Using CRM Package Deployer without a Developer
The Package Deployer is a tool that can allow CRM administrators to install Data and Solutions into CRM. It uses the concept of "packages" which is used to define a set of things that the Package Deployer will install. The package can include Data, Solutions and even developer code that will run as part of the deployment process.
What we have been finding is that a lot of times when you want to use this tool you are deploying just Data and Solutions and not code. But to use the tool still required Visual Studio to create the template for the package. So what we wanted to do is make creating a package as easy as filling in a few fields in a template that could be done by anyone that works with customizing or administering CRM.
To accomplish this, we created a new Package using the Visual Studio templates and added a small amount of code to it to pull the configuration information from a file instead of hard-coding it in the code like the Visual Studio template does. We then packaged this up and put it on GitHub so you can use it over and over again.
There are two main limitations to using this template and not starting with the Visual Studio template
You do not have the ability to run custom code to do that you would need to use the full Visual Studio Approach
You can't create two or more packages with this template and have them used by one instance of the Package Deployer tool.
If you start with the template, however, you can take it and copy it into your own Visual Studio template later in case you realize down the road you need a developer to create some code.
You can find the template here https://github.com/davidyack/CRMEasyPackageDeploy
You will also find some high-level step by step instructions there as well.
Give it a try, we've been finding using this you can create a CRM deployment package in less than 15 minutes if you already have the solution files and data you want to import.