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Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Dynamics AX, SOA and Oslo on the mind...



Alright, so I have been doing a lot of degrees of seperation lately, or thinking in such terms. The area's of topic, by choice, are Dynamics AX, SOA and Oslo. I started thinking about these 3, two products and one an arch. that is used to bridge systems, interconnecting products.

Then, even as I was typing that, about being products, in turn I realized that Dynamics AX and Oslo are not products really, not anymore, well not anymore for Dynamics AX.

When Dynamics AX was called Axapta, and back before Microsoft bought it, you could consider Axapta a product on the verge of becoming a platform.

With the release of Dynamics AX 4.0, this product grew up and became a real platform for the first time. It integrated and fit, nicely sometimes and not so nicely on others, into the Microsft stack. And why not right?

Microsoft is a platform company, that is what they are. They provide the platform that partners and customers use to provide and create solutions with.

Alright so Dynamics AX and Oslo are platforms, and SOA is an Arch. Well recently, Microsoft hosted their SOA conference. The home page can be found here: Real World SOA: 2009 Microsoft SOA & Business Process Conference

At the conference there was a lot of different topics covered, and I plan on getting into some of the details in a later post (hopefully) about in specific session. For now though I wanted to talk about these two platforms and the one arch. The reason is, in the not to distant future Oslo (along with "Dublin") will be released from Microsoft as live products platforms / services, and they are already in the line up for Microsoft Dynamics AX roadmap.

The reason they are is that Oslo, Dublin and Dynamics AX with the help of SOA will become platforms that work together with the rest of the Microsoft stack, like office, to help deliver to business that make use of the Dynamics AX business platform, create and manage business workflows.

Big deal huh? I mean this is already happenning right with the release of Dynamics AX 2009 and it's use of the .Net 3.5 workflow engine right? Technically the answer is yes. But... (and you knew there was a but) there is a lot of code that goes into these workflows, the designer is a tree down designer, and the flow of these workflows are not very flexible.

Enter WF in .Net 4.0. This will come into play, along with Visio like diagram ability to offer partners and customers to create workflows with greater ease soon, that are more flexible and less code.

A little later, enter Dublin + Oslo (along with the letter "M" [more in a bit about M.]) with WF 4.0 (and beyond) and you have the *desired* goal of creating business process workflows that are managed and created by users, with complex flows and use of logic, with 80%-90% estimated less code than currently exists with workflows in Dynamics AX 2009 and .Net 3.5.

So with all this said, what's the point?

1.) You can create workflows now in Dynamics AX 2009, that will help manage your business processes, out of the box.

2.) In the very near future, this will be improved with .Net 4.0 and WF, along with a new designer for the workflow that will be Visio like. The workflows will be easier to manage and offer more flexibility, with less code.

3.) In the next release of Dynamics AX (based on current road map) Oslo + Dublin, along with the modeling language "M", yes a new language that we will explore here, will be used by normal super users to create, manage and maintain business work flows and processes, without the need of much coding in X++ or C#. (Based on information from Microsoft)


So we have some exciting new things to look at with this. Look for more on this, later this week, as we look back in time at the PDC 2008 that happended last October to talk about this in greater detail and to get some direction on the who, what, when, how... and why of this topic.

Check back soon...






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