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Friday, July 31, 2009

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 White Paper: Overview of Enterprise Portal

Wanted to do a quick post here, and make a link to a nice Dynamics AX 2009 White paper, for the Overview of Enterprise Portal.

Here is the overview.:
"Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a set of Web modules that give you access to Microsoft Dynamics AX data and allow you to participate in business processes using Web-based Microsoft Dynamics AX forms. These modules and the portal system are collectively called Enterprise Portal. Enterprise Portal is built on Microsoft® Windows® SharePoint® Services or Microsoft Office® SharePoint Server. This document provides an overview of the features of Enterprise Portal."

If you want to know more about Enterprise Portal in Dynamics AX 2009, I recommend you check this out.

Direct link: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 White Paper: Overview of Enterprise Portal

Check back, as more coming, including an interview with Lachlan Cash, from Microsoft about Dynamics AX 2011!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pros and Cons of using SSRS for Dynamics AX 2009 Reporting

I wrote the following blog entry, in order to attempt to give an idea of what all reporting possibilities exist for getting at a company's data, inside Dyanamics AX 2009.

Dynamics AX 2009 - Reporting Possibilites

Since then I have also wrote the following, detailed technical how to blog entries about calling a custom SSRS report from X++ code, and passing in parameters, and also for getting at X++ source code, from within a SSRS report.

- Calling a Custom Dynamics AX 2009 SSRS report and passing parameters - From X++

- Dynamics AX 2009 - Calling X++ logic from SSRS and C#

Reporting in Dynamics AX 2009 is a heavy focus, as more and more companies are wanting to understand how to get the right data to the right people. That was the whole thinking behind creating role centers in Dynamics AX 2009. To target specific information worker profiles, and to give the ability for companies to target specific information workers in custom ways that fit to the company needs.

Since writing the above entries, I have had a full request now, to talk about the pro's and con's of using SSRS reports for getting at data that lives inside a Dynamics AX 2009 instance.

So looking at this, the pro's are quickly seen. The report can be delivered via a Role Center, inside Dynamics AX, and over the web. The processing of these reports can be scaled out to other servers, for performance needs. SSRS offers the ability to work quickly with SSAS / OLAP data, KPI's, etc. and add this to the report design. The creation of these reports happens in Visual Studio 2008, and therefore VS benefits exists. There exist an ad-hoc tool, that gives users a good reach into the data, though not all parts can be done via the Ad-Hoc right now.

There are more, but the above is the highlighted. And the final pro, I would add to this would be the fact that Microsoft is moving it's Dynamics product line to make use of SSRS as the reporting tool. So moving there now, prepares for the future road map of tomorrow.

Now, with all the great things about SSRS and Dynamics AX 2009, there are of course limits or con's.

One of the first things is, it's not the native report engine and designer inside Dynamics AX. Morphx reports are. So all the standard reports and reporting are done and have been done in X++ reports.

This is I would say, the biggest con about SSRS and Dynamics AX 2009. And because of this fact, and handful of other cons come with this fact.

Like for example, since this is the case, then you have to go through the .Net BC to get at X++ business logic / code from an SSRS report. Everyone would much prefer to have more native access to this.

The interaction with with reports from X++ code is different than standard reports, and requires more attention. There is lack of information about limits, issues, etc. because SSRS is not native.

The Query window that comes with most reports, which allows quick adding of filtering fields, etc. does not exists with SSRS reports. The developer of the report can add parameters to the report, still it's not as flexible as the Query Window that exists for X++ reports.

Now with that said, you can develop a class that makes use of a Query dialog, that captures filtering information, and if your good enough in X++ and think far enough in your SSRS report design, you can offer this ability. (if your interested in that, feel free to contact me for a quote.)

I think that is good enough for now. I will leave on this, SSRS should be a major focus to anyone wanting to do reporting in DAX 2009 and beyond. The limits / cons will continue to move away, as SSRS becomes more and more native to Dynamics AX.

Also, on PartnerSource, the Reporting & BI Courseware was just released eariler this month. So if you have access to PartnerSource I suggest you check this out.

