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Wednesday, April 07, 2010

ProISV Launches Version 1.0 of AX.NET

Today, ProISV is releasing version 1.0 of the AX.NET, minus the AX.NET Server peice, which is set to be released within the next two months.

This is a new offering, that I wrote about in the following blog post.:
Dynamics AX and .Net - A new technology offering from ProISV

As well as my CIO focused article on MSDynamicsWorld.com, found here.: MSDW: How AX.NET Extends a CIO's Integration Options

This covered the details of what AX.NET planned on offering and was bringing to the Dynamics AX, .Net table. Now, as of today, ProISV is releasing AX.NET, along with their new partner program.

For this launch, I interviewed ProISV team, Neils and Kaspar. Below is that interview.:

1.) What will be released as version 1, today, from the AX.NET offerings and what does this bring to customers and partners? (Niels)

"We are including a lot of functionality in our first AX.NET release. The core functionality creates a .NET version of AX, thereby enabling full .NET integration with Microsoft Dynamics AX business logic and data. Feedback from our now closed beta1 program and analysts is that we are closing a major gap in the Microsoft Dynamics AX technology base with the release of AX.NET.

So, today we are offering two different types of AX.NET licenses: AX.NET Developer System, which targets product developers and AX.NET Client, which is suitable for users on the system as well as internal AX development. The AX Developer System all inclusive license, unlimited developer users and Code Protection System, will retail at EUR 3,995, while the Client license retails as low as EUR 295 per user.

This means that developers can now write custom .NET code, while using the AX logic directly in Visual Studio, as well as use our Code Protection System to ensure that their intellectual property is fully managed and cannot be circumvented. The client license makes it possible to run the AX.NET applications at a low price, thereby enabling a much richer Microsoft Dynamics AX experience and at the same time reduce the cost dramatically. There are many fine details in our functionality, which is probably too much to all be mentioned here, but our website provides all the details as well as the differences in the license types: (ProISV license types link.)

Well worth mentioning though is that we are now also introducing our Partner Program, through which we will enable authorization for partners to distribute and resell AX.NET licensing. This is a very big revenue opportunity in addition to the significant cost savings of using AX.NET to develop applications. None of this would be meaningful though, without having a high quality product offering, so that has been our highest priority leading up to our product launch."

2.) To what do you attribute your ability to release a stable version 1 of the AX.NET offerings? (Niels)

"The key principle of all of our product development is that it is test driven, agile development, blended with our many years of experience in the field. This means we can quickly attain a very high level of quality in our products. The key purpose of our AX.NET beta1 program was to work with partners, get their feedback both in terms of quality and functionality. We had a very successful and productive beta1 program, which resulted in great new features and a very stable product, so we are obviously very happy for that and thankful to our beta partners for their active participation."

3.) Without getting into details, can you give us an idea of Customer and Partner involvement during the beta program that lead up to this April 7th release? (Niels)

"We had great feedback from our beta partners and some of them were giving us intensive feedback throughout the work days. This speaks to the fact that AX.NET really fills a major technology gap and the ability to finally work with a full .NET version of AX is something, which has been received with tremendous interest. We will now continue working with the beta partners and assist those, who have chosen to take a step further and use AX.NET commercially in their businesses. We were actually able to very quickly implement suggestions for product improvements as well, so that probably create great confidence in ProISV as a business partner"

4.) Can you talk about some of the improvements, with examples that took place during the beta program that helped refine and make AX.NET a better offering? (Kaspar)

"There have been many improvements during the beta program, and many suggestions from our Beta Program Partners have been implemented.
The most visible changes have been made to streamline the AX.NET Assembly Generator that is where all AX.NET development starts.

We have for example made it easy to connect the Microsoft Dynamics AX AOS using the Dynamics AX Client Configurations stored on the local computer.

When choosing the selection of tables, classes and enums to be included in the AX.NET Assembly, which shall constitute your .NET version of the AOT in Microsoft Dynamics AX, you can now define the selection by choosing private and shared projects from the selected Microsoft Dynamics AX.

This way it is easy for a business consultant to define in Dynamics AX, what should be included in the .NET representation of AX. A technical consultant can then build the AX.NET Assembly using the Microsoft Dynamics AX project.

During the Beta Program we improved the control over which elements actually are included in the AX.NET Assembly. When building the AX.NET Assembly, the AX.NET Assembly Generator uses the defined selection of elements, but AX.NET Assembly Generator also included a feature to automatically include depended elements.

So if I am creating an AX.NET Assembly with the CustTable table from Microsoft Dynamics AX, I would probably like to automatically include the classes and tables that the methods (business logic) on CustTable use as parameters. AX.NET enables this, and with the new features developed during the Beta Program, it is even now possible to define how many levels of dependencies should be included.

