CRM Portals Metadata Essentials

Standard

This time last year I did a four-part series on setting up CRM Portal forms. It is very easy to do and no code is required.

In my current project I am using CRM Portal forms a lot and to make them even more powerful you need to use metadata. So here are some pointers for the metadata options for entity and web forms in CRM Portals.

Metadata are held in two entities:

  • Entity Form Metadata (for Entity Forms)
  • Web Form Metadata (for Web Form Steps, NOT Web Forms)

Let us look at the Entity Form Metadata first.

Entity Form Metadata

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There are, as you can see above, six metadata options to choose from.

Attribute

The one I use the most is Attribute. If you select this, you will need to also select the attribute you wish to modify.

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Once this is done some of the things you can modify for the attribute are:

  • The label (Useful for long labels or labels constructed as questions)
  • Grouping fields to total a sum e.g. 100%
  • Grouping fields for a ranking scheme e.g. preferences
  • Grouping for multiple choice questions
  • Displaying option sets as radio buttons
  • Displaying lookups as dropdowns
  • Prepopulate the value of a field
  • Set the value of a field on save
  • Add a description for a field
  • Regex validation
  • Making a field compulsory (this is my preferred way of making fields compulsory as it ensures if the field is displayed elsewhere, it does not have to be
  • Modification of the error messages displayed on the form for the field

Notes

This allows the display of the notes associated with the record on the form and determines how the form user can interact with them.

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There are also advanced options for adjusting things like labels.

One thing to note is that notes will only appear if they begin with “*WEB*” in the CRM entry. Without this they will not be seen. This is useful if you need to keep some notes private.

Section

This simply allows you to change the section label on the form.

Subgrid

By default, a subgrid on the CRM form used for the portal form displays as read only. To allow more interaction, this metadata option allows for the configuration of:

  • Creating new subgrid entries
  • Viewing existing entries
  • Editing existing entries
  • Delete existing records in the subgrid
  • Deactivate existing records in the subgrid
  • Downloading the subgrid to Excel
  • Associating/disassociating records in the subgrid to the CRM form record
  • Allow the portal user to run a workflow on a record in the subgrid

When I wrote the Web Form part of my original tutorial, I did not know about the ability to modify subgrids but this certainly provides another option for dealing with the addition of child records as part of a form submission e.g. line items in an expense claim.

Tab

Like the section option, this simply allows for a label change.

Timeline

This allows for the display of Activities as a timeline as well setting associated configuration options such as labels and whether attachments are made accessible.

Web Form Metadata

For Web Form Metadata we have the additional options:

  • Setting an Entity Form for the creation of fields on lookups
  • Setting up payments for events (this one is pretty involved so here is a description which may be useful if this is of interest)

Otherwise, as far as I can tell, all the options for Entity Form Metadata are available for Web Form (steps) Metadata.

Conclusions

As you can see, while CRM Portals makes the display of simple forms very easy to do, with metadata, we get an array of configuration options to make our forms even more powerful.

If you are setting up portal forms and cannot find a way to meet a request through standard configuration, metadata may be precisely what you are looking for,

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