foreign key to be provided, lookup entities are good way of storing this key.


Mapping between entities (Lookup)

Lookups can easily be mapped between records using attribute maps/workflows or calculated fields.

Number of select fields (Lookup)

CRM Online is limited to 300 custom entities.

This is an important consideration and it's unlikely to be a good idea to use Lookup entities for all of your select fields.
If you are using CRM online you'll likely have to always use a combination of lookups and option-sets due to the limit of 300 custom entities. Don't take the decision to make all your select fields as lookups.


Search/Filtering (Lookup)

Lookups are presented as search fields in Advanced Find and Filters.

Configure once, deploy everywhere (Lookup)

Works across all clients including phone and tablet native apps. If working offline however, all lookup values may not be available.

Text Field Auto Completes (CRM 2016)

Autocompletes are a free text field with an on key press event added to show an autocomplete. The great thing about autocompletes is that they can show icons and additional action links.See below for an example of how to use autocompletes in Javascript.

Number of items in list (Autocomplete)

An autocomplete field can only show as many items as you return at a time but you'll want to put a limit for performance reasons.

If you need the select field to be more like a combo-box where users can type their own values or select from predefined items then autocomplete text fields are a good choice.


Filtering based on user's business unit (Autocomplete)

You can add any search filtering you need using JavaScript.


Ease of adding values frequently by business users (Autocomplete)

If the autocomplete is using a lookup entity to store the data displayed then the same considerations would apply as for Lookup Entities. If the values are hard coded into the JavaScript then this would be more akin to the Option-Set solution import.

Removing values over time (Autocomplete)

Since the actual field is stored as a text field there is no issue with removing values. Existing data will still be preserved.

Multi-Language Options (Autocomplete)

You can detect the user interface language and return a specific language field to the user via JavaScript however it will be stored in the textbox and other users will not see it in their language (unlike an option-set). One solution to this would be to use the autocomplete for data entry and then use a web resource to present the field value in the local user's language.

Dependant/Filtered options (Autocomplete)

You can apply whatever filtering you need using JavaScript.

Additional information stored against each option (Autocomplete)

If you use the autocomplete to search a custom entity you can store additional data as additional attributes. The autocomplete flyout can display multiple values for each result row.

Autocomplete fields have the advantage that they can show an icon that is specific to the record (e.g. The flag of the country). If you need this feature, then Auto completes are a good choice.


Search/Filtering (Autocomplete)

If you use a free text autocomplete it's advisable to additionally populate a backing lookup field to facilitate searching/filtering. This would also allow you to ensure that 'unresolved' values cannot be saved by using an OnSave event to check that the text field matches a hidden lookup field that is populated in the OnChange event.

Configure once, deploy everywhere (Autocomplete)

Autocomplete does not work on phone/tablet native apps yet.

Show me the Code!

I have added support for the Auto Complete SDK extensions in CRM2016 to SpakleXRM. To show a country autocomplete lookup, you'd add onload code similar to:

public static void OnLoad()
    Control control = Page.GetControl("dev1_countryautocomplete");

public static void OnCountrySearch(ExecutionContext context)
    string searchTerm = Page.GetControl("dev1_countryautocomplete").GetValue<string>();
    string fetchXml = String.Format(@"<fetch version='1.0' output-format='xml-platform' mapping='logical' distinct='false'>
                              <entity name='dev1_country'>
                                <attribute name='dev1_countryid' />
                                <attribute name='createdon' />
                                <attribute name='dev1_name' />
                                <attribute name='dev1_longname' />
                                <attribute name='dev1_iso' />
                                <attribute name='entityimage_url' />
                                <order attribute='dev1_name' descending='false' />
                                <filter type='and'>
                                  <condition attribute='dev1_name' operator='like' value='{0}%' />
                            </fetch>", searchTerm);

    OrganizationServiceProxy.BeginRetrieveMultiple(fetchXml, delegate(object state)
            // We use an aysnc call so that the user interface isn't blocked whilst we are searching for results
            EntityCollection countries = OrganizationServiceProxy.EndRetrieveMultiple(state, typeof(Entity));
            AutocompleteResultSet results = new AutocompleteResultSet();

