A month or so ago we officially swapped website for the Dynamics AX Companions (http://www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) project to try to make it easier for everyone to access the content that we have been creating over the past couple of years. I felt so bad though when I was talking to one of our customers and they said that the new site was hard to navigate and that they liked the old one better. This was partly because it was hard to find the right guides and also you had to go to a separate section if you were a Premium member to download the Premium content for free.

So this weekend I put on my construction hat and started to retool the website to make it easier for you all.

The first thing is that now all of the guides are listed in the dropdowns and you are able to go directly to the guides that you are interested in:


Additionally, if you click on the header link for the entire series you will be able to quickly see all of the guides.

The other major change that we made is that when you go into an individual guides landing page, if you are a Premium member then you will see the Premium content there at zero cost. No more going to the separate Premium Content page in order to add just the guide that you are looking for:


If you don’t see the Premium Content when you are browsing through the guides then switch to the List view and all of the premium content will be shown there:


Although in order to download the Premium content you will still have to sign up as a Premium member here: http://www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com/pages/subscriptions.

We hope that these changes make the site a little easier for you all to use, and I personally apologize for not doing this sooner.

The Data Management tools within Microsoft Dynamics make it so much easier to import data into the system and there are a lot of data templates available through Lifecycle Services that we can use to import in standard data. But that isn’t the end of it. We can create new templates and create mini data packages that we can use to create data within Dynamics and also that we can save away to apply to other environments as well. These data packages are a lot easier to update as well because they are just Excel workbooks, and cutting and pasting data into them is super simple.

In this example we will show how we can create a new import template that will create a new Released Product along with a Bill Of Material for it, and also create all of the component Released Products as well for the Bill of Materials so that we don’t have to do any manual data entry.

After we have done this we will also have a package template that we can use later on to load any other Product and Bill of Material in as well.

Topics Covered

  • Getting Started
  • Creating a Data Template Package Export
  • Turning the Exported Package into an Import Template
  • Repackaging up the Template
  • Importing in the Data Package
  • Viewing the Results

Getting Started

To start off we need to get a copy of our BOM that we will be creating an import for.

For this example we will be modelling an Imperial AT-ST. And all of the designs and BOM details are available for us on line.

How to do it…

After a quick search of brickset.com we can find everything that we need.

Drilling into the set details we will be able to see all of the components that we need to build the AT-ST. From the Parts screen, we can click on the View inventory full screen link.

That will take us down to the parts list and we will then be able to click on the Download the inventory as a CSV file option.


The next thing we will see is everything that we need to start building our Bill of Materials from.

Rock on!


Creating a Data Template Package Export

Now that we have our Bill of Material details we can start creating the import template that we will use to reformat the data for the load. The easiest way to do this is to create an export of the existing data in the system and use that as a template.

How to do it…

To do this we will go to Dynamics and then open up the Data Management workspace. Then we will click on the Export button to create our template.


This will open up the Export form where we will want to define all of the data entities that we want for our template.

We will start off by typing in a Name for the Export Job.

Then from the Target data format dropdown list select the EXCEL option.

Now we will want to start selecting the Entity names that we will want to be included. We want to select them in the order that we want them to be loaded, so we will start off by selecting the Released Product Creation entity.

And then we will click on the Add entity button.


This will add the Released Product Creation entity to the workspace.

Now we will want to add the Bill of Material entities to the job as well. So we will click on the Entity name dropdown again and select the Bill of Materials Headers and Versions entity and click on the Add Entity button.

This will add another entity to the job. We are not quite finished though. we will click on the Entity name dropdown again and select the Bill of Materials Lines entity and click on the Add Entity button.

Now that we have the three entities in the job we can click on the Export button in the menu bar.


This will start the export of the entities within the Data Management job.

Within a few second it will return back and show that some products, and BOM details have been exported out. All we need to do now is click on the Download package button in the menu bar.


This will allow us to save the package Zip file to our desktop.

If we open up the Zip file then we will see that there is an Excel file for each of the entities. We can’t modify those files though because they are embedded within the archive.


Turning the Exported Package into an Import Template

Now that we have an export package we can use it as a template for an import template.

