What is inside a CRM 2011 Solution file anyway?

Dynamics CRM 2011 introduced us to Solutions, which are self-contained packages of components, customize CRM 2011 to add specific features and/or entities.

Like the exported customizations in CRM 4.0, a solution file is a ZIP file, but it can contain a variety of information.  Here is a sample of the contents:


  • [Content_Types].xml
  • customizations.xml
  • solution.xml

Note: The Solution may also contain additional folders containing specific types of files, such as for Workflows, Plugin Assemblies, or Web Resources.



This contains an XML package describing the files contained within the Solution ZIP file.

Here is an sample of a solution containing:

  • Customizations (xml)
  • Plugins (dll)
  • Workflows (xaml)
<?xml version="1.0" encoding="utf-8"?>
<Types xmlns="http://schemas.openxmlformats.org/package/2006/content-types">
  <Default Extension="xml" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />
  <Default Extension="xaml" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />
  <Default Extension="dll" ContentType="application/octet-stream" />



This is the standard CRM customization file which is exactly like that of CRM 4.0, but with slightly different contents. Anything required to create a CRM Entity, field, or relationship between those objects, will be found in this file.



This file contains information specific to the solution itself and may include the following:

  • Solution name and description information
  • Publisher information
  • Components that make up the solution
  • Any missing dependencies that are required to successfully make the components function

Note: If you have ANY missing dependencies, the Solution will NOT be imported, since the probability of it functioning properly without those missing components is low.

When you Export a Solution, you will receive a notification of required components are missing from the Solution. It is at that time, that those components should be added to the Solution to ensure that it can properly be Imported into another system.

Well, that’s about it for today.  If you have further questions or comments on Solution files, just leave a comment.

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