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Thursday, February 23, 2006

Lifecycles and roles

To Increase (www.to-ncrease.com) introduces with their Platform Lifecycles, or workflows into Axapta. With these lifecycles, consultants and developers can map actual business processes to logical and technical flows of information and steps that pertain / build / and give an end result to business processes.

For example, if a business has a high approval structure for rec to pay. This would envolve the creating or rec's to the paying of purchase orders. One thing that would be missing already from Standard Axapta is a Purcahse Rec. To Increase addresses this with their Enhanced Procurement module. So with the EP, you now have the Purcahse Rec. form.

With that set, then you can create a Lifecycle, or known is the business world as a workflow. With this lifecycle (Platform from To Increase needed) you can then build business rules around the Rec, the turning into a Purcahse Order, selecting a Vendor, approving the payment, etc. etc. So for example you could create a lifecycle that looked similar to:

1. New Rec
2. On Hold
3. Rejected
4. Approved

And with these "States" of a Rec. lifecycle then add approval area's, groups who can approve, and how the people in those groups are notified. (ie: emails, Axapta notes, etc.)

This is a wonderful solution that can be applied all through Axapta. It truly brings the value of Axapta, for a business, up to the next level. Now these lifecycles can be modeled and built around Roles in a business. With that said these roles can be further created, as I mentioned in the before this post, dynamic menu's that help present a role based use of Axapta. So with the Platform from To Increase, you can now take the not so friendly menu system, get rid of it nearly all together, and create lifecycles and dynamic menus that are launched and used to give each end user a customized role based approach that totally is modeled against their business process, and have happy end users.

Look for more posts about To Increase, lifecycles, how to create a lifecycle (with screen shots) and also creating role based approaches in Axapta, Dynamic Forms, buttons, and how to use this to create a best of bread Hybrid development approach that use's the AOT only when neccesary. This is very important to understand, as this is the future of Axapta at Micrsoft.

Find a job at: www.DynamicsAXJobs.com

Thursday, February 16, 2006

To Increase

Well I have a lot to post about. Currently I am in training for an Axapta ISV company that makes modules, well really an entire platform for the AX platform.

The name of this company is To Increase, and they have really brought to AX a lot of what it is missing. Of course their focus is Industry Equipment Manufacturing, but what I am most excited about is their eCon platform, and most of all their Platform 1.3.

This To Increase platform introduces a concept close to UML, in which you no longer have to have so much dependance on working within layers. With their platform you can make form changes, etc. without ever making a code change. Instead it is compiled at run time, using struct, serialization, etc. which allows for greater speed in development and modifcations of solutions.

They also give you the ability access and control MetaData of tables, to where you can make Logical relations to tables that you would normally Not due within the Technical form of making relations through the AOT.

They also offer this workflow concept so that events, etc. can be expanded on and a more role based approach to offering the user a Process like what they do vs. having to go from menu to menu. Speaking of menus that also brings up the creatation of Dynamic Menus, in which a further role based approach can be given to end users.

All in all To Increase is for sure a big part of the future of AX, and also offers Great wonderfully missing peices from the Standard AX application. Look for further details here about To Increase, their modules, and how to use them. To check them out goto: http://www.to-increase.com

thats all for now!

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Sunday, February 12, 2006

Axapta Install and Configuration Breakdown

Below I pasted in the exam topics and the % breakdown for the Install and Config test. Hopefully I can make a nice study guide based on the exam topics below. If I am able to I will make sure to share it with everyone. For now the exam topics will have to do!

Exam Topics

Microsoft Axapta General Architecture – 3%

Microsoft Axapta Hardware & Software Requirements – 5%

Microsoft Axapta Database Installation – 4%

Install Microsoft SQL Server and Service packs
Microsoft Axapta 2-Tier Installation – 5%

Microsoft Axapta 3-Tier Installation – 18%

Conceptual Understanding
Active Directory
Microsoft Axapta AOS Clustering – 6%

Conceptual Understanding
AOS Cluster Setup
AOS Cluster Configuration
Microsoft Axapta Web Deployment – 5%

Microsoft Axapta Administration, Tools, Tuning – 23%

Perform basic Microsoft Axapta server & Database Administration
Use Microsoft Axapta internal Database Tools
Use Basic Windows tools
Microsoft Axapta Troubleshooting – 20%

Troubleshooting Tools
Identifying Problems
Microsoft Axapta Benchmarking – 6%

Microsoft Axapta OLAP– 5%

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My next Exam


Since I have just completed the Programming Exam, next I am going to move forward to the Install / Admin test. If anyone has any pointers I would love to hear about them and post them here on this blog.

I think I will be getting the Element K Courseware books that I can study. At least I hope that I can get those. I have not heard that much about this test, and so I am looking to find people that have taken just to get a better idea of what is expected.

As I find things that will help in the prep for this exam I will make sure to post it. Looking forward past this exam, I kinda had an idea of what I wanted to do next, but now I am not so sure. I really would like to review what is out there, and come up with the best plan for moving forward. Well any and call comments are welcome!

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Friday, February 10, 2006

Passed the Axapta 3.0 Programming Exam!

Well I passed the Axapta 3.0 Programming exam today. There were 80 questions, and it took me about 25 mins or so to complete the exam.

I thank God for the abilities he has given me, and give him credit first for allowing me to have the talent to complete and pass the exam, and to do everything that I do. Thanks YHWH God, and Christ!

Now to talk about the exam. All in all it was pretty straight forward. There are some trick questions, like questions on replication... which Axapta does not support! To pass the exam I do recommend you read the developers guide and best practices handbook. I also had the benefit of CD Group supply me with a wonderful study guide that someone people a lot of work into.

Now with this first test behind me, and being a MBSCP, I am moving forward to becoming a master. My next exam I want to study and take the Install / Admin test. From there I will move to the more functional test like Trade and Logistics. Well good luck to everyone that is trying to complete the exam, and make sure to read the questions through and through. You have to make sure you read for the CORRECT or NOT CORRECT answer.

till next time!

P.S. The Flu has left the building! ;-)

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Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Fighting the Flu

My Family and myself are all fighting the Flu. I most likely will not be posting much of anything this week, as I feel just terrible.

Next week I will pick up where I left off, with the data imports.

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Wednesday, February 01, 2006

The Dreaded import

When doing a new AX implementation, one of the tasks that must be done, and can be a real rough one is getting the customers data from their current system into AX.

The AX doc's and a lot of consultants would have people try and use the Excel import utility. That's great for small chunks of data, of 500 records of less, but most of the time the utility is truly bad, and very slow.

Another piece to the data import is that it will need to happen several times until the data looks right and the client signs off on it. I have found that the best thing to do is develop a project that houses classes that can bring in the data through ODBC. The way I do this is give the client the Excel spreadsheet, say for Vendors, so for the VendTable. I tell them to fill this spreadsheet, and get it back to me. From there I take that and create a DTS that can be re-ran over and over again that takes and creates a VendTable in SQL, that lives in a AXBaseData DB.

From there I have developed (continue to develop) a class system for connecting to the AXBaseData db through the ODBCConnection object, and populate the Vendor table through that way.

To give you a better idea of how much better this way is take Zips. if you were to load U.S. only zips (which is more than 65k records) into AX through the excel process it could take you up to 5 whole hours to load that data. Same data through my method of ODBCConnection object, and classes... 20 mins max!

Take that and times it by the amount of times you will have to re-run this and you can see how much time and how much more productivity can be obtained through the method I am talking about. In the my next few posts I will cover this process a little bit more and offer up an example class. Until next time!

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