Let’s set up Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch Extension in VS2015!

Let’s install Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch extension in Visual Studio 2015 for SQL Server Reporting Services, on Windows 10, out here in the year of 2020!

This is also known as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Report Authoring Extension, which is used for building data sources, for Reporting Projects, where it helps you establish the connection to the Dynamics 365 instance you require.

Backstory…

So recently I found myself working on a Dynamics 365 Reporting project module, where I had to pull data from the Dynamics 365 cloud, using a FetchXML query, process it through a set of business logic and then display to the user in a nice looking Report Layout.

This can nicely be done in a Report Server project in Visual Studio, but you need to have both the SQL Server Data Tools and Microsoft Dynamics 365 Report Authoring Extension (Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch Extension) set up installed in your Visual Studio.

But this whole environment set up is very much tricky these days, due to incompatibilities with latest versions of Visual Studio. So I had to go through a long roller coaster ride to figure this out, trying out different versions of the extensions and Visual Studio to get it to work.

So to save others from this painful roller coaster ride in a year like 2020, I’m documenting this process step by step for my fellow devs… 😉

Dynamics 365 Fetch Extension!

As I mentioned before, this also known as Microsoft Dynamics 365 Report Authoring Extension, is required for creating Data Sources in Report Server Projects, which is absolutely required for building Report Layout (RDL layout report). Since you need to define a valid data source before hand creating any Reports in your project.

Only for Visual Studio 2015!

The unfortunate situation is that this extension is only supported in Visual Studio 2015, quite surprisingly also there’s no support for this extension in any VS version beyond that.

Although there are some indirect hack ways to install this on VS 2017, it still doesn’t justify having to downgrade your whole Visual Studio Setup. So we might as well do a clean installation of Visual Studio 2015, and install this extension on top of it.

The Set up?!

So assuming you’re currently on latest Visual Studio version probably VS 2019 or beyond, the best choice would be to create a Virtual Machine on your Windows, and do a clean VS 2015 installation there and proceed with the extension set up.

If you don’t have resources to create a separate VM on your Windows, you could also resort to doing a fresh installation of VS 2015 in your dev environment, side by side with VS 2019. I’ve personally tried this method, since I was running Windows on Parallels in an Apple iMac.

So either choice is up to you, then let me get into the step by step walk through of this installation set up…

Let’s begin with VS 2015!

So let’s first go ahead with downloading VS 2015 from Microsoft Visual Studio older versions archive from the following link: https://visualstudio.microsoft.com/vs/older-downloads/

Here you’ll probably be asked to login, and directed to VS Subscriptions page, where you should be able to search for “Visual Studio 2015”

Select “Visual Studio 2015 Update 3” option, and web installer download will begin. Once the download completes, run the set up…

Once the installer loads up, select the “Custom” option,

This is to select only the “Microsoft SQL Server Data Tools” option only, since that’s our primary requirement here…

Once you’re done with selection, proceed with the installation…

Once the installation finishes, we need to next download the SQL Server Data Tools version that we require for this set up…

Setting up SSDT 17.4!

So let’s go to this link: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/sql/ssdt/previous-releases-of-sql-server-data-tools-ssdt-and-ssdt-bi?view=sql-server-ver15 and download SSDT for VS2015 17.4

Launch the installer and make sure to select the following options…

And let the installation process complete…

Now the SSDT for VS2015 installation finishes, next we need to download the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch Extension…

Setting up Dynamics 365 Report Authoring Extension – Version 9.0!

In this step we go to this link, https://www.microsoft.com/en-us/download/details.aspx?id=56973 and download Dynamics 365, version 9.0 Report Authoring Extension (with SQL Server Data Tools support)

This will download the CRM9.0-Bids-ENU-i386.exe file, up on running it will ask you to choose a folder to extract itself. So select the current folder path and create a new folder for the set up. Once the extraction completes, the set up will begin itself.

Select the recommended option and click Next…

The next step will check for the required components and prompt you to automatically install them as follows…

Click the “Install” button and wait for it to complete.

Then click next, which will run a quick system check.

Once that’s done, click Next, which will begin the installation as follows…

Let it complete, and you should see the following up on success! 😀

Now the final step is done, let’s try this out!

Let’s try it out!

So to begin, open up your Visual Studio 2015, and select Business Intelligence -> Reporting Services -> Report Server Project, create a new project here. Or if you already had a Reporting Project created before, then open that up…

Let’s add a new Report to our project…

The new Report will be added and it will open up the Data Source window as follows, where you can see the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch option is now listed up.

So go ahead, add your Dynamics 365 source and set up your Report as you wish!

Yay Success! Well that wasn’t so bad was it eh! 😉

Conclusion!

Well I’m not sure this actually requires a conclusion though lol 😀 Although I still can’t figure out why Microsoft Dynamics 365 Report Authoring Extension, is not supported in any VS version beyond VS 2015.

So keep in mind the extension for Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch option in your Data Sources list, which added by Dynamics 365 Report Authoring Extension – Version 9.0 is only available via the set up of SQL Server Data Tools version 17.4 with Visual Studio 2015.

Anyhow I hope this step by step guide saved someone the time required to figure out this set up, by trial and error. 😉

Share the love! 😀 Cheers!

2 thoughts on “Let’s set up Microsoft Dynamics 365 Fetch Extension in VS2015!

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