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Early Bound Entity Classes are used by CRM 2011 to allow the developer to use the custom objects as they are stored in CRM as objects, i.e. contact.firstname rather than Entity(“firstname”). This makes it much easier to program but it also very useful for error handling. Without Early Bound Entity classes any returned entity from the CRM API is not specifically defined but is a generic entity with unknown attributes. With generic entities if a field does not have a value set in CRM (i.e. email against a contact) then trying to access that could return in an object reference error. With the Early Bound Entity classes however, there is an instantiation process used so therefore trying to access an email against a contact where this has not been set would simply return an empty string instead of a null pointer.
Most definitions of Early Bound Entity class instructions are all set in C#, though it is true that the classes themselves must be generated using C# the following instruction shows how to integrate this with a VB.NET environment.
For reference please see http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/gg327844.aspx
To use these classes please use the following steps:
Ensure you have installed the Microsoft CRM SDK
Generate your device ID
Generate your class files
Add Entity Classes to your project
Using Entity Classes
James CTwo is our blogging alter ego for the Dynamics CRM and Web experts here at C2. We have a passion for anything CRM, Web Design or Social Media. We love writing about it! Find us on YouTube & Twitter.
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