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What’s new in the Common Data Service – Feburary 7 edition (Previous Version)

Headshot of article author Jono Luk

Hi folks,

The Common Data Service team has just released it's latest update!  Our team been hard at work on a bunch of features that will be lighting up over the next few months, but today we’re excited to share with you a few of the updates included in this release:

  1. Updates to the Common Data Model
  2. Support for Environments in the Office Add-Ins
  3. Updates on Preview Databases

Updates to the Common Data Model

In our most recent updates of the Common Data Model, we’ve made changes to several entities as well as introduced some new ones based on feedback from the community to make them more consumable for you:

Updates to Existing Entities

One of the key changes we’ve made is that several fields are now optional (no longer required) so you can more easily use our entities without needing to set every field.  The relationships for all these fields are still there, they are just changing from required to optional.  Here are some of the entities affected by this change:

  • Worker – Business Unit is now optional
  • Business Unit – Cost Center is now optional
  • Sales order – Account is now optional
  • Product – Product Category is now optional

In addition to these changes, we have also added some additional fields and values to the data model:

  • Product Category – now has a new relationship to itself to allow you to define a Parent Product Category for simple hierarchies.
  • Worker Type on the Worker entity has a new value of Unspecified added to the values to support more unmanaged scenarios where the contract in place may not be known by the app immediately.

New Entities

We’ve also introduced a set of new entities to support many-to-many relationships with the Contact entity. This is a common request especially from users for CRM systems who want to bring their data into CDS. The new entities have a very simple schema which allows you to relate a contact to a contact from a selection of other entities. The new entities are optional to use, and the existing relationship from these entities to contact still exist.

  • Account Contact – Application user contact
  • Business unit contact – Lead contact
  • Organization contact – Vendor contact


Support for environments in Excel and Outlook Add-ins

This release, we've added support in the Office Add-ins to switch between environments from directly inside the add-in.  This makes it significantly easier for you to switch between editing entity data between your various environments from directly within the add-in instead of needing to navigate back to the portal and re-launch each time. 

We'll show you how this works in the Excel add-in.  Click the gear icon at the top right of the Excel Add-in:

then click the magnifying glass at the right of the Connection text box in the App > General section of the add-in pane:

This will load the Connection screen.  You can select from any of the environments in this list:

Then click OK.  Presto – the add-in will reload with the entity data from the environment you selected!


Updates on Preview Databases

Now that the Common Data Service has been Generally Available for 3 months, we’re planning on retiring databases created during the Preview period.  All CDS Service databases that were created while PowerApps was in preview (prior to October 31, 2016) will be deleted starting February 15, 2017. This change is taking place because Common Data Service databases that were created while in preview are no longer compatible due to enhancements made since GA. 

If you have a Common Data Service database in your preview environment, you will need to migrate your entities and entity data into another environment. Affected customers should have received an email notification on this topic.  See the Migration from Public Preview blog to learn more about how to do this.

NOTE: If PowerApps-based apps are actively used from a preview environment that connect to the Common Data Service database, then the deletion of that database will be delayed an additional 15 business days, up to a latest end date of March 2, 2017.


Until next time…

Folks – we're just getting started!  The Common Data Service will be releasing frequently and we'll keep this blog updated with the latest news on what's new and available.  As always, we value your feedback and want to hear from you!  Please let us know where you're at and what you're thinking via our Community and Ideas forums! 

– The Common Data Service Team