Microsoft Dynamics CRM Team Blog: Demystifying the Recurring Appointment series expansion in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011
Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Beta is out and so is the support for creating and managing recurring appointments within Microsoft CRM.
Now we can create and manage recurring appointment within Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 using its familiar Web client user interface and it also allows you to perform full bi-directional synchronization with Microsoft Dynamics CRM Client 2011 for Outlook.
Recurring appointments look and feel is almost similar to Outlook’s Recurring appointments, this was done to ensure that users get familiar interface of Outlook’s recurring appointment but there are two important differentiators as well that I want to highlight here.
1. Outlook Recurring Appointments follow Rule based OnDemand expansion model while in CRM occurrences get created and persisted in Database as individual Appointment records. This expansion based model allows other components of CRM to work independently on individual appointments records.
2. Unlike Outlook, CRM allows us to update recurrence rule of recurring series and still maintain past history of recurring series. On every update of recurrence information, past appointment instances of recurring series are preserved and they can be viewed from a common grouping link in recurring series records.
In this blog post I wanted to share more detail on recurring appointment series expansion logic, as it has some settings that you can configure as per your organization’s business requirements.
Expansion based model works best for business system like CRM very well but it has its own set of challenges, like high storage cost and initial processing cost in series expansion. Series maintenance cost(like update and delete cost) is also high when series definition changes. To address some of these concerns partial expansion based model is followed in CRM, which mitigates performance issues as well as allows an organization to define its own expansion rule as per business needs for long running recurring appointments.
This is how we define partial expansion model -
I. Initial expansion window configurable by business policy.Now let’s take one concrete example to explain how partial expansion based approach works. Assume you have a never ending recurring series definition; in this case partial expansion of a recurring series will work in this way.
I. On recurring appointment series creation, immediately 15 appointment instances would be created (controlled by RecurrenceExpansionSynchCreateMax setting).There are a number of organization settings that you can tweak to adjust recurring series expansions as per your organizations need.
a. RecurrenceExpansionSynchCreateMax - Specifies the maximum number of instances to be created synchronously after creating a recurring appointment. CRM default is 15 instances. This setting allows us to control synchronous creation of series instances. Default value 15 allows us to work immediately on created series instances, having a larger value will keep user waiting for series creation operation to complete.These settings are not available in System Settings page in CRM, so you’ll want to write a simple SDK program to change them if you want to tap into them.
You can find more detail in SDK documentation on how to work with recurring appointments and it’s interaction with other sub systems in CRM.
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