Dynamics Tutorial: setting up an ADX Portal

Before I get started; Please remember this is simply a quick fire solution to getting started with ADX and MSCRM. Some of the information is snipped from the ADX Community (https://community.adxstudio.com/) which you should join for further information. My blog post will simply stop you from hunting around for bits of information that I had to go look for and will help consolidate some of it.

You can download a free trial of ADX from https://www.adxstudio.com/adxstudio-portals/free-trial/ or alternatively purchase the full product.

What is the ADX Portal

This is a portal for organisations to deploy and give their customers access too, in order for them to enter data straight into CRM without having full access to the system. It is a pretty interface which they can log into for creating support tickets or signing up for marketing material etc.  It is an extension to CRM which adds new tables, fields, forms and workflows and is written mostly in C#. The installer also adds sample reference data and everything is managed from within CRM.

Two Components to  the ADX framework

Portal Web Application – Built in Visual Studio and deployed into IIS (or Azure)

A set of CRM Customisation components – For the data model, views and screens for the backend of portals

*There is no separate database as it uses the CRM database.

How do I get started?

Download a free trial of ADX from https://www.adxstudio.com/adxstudio-portals/free-trial/ or alternatively purchase the full product.

Download the MSI file from the ADX Studio homepage for your version of CRM. The top ones are the most up to date.

Open the MSI file to see the ADX studio portal installer

MSI Installer

The solution after installing the MSI is most likely in the following directory: C:\Program Files (x86)\Adxstudio\XrmPortals\7.0.0022\Customizations

Upload the solution and then

In CRM go to settings > Solutions > and you will now see there is a button for ADX Studio Installer:

Solutions

What is a starter kit?

It allows you to have a template to work from so if you require a help desk portal use a helpdesk starter kit, if it is a community portal then use the community portal starter kit for your template.

Website Gallery

When you open the ADX Studio Installer you will see many modules which you can run. The website gallery is one of the modules and this is where you can find the starter kits etc. to install everything in a single step.

Website Gallery

The portal Types you can install as immediate starter kits

Portal Types

Choose a package for example the ‘Customer Portal’ and wait for the installation to complete.

Installation Progress

Refresh the CRM Solutions window and you will see that all Solutions have now been imported.

IIS configuration for your new website

Configure a new website in IIS for the ADX portal and set it to use an unused port number. The community can provide all of the steps to do this but I have listed the basic steps required if you feel competent with IIS and creating websites:

https://community.adxstudio.com/products/adxstudio-portals/installation-operations-guide/set-up-starter-portals/

General guideline steps for Mr Competent

Check you have IIS7 or IIS8

Open IIS and add a website

Set the Physical Path to the MasterPortal folder located in the samples folder found in the installation directory of the ADX Studio Portals. The default location is C:\Program Files (x86)\ADXSTUDIO\XrmPortals\\Samples\MasterPortal\.

Change your binding to use your open port number

Find your ADX websites application pool and ensure the .NET Framework is version 4.0

IIS

Browse to your newly created site in IIS and highlight and click browse to open it in an IE window. You should see a screen requesting details to connect ADX to CRM.

Connect to CRM

Error

We are done!

Installation complete and you now have a portal available locally. If you want this portal to be available externally over the internet which you most probably will, you must configure your DNS entries, obtain an SSL certificate and change the port to a secure one being used. You will also need to check the internal, external firewalls to ensure the port is open. You may need some help from the IT bods to do this as it would be too much to elaborate on in this article.

Welcome to the portal

Where is the connection information stored?

The ADX community state that it is stored in the settings.xml file in the App_Data subfolder.

How can I login to my new portal?

If you set up the sample organization, it has a single CRM Contact record with administrator for the Web Authentication Username andpass@word1 for the Password. You can login using these credentials.

Customisation’s and themes

If you login as the above Admin user you can hover over different items and customise them.

www.Bootswatch.com can be used to get themes for your portal.

Installing a new theme;

Go to the website just above this line and download the theme. You should then go to the New menu in the portal and select child file and select your CSS file which you downloaded. Remember that the partial URL required field must contain the exact css name that you saved otherwise it will not work.

Helpdesk looks like this

Using it on mobile devices and Tablets

If you open your portal in Chrome you can click an icon in the top right corner to see how it will look on mobile devices and tablets.

You can now create cases and enquiries which will be added into CRM.

Settings in CRM for the portal

If you go to Settings > Websites – You will find your portal available for further configurations.

Quick fire question and answer

How do you add additional CRM fields to the portal website?

You need to find the correct form in CRM. For example, if you used the Help Desk Portal Type starter kit you will find the forms in the ‘Case Entity’ as seen below;

How can we change the URL which it is accessed through?

You would need to create the DNS entries that state if www.exampleportal.com is accessed it will redirect to your open port for your ADX portal IIS website.

How is this configured for use with CRM Online?

You do the same steps as above but you use your Organisation Service URL from your online instance.

How do you add a company logo to places on the portal?

When you hover over different areas you get an edit button. If you click this you can remove and add objects and you can click on the button to add a picture as seen below;

There is so much to learn around the portal that there is a whole community of questions and blogs. It is worthwhile examining these for further details. I hope this blog helps you to get started with the portal!