How to do it…

But we will first need to make it something that is editable. So we will go to our desktop and then select the Extract All option on the zip file.

And then extract the package to our desktop.

Now that we have extracted out the files we can open up the folder and we will see all of the workbooks for the entities again.

To start off we will want to configure the Released product creation workbook to include the main product information for the AT-ST and the component parts.


When we open up the file we will see that it already contains all of the data from Dynamics.

All we need to do is delete everything except for one row which we will use as a template.


Then we will look through the template and update the first line to use the product information from the parent product – 10174-1 in this case and also update all of the descriptions.

Next we will return back to our CSV file that has all of the component parts, and copy all of the item codes.

Now we can paste these into the item and product columns.


Next we will want to add the product descriptions. For this example though we will want to combine the two descriptions together in the source CSV file. Then we can copy them.

And paste them into the template worksheet.


All that is left to do is to fill in all of the other columns with the default information that is in the first row that we saved away just for this purpose. After we have done that we can save the workbook and exit out of it.


Now we will return to folder with the template files, and we will want to open up the Bill of Materials Headers and Versions workbook.

As with the Products file we have all of the data from Dynamics AX in there.

We will delete all of the rows except for one which we will use as a template.

All we have to do with this one is update the BOMID, the MANUFACUREDITEMNUMBER and the BOMNAME columns and save and close the file.


Finally we will return to folder with the template files, and we will want to open up the Bill of Materials Lines workbook.

Again we will see all of the existing Bill of Material lines.

And we will delete all of the rows except for one.


Returning back to the source file we will select all of the component part item numbers.

And then paste them into the ITEMNUMBER column.


Then we will select all of the part quantities required for the build.

And paste them into the QUANTITY column.


Then we will copy all of the default information (except for the LINENUMBER) from the first row down into the new rows that we created.


We will need to do a little massaging of the data for the BOM line numbers though. We will create a new column and a quick formula that creates a sequential number.

And then copy the formula to all of the rows.

Then we can paste the values into the LINENUMBER column.

Then we just need to delete the work column to tidy up the worksheet.

After we have done that we can save the file and then close it.


Repackaging up the Template

Now that we have updated the contents of our import file we need to convert it back into a Package file that Dynamics is able to import through the Data Management tools.

How to do it…

Luckily that is pretty simple. All we need to do here is select all of the files in the folder and then select the Zip option from the file explorer ribbon bar.


Then we can rename the zip file and move it out of the working folder and put it on our desktop.

Importing in the Data Package

Now that we have the data package we can import it back into Dynamics and have the Data Management tools do all of the data entry work for us.

How to do it…

To do this we will return to the Data Management workspace, but this time we will click on the Import tile.


This will open up the Import form.

We will start off by giving our import job a Name.

And then from the Source Data Format dropdown list we will want to select the Package option.

Then we will click on the Upload button and select the data package that we just created and click on the Open button.

The Import process will look at the manifest in the package and then create an import job that has the three data entities that we created.

All that is left is to click on the Import button.


This will kick off the import job.

After a little bit of processing it will report back to us with the import status and the import will be done.

In this case we notice that some of the products were not imported. But that is fine, because they were already in the database. The import only created new records if they were not already there. How clever is that?


Viewing the Results

Now that we have imported in all of the data we can start looking at the data that was created.

How it works…

We will see that the parent product has been created for us.


If we drill into the Bill Of Material versions we will see that we have a BOM that is associated with the product.


Drilling further into the Bill of Materials we will see that there are also all of the BOM lines along with the quantites.


And if we open up the Bill of Materials in the Designer then we will be able to see all of the indented BOM details.


Conclusion

To load this BOM by hand would have taken forever and this whole process only took up a few minutes from start to end.

As a bonus now we can apply this data package to any other system that we like, which is great for demo data.

If we want to create other packages for more data then we can just repeat the process – minus the creation of the initial template package and then save them away.

How cool is that?