Check back soon, and see you next time!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Thursday, July 23, 2009

Sunrise Technologies earns Certified for Microsoft Dynamics accreditation

Sunrise Technologies, Inc. the Gold Certified Microsoft VAR that I am a part of, just was awarded the Certified For Microsoft Dynamics AX for it's Apparel & Footwear Template.

The full press release can be seen from the following link.:
PR: Sunrise Technologies Apparel & Footwear Template Has Met Microsoft's Highest Standard for Partner-Developed Software Solutions

From the press release.:
"The Sunrise Technologies' Apparel & Footwear Template for Microsoft Dynamics AX is an integrated and comprehensive solution for companies in the apparel and footwear industries. Available on both Microsoft Dynamics AX 4.0 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, the Apparel & Footwear Template enhances standard Microsoft Dynamics AX by adding apparel and footwear specific functionality in the areas of inventory management, order processing, season management, and production. The template enables users to more easily manage seasonality, UPC codes, item attributes such as brand/gender/country of origin, and size/color scales such as women's, men's, and children's sizes. The solution adheres to the Microsoft Dynamics AX best practices and the solution is completely embedded in the Microsoft Dynamics AX platform."

""By requiring both the software solution and the partner to meet our highest standards, Microsoft is assuring customers that these certified solutions work with their investments in Microsoft Dynamics," said Doug Kennedy, vice president, Microsoft Dynamics Partners. "Microsoft congratulates Sunrise Technologies on achieving the Certified for Microsoft Dynamics status for the Sunrise Technologies Apparel & Footwear Template by demonstrating its success and commitment in delivering a leading Microsoft Dynamics solution.""

This is great news, and means that the Apparel & Footwear Template is among the highest certified solution for Microsoft Dynamics AX, that can help address your business needs.

For more information, contact Sunrise Technologies.: Contact Us Page

Way to go Sunrise on another win with CFMD!

That's all for now, check back soon as more great post are coming out about .Net and Dynamics AX 2009, new info on Dyanmics AX 2011, and much more!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Backing up an SSAS OLAP Cube Database, by command

So you have Dynamics AX 2009 up and running, you have deployed everything, got the SPN's set and working, and the OLAP cubes deployed.

You go and run Role Centers, and some KPI's are failing and some Cubes and reports are. You investigate, and go through the motions of fixing the OLAP cubes. (A later post on this to come)

After getting the cubes fixed, dimensions set, KPI's working, and the underlying Data View for the Cube Database all correct, what's next?

Well you will need to make sure and create a SSIS packge, that will backup a SSAS Cube Database. But, looking at the SSAS command task, there is not a simple option for this.

The following is the command used to backup the SSAS OLAP Cube Database with, for an SSIS package, that can execute as a scheduled job.:

SSAS Tag Based Backup Command

The above is stored as a link to a text file, because the command is Tag based, and blogger wants to make it into HTML.

Notice there is a password section. If this is given, then the password is set as that password, and must be supplied if used for restore.

This backup process takes and backups to the file location, and file name the meta-data that describes the Cubes and all that make up those cubes. This does not back up any data for these cubes.

If a restore is needed, simply take and restore from the file, and re-process all the cubes. This will get OLAP back up and running for your cubes, with your latest transactional data processed.

Well more to come, including looking at Role Centers, SSRS and SSAS across forest and domains. See you then!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Microsoft trying to help Sage customers and partners

Over at MSDynamicsWorld.com, a great write up has been done, about Microsoft's recent move on the Largest Sage Partner failing and shutting down.

From the post:
"Microsoft has reacted quickly and publicly to the failure earlier this month of the largest Sage partner by encouraging Sage users to migrate to Dynamics products, and prospective customers to select Dynamics.

In a press release, Microsoft said it "invites customers and partners concerned with the stability of the Sage Software Inc. channel to consider available alternatives from Microsoft, including Microsoft Dynamics enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions. "On July 6, Sage's largest partner in 2007 and 2008, MIS Group, suddenly shut down."

And Doug Kennedy, VP from the Microsoft Dynamics Team that has been on this blog several times now had this to say about it:
"Microsoft is using the failure of the Sage partner to encourage Sage partners to move to the Dynamics ERP channel. "In times of economic turbulence, customers have high expectations of their ERP providers, demanding innovation, investment and long-term financial stability," Doug Kennedy, vice president of the Microsoft Dynamics Partner team, said. "There has never been a better time to join the Microsoft Dynamics community.""

