Microsoft has officially released Dynamics 365 Developer Toolkit for supporting developers here. It is a set of Microsoft Visual Studio Integration tools, focused on accelerating the development of custom code for Microsoft Dynamics 365(CRM). Using the toolkit, you can create, develop and deploy CRM plug-ins, custom workflow assemblies, and web resources without leaving the Visual Studio environment.
Well, Power Platform SDK team at Microsoft has been busy and they have now published the preview version of the reborn developer toolkit with the name Power Platform Tools for Visual Studio.
I have installed and tested this toolkit and was able to connect to Dataverse, create solutions, plugins, workflows activities and deploy them with no issues. It is still in preview but seems to be working fine for all the features I tested so far. I renamed the VSIX file as zip and checked and compared the file and folder structures of this new toolkit with the old version, most of the structure is same and there are some changes and improvement to work with latest versions of the Dataverse and SDK. So in my view, the old developer toolkit has been reborn with a new name and obviously with some improvement and support for latest version of the SDK.
Please note you will not see the new templates shown in the screenshot above and you will not be able to create solution or project using them if you have the old developer toolkit installed for the same Visual Studio version. You have to uninstall the old developer toolkit extension to be able to see the new templates. I hope the SDK team will look into and improve so that we can have both toolkits installed side by side.
Because I am working with many projects that are based on old developer toolkit, I have VS 2015 and 2019 in one setup where 2015 has the old developer toolkit installed and 2019 has the latest Power Platform Tools extension installed. I have also tested another scenario where VS 2019 Enterprise and Pro versions installed and installed the new toolkit on Enterprise version and old on Pro and that combination seems to work fine as well.
Another toolkit we can use to automate deployment and make our development easy is the Developer Toolkit for Dynamics 365 CE, released by Microsoft. This is a Visual Studio add-on that we can install on Visual Studio. After that, we can develop and deploy extensions for Dynamics 365 CE, such as plugins, custom workflows, and web resources from Visual Studio itself.
There are a lot of tools and systems available for implementing ALM/DevOps processes for Dynamics 365/Power Platform projects. However, many of these tools are geared towards massive, multi-developer deployments with rigorous development, testing, deployment processes. Microsoft has recently released a preview of its PowerApps Build Tools and many DevOps practitioners use the Dynamics 365 Build Tools provided by MVP Wael Hamze.
Building and deploying artifacts for the Dynamics 365 platform is not easy only using out of the box tools. To make it bearable, there are a few extensions to Visual Studio Team Services.First, most popular, and most diverse is the xRM CI Framework by Wael Hamze. This toolkit contains a number of custom tasks for VSTS related to Dynamics 365, such as Update Assembly, Update WebResources, Set Solution Version, Export Solution, Unpack Solution, Backup Online Instance, and many more.The second one, released by me and probably still most used by us at Innofactor, is called DevOps for Microsoft Dynamics 365. This extension does not contain all the tasks that Wael produced, but has the advantage of fully supporting Shuffle based operations where you with very detailed granularity can specify which solutions and data to export, and how to import that to target environments. More information about the Shuffle and the VSTS extensions can be found here: Build and Deploy Microsoft Dynamics 365 projects using VSTS.
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