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DataBind Charts to Dynamics CRM Data

Use the standard ADO.NET procedures for databinding to provide bidirectional access to Dynamics CRM data from controls in the Visual Studio toolbox. This article demonstrates a graphical approach using wizards in Visual Studio, as well as how to databind with only a few lines of code.

DataBinding enables bidirectional access to data from UI controls. You can use the CData ADO.NET Provider for Dynamics CRM to easily databind Dynamics CRM data to Windows Forms and Web controls in Visual Studio. This article shows how to use wizards to databind Dynamics CRM data to a chart that reflects any changes. The code walk-through section shows how to create a chart in 10 lines of code.

DataBind to a Chart

DataBinding consists of three steps: Instantiate the control, configure the data source, and databind.

Configure the Connection and Select Database Objects

Follow the procedure below to use the Data Source Configuration Wizard to create a chart control and the connection to Dynamics CRM. In the wizard, you can select the Dynamics CRM entities you want to databind.

  1. In a Windows Forms project, drag and drop a Chart control from the toolbox to the form. In the Data section of the Chart properties, select DataSource and then select Add Project Data Source from the menu.
  2. In the Data Source Configuration Wizard that appears, select Database -> Dataset.
  3. In the Choose Your Data Connection step, click New Connection.
  4. In the Add Connection dialog, click Change to select the CData Dynamics CRM Data Source.

    Below is a typical connection string:

    User=myuseraccount;Password=mypassword;URL=https://myOrg.crm.dynamics.com/;CRM Version=CRM Online;

    The connection string options meet the authentication and connection requirements of different Dynamics CRM instances. To connect to your instance, set the User and Password properties, under the Authentication section, to valid Dynamics CRM user credentials and set the Url to a valid Dynamics CRM server organization root. Additionally, set the CRMVersion property to 'CRM2011+' or 'CRMOnline'. IFD configurations are supported as well; set InternetFacingDeployment to true.

    Additionally, you can provide the security token service (STS) or AD FS endpoint in the STSURL property. This value can be retrieved with the GetSTSUrl stored procedure. Office 365 users can connect to the default STS URL by simply setting CRMVersion.

    When you configure the connection, you may also want to set the Max Rows connection property. This will limit the number of rows returned, which is especially helpful for improving performance when designing reports and visualizations.

  5. Choose the database objects you want to work with. This example uses the Account table.

DataBind

After adding the data source and selecting database objects, you can bind the objects to the chart. This example assigns the x-axis to FirstName and the y-axis to NumberOfEmployees.

  1. In the Chart properties, click the button in the Series property to open the Series Collection Editor.
  2. In the Series properties, select the columns you want for the x- and y-axes: Select columns from the menu in the XValueMember and YValueMember properties.

The chart is now databound to the Dynamics CRM data. Run the chart to display the current data.

Code Walk-through

DataBinding to Dynamics CRM data requires only a few lines of code and can be completed in three easy steps.

  1. Connect to Dynamics CRM.
  2. Create the DynamicsCRMDataAdapter to execute the query and create a DataSet to be filled with its results.
  3. DataBind the result set to the chart.

Below is the complete code:

DynamicsCRMConnection conn = new DynamicsCRMConnection("User=myuseraccount;Password=mypassword;URL=https://myOrg.crm.dynamics.com/;CRM Version=CRM Online;"); DynamicsCRMCommand comm = new DynamicsCRMCommand("SELECT Contact.FirstName, SUM(Account.NumberOfEmployees) FROM Contact, Account GROUP BY Contact.FirstName", conn); DynamicsCRMDataAdapter da = new DynamicsCRMDataAdapter(comm); DataSet dataset = new DataSet(); da.Fill(dataset); chart1.DataSource = dataset; chart1.Series[0].XValueMember = "FirstName"; chart1.Series[0].YValueMembers = "NumberOfEmployees"; // Insert code for additional chart formatting here. chart1.DataBind();