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Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, OData and EDM

Well as promised in my last post, this next post is going to focus on the move for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to focus integration and access to data contained within an AX 2012 instance through OData feeds, and EDM. (Entity Data Model Framework).

Mike Ehrenberg, a Microsoft Technical Fellow for Microsoft Dynamics had to say:
"Consistent with that, Microsoft Dynamics AX '6' does provide its own model store -- and per the announcement, a very sophisticated one," Ehrenberg stated in an e-mailed response. "First, the model store has moved from the file system to SQL Server in this release, improving scalability, model reporting, and deployment. Layering in the model store allows efficient support of a base model, extended for localization, industry specialization, and on top of that, ISV vertical specialization, reseller and customer specialization, with the ability to model very granular changes and effectively manage the application deployment lifecycle from ISV through to customer and the upgrade process. We provide a service interface to the model store, and it is possible to layer ODATA or EDM on that service."

One of the things that I saw while at #DAXCONF11 was this concept in full working demo.

I saw a given Query Object be published as a service, and then having that service once published consumed as an OData feed, from within Microsoft PowerPivot, and easily working with the content and layout of the given Query.

To give a little more about OData, check out the following.: OData Home on the web

"The Open Data Protocol (OData) is a Web protocol for querying and updating data that provides a way to unlock your data and free it from silos that exist in applications today. OData does this by applying and building upon Web technologies such as HTTP, Atom Publishing Protocol (AtomPub) and JSON to provide access to information from a variety of applications, services, and stores. The protocol emerged from experiences implementing AtomPub clients and servers in a variety of products over the past several years. OData is being used to expose and access information from a variety of sources including, but not limited to, relational databases, file systems, content management systems and traditional Web sites."

Looking at PowerPivot, one needs simply open up Microsoft Office 2010, and make use of it's native support for OData feeds as a source for data for a given workbook.:

In doing this, we see the power of Office 2010 and Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. To transform the complex integration needs, into a more simplified approach for creating a service, having it hosted within the AOS and WCF itself, which in turns allows for consumption of the service as an OData feed within Microsoft PowerPivot.

You can take now, and think a little further of having an employee self service page within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 EP, that would list possible feeds ready for consumption by users, and filtered by the users security context!

This is very powerful, and will change the way integrations are done within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 and the outside world!

Other area', that I will highlight is the EDM. You can find out more about the purpose and point of EDM here.: MSDN - Entity Data Model

"The Entity Data Model (EDM) is a specification for defining the data used by applications built on the Entity Framework. Applications using the EDM define entities and relationships in the domain of the application in a design schema. The design schema is used to build programmable classes used by application code. Storage structures that persist data for applications in this model are represented in another schema called the storage schema. A mapping specification connects the design schema and the storage schema."

The key here: define[s] entity and relationships in the domain of the application.

This would allow for more structured, domain specific data access within an more complex external service, and allow for more complex and "smarter" integrations with other LOB applications.

If you can take this in a pratical look, having a given external LOB application that can use EDM in such a way that would allow it to better understand the data model that it needs to understand for working with it's part of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

This equals more robust integrations, with less code, and less time!

Well that's all for now, check back soon as I continue the deeper dive of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Next on the block is a deeper look at eventing!

"Visit the Dynamics AX Community Page today!"

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Anonymous Edvandro Santos said...

This is incredible! OData is amazing, Brandon! Nice post!

12:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very good info...

12:18 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

thanks for posting this info.........

1:15 AM  

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