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Build MVC Applications with Connectivity to Act CRM Data

This article shows how to use only the Entity Framework and the CData ADO.NET provider to access Act CRM from an ASP.NET MVC application.

This article shows how to use wizards in Visual Studio to drop the CData ADO.NET Provider for Act CRM into a simple MVC (model, view, controller) project.

Create the Entity Framework Model

Follow the steps below to save connection properties and map tables to entities in the data model.

  1. Create a new MVC project in Visual Studio. In this example, the project name is MvcActCRMApp.
  2. If you are using Entity Framework 6, you will need to take the preliminary step of registering the Act CRM Entity Framework provider for your project. See the "LINQ and Entity Framework" chapter in the help documentation for a guide.

    Note that MVC 3 scaffolding and MVC 4 scaffolding do not support Entity Framework 6. You can use your scaffolding with Entity Framework 6 by upgrading to the latest version of MVC.

  3. To add the .edmx file from the designer, right-click your Models folder and click Add New Item. Select ADO.NET Entity Data Model, name the model, and click Add. In this example, the name of the model is ActCRMModel.
  4. In the Entity Data Model wizard, select the option 'EF Designer from database'. The Entity Data Model wizard is displayed.
  5. Click New Connection. Select CData Act CRM Data Source in the dialog that is displayed.
  6. Specify the required connection string properties.

    The User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, must be set to valid Act! user credentials. In addition to the authentication values, see the following:

    • Connecting to Act! Premium

      In addition to the authentication values, the URL to Act! is also required; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/.

      Additionally, you must specify the ActDatabase you will connect to. This is found by going to the About Act! Premium menu of your account, at the top right of the page, in the ? menu. Use the Database Name in the window that appears.

    • Connecting to Act! Premium Cloud

      To connect to your Act! Premium Cloud account, you also need to specify the ActCloudName property. This property is found in the URL address of the Cloud account; for example https://eup1-iis-04.eu.hosted.act.com/ActCloudName/.

    Note that retrieving ActCRM metadata can be expensive. It is advised that you set the CacheMetadata property to store the metadata locally.

    A typical connection string is below:

    URL=https://myActCRMserver.com;User=myUser;Password=myPassword;ActDatabase=MyDB;
  7. Name the connection and select whether to include sensitive information, such as connection credentials, in the connection string. For simplicity, this example saves sensitive information in Web.config. The connection settings are saved as ActCRMEntities.

  8. Select the tables and views you need. In this example, Activities is imported. Also, the option to pluralize object names is deselected in this example. Click Finish to create the .edmx file.
  9. Build your project to complete this step.

Scaffold the Controller and Views

After creating the model and building the project, you can use ASP.NET Scaffolding wizards to create the controller and the views.

  1. In Solution Explorer, right-click the controllers folder and click Add -> Controller. Select MVC 5 Controller with views, using Entity Framework.
  2. In the Add Controller dialog that is then displayed, select the following options:

    • Model class: Select a table you imported; for example, Activities.
    • Data context class: Select your context class.
  3. Leave the default values for the other fields.

You can now access the list of Activities records at http://MySite/Activities. Next to each record are links to edit, delete, and see more information. You can also create new Activities records. With every state change the site picks up any data changes.