3 Minute Features : Episode 2 : Fields

This is the 2nd installment of my 3 minute feature videos, going into detail about the different field types, how they appear on the interface and some other useful stuff.

Episode 2: Fields

Transcript

Starting with the new entity I created last time, select new then field.

This pops up a form to the right, which has a display name and field name for you to enter the detail. The Name can not be changed once you hit save.

Next is the type, as you ca n see there is a lot of them. To demonstrate each type, I added one of each to a modal form and display on the right how the default for each type behaves.

There are certain properties for fields that are always present.

Required ensures that there must be data in this field when saving

Searchable means that this field is visible for all users who have entity access in views and advanced find. Usually this will be ticked

Calculated or Rollup Fields allow you to summarise other fields to suit your business needs. This is only the tip of the iceberg and I will do a video on this soon

Under Advanced options, give your field a description. The other options available depend on the field type you enter.

Here, a simple text field has a maximum length. Be conservative over your field sizes as a best practice. Text has a max size of 4000 characters.

 On the form this is rendered with only 1 line.

The Text Area has the same restrictions as Text The designer can decide how many lines to display.

Email is still a text field in the backend database, but is rendered with a control allowing the user click and email from the page

The same for URL, popping open the website.

Ticker Field links directly to the MSN Money website to give a quick view of the stock

Phone allows interaction with your telephony provider or Teams etc to direct dial the number

Autonumber effectively gives each record a more user friendly or quotable reference to the record. This is great for case management type activities. You can establish what the prefix is and the number range. It gives you a preview of the format. On the form this “number” only appears when you save the record.

The first number format is Whole Number. This does not allow decimal places to be entered and you can also establish a minimum and maximum value which helps with data entry. A warning to the user when the entry doesn’t match is given.

Duration is a sppecial field which allows the user to select a duration from a drop down, the result is stored as a number in the database.

Timezone presents the user with a list of international time codes and the database stores just a numeric representation of it.

Language is similar, with only organisation enabled languages listed

Date and time presents the user with 3 controls. A date picker and hour and minute drop downs. The Behavaiour option means that the data is stored as a Coordinated Universal Time and translates it to the user current time zone or you can say it is independent of the timezone, recorded and displayed as entered.

IME Mode is applicable for all text fields, and it allows asian characters sets to be visible or rendered. Very advanced and if it effects you, you will probably already know how to configure it.

The next type only renders a date picker, but still has the behaviour for time zones

Currency is a numeric data type, but also creates a couple of extra fields when you hit save.. As the user enters the data, it is saved in the currency selected and also calculated and stored in the base currency of your system. This allows you to rollup opportunities etc in a common currency

Customer is a special field that can either have a lookup to Contact or Account. The user can choose either. This field is useful for opportunities or other activities where sometimes you may link to one then the other.

Decimal number allows you to define min & max again, but also how many decimal places These number types are limited to + or – one hundred thousand million, with upto 10 decimal places.

File is next. File is only used, currently, in Canvas apps and flows, so not on my model driven form. It stores binary data and has a max file size of128Mb. Useful for capturing images, pdfs etc in a Power App.

Floating point number is very similar to Decimal having the same restrictions, but is only stored as an approximation to your real number. This is done for performance reasons, normally there will be no difference to the end user. On rare occasions when you are dealing with large numbers that this may be of concern

Lookup field link records together. This creates a parental relationship to the entity you select,This is a simple way of working with relationships, again a topic for a future video.

Multi-option set is a great tool for data entry. The customiser decides on the options that they want to display and it is presented as a list where they can chose one or more of them. The options are stored globally across your orgainisation, allowing reuse

Multi line text is for large paragraphs of text. You are limited to a million characters in this.

Option set is identical to the Multi version, but restricts the user to only one choice.

And finally two options is a specific option set for yes / no or on / off options. You can establish how these values are displayed, the user toggles between the two.

Now that we have gone through the options, I’ll hit save. At this point, the field is not created. It is highlighted in bold to show those that have not been saved yet. You can go back and tweak the properties before you hit Save Entity

Author:

CRM Developer & Consultant for nearly 20 years, now working on Dynamics 365 projects for the last 5 years. Love of tech & solutionising

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