About the Author

Murray Fife is a Technical Solution Professional at Microsoft and an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:         mufife@microsoft.com
Twitter:         @murrayfife
Facebook:     facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:     google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:     linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:         atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:         docs.com/mufife
Amazon:     amazon.com/author/murrayfife

This weekend I have been working on publishing a Configuration Blueprint on Configuring Service Management To Track Service Orders within Dynamics AX 2012 and am happy to say that I finished it and are making it available to you all.

The Service Management area within Dynamics AX is a great module that not a lot of people know about. It allows you to track all of your service order contracts and service orders for your customers, will track all of your time and expenses against the service orders, and will also pass along any chargeable items to the receivables department for automatic invoicing to the customer.

Service Management has additional functions as well that allow you to track the items that are being serviced, define the tasks that are allowed to be performed against a service order, and also track the symptoms, diagnosis, and resolution to service order issues, making it a great tracking and analysis tool.

In the Configuration Blueprint we will show how you can create service agreements and orders, and then how you can use the additional tracking features within Service Management to get a tighter handle on your service orders. You can do all of this just through the standard Dynamics AX demo system that is delivered by Microsoft.

I didn’t think that it was enough to stop there. These Configuration Blueprints are designed to be ready made training guides, and for those of you that are more industrious and want to share the knowledge with others, through training and presentations, I also made the PowerPoint for this course available as well. The PowerPoint has all of the content from the guides and also speaker notes, and a Zoom Table of Contents which you can take advantage of if you have PowerPoint 2016

The topics that I cover in the blueprint are:

  • Creating a Service Agreement
  • Creating a Service Order
  • Posting Time To A Service Order
  • Posting through the Service Management Portal
  • Configuring Service Order Stages
  • Configuring Service Reason Codes
  • Updating Service Order Stages
  • Signing Off and Posting Service Order Lines
  • Viewing Posted Transactions against your Projects
  • Invoicing Service Orders Time & Material
  • Creating Project Statements for Service Agreements
  • Creating Periodic Service Intervals
  • Creating Periodic Service Orders
  • Printing Service Orders
  • Creating Service Objects
  • Assigning Service Objects to Service Agreements
  • Creating Service Tasks
  • Assigning Valid Service Tasks to Agreements
  • Defining Repair Conditions
  • Defining Repair Symptoms & Codes
  • Defining Repair Diagnosis Areas
  • Defining Repair Resolutions
  • Defining Repair Stages
  • Recording Repair Operations

So if you are interested in learning about Service Management and maybe setting it up yourself, then here are the links:

Digital Book: http://bit.ly/2cUx4pT

PowerPoint: http://bit.ly/2cVXSJi

I hope that this is interesting, and drop me a note any time if you have questions or comments J

PS. All of this was made possible by Author Tools – if you are interested in testing the tool out then just grab the Student Edition here: http://bit.ly/29CC43n

We all know that we can add Power BI tiles within Dynamics that will open up Power BI reports, but did you know that you can also link Dynamics workspaces and forms to Power BI tiles so that you can drill into Dynamics from Power BI.

You probably didn’t so in this walkthrough we will show how you can do just that.

How to do it…

Step 1: Click on the … link

To start off hover over the Power BI tile that you want to link back to Dynamics and you will notice that some extra icons show up in the header of the tile. Click on the link.


Step 2: Click on the pencil icon

This will open up some extra options for the tile. What we want to do here is edit some of the interaction information, so we will want to click on the Pencil icon.


This will open up the Tile Details form with some additional options that we can change just for the tile.


Step 3: Check the Set custom link flag

Now we will want to tell Power BI that whenever anyone clicks on the tile that we would like it to go to a different web page. To do this we will check the Set custom link flag.


Step 4: Get the URL

Now we will need to get the URL that we want to link the tile to. To do this we will open up Dynamics and find the workspace that we want to link to and then copy the URL.


Step 5: Set the Custom URL

Now paste the URL for Dynamics into the URL field and then click on the Apply button to confirm the change.


How it works…

Now we can return back to our dashboard and click on the tile that we just redirected.


And that will open up Dynamics for us and go straight to the workspace that we linked to it.


Review

How cool is that.

Now when you find some squirrelly data within your Power BI dashboards, you can immediately go back to Dynamics and research the problem a little more.