            // The Autocomplete can have an action button in the footer of the results flyout
            AutocompleteAction addNewAction = new AutocompleteAction();
            addNewAction.Id = "add_new";
            addNewAction.Icon = @"/_imgs/add_10.png";
            addNewAction.Label = "New";
            addNewAction.Action = delegate()
                OpenEntityFormOptions windowOptions = new OpenEntityFormOptions();
                windowOptions.OpenInNewWindow = true;
                Utility.OpenEntityForm2("dev1_country", null,null, windowOptions);
            results.Commands = addNewAction;
            results.Results = new List<AutocompleteResult>();
            // Add the results to the autocomplete parameters object
            foreach (Entity country in countries.Entities)
                AutocompleteResult result = new AutocompleteResult();
                result.Id = country.Id;
                result.Icon = country.GetAttributeValueString("entityimage_url");
                result.Fields = new string[] { country.GetAttributeValueString("dev1_name"),                           
                ArrayEx.Add(results.Results, result);                    
            if (results.Results.Count > 0)
                // Only show the autocomplete if there are results
                // There are no results so hide the autocomplete
        catch(Exception ex)
            Utility.AlertDialog("Could not load countries: " + ex.Message, null);

This would result in JavaScript:

ClientHooks.Autocomplete = function ClientHooks_Autocomplete() {
ClientHooks.Autocomplete.onLoad = function ClientHooks_Autocomplete$onLoad() {
    var control = Xrm.Page.getControl('dev1_countryautocomplete');
ClientHooks.Autocomplete.onCountrySearch = function ClientHooks_Autocomplete$onCountrySearch(context) {
    var searchTerm = Xrm.Page.getControl('dev1_countryautocomplete').getValue();
    var fetchXml = String.format("<fetch version='1.0' output-format='xml-platform' mapping='logical' distinct='false'>\r\n                                      <entity name='dev1_country'>\r\n                                        <attribute name='dev1_countryid' />\r\n                                        <attribute name='createdon' />\r\n                                        <attribute name='dev1_name' />\r\n                                        <attribute name='dev1_longname' />\r\n                                        <attribute name='dev1_iso' />\r\n                                        <attribute name='entityimage_url' />\r\n                                        <order attribute='dev1_name' descending='false' />\r\n                                        <filter type='and'>\r\n                                          <condition attribute='dev1_name' operator='like' value='{0}%' />\r\n                                        </filter>\r\n                                      </entity>\r\n                                    </fetch>", searchTerm);
    Xrm.Sdk.OrganizationServiceProxy.beginRetrieveMultiple(fetchXml, function(state) {
        try {
            var countries = Xrm.Sdk.OrganizationServiceProxy.endRetrieveMultiple(state, Xrm.Sdk.Entity);
            var results = {};
            var addNewAction = {};
   = 'add_new';
            addNewAction.icon = '/_imgs/add_10.png';
            addNewAction.label = 'New';
            addNewAction.action = function() {
                var windowOptions = {};
                windowOptions.openInNewWindow = true;
                Xrm.Utility.openEntityForm('dev1_country', null, null, windowOptions);
            results.commands = addNewAction;
            results.results = [];
            var $enum1 = ss.IEnumerator.getEnumerator(countries.get_entities());
            while ($enum1.moveNext()) {
                var country = $enum1.current;
                var result = {};
                result.icon = country.getAttributeValueString('entityimage_url');
                result.fields = [ country.getAttributeValueString('dev1_name'), country.getAttributeValueString('dev1_iso'), country.getAttributeValueString('dev1_longname') ];
                Xrm.ArrayEx.add(results.results, result);
            if (results.results.length > 0) {
            else {
        catch (ex) {
            Xrm.Utility.alertDialog('Could not load countries: ' + ex.message, null);





Posted on 6. November 2015

New version of Network Visualisations for Dynamics CRM

Many of you will have seen (and possibly used) my previous version of NetworkView. Thank you for all the feedback you've given. The top 5 points of feedback were:

  1. Can I show connections on the graph?
  2. Can I show custom entities on the graph?
  3. I have very large graphs which makes it hard to understand what is going on.
  4. I have records owned by Teams but I cannot see that on my graph.
  5. How do I know which node is the one that I've opened the graph from?

