Portal Application – ADX Studio
ADX Portal provides the power to build sophisticated custom web applications linked to Microsoft CRM. It is secure, supporting both local authentication or authentication from the likes of Windows Live ID, Facebook, Google, Twitter, Yahoo and many more. The portal allows user self-service by exposing any pre-configured or customized CRM form in your system through your web portal. This will be typically linked or integrated into your Website or could replace your website entirely. This could be used for clients/customers, partners or other third parties. It utilises modern technology to both HTML 5 and CSS3 standards and is optimised ‘out of the box’ for mobile, desktop or tablet formats. ADX Portal is now part of Microsoft.
You do not need developers to develop the site and it has a content management system that brings your portal and CRM to life. It can be used for clients, partners, suppliers or even groups of your own users. Configuring the portal should be quite familiar for anyone who is already used to working with website content management systems. However, to provide decent formatting it does require some technical .css know-how.
Using their integrated content management system the ADX solution is comprehensive enough to enable you to build your entire website. You can add all of your web pages as you normally would and can even link documents such as brochures from SharePoint libraries, where they can be maintained and shared with internal users. The site is fully customisable and can be fully branded. It contains all of the features you would expect from a robust content management system including web pages, events, forums and blogs all stored in the CRM. However, content management is usually done from the Web interface because this has been tailored for this purpose. It can be run as a hosted Cloud based service or onsite or from an Azure instance.
It is fully editable including menus and content and you can insert images, links and videos. You can create new pages and child pages and there are a whole range of different page templates including blogs, cases, forums, knowledge base items, help desk pages, search, shopping cart or just plain HTML pages. Your new pages will initially be held as draft items that can then be published once you are happy with the content. Content can be edited from within CRM or in edit mode from the website itself, which is far more intuitive. Templates come from the main ADX web application and these display data from the CRM. In fact you can create your own .net templates using Visual Studio, but this requires proper development capability. Appearance of the website is controlled using .css which can be modified using a .css editor such as BootSwatchr or you can use predefined themes using BootSwatch. These .css files are uploaded and added to the page headers.
Sophisticated applications can be built to suit your business using the power of your MS CRM. Any form or list available within MS CRM can be exposed through ADX Studio Portal. To kick start your development you can base your solution on one of the existing ADX Studio starter solutions that come pre-loaded. All information including content configuration and display data are stored in MS CRM entities and these are customisable like any other CRM entity. The CRM effectively acts as a hub enabling all of your external web based interaction.
Users are stored as CRM contacts and access can be controlled through user and password authentication. Alternatively it can use federated authentication using Microsoft Windows Live ID, Facebook, Yahoo Twitter, Linked In and many more. User access rights are maintained from within the CRM by a CRM administrator.
The ADX portal installation is performed using an Windows .msi installer tool. This includes a MS CRM solution and the web project solution for the .net web portal. This means there are two installs, one for CRM and one for the Web portal. The portal is connected to the CRM and impersonates a CRM user. To make this connection the URL of the website and the user name and password needs to be added to the web config file. Typically the website will be authenticated against an system/admin user in the CRM, set up specifically for portal access.
CRM acts as back-end database for the ADX website and all of its content and configuration is held there. If you go into CRM once you have installed the solution you will find a portals area alongside, Sales Service and Settings, this will contain all of the content to manage a website including page templates, site settings etc.
Represents the self-service part of the website. It includes documentation, news and announcements, blogs, community forums, events, surveys and case management from CRM.
Word Press Alternative
If your needs are not too demanding a simpler solution works with WordPress see Gravity Forms Dynamics CRM Add-On for WordPress