About the Author

Murray Fife is a Technical Solution Professional at Microsoft and an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:     mufife@microsoft.com
Twitter:     @murrayfife
Facebook:     facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:     google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:     linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:     atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:     docs.com/mufife
Amazon:     amazon.com/author/murrayfife

With the release of Author Tools 1.0.1.13 we have done quite a bit to make the product better. We have added in a number of new features that make it even easier to author documents, we have made some small changes to existing functionality and of course we have fixed one or two bugs that we noticed along the way.

Here are the release notes that show you what we have done, with examples of the changes.

New Features

The first thing we will want to highlight with this release of Author Tools will be all of the new features that we have added. Because we use Author Tools ourselves, when we notice that there is something that annoys us, or a better way to do things, then we are sure that these will be features that bug you all as well, or that will make your life easier.

Here is a summary of what we have done to improve the tool.

Automatically show the Selection Panel

One of the changes that we are super excited about is that we now automatically show the Selection Panel whenever we add in a new slide from the Write ribbon bar. We are always watching the Selection Panel because it shows us all of the placeholder names, and when they get out of sync then Author Tools is not able to find the right content to put in the right area.

Up until now we have had to go into the Home ribbon bar and click on the Arrange dropdown list and then select the Selection Pane option for it to show up.

Although this is only a few clicks, after you have done it a few hundred times, it starts to get annoying.


Now if you use any of the insert buttons within the Write ribbon bar to add a slide and the Selection panel is not shown, it will automatically become visible.


New and Simpler Storyboard Template

We have made a lot of changes to the Storyboard template that we use as the basis for all of the documents, and have tried a lot of different formats and placeholders along the way. We now think that we have the ideal storyboard.

Some improvements that we have made include:

Simplifying the number of placeholder shapes within the slides so that we just have the information that is useful. i.e. Section slides do not have pictures, but have more space for text. We have removed some of the placeholders like Keywords etc. but you can still use them if you like, you just need to add the placeholder into your storyboard.

Added smaller, slide bookmarks, and also organized them from right to left based on the level they are in the document. We think this looks nicer.


Added a Rebuild Master Option

As we change the storyboard templates, one thing that has irked us is that all of our old storyboards still have the old format and don’t look as nice. So with this release we added an option to take an old storyboard and upgrade it to the newest format.

All that we need to do for this to work is to open up the Write ribbon bar and then click on the Rebuild Master button.


This will take all of the content from the old Storyboard and then move it over to the latest Storyboard that we have in the Themes directory.


Added a Split by Part/Chapter/Section/Article for Presentation

A few releases back we added a feature that would allow you to split the word documents into separate files based on the Part, Chapter, Section and Article. This is an easy way to create individual documents without having to manually cut and paste from a master file. We have been creating more and more presentations from our content and decided to add this feature into the Presentation section so that now when we build our PowerPoints they will be automatically split for us.

All we need to do is check the Split by xxx flag on the Publish ribbon bar and let the application do the rest for us.


Added a Reset Slide button

When the placeholder names get out of whack on the storyboard then Author Tools has a little bit of a hard time working out where the content it. We have had an option that will update the placeholder names when we built the documents, but sometimes we just want to update a slide by hand.

Now when we notice that the placeholders are not quite right, all we need to do is click on the Reset Slide button on the Write tab.


That will re-apply the slide template and also update the names. As an added benefit, all of the text formatting remains in place. When we did this by hand by resetting the slide, sometimes items that we had bolded or added other embellishments to lost their formats.


Added a Create Sections button

There has always been an option within Author Tools to automatically create sections based on the title of the slides, but it has been part of the Publishing process. With this release we added a button that allows us to create sections at any time without having to create a document or a presentation.

To do this, all we need to do is open up our storyboard and then click on the Create Sections button.


Author Tools will then add sections at every structure level within the storyboard. This is a great way to see the organization of the storyboard.


Added an option to load steps from Screen Shots

This is one of our most favorite changes that we added to the Author Tools, and this feature allows us to pull in all of the images from our Screenshots folder and have Author Tools create steps automatically for us. In the past we have had to have the Storyboard open as we have been creating our steps, take a screen capture and then paste it into the slide. Although this worked well, we realized that there was a better way to do things.

