There were two major developments in the last few weeks with regards to Dynamics 365 Portals: the source code for the current version of Dynamics 365 Portals was released, and Microsoft announced that support for Adxstudio Portals v7 would end of August 1, 2018.
Source Code for Dynamics 365 Portals Released
Microsoft has provided, via their Downloads Center, the full source code for the v8.3 of Dynamics 365 Portals, along with the required solution packages and an installation guide.
Adoxio had previously announced their intention to upload the source code to GitHub, which they did shortly after it became available. They are calling this version xRM Portals Community Edition, and have expressed the intention to maintain the code as an open-source offering. Engineered Code plans to support this endeavor.
End of Support for Adxstudio Portals v7
Microsoft announced this week that support for Adxstudio Portals v7 would end on August 1, 2018. This is not surprising; I’ve been hearing rumblings of this for months. However now that there is an official date, it’s even more important that any organization currently using v7 start planning.
Our Recommendations for Dynamics 365 & Portals Going Forward
While every situation is unique, I feel comfortable making the following general recommendations:
- The preferred option for new projects will be to use the Dynamics 365 Portals offering hosted by Microsoft. This version will be fully supported by Microsoft and is under active development with new features expected at regular intervals. Plus, by using some advanced techniques, there is really nothing you can’t do on this platform, so we believe it is the best choice for customers using Dynamics 365 Online.
For new customers not using Dynamics 365 Online, Dynamics 365 Portals is simply not an option. In this case, we recommend using xRM Portals Community Edition. This is an open-source version based on the release of the v8.3 code that the Portals developer community, including Engineered Code and Adoxio, intend on supporting. With the backing of the leading Portals experts, we believe this project will provide a stable foundation to build web engagement for Dynamics 365.
For existing customers currently on v7, the situation is a bit more complicated. If using Dynamics 365 Online, ideally they could migrate to the Microsoft offering. However, there is no official upgrade path from Microsoft (yet), and this could be difficult if they’ve made a significant investment in custom code. Otherwise, we’d recommend upgrading to the xRM Portals Community Edition which should allow you to use your existing custom code. For customers leveraging features that didn’t make it into v8 of the product, including E-Commerce and Event Management, the situation is even more complicated since these features are not in the new open-source xRM Portals Community Edition either (although the code may exist in the source, the necessary entities are not in the solutions). At this point there is no great answer for this situation; you’d either have to rewrite that functionality yourself, or hope that those features are added to the Community Edition. While I typically wouldn’t recommend that anyone use software after it becomes unsupported, I think the reality is that v7 will continue to be used until a major breaking changes with Dynamics 365 causes the portal code to be inoperable.