Simplifying Solution Updates
Solution updates are always a delicate subject throughout Dynamics 365 history and is an action that should be performed with the utmost attention to avoid overwriting or omitting components. In older version of Dynamics 365, when we added an entity to a solution, all the components related to that entity were automatically included in the solution. With the recent upgrade to solution functionality, we can now explicitly determine which individual sub-components of an entity should be included within our solutions.
Solution patches allow for greater control, where only the necessary components are exported. Within the overall process of importing a solution patch to a target environment, changes can be merged and deployed in the target organisation.
Solution patches can be managed using Organisation Service, Web APIs or Web Application. Managed or unmanaged solutions can have patches.
One simple process to explain the process is detailed in the following steps,
The version number <major>.<minor>.<build>.<release> of the original (or parent) solution is very important, as based on this number, the target organization can control the import process.
It is only possible to create a Patch from a Solution. It is not possible to create a Patch form another Patch.
During the creation of a Patch the <major>.<minor> version number for a Patch are predefined as the parent solutions major and minor version numbers. The parent solution is also locked, meaning that it can’t be modified.
Patches can perform the same actions as ordinary solutions to add or update components, but to remove components from a target environment, it is necessary to perform an upgrade and then remove directly from the parent solution.
To import patches there are three required points,
Once the solution is locked, after creating a patch, to unlock and come back to work on the solution it is necessary to perform a Clone Solution operation. This will roll up the patches into the solution and update the solution with a higher <major>.<minor> version number and all patches are deleted.
Once the new solution is imported into the target organisation, the same sequences of actions will happen – all patches will be merged into the parent solution and only the parent solution with the higher version number will remain.
Another important point – while importing the cloned solution the solution import wizard will auto detect that the solution is a Holding Solution, in the target organization, and the stage for upgrade is pre-checked. After applying the import, the last step is click on Apply Solution Upgrade to commit the solution import.
There are different steps to delete patches from unmanaged and managed solutions.
This article covers the context of patches, to see more details about how uninstall or delete solution access the link below.
Different approaches can be used to include this feature in Projects and see below two suggestions to use this concept.
The best point to use this approach is because the development team can perform changes only on the components with bug and the deployment tend to be easier, faster and secure since only the necessaries components are in the patch.
The benefits are pretty much the same plus the stories can be also tracked by patches.
Demonstration of how to create a Solution, Patch and Upgrade the Solution.
Create the Solution Parent and add Account Components.
Solution Version 10.0.0.0
Existing Account with all assets Components
Create Patch and add a create new Entity.
Select the Solution Parent and click on Clone a Patch
Popup Clone to Patch
After created a Patch the Solution 10.0.0.0 is locked.
Note: You cannot directly edit the components within a parent solution. If customization is enabled, you may do so through the patches.
Patch with new component Entity A
Entity A now is visible within the source organisation
Target organisation without Solution from source organisation
Solution imported from source to target organisation
Solution Customisation v10.0.0.0 Managed
Custom entity Entity A is not in the target organisation
Patch imported from source to target organisation
Patch Customisation v10.0.1.0 Managed
Entity A is now visible in the target organisation
Popup Clone to Solution
All patches are rolled up into the parent solution and the new solution is created v10.1.0.0
Solution with Account, Entity A and the new entity, Entity B
Every time this solution is cloned, and the solution is then imported into a target environment with an earlier version of the solution installed, the flag stage for upgrade is preset as required.
Before applying the solution upgrade, all solutions remain in the organisation.
After applying the solution upgrade, only the updated solution remains in the target solution.
Entity B is now visible in target organisation
The pictures above illustrate the application of solution patches in a very simple flow and without any complications or more complex components. With these concepts it is now possible to start using the clone and patch functionality available within solutions, to increase speed, quality and security of overall solution management.