Now for every step that we are documenting we just press the Windows+Print Screen buttons. That takes a screen shot and placed the image in the Screenshots folder within the users Pictures folder.


Now if we just click on the Import Steps button, Author Tools will find all of the images within the folder and insert them in as steps for us automatically. All that is left is to narrate the steps.


Miscellaneous Changes

We have made some other changes along the way to make the tool easier to use. While not specifically bugs in the system, they are not really new features either, so we thought that we would point these out as well just so that you know that they are there.

Ignored hidden Shapes

The first item on the list was to have the tool ignore hidden shapes. Within PowerPoint we can hide shapes on the slide which is a great way to keep the content, but not necessarily show it when we publish it. With this release we just made sure that hidden shapes were ignored.

For example, if we start off with a Storyboard with some images, we can see on the Selection panel that all of the shapes are visible.


When we publish the document then all shapes including the pictures are inserted into the document.


If we want though we can hide any shape – for example here we hid a picture that was useful, but not necessary for the walkthough.


When we rebuild the document the image is not used.


Updated the Missing Style Error Message

When building a Word document, one of the most common errors that we come across is that the Word template does not have all of the necessary styles configured. It’s not a bug in the system, it’s really that we are just using an old or outdated template. A few releases back we “improved” the error messages by centralizing them in one routine, and as a result when the tool found that there was a missing style, it told us that it was missing, but didn’t tell us the Style Name so that we could update the template.

Now when there is a missing style, the message includes the name of the Style so that we can add it to the Word document and rebuild the document again.


Copy slide layout on Update Master

One small tweak that we made to the Update Master feature was to also update the Slide Layout to the master template as well. This means that the placeholders and formats became more consistent. Before this was added, it was really a twostep process to reset the slide and then update the master. Also this means that we don’t lose text formatting.

Removed Summaries from TOC

Another small change we made was to remove the Summaries from the Table Of Content slides. A small change, but a goodie.

Rearranged the Write ribbon bar

The Write ribbon bar has grown organically for the past couple of releases, and we thought that we should get it back under control and organize it a little better.

Now the Write ribbon bar is broken out into more logical groupings, including the breaking out of the insert slide options into the Structure group and the Content group. This makes it a lot easier to see the separation of the two types of storyboard slides.


Bug Fixes

The final section in these release notes will be all of the fixes that we have done. Although the tool is good, it has had its fair share of bugs, and we don’t think that these will be the last of them. But at least we have squelched these ones.

Fixed Certificate Error

A lot of people had problems installing the last release of Author Tools because it kept on coming up with a security error complaining about an invalid certificate. We finally worked out how to fix this and now everyone should be able to install the kit.

Fixed the Section and Article summary on presentations

We noticed that when we created a Presentation for the Sections and the Articles, if there is a Summary placeholder on the template then the summary was not being populated from the parent level – i.e. the Chapter etc. Now when we create the presentations, these slides pick up the parent level title and show them in the Summary placeholder.

Fixed the Slide Reset to check for the Design Name

We noticed that when we reset a slide, if the storyboard had two slide templates with the same name, but within different master groups then the first one was used. We now check for the Design name as well so that it will reset the slide to the right template slide.

Fixed the Presentation heading not showing with blank headings

You may not know this, but you don’t have to put headings on every slide. If you leave the heading blank, then it should inherit the title from the previous cell in the storyboard. Or at least that’s what we thought it was supposed to do. Now it does.

For example, in this Storyboard the first cell has a heading.


The subsequent cells do not have a heading.


When we create the Presentation the cells that did not have a heading just use the previous heading.


Review

We think that this release of Author Tools is the best one yet. We added a number of new features to the tool, we improved some of the old features to work better and we even fixed a few problems with the tool to make it work how we designed it to.

This release is now in the can and ready for shipping.

If you have it installed already then just update the tool and you are good to go.

If you don’t have the tool, then check it out here and try it out – the Student Edition is free and a great way to get your feet wet with the tool: http://www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com/collections/author-tools

With the Update 2 release of Dynamics, a new preview feature was made available within the product that allows you to create mobile applications for Dynamics directly through the application itself.

