CRM 2013: Real Time Workflows Vs Plugins RRS feed

  • General discussion

  • Hi,

    Which is better? Real Time Workflows or Sync. Plugins? I know that developing a real-time workflow is easy, no code involved. But is there anything technically different between the two?

    Speaking in terms of performance, Usage, limitations etc?

    Thanks in advance for sharing your knowledge!! :)


    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 6:29 AM

All replies


    Hi Mike,

    The real-time workflows in CRM 2013 is a great new feature. You can execute real-time workflows before, after, or during the core operation.As they run Sync, records are created/updated immediately. You can run a real-time workflow in the security context of the current user or owner of the workflow.

    All activities in the workflow and any child workflows, including asynchronous workflows, are part of a single transaction.Although, new real-time workflows are much flexible than 2011 workflows but they still lack the flexibility plugins offers. Plugins offer you to retrieve data from different entities, perform operations on them and save data in CRM. Plugins offer data calculations, you can perform data checks, throw exceptions, custom data validations, perform Pre-Event, Post-Event operations and can roll back transactions.

    In short, Plugins are still more flexible than real-time workflows. Real time work flows are not meant to replace Plugins but to assist non-technical CRM staff to build business rules without any coding experience. If you have to accommodate complex business scenario that involves a lot of calculation, validations and it involves decisions based on some calculations then Plugins are the way to go. So, it depends in the end what situation you are in and what do you want to achieve. 

    I hope its helpful, 

    If this post answers your question, please click "Mark As Answer" on the post and "Mark as Helpful" Thanks, Imran Abbasi

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 7:44 AM
  • Correct Imran!! thats from the feature and limitations front!!

    Now let's say i have a requirement that can be implemented in both plugins and real-time workflows. Which one to go? and Why (apart from the reason that Real-Time Sync Workflows are easy to create)?

    Also, it would be great, if we could call an action from Real Time Workflows (We can do it by custom workflows in Real Time Workflows, but still calling an action directly would have been great!!)


    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:25 AM
  • If the requirement can be implemented with a real-time workflow and a plugin, I suggest to use a real-time workflow, because it's easy to create and do maintenance (as you said) but you can see the log of the workflow (execution date, steps succeed) directly from CRM interface, this is not a built-in functionality with Plugins.

    My blog: www.crmanswers.net - Rockstar 365 Profile

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 8:30 AM
  • Hi Mike,

    As Guido pointed out, most of the people would chose workflows over plugins if both workflows and plugins can accomplish the same task. A part from simplicity, you can have quickly build workflows, don't need coding skills, deploy them easily, move them across different tenants more easily than plugins and you can see the log of workflows.

    If this post answers your question, please click "Mark As Answer" on the post and "Mark as Helpful" Thanks, Imran Abbasi

    Tuesday, October 22, 2013 9:01 AM
  • Thanks Imran and Guido!


    Wednesday, October 23, 2013 6:57 AM
  • I just got this from the SDK..

    "Use plug-ins when you need the best performance possible from your custom business logic. Plug-ins can start quicker and therefore typically run faster that even a real-time workflow. However, the benefit in performance may be outweighed by the ease of use in creating and maintaining workflows where only a non-developer, for example a business analyst, is required to do the work."


    Wednesday, October 23, 2013 7:04 AM
  • Hi Mike,

    Can you please let us know why the plugins are better in performance than a Realtime workflow from a CRM architecture point of view.

    Wednesday, December 4, 2013 4:39 AM
  • Real time workflow are built upon Workflow Foundation witch has to persist the state of the workflow and other things. The state persistence take a long time to manage.

    There is now state persistence for plug-ins.  

    Tuesday, December 24, 2013 4:57 PM