Leveraging built-in services in CRM Portal

On a recent project we decided to build a custom entity list using jQuery DataTables as the OOTB entity list did not meet our requirements. As part of this we needed to build a delete list item functionality that should work similarly to the OOTB counterpart. To achieve this we needed a service that we can call from JavaScript to delete a given record (i.e. a list item).

After some investigation, we discovered that there are several built-in services in CRM Portal that we can invoke using JavaScript. These are the same services used by the OOTB components. Using these services means that we did not have to develop/deploy a custom service to support our custom UI component. It also means that the entity permissions we have configured in CRM are automatically honoured, which is a huge bonus.

In this post I will write about these built-in services, in particular the ‘delete list item’ service, and how you can call them from your JavaScript.

Important: this investigation was done against xRM Portals Community Edition (i.e. the on-prem version of CRM Portal). The findings may or may not apply to CRM Portal on cloud that is hosted by Microsoft. References to source code refer to the source code of XRM Portals Community Edition, which can be downloaded from https://github.com/Adoxio/xRM-Portals-Community-Edition).

The built-in ‘delete list item’ service

This service lives at [portalUrl]/_services/entity-grid-delete/[recordId to delete]. You can invoke this service by performing a POST to this URL. The service accepts an EntityReference parameter to identify the record to delete, and it expects to find this in the POST’s body as JSON, e.g.:

{
"Id":"[guid]",
"LogicalName":"new_myentity"
}

This particular service route maps to the Delete method of the class Site.Areas.Portal.Controllers.EntityGridController, which is defined in the file \Areas\Portal\Controllers\EntityGridController.cs of the Portal project.

A side note: other built-in services

The route mapping of the ‘delete list item’ service is defined in the RegisterArea method of the Site.Areas.Portal.PortalAreaRegistration class, which is defined in the file \Areas\Portal\PortalAreaRegistration.cs of the Portal project.

Reviewing this file quickly shows that there are actually many more built-in services in CRM Portal that you should be able to invoke from JavaScript. Below is a screenshot to illustrate:

Invoking the ‘delete list item’ service from JavaScript

There is a slight complication in invoking this service from JS, and that is it has anti-forgery enabled. This means that our requests to the service must contain a __RequestVerificationToken header with a valid token value.

Fortunately CRM Portal has a built-in JavaScript object that helps us with this. Every page in the Portal automatically includes a reference to the JS file \js\antiforgerytoken.js. This JS defines a global object called shell, which has a method called ajaxSafePost.

ajaxSafePost is essentially a wrapper around jQuery’s ajax method, and is responsible for ensuring the request contains a valid __RequestVerificationToken header before sending it off to the server. This method returns a promise object as it may relies on an async request to retrieve the token (more details later).

Below is an example of how you could use the ajaxSafePost method to invoke the ‘delete list item’ service.

var recordId = "4ca2e5d1-d0fe-4700-b383-59cee9890392";

var entityReference = {};
entityReference.LogicalName = "new_myentity";
entityReference.Id = "4ca2e5d1-d0fe-4700-b383-59cee9890392";

var ajaxPromise = shell.ajaxSafePost({
	type: "POST",
	contentType: "application/json",
	url: "/_services/entity-grid-delete/" + recordId,
	data: JSON.stringify(entityReference)
});

ajaxPromise.done(function () {
	alert("Record deleted!");
});

ajaxPromise.fail(function () {
	alert("Something has gone wrong...");
});

How does ajaxSafePost retrieve the token?

This method first attempts to retrieve the token from an input field on the page. If one is not found, it makes an async request to the URL [portalUrl]/_layout/tokenhtml to request a token.

So… is this supported?

Strictly speaking, since it’s not documented (as far as I’m aware), I’d say this is unsupported. Since the service is fairly loosely coupled to our code however, switching over to a custom service when the need arises should not incur much overhead. You however need to make good judgement based on your own scenario.

So there you have it…

The built-in services are hidden gems that could really streamline your customisation efforts. There are built-in support facilities that make invoking them relatively easy. You however need to consider your scenario carefully as these are not documented, and therefore may change without notice.

I have not had a chance to test whether they also work on CRM Portal online. That is a to-do for the near future.

 

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About Bernado

Based in Australia, I am a freelance SharePoint and Dynamics CRM developer. I love developing innovative solutions that address business and everyday problems. Feel free to contact me if you think I can help you with your SharePoint or CRM implementation.
This entry was posted in Adxstudio, CRM, CRM Portal. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Leveraging built-in services in CRM Portal

  1. Anirudh says:

    Hi Bernado,
    That’s very interesting article.
    In my current project we have recently upgraded to 7.0.26.0 of ADXStudio.
    Weird thing is , I started getting this error “The required anti-forgery form field “__RequestVerificationToken” is not present.” . The page is rendering the hidden antiforgerytoken.
    I tired couple of things but, everything went in vain. Could you please help me out in resolving it.

    Regards,
    Anirudh.

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