These mobile workspaces and forms will run in connected mode, will cache information and run in a disconnected mode, and also allow you to update data within Dynamics when connected, or disconnected as well (the disconnected updates occur when you regain your internet connection).

Although this feature has not been officially released, we can take a look at what it does right now and see how it works.

Enabling the Mobile Options

The first thing that we need to do is to enable the feature so that we can start seeing all of the mobile options that are available to us.

In order to do this, just add the following parameter to the end of the Dynamics URL:

&mode=mobile


This will add a new Mobile app option to the options menu.


If you click on the menu item, then a panel will show up on the right hand side that will allow you to start editing and creating new workspaces.


The second part of this feature is the mobile app itself. This is just another client for Dynamics and will run on Android, iOS, and I assume the Windows platform as well.

Luckily I have got a pre-release version so that we can see it in action.

Notice that the workspaces that were in the Dynamics Mobile manager form show up here as well.


Creating a new Mobile App

To create a mobile app, all we need to do is click on the + Add button within the Manage mobile app panel.


This will open up another screen where you will be able to define the main workspace for the app – which is the icon that shows up on the mobile device.


All we do here is enter in a Name and a Description.

If we want to we can also select a Workspace icon from the default icon list, and even the Workspace color.


Creating a Mobile App Page

Now that we have defined our app we can start adding pages to the app. To do this, just click on the Add page button.


This will open up a new page screen.


Enter in the Page title and the Page description.


Next we will want to select the fields that we want to show on the page. Before we do that though we will want to navigate to the form within Dynamics AX that we will be using as the template. In this case we are in the Customers form.

Once we have done that, just click on the + Select fields button.


This will turn on selection buttons within all of the fields that we are able to add to the form.


If we click on one (like the Account) then it will be added to the list of fields for the form.


We can continue adding fields until we are ready to move on. When we are finished, just click on the Done button.


This will return the form back to its normal state. To finish the form we just want to click on the Back button.


This will return us to the workspace form and we can see that our page has been added.


Adding a Detail Page

The app is pretty good right now, we will be able to scroll through all of the customers. But to make the app even better we will want to add a drill through page for the records that we show so that we can see even more information.

To do this we just need to select the main page that we just created and click on the Edit button.


This will return us to the details of the page, and if we select the Grid entry in the list of fields we will see that the Properties button becomes enabled.


If we click on the Properties button then a few more options will show up. We are interested in the Add Detail Page option here. We don’t have a page already built so we just need to click on the Add page link at the bottom pf the panel.


This will open up a new Page definition for us.


We just need to give the details page a Page name and a Page description.


Before we start selecting fields though let’s drill into a details page for the record so that we have more to work with and then click on the Select fields button.


Now we will see that all of the fields on the details form have the +option that allows us to add them to the mobile app.


All we need to do is click on one and it will be added to the list of fields.


We can add as many fields as we like and when we are done, just click on the Done button.


Adding a new Action

There is one last thing that we will want to do here, and that is to create an Action. Actions are things that do something, like adding a new record, deleting a record, etc. We can add these to the pages by stepping through them and the system will record our actions and clicks and build a script in the background for us.

To do this click on the Actions tab and then click on the + Add Action button.


This will open up an Action definition page.


Just enter in an Action name and an Action Description.

Then click on the + Select Fields button which will switch you into the record mode and we can start teaching Dynamics the action.

In this example we just click on the New button in the menu bar to create a new Customer.


Then we step through the process as if we were doing it in real life.


As we move from field to field we will see that the fields we update get added to the list of actions.


After updating all of the required fields we can click on the Save button for the customer.


This will return us back to normal edit mode within the mobile app and the action has been recorded for us.

Now we can just click on the back button to exit the action.


When we return to the detail page, just click on the Back button again.


This will take us back to the workspace and we can now click on the Done button.


Publishing the Workspace

Now that we have created the workspace we will be given an option to publish the workspace. To do it just click on the Publish workspace link.


Now when we return back to the main page we will see that we now have a new application that the users will be able to use.


How it works…

To see this in action, we can return back to the mobile app and we will see that we still don’t have the new workspace that we created.


