Monday, November 28, 2011

Initialize a New Entity Instance From Another Entity Instance in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 Using .NET or Jscript Using InitializeFromRequest

This illustration shows how to initialize a new entity instance from another entity  in Microsoft Dynamics CRM 2011 with InitializeFromRequest.  This example will be given in Jscript (SOAP) and in C# (.NET).

Interesting Notes:  This is a really cool request that I didn't even realize existed within the SDK until recently.  Regardless of type, this request allows you to initialize a new instance an entity based on another entity.  The request will just copy the values over for any fields where the names match.  In my example I will copy values from an Account to a new Contact entity instance.  You will also want to note that this request does not save the new entity, it just initializes it,  you will have to perform any save operation separately on the newly initialized entity instance.
    Ok, here is what the code looks like!
    First in C#:

    InitializeFromRequest req = new InitializeFromRequest();
    //set the source entity
    req.EntityMoniker = new EntityReference(Account.EntityLogicalName, new Guid("D2B265C9-5F0C-E111-BF0B-1CC1DEE89AA8"));
    req.TargetEntityName = Contact.EntityLogicalName;
    req.TargetFieldType = TargetFieldType.All;
    InitializeFromResponse resp = (InitializeFromResponse)service.Execute(req);

    If you need help instantiating a service object in .NET within a plugin check out this post:

    Now here is the Jscript nicely formatted by the CRM 2011 SOAP formatter. Available at:

    Now in Jscript

    This example is asynchronous, if you want to learn how to make JScript SOAP calls synchronously please visit this post

    if (typeof (SDK) == "undefined")
       { SDK = { __namespace: true }; }
           //This will establish a more unique namespace for functions in this library. This will reduce the 
           // potential for functions to be overwritten due to a duplicate name when the library is loaded.
           SDK.SAMPLES = {
               _getServerUrl: function () {
                   /// Returns the URL for the SOAP endpoint using the context information available in the form
                   /// or HTML Web resource.
                   var OrgServicePath = "/XRMServices/2011/Organization.svc/web";
                   var serverUrl = "";
                   if (typeof GetGlobalContext == "function") {
                       var context = GetGlobalContext();
                       serverUrl = context.getServerUrl();
                   else {
                       if (typeof Xrm.Page.context == "object") {
                             serverUrl = Xrm.Page.context.getServerUrl();
                       { throw new Error("Unable to access the server URL"); }
                      if (serverUrl.match(/\/$/)) {
                           serverUrl = serverUrl.substring(0, serverUrl.length - 1);
                       return serverUrl + OrgServicePath;
               InitializeFromRequest: function () {
                   var requestMain = ""
                   requestMain += "<s:Envelope xmlns:s=\"\">";
                   requestMain += "  <s:Body>";
                   requestMain += "    <Execute xmlns=\"\" xmlns:i=\"\">";
                   requestMain += "      <request i:type=\"b:InitializeFromRequest\" xmlns:a=\"\" xmlns:b=\"\">";
                   requestMain += "        <a:Parameters xmlns:c=\"\">";
                   requestMain += "          <a:KeyValuePairOfstringanyType>";
                   requestMain += "            <c:key>EntityMoniker</c:key>";
                   requestMain += "            <c:value i:type=\"a:EntityReference\">";
                   requestMain += "              <a:Id>d2b265c9-5f0c-e111-bf0b-1cc1dee89aa8</a:Id>";
                   requestMain += "              <a:LogicalName>account</a:LogicalName>";
                   requestMain += "              <a:Name i:nil=\"true\" />";
                   requestMain += "            </c:value>";
                   requestMain += "          </a:KeyValuePairOfstringanyType>";
                   requestMain += "          <a:KeyValuePairOfstringanyType>";
                   requestMain += "            <c:key>TargetEntityName</c:key>";
                   requestMain += "            <c:value i:type=\"d:string\" xmlns:d=\"\">contact</c:value>";
                   requestMain += "          </a:KeyValuePairOfstringanyType>";
                   requestMain += "          <a:KeyValuePairOfstringanyType>";
                   requestMain += "            <c:key>TargetFieldType</c:key>";
                   requestMain += "            <c:value i:type=\"b:TargetFieldType\">All</c:value>";
                   requestMain += "          </a:KeyValuePairOfstringanyType>";
                   requestMain += "        </a:Parameters>";
                   requestMain += "        <a:RequestId i:nil=\"true\" />";
                   requestMain += "        <a:RequestName>InitializeFrom</a:RequestName>";
                   requestMain += "      </request>";
                   requestMain += "    </Execute>";
                   requestMain += "  </s:Body>";
                   requestMain += "</s:Envelope>";
                   var req = new XMLHttpRequest();
         "POST", SDK.SAMPLES._getServerUrl(), true)
                   // Responses will return XML. It isn't possible to return JSON.
                   req.setRequestHeader("Accept", "application/xml, text/xml, */*");
                   req.setRequestHeader("Content-Type", "text/xml; charset=utf-8");
                   req.setRequestHeader("SOAPAction", "");
                   var successCallback = null;
                   var errorCallback = null;
                   req.onreadystatechange = function () { SDK.SAMPLES.InitializeFromResponse(req, successCallback, errorCallback); };
           InitializeFromResponse: function (req, successCallback, errorCallback) {
                   /// Recieves the assign response
                   ///<param name="req" Type="XMLHttpRequest">
                   /// The XMLHttpRequest response
                   ///<param name="successCallback" Type="Function">
                   /// The function to perform when an successfult response is returned.
                   /// For this message no data is returned so a success callback is not really necessary.
                   ///<param name="errorCallback" Type="Function">
                   /// The function to perform when an error is returned.
                   /// This function accepts a JScript error returned by the _getError function
                   if (req.readyState == 4) {
                   if (req.status == 200) {
                   if (successCallback != null)
                   { successCallback(); }
                   else {
           _getError: function (faultXml) {
               /// Parses the WCF fault returned in the event of an error.
               ///<param name="faultXml" Type="XML">
               /// The responseXML property of the XMLHttpRequest response.
               var errorMessage = "Unknown Error (Unable to parse the fault)";
               if (typeof faultXml == "object") {
                   try {
                       var bodyNode = faultXml.firstChild.firstChild;
                       //Retrieve the fault node
                       for (var i = 0; i < bodyNode.childNodes.length; i++) {
                           var node = bodyNode.childNodes[i];
                           //NOTE: This comparison does not handle the case where the XML namespace changes
                           if ("s:Fault" == node.nodeName) {
                           for (var j = 0; j < node.childNodes.length; j++) {
                               var faultStringNode = node.childNodes[j];
                               if ("faultstring" == faultStringNode.nodeName) {
                                   errorMessage = faultStringNode.text;
               catch (e) { };
            return new Error(errorMessage);
     __namespace: true

    To understand how to parse the response please review my post on using the DOM parser.
    Now you can call the SDK.SAMPLES.InitializeFromRequest function from your form jscript handler.

    Thats all there is to it!


    1. Hi Jamie,
      thanks for sharing. I also only lately stumbled on this Request. Quite interesting!


      1. I agree. It's very interesting. I don't think a lot of people know about this one. I actually still haven't used it in an actual production project yet, but it's an interesting concept.

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    3. Hi I want to save the record in CRM after initializing the form, how do we do it in plugin?