The full write up over at MSDynamicsWorld.com can be found here: Microsoft to Sage Users: You Have a Friend, and Opportunity, with Dynamics

This is very interesting, and I am glad to see Microsoft step in and offer a path for those customers that are in turmoil over the Sage failure. I myself totally believe in Dynamics AX, and believe it's the best choice out there.

There is proof, beyond my words, of success after success of Dynamics AX wins.

Thanks MSDynamicsWorld.com for the coverage, and check back soon as more great post are coming. See you then!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Dynamics AX 2009 - Calling X++ logic from SSRS and C#

Recently I wrote the following blog entry:
Calling a Custom Dynamics AX 2009 SSRS report and passing parameters - From X++

This was to address a set of questions from a reader, where he stated it was not clear about how to call a report from X++ and send in parameter data. The above post, shows you exactly how to do that.

This is the blog entry, in which those comments where left.:
Dynamics AX 2009 - Reporting Possibilites

The next thing in the readers comments, was making use of display methods, or methods in general from X++. This also can be done, an there is great examples of this through some of the out of the box Report's, and also the new Environmental Dashboard that came out during the spring.

I am going to pull from the environmental dashboard, and show an example of this being used.

So if we open our reports project, we will see something similar as follows, and notice the report, has a section for data methods.

Looking at these data methods that are part of the EnergyCost report, we see we have this one, with some parameters / variables that need to be sent in.

On double clicking of the method, takes us to the Business Logic section, and we see our C# code here, along with the .Net Business Connector Assembly, and AxaptaWrapper Object being used.

As you can see we have access to make calls to static methods, and normal non-static business logic. So this could easily be changed and made use of as a template for working with X++ methods, that we need access to for our report purposes.

Now moving back to the report design, I have highlighted the field in the report design, which happens to be a Matrix Cell, that makes use of this datamethod. The expression where this data method is called, is the following.:

=Cdbl(GetEnergyCost(Fields!SourceProcessId.Value, Fields!DestinationProcessId.Value, Fields!SubstanceId.Value, Parameters!EnergyCost_Filter.Value))

So we can see our datamethod being called, to fill this field, and see how the parameters are being sent in. Even one being referenced from the parameters that are sent in to this report.

This is a really good example, that can be expanded upon, and used as a template for such custom needs of datamethods, and access X++ business logic and display methods for a Dynamics AX 2009 SSRS Report.

I hope this helps, and look for more soon. See you next time!

Visit Hillstar Business Intelligence (www.HillstarBI.com) in order to truly unlock your data trapped in your Microsoft Dynamics investment. With our value driven business intelligence strategy Hillstar help you transform into a data informed company.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Friday, July 17, 2009

Sunrise Technologies, Named as Inner Circle and Presidents Club

Sunrise Technologies, Inc. the Microsoft Gold Certified VAR I am a part of was named to the Presidents Club for the third year in a row, and was also named as part of the Inner Circle.

Here are links to the two press releases:
Sunrise Technologies named to 2009 Microsoft Dynamics President's Club

From the Press Release:
"“Microsoft is proud to congratulate Sunrise Technologies on being named to the 2009 Microsoft Dynamics President’s Club,” said Doug Kennedy, vice president, Microsoft Dynamics Partners. “This accomplishment is a result of Sunrise Technologies demonstrating unparalleled commitment by investing in the success of Microsoft Dynamics, our customers and solutions."

Sunrise Technologies named to the 2009 Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle

From the Inner Circle Press Release:
"“We’re thrilled to acknowledge the dedication Sunrise Technologies has shown to providing an unsurpassed level of service and commitment to Microsoft Dynamics customers,” said Doug Kennedy, vice president of the Microsoft Dynamics Partners team. “As a result of its continuous dedication and contributions to the overall success of Microsoft Dynamics and companies worldwide, we’re proud to congratulate the company on being named to this year’s Microsoft Dynamics Inner Circle.”"

