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Tuesday, April 06, 2010

SQL Server Modeling - Coming to a Dynamics AX near you!

Last week, I ended my post with an interview with Microsoft DE, Mike Ehrenberg. A direct link to that post can be found here.: Interview with Microsoft Distinguished Engineer - Mike Ehrenberg

There was a lot covered in this interview, and I plan on diving deeper into each section with details, that help fill in the vision and path that was laid out by Mike during that interview.

So with this in mind, I wanted to jump right into the "Oslo", or now know as SQL Server Modeling. I wrote about this topic actually before I had the interview with Mike. I made an educated guess, after reading Mike org. executive insight blog post that SQL Server Modeling would have an impact on Dynamics AX vNext versions to come.

Just to back up a little bit, I first starting writing about, then, Olso in Feb. of 2009. In the following post, Dynamics AX, SOA and Oslo on the mind... , I wrote.:

"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#."

Now lets fast forward to my next post about Olso, now SQL Server Modelings, SQL Server Modeling - Formely Code name "Oslo"

In that post I list a good amount of helpful links, to help you dig into SQL Server Modeling (SSM), and also stated the following.:

"My educated guess, is that SQL Server Modeling will be a base technology, along with .Net 4.0 Workflow Engine, .Net 4.0, the .Net SQL Server Modeling Class Libraries, etc. Now a full own use of SQL Server Modeling within Dynamics AX might not exist in the next release, but it for sure will be in Dynamics AX 7.0. However 6.0 will have something of these technologies to enable what I was talking about... ...I am willing to bet we will hear about this at Convergence."

So the past post I have been doing for over a year, talking about Oslo / SQL Server Modeling, has been correct and verified, as seen in the recent interview with Mike.:

"Yes, definitely. Dynamics AX has always made a big bet on modeling. The metadata accessed through the AOT is a core part of what makes Dynamics AX development highly productive. Our evolution points to more and more done through declarative modeling instead of code – making it both more efficient and more resilient through upgrades over time. In Dynamics AX ‘6’, all of this metadata moves from the file system to the SQL Server database. This is a deployment simplification and one that moves towards the capabilities of SQL Server Modeling – our roadmap and the result of what was “Oslo”."

It makes sense now why one of the reason's MFP's post highlighting the move of the Application Files, to be stored in the database, is taking place.

Like I said, above, this helps verify my educated guesses, and also helps give us direction that SQL Server Modeling is on it's way to Dynamics AX.

So here we are, Convergence just around the cornor, deep into Dynamics AX 2009 and Dynamics AX 2011 set for Q1 release of next year. This means we have roughly 6-8 months to really start looking into what SQL Server Modeling will bring to the Dynamics AX table.

Microsoft's vision for this is it will allow for Domain Specific Languages to be created, and used by Functional Consultants and Business Users to create their processes with. Allowing for a Model Driven approach to the business system development, that would cut out 80-90% of the code that is currently created today.

Does this mean C# or even X++ is going away? No! It's and impossible task to have software, in which zero development takes place. However, with Model Driven development, the business process can be defined, in a Domain Specific Language, that shapes the process and workflows, where the remaining needs are filled in with code at given points in those processes and workflows.

Quote from Mike's responses.:
"Our evolution points to more and more done through declarative modeling instead of code"

To me that statement says a lot. Declarative Modeling instead, or in place of code. This is the direction, and if Dynamics AX is in your future, then Declarative Modeling is in your future with SQL Server Modeling.

I plan on doing a deep dive into all of this. Getting into Domain Specific Languages, M, what SQL Server Modeling will look like, along with the rest of the topics covered in the interview.

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

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