Multi Select Checkboxes

For as long as I have been using Dynamics CRM, users have been asking for Multi-select checkboxes.  I know that they are now available in Dynamics 365 but for those of us on the earlier versions, they are still frustratingly difficult to achieve.

The best solution I have found for this problem, to date, has been to add two-option fields to the entity, and then ensure the control formatting is set to checkbox, which leads to a Form section that looks a little bit like this:

This solution works pretty well, for the most part, but visually I don’t think it’s anything special so I decided to consult my friend Google to see what other options people have developed.

XRM.Multiselect

My searching led me to XRM.Multiselect by Ambrozy Rybicki.  This is a great solution built on Knockout.js (i’m pretending I know what that means) which allows you to create clickable “tile” buttons for your two-option fields, and load them into your form in a web resource.

V1.1.0.0 of XRM.Multiselect allowed you to add a set of tiles to your form that looked like the example below:

I loved this solution, and it’s super easy to install following the manual on Ambrozy’s website.  One of my favourite things about this solution is how easy it is to modify the CSS file to create your own incredible looking tiles.

Within my environment, I wanted bigger tiles, with Hover effects, so that the tiles changed as you moused over them, and this was really easy to add:

For my example, hovering over a field causes it to become white with a coloured outline (grey for unclicked fields, blue for clicked fields), as you can see in the HR field above.

I also like the ability to add different highlight colours for Business Recommended (Orange Underline) and Business Required (Red Underline), as it is so much more visually striking than the blue + or red * that come out of the box.

 

Preventing Users from updating locked fields

As I was experimenting with this solution, I wondered if it would be possible to restrict access to click the buttons if a field was read-only/locked.  I am not a coder by background and my grasp on JavaScript is limited so this was a bit of a challenge for me.

My first port of call was the SDK to see if there were any controls or attributes that would let me know if a field had been disabled, and lo and behold, you can use the getDisabled() control to return a Boolean value to determine if a field has been locked.

I got very excited at learning this, though it still took me a while to work out how to use it properly.  After a bit of trial and error I was able to add this to the JS library for XRM.multiselect and now if a field is locked (either set as read-only, or locked by JS/business rules) then you can add styling to avoid it being updated by Users:

The Trustee tile in the image above has been locked and, by adding “pointer-events: none;” to the CSS style sheet, it is not possible for Users to update the field.  Ambrozy has very kindly merged my fork with his repository and it is now available for download.

 

Using Field Security to lock fields from Users

After achieving the ability to lock disabled fields in the web resource my mind was abuzz and I thought about what other functionality I would like to see in this solution.  We make use of field security in my organisation, and I was concerned about the user experience if they tried to click fields that they weren’t able to.

While the JS won’t overcome the Field Security, this is not obvious to a User and I think it leads to confusion.  Of course, you could just avoid adding a field with Field Security to the web resource, but where’s the fun in that?

To figure out this problem, off I went back to the SDK to see what attributes covered Field Security.  With a bit of google-fu I figured out the getUserPrivilege() could be used to return a Boolean value if a User was able to update a field or not.

A bit more fiddling with the JavaScript assembly allowed me to add the ability to set a class for Secured fields, and a CSS update allowed me to add a different bit of styling to the form:

Conclusions/Next Steps

I think XRM.Multiselect is an excellent tool that adds a bit of real visual flair to CRM forms and enhances the user experience greatly.  Ambrozy has done a great job developing the solution, and his coding made it really straightforward for someone as inexperienced as me to develop a couple of updates that I hope provide useful additional functionality.

I plan on refining the functionality for field security to ensure the styling works as intended then I’ll update GitHub with it so that other people can hopefully make use of it.  I’m constantly amazed at the ingenuity and generosity of the CRM community who develop solutions that make my life so much easier, so I hope that this goes a very small way back to repaying them.

In terms of next steps, I’d like to explore some additional styling options to make it possible to add multiple button types to a form, so any ideas/recommendations are welcomed.

 

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