With version 1.6 I've addressed these points as follows:

Showing Connections

You can now show connections between entities! The connection roles that are discovered (e.g. Partner, Influencer etc.) are listed so that you can then highlight all the connections of a particular role on the graph by selecting the role. Loading connections may be turned on or off on a per-entity basis in the configuration.

Connections shown on graph

Activity Overflow

Since most of the time folks are only interested in the links between records via activities rather than the actual activities themselves, the graph now loads the first 10 records and then shows an overflow node that you can double click to load the next 5 activities. Under the covers, all that activities that match the FetchXml filter are loaded and the links worked out but the links are shown to and from the 'overflow' node rather than the individual activities until you expand the node.

Expanding Activities

Iteration Limit

Network graphs can often grow to a large size if you have many connections, the graph will now pause loading after a set number of iterations and ask if you want to load more. The most frequent cause of graph growth is where there are connections that are also users – for this reason, the graph will supress connections that have the same email domain as any of your users.

Loading Paused

Team Ownership

In addition to showing users who own records and participate on activities the graph now shows Teams in same list and allows highlighting records that are associated with that team.

Team Ownership on Graph

Root Node identification

You can now see which record you started the graph from highlighted in green.

Cycle Mode

When you first load the Network view, the users and connection are cycled through so that the various cohorts on your graph are highlighted for your viewing pleasure! This can be turned off by clicking the cycle button and the configuration controls if it is on by default.


The graph is now configured using a customisable web-resource named:


To add your custom configuration you simply need to edit this web resource and publish the changes. You can use the following options:


The number of iterations of the load mechanism before prompting the 'Load More' option.



Output trace to F12 console whilst loading. This is good for working out why your graph looks the way it does

Default: false


Turn on the demo cycle when the graph first loads.

Default: false


The query to fetch connections. The placeholder {0} must be inserted where the ID filter should be added.


The query to fetch activities. The placeholder {0} must be inserted where the ID filter should be added.


Array of Entities to load (including custom entities)

Each Entity configuration has the following fields:


The name of the entity used in messages.


The logical name of the entity to load


The logical name of the attribute that holds the display name of the record.


The logical name of the attribute that holds the unique ID of the record


The logical name of the parent Record ID when hierarchical loading is enabled.


True when the graph should show activities for this entity


True when the graph should show connections for this entity (connections must be supported by this entity)


True when the parent/child relationships should be traversed using the hierarchical operators.


The query to get the records. The placeholder {0} must be inserted where the filter conditions should be added.


Holds an array of joins to other entities.



To install or upgrade from the previous version :

  1. Install SparkleXRM v7.2.8 or later
  2. Install the NetworkView managed solution

The usual disclaimer & license applies.

Special thanks goes to @dynamiccrmcat for help with testing this version.


Posted on 4. August 2015

Refreshed UI Solution Links Updated

Having just got back from holiday in lovely the country of Hungary I've just got round to adding the links to the Refreshed Connection UI solution downloads.

To download the files please refer to the original post!

Posted on 14. July 2015

Refreshed Connections UI Solution

Following on from my recent video series called 'Building a Refreshed Connections UI using SpakleXRM' this post shows you how to use the final solution to add a bit of sparkle to the otherwise slightly neglected connections feature in Dynamics CRM.

Connections first saw an appearance in CRM2011 replacing the customer relationships entity. The big deal about connections was that they could connect any entity to any other entity using the same lookup field and could be viewed from either side of the relationship. This made them very powerful for creating complex relationships between contacts, contacts, cases and opportunities such that the relationships would be equally discoverable from both sides.

  • Two sided - If you add a link between John Smith and Contoso you can see that connection on the Contoso record as well as the John Smith record. Behind the scenes this is achieved by two connections being created with the duplicate having the Connect To and Connect From lookups reversed. The connection that you created is marked as the 'Master' and when opening the non-master connection you are actually shown the Master record.
  • Ubiquitous – A common ask from users is to see all relationships in one place. Since connections support multiple types of records you can have a single list that shows connections between many types of record. The Connection Role is used to determine the type of relationship and the Connection Role Category can be used to group the types of roles together (e.g. Business, Sales Team, Stakeholders etc.)
  • Customisable Intersect Entity – There are existing attributes such as Effective Start and Effective End that are useful when modelling relationships that change over time but you can also add you own fields. The downside of this of course is that those fields will be visible for all connections irrespective of the entities types that are being connected unless you do some hiding/showing dynamically.

