One of the very first things a Dynamics administrator has to navigate when they start using the Unified Client Interface (UCI) is “Where is my settings area?!”.
The answer now depends on whether you want to customize something using the classic interface you’ve always used– or whether you want to wade into the deep waters of the Power Apps interface (which is in preview mode).
The easy answer is that when you open up your model-driven app (such as the default Sales Hub) you can navigate to the personal settings icon and select “Advanced Settings” which opens up a new window/tab and displays the familiar settings area from previous versions.
Now you can start modifying D365 like you always have, but what does the future of D365 customization look and feel like with the UCI? To find that out, you need to bookmark a new URL: https://make.powerapps.com/ to open the Power Apps home page in a new window/tab.
One thing you’ll notice right away is that every time you navigate to a different area or function within the portal, it currently requires you to re-authenticate and it opens a new window/tab (reminiscent of legacy CRM versions). And hopefully this is just a temporary condition of the preview mode.
To begin, you’ll want to make sure that you connect to the right environment/app before you try to edit anything. In the navigation bar, click on your environment menu and select the desired instance.
Now, you can accomplish a couple of primary things.
You can either select Apps from the left-hand navigation, highlight the app and click “edit” in the command bar above to open the app editor where you can edit components of the app (such as the site map).
Or, you can select data from the menu to access the entities normally (such as Accounts) and get access to all of the forms, views, fields, etc. as you see below.
Some of the improvements you’ll encounter when you customize D365 in the Power Apps interface (compared to the classic customization experience) include:
Drag and Drop View Editing
When you open up a view in the designer, you can now drag new fields into the view AND drag and drop the columns to re-order them. The days of clicking green directional arrows ten times to move a column from one side of a view to the other are over.
Also, your data is displayed inline with the editor so you can see how it will look/sort/filter before you publish it.
Auto Number Field
The Auto Numbering feature was introduced some time ago, but it is not available in the classic UI editor.
Under the text options on the “Add Field” function you’ll see Autonumber at the bottom .
This eliminates the need for code or a third-party tool to use the Dynamics SDK to create custom auto-number fields.
A prefix, starting number, and maximum length can all be easily specified and all of the magic occurs behind the scenes.
While this might not seem too big of a deal, if you’ve ever had to create larger option sets, then the new editor will bring a smile to your face the first few times you use it.
When you select “New option set” from the command bar after selecting ‘Options sets’ under Data (these are the global option sets), the dialog box has been simplified.
Once you click to enter the first value, you can continue typing and hitting enter after every value. There is no longer the need to hit the plus sign with the cursor in the right field to enter a value over and over again.
While this is all still a work-in-progress and things like adding sub-grids to forms is still missing, the new experience is, at a minimum, a great precursor of what’s to come. The embedded Power App Query function also creates some interesting opportunities to expand application functionality.
So, check it out and see what you think. Even if your company hasn’t migrated to the UCI, you should still have the default UCI Apps available to expose within this editing experience for trial purposes.
You may also want to get familiar with the Power Platform Admin Center to gain access to your environment settings and manage things that you often do, such as Email Configuration, Product Catalogs, and Security Roles. It’s just a matter of time before it will become the default experience.
If your organization hasn’t migrated to the Unified Client Interface and is looking for some experience to guide you along the way, please reach out to us and inquire at firstname.lastname@example.org.