"John Pence, President of Sunrise Technologies comments; “This award truly recognizes Sunrise as one of the elite Microsoft Dynamics partners in the U.S. and globally. This is the highest recognition possible and a real testament to the on-going success of our focused business model.”"

Way to go Sunrise, and fellow Sunrisers! A big congrats is in order, as this is a whole company effort to get these two awards, and it takes everyone. I feel honored to not just work for Sunrise, but that I am a part of Sunrise.

Well Check back soon, I have some great post coming out...

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Microsoft WPC09 in full swing

This years WPC is in full swing, with today being the third day of it. This year, a lot of great and new information is being discuess, from the new Microsoft Partner Network, to reviews of the next wave of products coming.

Dynamics and Dynamics AX has it's spot lights as well, and Sunrise Technologies, Inc. is there as well.

For those of you, like myself, that can not attend, there is the new digitalWPC.com

This is actually a great site, that has Vision and Value keynote speeches ready to be watched on demand. I recommend checking these out as you have time, because there is a lot of great information in these.

Also post WPC, all sessions, keynotes, etc. that were videoed will be up there for watching.

I plan on taking the Dynamics Value Keynote speech, and possibly others, and going over what is covered, and possibly going deeper into these items.

Check back soon, and for those at WPC, enjoy and get connected!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Monday, July 13, 2009

X++ Team Blog: Some highlighted changes for X++ Langauge

The X++ team did a post recently about some changes that are 'forthcoming' in the next release of Dynamics AX 2011.

Here is the direct link.:
Forthcoming changes to the X++ language

From the entry:
"We are continually looking at what we can do to make the value proposition of the X++ language stronger. We have identified that several changes are needed to avoid a number of runtime problems, and to make future alignment with managed languages possible. As always, we realize that any changes we make to the core language are a mixed blessing to people who maintain a large code base: On one hand the new semantics cause the compiler to catch more errors earlier, but on the other hand they will invariably cause changes to existing code."

A summary of the changes from that post are here.:

  • Covariance vs. Contravariance

  • No compilation error is issued when parameters without default arguments follow default arguments.

  • The X++ compiler allows two methods with the same name where one is static and the other not.

  • No visibility rules are enforced for access of overriding methods

  • Abstract methods can be reached through a SUPER() call.

  • Static constrictors are not diagnosed

  • Abstract class implementation.

  • Interfaces.

  • Open array assignments.

So these are some great moves to help bring X++ forward into some of the same great functions, abilities and desires for X++.

I can't wait to see more from the X++ team blog, thanks for the update!

Check back soon, as more great post are to come.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Friday, July 10, 2009

ZDNet: Microsoft to integrate Twitter into its Dynamics CRM

Well Microsoft just put on the press lines, about its new 'Social Networking Accelerator' component for Dynamics CRM.

Here is the direct link to the ZDNet Article on this:
Microsoft has integrated Twitter functionality into its customer relationship management software.

And from the article:
"The company announced on Friday that its Dynamics CRM software will have a 'Social Networking Accelerator' component which will allow companies to monitor what customers are saying on Twitter, and to provide information about products and services based on that data.

In a Microsoft statement, Ovum analyst Warren Wilson said: "In this market, insight into what customers are saying is extremely valuable."

While starting with Twitter, Dynamics CRM will have further social-networking components added to it in future releases. Social Networking Accelerator will be available "in the next few weeks", Microsoft said"

This is a great example of an application in the cloud, being used with a Dynamics line product. This is a great move, and just really the very tip of the ice berg for such services and cloud apps to be integrated into Dynamics product line.

Check back for more soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Thursday, July 09, 2009

DotNet Reactive Framework (Rx)

Since DotNet / .Net is very much a part of Dynamics AX in 2009 and even more so in 2011 version, I thought it would be nice to take deeper steps into the .Net world, and learn some new ways to achieve things that might help you in your development efforts.

In these .Net post, I plan on doing pratical post about things that can be used in today's world, and also future talks.

Something that call my eye, for a not-to-distant future .Net framework, is the .Net Reactive Framework (Rx)

That link will take you to a Microsoft Ch. 9 posting for an Expert-to-Expert video on the Rx Framework.