All we need to do is pull down the form a little and let go to start the refresh back to the server.


Within a second or two we will see that we now have a new workspace that we can click on.


When we go into the workspace we will see the main page that we created, and we can click on it.


This will take us into the list page that we created, and because we have defined a detail page, we can also drill into the records by clicking on the > button.


Now we are in the detail form and we can see more fields. Notice down the bottom of the form though there is an Actions option. This shows up because we associated an action with this form when we designed it.


If we click on the Actions button it will show us the action that we defined earlier.


If we click on it we will be taken into the Add Customer page.


We can start updating the fields just like we would have within Dynamics.


Also notice that the dropdown boxes show us the valid values as well.


When we are done, just click on the Done button.


When we return back to the list page on the mobile app we will see that we now have a new record.


Also, when we return back to Dynamics we will see that there is a new record in there as well – which makes sense because the Mobile app is just another way of updating Dynamics.


Review

This new feature enables us to turn pretty much any form within Dynamics into a mobile form, without refactoring any of the base code, and also without writing a single line of code.

If you ask me, that is pretty darn cool.

About the Author

Murray Fife is a Technical Solution Professional at Microsoft and an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:   mufife@microsoft.com
Twitter:   @murrayfife
Facebook:   facebook.com/murraycfife
Google:   google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn:   linkedin.com/in/murrayfife
Blog:   atinkerersnotebook.com
Docs:   docs.com/mufife
Amazon:   amazon.com/author/murrayfife

 

Dynamics has a neat feature that allows us to create templates from pretty much any record within the system that will then be used when creating new records. It works great, but the trick with this feature is knowing where the feature is hiding because it is not hiding in plain sight.

How to do it…

To create a record template all we need to do is select the record that we want to use as the template and then click on the Record Info link within the Options action bar.


When the Record Information panel is displayed, we will see that there are two buttons at the bottom of the form for creating new templates.

The Company Accounts Template option will allow you to create a template that will be available to everyone within the organization.

The User Template option will allow you to create a private template that only you have access to.

In this case we will click on the Company Accounts Template button to create a global template.


This will open up the Create Template panel.


All we need to do here is assign our template a Name and then give it a Description that will help the users understand what the template does and when they should use it.

After we have done that we can just click on the OK button to save the template.


When we return back to the Record Information panel, we can click on the Close button to exit from the form.


How it works…

Now when we create a new record, we will be asked if we want to use a template. We can use the default Blank template if we like.


Or we can select any of the other templates that we have created and then click on the OK button.


Now when we start setting up the new record we will see that all of the main codes have been defaulted in from the template record.


Also for the larger records like the Customers table we will also see that a lot of the sub codes have already been populated for use.


If we spend a little more time creating some more templates then we will be able to save a lot of time.


Review

Creating record templates is a great way to save time when setting up new records within Dynamics because we don’t have to worry about all of the specific flags and codes that we need to configure for specific groups of records. Also this is a way that we can help new users set up data correctly by giving them optional template formats.

About the author

Murray Fife is an Author of over 25 books on Microsoft Dynamics AX including the Bare Bones Configuration Guide series of over 15 books which step the user through the setup of initial Dynamics AX instance, then through the Financial modules and then through the configuration of the more specialized modules like production, service management, and project accounting. You can find all of his books on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/author/murrayfife.

Murray is also the curator of the Dynamics AX Companions (www.dynamicsaxcompanions.com) site which he built from the ground up as a resource for all of the Dynamics AX community where you can find walkthroughs and blueprints that he created since first being introduced to the Dynamics AX product.

Throughout his 25+ years of experience in the software industry he has worked in many different roles during his career, including as a developer, an implementation consultant, a trainer and a demo guy within the partner channel which gives him a great understanding of the requirements for both customers and partner’s perspective.

For more information on Murray, here is his contact information:

Email:
mcf@dynamicsaxcompanions.com
Twitter:
@murrayfife

Facebook: facebook.com/murraycfife
Google: google.com/+murrayfife
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/murrayfife

Blog: atinkerersnotebook.com

Docs: docs.com/mufife
Amazon: amazon.com/author/murrayfife