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Book review: Extending Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Cookbook

September 3, 2013 2 comments

Packt recently has come up with good titles related to Dynamics and specifically AX. So here is the new addition to the list Extending Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Cookbook by Murray Fife. Murray Fife is quite popular in the community through his slideshare presentations that are detailed, ready to implement and interesting articles that would benefit you immediately. This book again is a fantastic addition from Murray. You can read the interview with Murray where he discuss his experience writing this book and future plans here. 8331EN_cover The book is simple, crispier and has a good flow overall. It is non theoretical get in to action type meaning right from the first chapter and the first page you have something that can be accomplished out of it be it adding a role center page or publishing your reports to the role center. As you run through the chapters you would be surprised to see how much can be accomplished without getting your hands dirty with programming. The book covers recipes related to SharePoint, Power view, Performance point, Lync, Workflow, Office, Infopath, OData in relation to Dynamics AX. The author has broken down the chapters in to smaller recipes in a manner that at the end of the chapter the recipes together create a meaningful addition to Dynamics AX. My personal favorites have been chapter-3 related to Dashboards, Charts and scorecards and the chapter – 10 related to web service and forms. Find what looks interesting for you here…

 

What the author promises to reveal through the book,

  • Easily create attractive dashboards and reports using Performance Point, PowerView and Excel
  • Improve and maximize the potential of user communication and collaboration with Outlook and Lync
  • Create and configure roles centers for your users
  • Build personal portals and document libraries within SharePoint
  • Create a streamlined organization through workflows
  • Build new help files specific to your business
  • Develop personalized and customized screens

I would recommend this book for lead functional consultants who do implementations, pre-sales consultants, IT administrators and developers who are engaged with end user systems and implementations. The book is definitely worth a buy and is a interesting read. Order it here today. Please read the authors interview about the book here.

Interview: Murray Fife – Author Extending Dynamics Ax 2012 Cookbook

September 3, 2013 1 comment

In this short interview with Murray on his release of book Extending Dynamics Ax 2012 learn more about his experience of writing his book, how this book can benefit users, his future plans and get to know the software tools that makes Murray a productive man in the AX world. I would like to Thanks Murray for offering his time towards this interview.

How is the experience of authoring a book, this being your first book in spite of many publications on the web so far?

Murray Fife ImageWriting the book was thoroughly enjoyable, and was not as hard as I thought it was going to be.  This was partly because I had already compiled all of the content through my past blog posts, and also because I had got into the habit of writing because of the blogging.  One added benefit, I think that writing the book improved by blog posts as well, because I now structure them in a way that I can easily convert them over to more of a chapter format if I need too.

One aspect that was a new experience though while writing the book was the editing and critique.  For the first chapter, I was caught off guard, but after sucking back my pride, and taking an objective look at what the editors and reviewers were suggesting, I soon realized that critique is great, and incorporating their suggestions only made the book better.

 How will readers benefit from this book?

This book is all about doing more with what you already have.  Dynamics AX is a great application, but there are other tools that you probably have laying about within your organization that you can use in8331EN_cover conjunction with Dynamics AX to make it even better.  I tried to make the examples in the book useful enough to be used at least as a starting point for solving common problems that everyone is having.  Once you have mastered a chapter, you may find that you are able to extend out even further than the book does.

Also, there is probably about 20 lines of code in the whole book, and even those examples are simple enough that a non-developer would be able to add them to Dynamics AX.  I did this on purpose, because a lot of the examples are configurable, not developed.  I wanted the power users to take control of Dynamics AX and do more with it.

What tools or software’s that you use to make yourself productive and would recommend other Dynamics Ax community?

Apart from the tools that everyone is probably familiar with like PowerPoint (which is my storyboarding tool), SkyDrive (which allows me to access all of my files from any of my computers), Word (for collaboration and review), and PaintShopPro (for image cropping), I need to highlight one of the most useful tools in my utility belt, which is DuckLink Screen Capture (http://www.ducklink.com/p/free-screen-capture-tool/).  This is free, and is the Swiss Army knife of screen capture.  I don’t know where the name came from, but I don’t care, because I could not live without it.