From the site.:
"The .NET Reactive Framework (Rx) is the mathematical dual of LINQ to Objects. It consists of a pair of interfaces IObserver/IObservable that represent push-based, or observable, collections, plus a library of extension methods that implement the LINQ Standard Query Operators and other useful stream transformation functions."

A mouthful I know... worth the time to watch the video. In short it adds to one's desire's to make use of LINQ for event based development needs, vs. traditional coding.

Check back soon!

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Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Calling a Custom Dynamics AX 2009 SSRS report and passing parameters - From X++

Recently, I have been doing post about making use of Custom SSRS reports with Dynamics AX 2009.

The most recent post, was the following.: Dynamics AX 2009 - Reporting Possibilites

In that post there was a comment left by someone talking about some of the limits that still exist with the custom SSRS reports.

As I point out there are pro's and con's with the custom SSRS reports for Dynamics AX 2009, however one of the things the reader pointed out was passing parameters to the custom SSRS report.

So I thought it would be worth while to do a post on exactly how to do this.

In this example I have created a custom SSRS report for Dynamics AX 2009 instance.

In this you will see I have a Query, that was used for my report, and also a report library I created using Visual Studio 2008 Dynamics AX 2009 Reporting template.

The query, has a Range of SalesId, and in doing that, this was auto added to the report parameters, in the VS2008 projects. (see below image)

This is the name of the parameter in the report def., and therefore important to note for our exercise.

So the task was to take and pass values to reports from X++. I took and create a job that does exactly that. It takes and call my custom reports, output menu item, and pass it a value for the SalesId parameter. The code follows.:

MenuFunction CustRptMI;
Args Args;

CustRptMI = new MenuFunction(menuItemOutputStr(srsCustomRpt),MenuItemType::Output)
Args = new Args();

Notice the name of the parameter is exactly the name it is in the VS2008 project for the report def. 'qryCustomSSRS_SalesId'. Then simply and = and then . You can add multiple parameters here with commas, and there you have the report being called, ran, and from X++, parameters being passed and the report generated. (See image below)

So as you can see, you can make use of X++ to call custom SSRS reports, pass in paramaters, and do this pretty simply. You just have to know the exactly parameters names, and you can go from there.

Check back soon, as more post are coming!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Monday, July 06, 2009

Welcome Back Arijit Basu - DAXGuy

I wanted to kick off this week, with giving some highlights to Arijit Basu, better known as the Guy behind the DAXGuy.blogspot.com blog.

Arijit has come back, it seems, in full force and is already got some great post out there.

The two I want to highlight right now is:

- AX Intelligent Data Management Tool : Inside look

This one Arijit took the time and has taken the pre-release of the IDM tool for Dynamics AX 2009, and has given us a first look. As he points out this should not be used in production.

- AX EP Role Centre inside Outlook

In this one Arijit took and made the Home page of outlook be the Role Center for the RC tied to his given user id. This is actually a great idea, easy to do, and can be done for any clients making use of Outlook along with Dynamics AX 2009 and Role Centers.

Thanks Arijit, for coming back and giving us some great post at the DAXGuy.blogspot.com blog!

Looking forward to seeing a lot more from you!

Also check back here, as I have some great post in the works for you.

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Back at it again

Well I am back home, and had made some most wonderful memories with my wife and kids down at the beach.

It was wonderful, it truly was sunburns and sandals. I swear a little part of me is always at the beach, or at least wants to be.

There was a first for me this time down, me and my oldest girl were out at around chest deep on me, I am 5'10", and around a 3-4 foot sand bar or mako (not sure which one) came up on us, in the middle of the day! It was 5-7 feet away from us when I saw it and I grab my little girl and ran for the beach... it was crazy, because I frooze for a full second when I saw it... I was in shock.

Luckily, the little guy had no interest in us, as I am sure if he did he would have had no issues taking a chunk out of us. Then the next day, we saw three more sharks, one smaller and two a lot bigger. All around mid day, which is not suppose to happen.

Either way we got back out, clear waters and it felt great!

I plan on starting back writing, as of today, with having some more great post about Dynamics AX 2009, as well as starting to look at DAX 6.0, or Dynamics AX 2011.

Hope everyone is doing well, check back later!

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