There has also been made great progress in streamlining the AX.NET Framework to make it more intuitive and user friendly. We have for example changed the naming convention in the AX.NET Assembly, so the name of the .NET types in a generated AX.NET Assembly in most cases have exactly the same name as in Microsoft Dynamics AX.
This means that the Microsoft Dynamics AX class Map is now also called Map in an AX.NET Assembly, where it before was called IMap. Further the Microsoft Dynamics AX table CustTable is now called CustTable in an AX.NET Assembly, and a row in CustTable is called CustTableRow.

We believe that there has been made great progress and improvements during the Beta Program, and we really would like to thank our Beta Partners for providing us with their feedback. We will continue down the path with our next product offering, the AX.NET Server."

5.) What are your plans for the AX.NET Server offering? What will it target, and allow? (Niels)

"In short, AX.NET Server will enable the AX infrastructure to run in the Cloud as a modern age alternative to on premise or hosted servers in the traditional sense. Thereby new business models in line with Cloud computing can be introduced as well.

So with AX.NET Server, AX can be accessed through a web browser, just like any other Cloud service. AX.NET Server is fully compatible with all of the AX.NET features in the Developer System and Client License system, which means that applications developed today, can run as Cloud services, once we release AX.NET Server.

Obviously, delivering Microsoft Dynamics AX as a cloud service will eliminate many costs otherwise associated with deploying and maintaining AX."

6.) When is the AX.NET Server offering scheduled to be released as version 1? (Niels)

"We anticipate to release AX.NET Server Beta towards the end of April. The commercial release will depend on the beta program feedback. As was the case with AX.NET beta1, we will apply agile development and release when the product is ready. That means “fast”."

7.) What do you feel are some of the most important things that AX.NET brings to Customers and Partners? What is the, short version, of the case for AX.NET in a Dynamics AX implementation? (Kaspar)

"We believe that the release of AX.NET today marks the beginning of the next generation of .NET solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX. AX.NET will enable customer to build custom .NET solutions that increase the value of their Microsoft Dynamics AX investment by enabling faster, cheaper and better support for development of web, mobile, smart client and integration solutions.

AX.NET can achieve this by enabling the full power of the newest version of Microsoft .NET Framework and Microsoft Visual Studio to be unleashed including support for LINQ (Language Integrated Query) and Intellicense (auto completion, inline documentation and compilation check) in Visual Studio.

Writing .NET solutions for Microsoft Dynamics AX by direct use of the Microsoft Dynamics AX Business Connector can almost be illustrated as writing your .NET code in notepad without any productivity or quality enhancing tools. AX.NET truly brings .NET development for Microsoft Dynamics AX into Visual Studio with everything it includes.

For AX.NET Partners we both provide a great business opportunity to resell AX.NET to the end-user, but we also provide special features for our ISV Partners developing solutions on top of AX.NET and selling them commercially.

When Partners buy the AX.NET ISV license (AX.NET Developer System), they get the possibility to use the AX.NET License System to protect their own Intellectual Property (IP). All AX.NET ISV will receive a digital certificate from ProISV that they can use to sign AX.NET Licenses. The AX.NET License System then allows them to specify, that their AX.NET solution only is allowed on an AX.NET installation with an AX.NET License digital signed by both ProISV and the ISV. Hereby the ISV is ensured that they receive the entire AX.NET License sale for their solution, and that there is no unauthorized use of their product."

8.) If you could pick one thing to really highlight about AX.NET, that maybe a lot of customers and partners might not appreciate fully when first looking at AX.NET, what would that be? (Kaspar)

"If you don’t have a technical background or are familiar with the life of a .NET developer working with Dynamics AX through the Microsoft Dynamics AX Business Connector, it can be easy to underestimate the effect of AX.NET on productivity, quality and moral. With AX.NET a Microsoft Dynamics AX .NET developer does not have to look envious at his colleague that is developing a pure .NET solution."

"The era where .NET development for Microsoft Dynamics AX was a difficult process has passed, and the future is racing towards us. The future is the Cloud, and AX.NET will take your there with AX.NET Server and Microsoft Azure very soon!"

I would like to thank Niels and Kaspar from the ProISV team for taking the time to do this interview. This is exciting news, and I recommend you check out what AX.NET can do for Dynamics AX implementations that need .Net based integration work.

A direct link to their website can be found here.: www.ProISV.com

That's all for now, but check back soon!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Anonymous Mahmoud Anass said...

Hello Brandon,

It's really great to follow your blog. About ProISV, I don't know but I feel some confusion about it with what Dynamics AX team are doing right now in particualry the AX tools and the hosting of AOT into the visual studio. I hope if there is some more clarification.


Mahmoud Anass

9:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Microsoft now is adopting the standard nomenclature for DAX certifications. They are stopping with those horrible acronyms (MCBMSS and MCBMSP), which now are MCTS and MCITP (despite they still have references to these in the page).

Do you know if they have plans for a unified DAX MCM?


10:09 PM  

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