 What topics are you currently working with respect to Dynamics Ax?

I am continuing to learn the other areas of Dynamics AX – there is so much functionality in the system, and so many gems hidden away that I doubt that I will stop.

 I already have enough content for a second Extensions Cookbook and have submitted it to PACKT for approval.  This one will be a little more functional, and show how you can configure the secondary features that people want to use, but are maybe a little too intimidated to try tackling.  Including Lean Manufacturing, Retail, Costing, Development of new Workflows, and Service Management.  I think that illustrating these examples will show people that they are really not that hard to configure, but still very useful and something to take advantage of.

 A follow on project that I have just started planning out is a guide for configuring Dynamics AX from a blank system.  It may seem daunting to configure a completely new system, but it’s not that hard.  Getting the base data in to a point where you can start running common business transactions is not hard if you don’t over-complicate it.  I am sure that companies just starting to implement Dynamics AX will like the content.

Read the review of the book here

Microsoft Dynamics Ax 2009 Administration Book – Review

April 26, 2011 1 comment

Ax 30 was then fresh in the hands of Microsoft, I had just begun my professional career with Dynamics Ax. There was one frustration that was common among our entire team and that was lack of materials and books. It was Steen anderson’s Morphx It that came as savior in those days and more like Inside Microsoft Dynamics Ax, Supply chain management with Ax followed. As Steen had kicked off development series, today Marco has done it for administration. I think this is the first book dedicated to the installation and administration of Dynamics Ax. Thanks to Marco for the great move which could be followed by more in the days to come.

Target Audience: VAR’s and IT admin’s

Dynamics Ax has transformed itself from a single piece software to multitude of systems working together to deliver a complete enterprise solution. This technically dilutes to different set of softwares like Sharepoint, SSRS, Dynamics Ax, Office working in tandem. Integrating different systems in practical situations throw up wide challenges.  Microsoft Dynamics Ax 2009 Administration comes in handy to help overcome these challenges.This book on administration will be a good beginner guide for novice users and help to broader insights for the experienced users.

What is so good about it ???

The book basically starts with choice of hardware, topologies, installation of Ax, EP, SSRS and moves on to discuss in detail about configuration of  Security, Workflow and AIF. Towards the final part the book talks about data migration, backup and performance tunning. This is a right mix of detail required for anybody doing administration.

The content on kerberos authentication in the context of Ax is unique and sparingly discussed on the web. Chapter on security cover setting up security on EP, Cubes, SSRS, RLS security setup apart from the dynamics Ax security setup. Configuration related chapters also have content to run basic steps to ensure proper configuration.

Apart from the essential chapters the appendix also includes good information related to peculiar but blocking issues like AOS Common trouble shooting guidelines,  installing multiple EP portal in a web server and most  steps to enable Ax 2009 to work along with Sharepoint 2010[Ax 2009 was basically designed to work for SP2007]

Good efforts have been made to include many screenshots that would guide through installation and configuration steps.

What would be good to be included in next version ?

– More troubleshooting guidelines along with the ideal setup explanations for installations.

– Chapter on handling upgrades and roll-ups in production environments

– Short examples of topology decisions relating to real world experiences

few points that would make this book interesting read for ISV’s too is

– Detail on development topologies

– Detail on building on top of Dynamics Ax like Layers, Patches and version maintenance

Overall: Good book to understand and start with planning, installing and configuring Dynamics Ax

Rating: 3.5/5 Click here to buy it now

A special Thanks to Marco for sharing the copy of book through PACKT Publisher to review and present it before you. An interesting co-incidence is that I wrote this review straight  back after visiting the Marina Bay Sands hotel adoring the cover page in this book 🙂