Portals in Dynamics 365 | An Introduction

I remember my first few weeks at the university, schedule in hand, frantically trying to find the next classroom…on time! Nothing seemed to be labeled correctly; buildings were only labeled on the front, but most of the time, I entered from the sides. I had a difficult time remembering which floor of one building led to another floor level to the adjacent building. You could easily waste 10 minutes or more trying to get where you need to be.

After the first term, I could navigate efficiently; by the time I graduated I mastered which route to take on which day and which time and even which term. I memorized the shortcuts, the bottlenecks, and the hidden stores and study areas. It would have been great if someone, at the beginning of my time there, walked me through the campus and showed me the ins and outs and how to effectively and efficiently get around.

I feel the same way about Dynamics 365 Portals. At the time of my introduction to Portals, I already had developed websites for over a decade. I knew websites. After taking a quick review of Portals, I knew I was in for a fairly steep learning curve. But why? The reason is because Microsoft divided up the traditional website folder architecture and page development into several areas and responsibilities to provide portal website development opportunities to the citizen developer. That is my take on it anyway.

So, I walked down the wrong hallway, went through the wrong door, and entered the wrong classroom several times. I would slowly back out, say “Excuse me,” and try to figure out what I did to be better next time. Over the next few months, I determined the best routes, the ins and outs, and how most things were connected. I’m still learning.

This series of blogs will help you, the beginning Dynamics 365 Portal developer, to gain a better understanding of how to get around Portals and hopefully prevent you from having to call campus security to bail you out.

I’ll have to admit the curriculum content is not fully locked down; I’m viewing the Dynamics 365 blog series as fluid in nature due to the fact that the more I learn, the more I can share.

There is so much to cover with this topic, and I cannot cover everything, so I have decided to eliminate certain scenarios/topics from this blog series and they are:

  • Multiple Portal websites
  • Website bindings
  • Multiple languages
  • Ad management
  • Poll management
  • Portal contact management

I have divided all content into five chapters. They are as follows:

Chapter 1 – Core Basics

  • Part 1 – Web Pages 1AWeb Pages 1B
  • Part 2 – Page Templates
  • Part 3 – Entity Lists
  • Part 4 – Entity Forms
  • Part 5 – Web Forms
  • Part 6 – Entity Permissions
  • Part 7 – Web Roles
  • Part 8 – Access Control Rules/Web Page Access Control Rules
  • Part 9 – Web Links and Web Link Sets
  • Part 10 – File Management (Child files, files on portal server)
  • Part 11 – Portal Server
  • Part 12 – Entity Metadata and Web Form Metadata

Chapter 2 – Web Templates

  • Part 1 – General overview; when to use them
  • Part 2 – Tapping into Entity List
  • Part 3 – Creating your own list
  • Part 4 – Tapping into Entity Form
  • Part 5 – Creating your own form
  • Part 6 – Additional JavaScript form validation
  • Part 7 – AJAXing your Web Template

Chapter 3 – Liquid

  • Part 1 – Beginning Liquid
  • Part 2 – Liquid and Entity Lists
  • Part 3 – Liquid and Entity Forms
  • Part 4 – Liquid and JavaScript

Chapter 4 – Other

  • Part 1 – CSS
  • Part 2 – Print version of Web Page
  • Part 3 – Custom layouts
  • Part 4 – View only Entity Form/Web Form

Chapter 5 – Planning, Designing, Estimating

  • Part 1 – Wireframing a Portal website
  • Part 2 – Estimating a D365 Portal project

Even though the chapters are ordered, I plan to work through them concurrently. If you have a strong desire for one or more of topics to be covered soon rather than later, give us some feedback. Together we will navigate the halls and rooms of Dynamics 365 Portals.

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