I've always loved the connection entity but it hasn't received the 'Refreshed UI' treatment in recent releases which is why I created the Refreshed Connection UI Solution.

Current Experience (CRM2015)

This is what the current experience is on the Opportunity Form:

So, far so good, but if you add a custom connections sub grid you get the following. Perhaps the biggest drawback is that the Add New (+) button cannot be used on the form connections sub-grid.

If you then use the associated sub grid you get the following. Adding connections uses the old style Ribbon Form.

New Experience

Using the new SparkleXRM Refreshed Connections UI this is the experience you'll get:


The code is all in github if you want to take look - otherwise you can install the managed solution. 


  1. You can add the component to any form that supports connections by using 'Add Web Resource'

  2. Select the Web Resource named con_/html/Connections.htm
  3. Within the Web Resources properties dialog on the Formatting tab set the height in Rows and un-check 'Display Boarder' and change the Scrolling to 'Never'
  4. Again, within the Web Resource properties dialog on the General tab you can pass the following properties:
    1. entities – (Optional) A Comma separated list of entity logical names that you want to support in the lookup. By default the entities will be account,contact,opportunity,systemuser
    2. pageSize – (Optional) The number of rows to display per page. By default a size of 10 will be used.
    3. view – (Optional) The name of the view to use (e.g. All Stakeholders). By default the Associated view will be used

The usual disclaimer & license applies.

Posted on 24. May 2015

Turbo Forms: Get your JavaScript ready for CRM2015 Update 1

With the introduction of 'Turbo Forms' in CRM2015 Update 1 I thought I'd give you a heads up on what you'll need to address in your JavaScript to support this new form rendering engine. The Dynamics CRM Team Blog has a very good article on the changes but there have been some misunderstandings of the statement 'we have parallelized as many operations as possible'. In actual fact the script loading of custom web resource scripts has not really changed since CRM2013 - It remains the same as I describe in my CRM2013 Script Loading Deep Dive. The operations that are parallelized with turbo form rendering are the internal form load operations rather than custom ones. Custom JavaScript loading has always been parallelized since CRM2013.

Turbo Form Page Differences

Before Turbo Forms both global scripts and your custom web resources would have been loaded into a content IFRAME within the main window each time you navigate between records.

The biggest change with Turbo Forms is that the content IFRAME is kept in memory and re-used for performance reasons. This parent content IFRAME is even kept in memory between navigation between different entity types. Any custom JavaScript is then loaded into a child IFRAME (via the ClientApiWrapper.aspx page) so that when you navigate between records they are re-loaded.

SparkleXRM solutions already have a load order mechanism that ensure that your custom scripts are loaded in order that they are needed.

Impact on unsupported code

If your JavaScript is using only supported SDK calls then there will be no impact from this new loading mechanism. Sometimes it is necessary to use unsupported functions or referencing parameters of the Content IFRAME (such as the query string). Since your custom JavaScript is now running in the context of the ClientApiWrapper (rather than the content IFRAME) any reference to window methods such as window.openStdWin or window.location.href will fail. In order to access these objects you will need to reference parent.window.

The ribbon workbench 'how-to' article that shows starting a dialog from a ribbon button does infact use openStdWin to ensure consistency with the out of the box dialog experience. I have updated the code to use the parent window when required.


There are a couple of other notable aspects of Turbo Forms that I thought I'd point out:

IFRAMES that are collapsed by default are not sized correctly.

If you have an IFRAME or HTML Webresource inside a Tab that is collaposed by default you will find that they are not sized correctly when the tab is expanded. This will be fixed in an upcoming update but until then you will need to show the tab by default and collapse when the form is loaded.

entityType vs typename

Turbo Forms have dropped the typename attribute of Lookup values.

In the past, the following code would return the same:


With Turbo Forms only the documented entityType is available. The typename attribute was left over from the CRM4 days and just had not been removed until now!



Posted on 12. May 2015

Introducing SparkleXRM Metadata Server

Metadata Server Logo

Speed up your HTML web resources by caching metadata such as localised field labels and options sets.

