In 1955, Bernard Heuvelmans created a new field: Cryptozoology – the study of imaginary animals.
Create a New Field
As mentioned previously, when adding a field through personalization users also have the option to create a new field. After opening the personalization toolbar, selecting Add a field, and choosing the desired location for the added field, users are prompted to select from an existing field or Create new field.
In the Create new field area, users can define
- The table where the new field should be added
- The new field’s prefix (all fields added through personalization end in _Custom)
- The field’s data type (Text, Number, Decimal, DateTime, Date, Picklist, Checkbox)
- The field’s label
- The field’s help text (what displays when the hovering the cursor over the field)
Example of new Picklist field creation
Example of new Checkbox field creation
Example of new Example fields displayed on Customer form
In a few clicks, a new field can be created and added to a form – saving hours of developer time, code promotion, and testing over the standard approach of doing this through development. That’s good. But with the ease of creating a new field, don’t neglect thinking through the below – which could save headaches associated with implementing any new field – whether through personalization or development.
Who needs to see or edit the new field? From what forms? Personalization can add the new field to the saved view, but the new view(s) will need to be published to the desired users or roles.
How will the current data for this field be loaded in D365? Who will do it? In System administration, there is a form to manage Custom fields. Here, a custom field can be added to a data entity for data migration. The Custom fields form is also where field values like picklist options or the length of a text field can be updated.
Does this custom field need to be added to any reports? It is easy to add a custom field to a listpage using personalizations. Visibility on the listpage is frequently enough, and Ctrl+Shift+E can be used to quickly export listpages to excel.
Custom Example field on Customer Listpage
If the new field needs to be added to a formatted report, or to a data model for consumption in PowerBI or another reporting solution, you may need additional developer assistance.
One last thought about creating a new field through personalization – it doesn’t follow the standard QA->UAT->Production path of regular code promotion. A new field can be created as a test in a test environment, but at showtime a user has to create the new field directly in the production environment. This is probably fine for fields that are “just extra attributes”, but probably not fine for fields related to a company’s core business. If additional methods or logic need to be applied to a field, it is probably better the field be created through development.