Friday, February 2, 2018

Blackbaud CRM SDK Compatibility with Visual Studio 2017

Earlier this week there was some renewed interest in a conversations started here back in April 2017.

As of writing this Blackbaud Support is telling me that there are no current plans on their road map to update the Blackbaud CRM SDK to support Visual Studio 2017. 

I have done some work this week trying to convert things over so the SDK will work with Visual Studio 2017. 

Full disclaimer, I'm a BBIS guy mostly. I don't work with CRM customizations very much. If anyone finds any bugs please let me know and I'll try to correct them and update the steps below. 

If you want to try it out, please follow the steps below. 


  • Visual Studio 2015 & 2017 installed
  • Blackbaud CRM SDK installed & configured.

Project and Item Templates

When you go to File > New > Project in Visual Studio you can select from a number of pre-installed templates when you install the SDK. Those need to be moved over from 2015 to 2017. 

Step 1: Identify where you have your project and item templates currently installed.

The easiest way I’ve found to do this is to open Visual Studio (2015 and 2017) Tools > Options. Search for “Projects & Solutions”. In 2015 the “General” sub item has the pathing for Project Templates & Item Templates. In 2017 it’s under the “Locations”. Open up two explorer windows and navigate to those two locations.

Step 2: Copy the Project and Item Templates to the new 2017 locations

From the 2015 Project Template folder, copy the “Blackbaud Appfx” folder to the Project Template folder for 2017

From the 2015 Item Template folder, copy the following folders to the 2017 Item Template folder.

Blackbaud Appfx Catalog

Blackbaud Appfx Client

Blackbaud Appfx CMS

Blackbaud Appfx Mobile

Blackbaud Appfx OLAP

Private Assemblies

These files are dependencies that the SDK templates need to open. You'll need to copy the Private Assembly files to the new 2017 location.

Step 1: Navigate to C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies in an explorer window.

Step2: Select the following files and copy them.

Step 3: Navigate to the 2017 location here C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio\2017\Professional\Common7\IDE\PrivateAssemblies
Note: If you use Enterprise or Community the pathing might change accordingly. 

Step 4: Add LoadSpec to "External Tools". The instructions for that are provided by Blackbaud and are located here.

Finished!. You should now be able to open up Visual Studio 2017 and find the templates and load them up.