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Programming Improvements with Dynamics Ax 2012 R2

October 25, 2012 2 comments
This was one of the very interesting session we had :). As a developer it was really exciting to see how we can scale the application further.

LINQ:

– Though the .net integration worked well with through Ax proxies there was a void when it comes data acess.
– The X++ team has come up with a LINQ provider that will fill up this gap.

Highlevel: X++ LINQ Provider will create a search tree based equivalent for the C# search tree created through LINQ

What this means ? You can access data from AOT Tables through LINQ with just few lines of code, something like the one below.

</pre>
//Pseudo not exact syntax
 QueryDataProvider query = new QueryDataProvider('TableName');

//Rest the regular Linq Syntax applies
<pre>

– Since LINQ Queries are composable the data once fetched can be applied with multiple composable ranges further E.g

</pre>
QueryDataProvider query = new QueryDataProvider('select custtable');

 var results = from qr in query
 select new (q.custaccount, q.custName)
 //prints the all the customer records
 foreach (var result in results)
 {
 Console.WriteLine(result);
 }

 //basically for a single result set fetched in query
 //you can apply multiple select criteria later to fetch data
 //This is like narrowing a search result further
 var results = from qr in query
 where qr.custName like 'Test*'
 select new (q.custaccount, q.custName)
 //prints the all the customer records
 foreach (var result in results)
 {
 Console.WriteLine(result);
 }
<pre>

– You can filter based on expressions

– Field list concept is no more applicable. The choice of fields is automatically decided by the linq framework based on the conditions applied in each case.

– query is not executed untill the results are fetched.

– Folks, the advantages mentioned here are just to give you a feeling but it is limitless. All advantage that LINQ has brought in to the C# space is now applicable for data access to X++ tables.

– Remember this is LINQ Provider on the C# end and not on the X++. Means basically it works for the Visual Studio Projects

– LINQ Project Portal – http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/vstudio/bb397926.aspx

Keep watching the X++ team blog as Peter Villadsen who detailed this has promised to put more examples here 🙂

LINQ – Points to note

Solver Foundation

– OR(Operation Research) issues like the travelling sales man problem, transportation problem can be solved with the help of solver Foundation

Solver Foundation is a mathematical modelling API brought in place by Microsoft. Solver Foundation is sold seperately to customers (Read more here).

-But the Good!!! news is that it comes fully licensed with Dynamics Ax

– Leverage this Solver Foundation to solve problems concerning with Optimization(Shortest Route), Bin Packing(Optimal allocation)

– The dll is present in the Dynamics Ax installation(Client i guess) and you can just add it to your reference and get to use it.

– Solver foundation is used by standard Dynamics Ax in constraint based product configurator.

Code Upgrade Tool

– Microsoft is trying to see how it can reduce the pain of code upgrade with rollup and major releases. CUT is an outcome of this exercise.

– This is very very powerful, as AST(Abstract Syntax Tree) is created for the X++. (Similar to Roslyn Project for C#)

What is an AST ? AST is a DOM(XML sort of) representation of a method or a class.This means the variables in a class could just be a node in the DOM and can be easily queried. Similarly expressions, Types etc.

How does this help ? unlike the X++ parser output the output of AST is simple, structured, queryable. Which means you can easily manipulate code based on Rules..
– E.g:

– All methods must have a access specifier, if not an access specifier is entered automatically
– If there is a IF condition it must have braces around
– Format the code

Architecture

What it has to do with Code Upgrade ? Means, the system will try to better manage automatic merge and simplify the process. The CUT tool that is to come will create automerged objects and put it in a patch layer(not sure if it is patch). Then one can review to decide to keep the changes or eliminate them

What other use AST has ? The Life cycle tools that are built my Microsoft relies on the AST to analyze the code metrics.

Can i use it for older versions ? No it can’t be used. Since AST can’t be built for older versions.

When is CUT available ? Not confirmed as of now.

Code Upgrade tool (AST visible on the left)