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  • Vincent 75 posts 98 karma points
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 16:13

    How to deal with external (CRM) data


    I'm starting a project, my first, with Umbraco. As for now, I think I'm on the good track, everything comes together in a good way.

    What I'm not sure is how can I deal with external data, I have to fetch from an external datasource(a CRM) through web service to retreive, as an exemple, Contacts. Those contacts are comming from the CRM but in my website I have a concept of field of interests ans I want to be able to allow the admins of Umbraco to flag each Contact to one or many fields of interest. Don't know how and what's the best way of doing this...

    Thanks for youre suggestions!

  • Ismail Mayat 4503 posts 10046 karma points MVP 2x admin c-trib
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 18:09
    Ismail Mayat


    Your quickest way would be to get 1month subscription on umbraco tv and view videos on 

    Custom sections,trees and pages 



  • Georges 3 posts 23 karma points
    Jul 09, 2010 @ 19:06

    Hi there,

    I've looked into the mentionned videos, in additon to adding  a section that gets its information from an external data source, how can we refer to to these data within a document type or a data type ?  Basically how can you link the added custom data to the content ? 


  • Dirk De Grave 4534 posts 5980 karma points MVP 3x admin c-trib
    Jul 10, 2010 @ 10:24
    Dirk De Grave

    Are you storing the data that comes from the CRM? Or just representing the data from the crm in your custom section tree? If you store that crm data in umbraco (eg custom tables not related to umbraco), you could create a datatype that fetches that data and add that datatype to any of the document types. If you don't store any crm data locally (umbraco installation), you could still do the same, but might create some overhead to fetch the data from an external crm system in terms of communication (and what if any http comm goes wrong?)

    Would it be an option to replicate the crm data in your umbraco installation? For example, have a scheduled task getting all contact info using a webservice and store relevant data in umbraco installation db? And use a single datatype that enumerates the contacts and relates that to your points of interest?

    Let us know how you went on with this.




  • Georges 3 posts 23 karma points
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 17:52

    Hi there, 

    No we're not storing the data in UMBRACO. We only display the information from the CRM through the CMS. I know there is an issue with accessing directly the CRM information, but there are both hosted on the same server and the same Data Base, so the risk is at its minimum. 

    Because the list of interest is done in the CMS, we'de like to access the CRM information (without taking ownership) and allow the CMS administrators (publishers and editors) to view the CRM information and let them associate that 'external' information, in the most transparent way possible, to the CMS list of interest. We also want to allow them to manage the publishing mechanism as they would do for any other information entity coming from the CMS. 

    So, if we could associate the viewed data from the CRM to a DOCTYPE, that would solve the issue and all the information, wherever they come from, would be managed in a uniform an unique way through the CMS. Is that possible once we've created a custom data tree in UMBRACO ? 

    Thanks again. 

  • Sascha Wolter 615 posts 1101 karma points
    Jul 12, 2010 @ 18:25
    Sascha Wolter


    you could write a custom .Net control which connect to the CRM system, gets the list of interests and e.g. presents it in a checkbox list to the user. Then you can create a custom data type in Umbraco and use the usercontrol wrapper there to wrap your user control (see

    When create a property on a document type using tis data type the CMS users will be presented with the checkbox list displaying values from the external CMS. Upon save you can build your .Net control in a way that it will store a comma separated list of interest IDs in the property field's value.

    Obviously you would also need some kind of mechanism on the front end to translate the IDs back to human readable text (or store the text directly in the property if you don't need the ID anymore).

    Hope that is what you're looking for?


  • Georges 3 posts 23 karma points
    Jul 14, 2010 @ 14:23

    Ho there, 

    Thanks but, that's not quite it :) . The list of interest are purely in the CMS and they are used to determine the pages that should display the information according to the list of interest of the information. 

    But if I get it right. The idea is to create a Custom dataType (through a uscx) and display the information from the CRM as a Generic Proprety of a DocType. This will allow the users to select their associated Data from the CRM within the CMS and still giving them the ability to Publish, unpublish and associate the list of interest. 



  • Vincent 75 posts 98 karma points
    Aug 18, 2010 @ 14:25

    Hey, just so you know what we did, we have a nes doctype witch sontains only the ID of the CRM data. It's linked in umbraco usign a custom datatype witch fetch all the items from the CRM. Then for the display we have a .net UserControl witch load the data from the CRM using the ID that is set in the doctype.

    Thank you all for the help!

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