If you've developed an HTML web resource for Dynamics CRM that includes field labels, option sets or any other element that is stored in the Dynamics CRM metadata then you’ll know about the delay each time the your UI is rendered whilst information is downloaded from the server. You could of course hard code this information in your JavaScript but you'd suffer higher maintenance costs especially when supporting multiple languages.

The SparkleXRM Metadata Server allows dynamic expressions to be included in JavaScript Web Resources that are evaluated on the server and then cached on the client side.

var fieldLabel = <@contact.fullname.DisplayName@>;

This will output and cache the following on the client (for an LCID of 1033):

var fieldLabel = "Full Name";

Learn more about the SparkleXRM Metadata Server!

Posted on 2. May 2015

Building a Refreshed Connection UI using SparkleXRM

I've now published all 5 videos in this series. 

If you find yourself needing to create HTML Webresource in Dynamics CRM then I'm sure you will find something here of interest. Part 5 shows how to use the new SparkleXRM Metadata Server that I'll be publishing a post on very soon.

Part 1 - Creating your first SpakleXRM Project

Part 2 - View Model Form Data Binding & Unit Testing

Part 3 - Adding an Editable Grid

Part 4 - Pulling it all together

Part 5 - Adding multi-language support

Have fun!


Posted on 22. April 2015

Building Rich UI Extensions for Dynamics CRM using SparkleXRM

Posted on 10. April 2015

Can I do that (in Dynamics CRM) ?

I'm sure by now that you've seen the new hierarchical visualisations in Dynamics CRM 2015. By clicking on the little icon in lists or on a form you can see the records graphically laid out. In true Dynamics CRM style anything you can do through the user interface is accessible through the SDK and so we now have the ability perform fetchXml queries using the above, eq-or-above, under & eq-or-under conditions. These new search criteria will find records up to a maximum of 100 recursions for a single hierarchical relationship.

Take a look at the excellent SDK topic Query hierarchical data on the subject.

I have found that when some users see the cool looking Dynamics CRM Online logon page they will ask 'Can I do that?!' I thought I would answer that question with a new SparkleXRM sample solution. Take a look:

Installing Network Visualisations (CRM 2015)

  1. Import SparkleXRM -
  2. Import NetworkView -
Usual MIT license applies!

Known Issues

For a list of known issues and reporting new ones please use the GitHub repository.

Thanks to CRMCAT and Jukka Niiranen for all the help and feedback so far.

Have Fun!


Posted on 9. April 2015

Control Async Workflow Retries

The Dynamics CRM Async Server is a great mechanism to host integrations to external systems without affecting the responsiveness of the user interface. Once such example is calling SharePoint as I describe in my series – SharePoint Integration Reloaded.

A draw back of this approach (compared to using an integration technology such as BizTalk) is that any exceptions thrown during the integration will simply fail the workflow job with no retries. You might already know that the Async Server does in fact have a retry mechanism built in as described by this excellent post from the archives - As you'll see from this article there are some built in exceptions where CRM will automatically retry a number of times as defined by the 'AsyncMaximumRetries' deployment property. The interval between these retries is defined by the 'AsyncRetryBackoffRate' property.

So how can we make use of this retry mechanism with our custom code?

There is an undocumented and unsupported way of using this retry mechanism in your custom workflow activities. I first used this technique back in the CRM 4.0 days and I'm pleased to report that it still works with CRM 2015!

Although unsupported, the worst that could happen is that the workflow would stop retrying in future version of Dynamics CRM and revert to simply reporting the exception. However it still wouldn't be a good idea to rely on this functionality for mission critical operations.

So…plz show me the codez…

catch (Exception ex)
    // TODO: Rollback any non-transactional operations

    OrganizationServiceFault fault = new OrganizationServiceFault();
    fault.ErrorCode = -2147204346; // This will cause the Async Server to retry
    fault.Message = ex.ToString();
    var networkException = new FaultException(fault);
    throw networkException;

When an exception is thrown by your custom workflow activity you'll see the workflow enter into a 'Waiting' state and the 'Postpone until' attribute will be set to the time when the retry will take place. Once the maximum number of retries has been performed, it will enter the 'Failed' status.

You can use this technique to ensure that any temporary integration failures such as service connectivity issues will be dealt with by a graceful retry loop. It only remains to ensure that you before throwing the exception you rollback any operations performed already by your code (such as creating records) so that your retries will not create duplicate records.

Hope this helps!