REVIEW: Diagnostics Tool for Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011

Well I already know I’m going to like this tool! We had CRMDiagTool 3, 4 and now finally 2011! I hope you guys reading this know what the tool is… if not, you really have stumbled on to a treat believe me! This tool basically starts to centralise CRM debugging in to one place. This is your hub… This is the place to come when CRM is dying with server exceptions… This is the light when there’s no hope. Give the logs produced from this tool to a developer and he’ll give you pointers.

Excited?

So this is what the chaps that developed the product say about it.

Philippe and I are proud to release this new version of CrmDiagTool.
We focused on Server diagnostics and removed features related to reporting services and email router.
The features are the following:

  • Enable/Disable tracing
  • Zip content of Trace directory
  • Open Trace directory
  • Generate diagnostic file in text or html format with components selection
  • Enable/Disable DevErrors

There are basically 3 main areas to this application and I’ll look at each one in turn.

Platform Tracing

Platform tracing is my favourite section. Turn this on and the CRM server will log pretty much everything it is doing. This is great for finding those exceptions that are hidden by a nice meaningless error message. The trace files are great for giving you an insight in to everything up to, during and after your error.

Turning tracing on will slow your server down and don’t forget to turn it off! I’m not sure if the developers put any safe guards in, but potentially the trace file could eventually consume all of your disk space. Also if a lot of people are using the system it can be hard to follow your logs.

Crm Diag Tool 2011
Platform

Development Errors

Development errors can typically be turned on through setting a flag in the web.config. If you are not sure about this allow me to explain. CRM basically hides exception errors and call stack information with nice friendly error messages. Turning dev errors on will show the exception error instead. We have all seen it before, it’s where you get the lovely red text on a white background… And where your client comes running crying to tell you to turn it off! Typically I would keep dev errors turned off. I would be more tempted to check the event viewer on the server or run the tracing tool.

Trouble Supporting for file support.

This section allows you to log A LOT of information on the CRM’s Servers specs. Seriously the amount of information this logs is immense. If you don’t trust the client to tell you what the state their server is in, run this beast on it and you’ll get all the information you need. The file that is generated is HTML based and is very clear to read. The only problem I can think of is that the client may not like you getting so much information about their server! See the screen shot below to see the available logging options.

Crm Diag Tool 2011
Troubleshooting

It’s a mighty shame that’s there’s no debugging support for the email router in this tool. Speaking from experience the email router is a pain in the arse and it would be a dream to properly debug it.  With the tool trying to centralise debugging some of the following features would be nice (Not saying it’s possible to incorporate the features. These are just other tools I use for debugging)

  • Display Event Viewer Logs.
  • Allow SQL Profiling and view the results.
  • Include a network sniffer like fiddler.
  • Google 😛

If you are interested in this product it can be download from here.

CRM Diag Tool 2011
Installation www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Download, Unzip and off you go. Easy peasy!
Product www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
I really like how much information this tool gives you. It will help you out of a spot of bother. It would be nice to see more debugging features added.
Value for Money www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
It's free!
Performance www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
I couldn’t seem to get the remote connection to work, but the local server version worked perfectly.
Support www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
There is a small amount of help on codeplex for the tool, but then what the tool is offering are features driven by an interface. It might be nice to explain what some of the troubling shooting information is about.
Overall www.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
A debuggers dream. I would just like to see more features being added to it if the developer has time.

 

Discussion

I have opened up on a discussion on the CrmDiagTool 2011. If you want to share your experiences you can add your opinion here.

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