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Thursday, January 07, 2010

Book Review: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Programming: Getting Started

Recently I was asked by Richard Dias, of PackT Publishing to review their latest book Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Programming: Getting Started.

This book's target's developers that are familiar with the Microsoft platform, and need to dive into Dynamics AX development and customization. This book also targets Dynamics AX functional consultants that would like some technical abilities to get some task completed.

Let me say, after reading this book, going over the details, and what the target for this book is I give it 4.5 stars out of 5. This book really is put together very well. It's has an easy flow, it covers a good bit of technical ground for Dynamics AX, and it's well thought out.

For someone that has worked with Microsoft products like Office, of done any .Net Development with Visual Studio, and needs to start developing Dynamics AX, this book is a great resource.

If you have already been on at least one Dynamics AX project of some size, most likely you have touched everything that is in this book, and you will be best served making use of MSDN resources.

Still this book does cover a wealth of topics, including.:

  • MorphX IDE

  • Version Control

  • Working with Data inside and outside of AX

  • Basics of Reports

  • Integating with Dynamics AX

  • Much more!

A example chapter can be downloaded from the publishers website, located here.: Searching Data Chapter

This book also has two nice sections, that go over integrating with Standard AX. In that chapter, the Inventory, Ledger, AR and AP are covered in very good detail. These are some of the most common functional area's touched. This was a very good chapter for someone new to AX. Because being able to write X++ code, and not knowing the functional area your in, can really mean some bad mojo.

Then, as an example of how the book flows well, this chapter is placed, before the chapter on creating a new module inside Dynamics AX. The creating a new module chapter is also pretty good, covering most things needed for creating a custom module inside Dynamics AX. The example in this book being a car rental module.

I also liked how the book does touch on the latest technologies and how-to for working with .Net, including working with service references, how these work from a basic understanding, and good examples of making use of these. It does lack in the AIF, or Application Integration Framework area of integration. Making use of AIF, however I would consider AIF a more advanced topic, that most likely would not be suited for a getting started book. Still AIF is not even mentioned in this book, and the basics of AIF is at least worth a mention for sure.

Now, why do I not give this a 5 out of 5 stars? Three main reasons. One, I believe the reports section does not go over enough detail, for even a getting started section. Maybe that arguement can be made about other topics as well. But it seems, for example the EP section has more coverage, and with SSRS as an option, including Ad-hoc reports, SSAS, OLAP, etc. not enough is covered. Plus I don't agree that MorphX Reports should be the default used, or they are easier to create, if a report is going out to a customer. There is nothing wrong with these reports being created as SSRS based Dynamics AX - Visual Studio reports.

Also I would say, that the total lack of AIF from the book, is a minus. There should be some basic understanding of AIF, when and where it's typically used, etc. Espically since in the next version of Dynamics AX, AIF will be used even more.

Third, the price is a little higher than I expected. I believe Amazon has this at $44.00 dollars. Though, could be that I always expect a little lower on this. I would expect more of a $35.00 range book. But that's my take on the price.

Those are my three real complaints with the book. Other than that, the code and examples seem correct, the details are for sure enough to give someone and once complete, that person have confidence to move forward with Developing and learning more complex details about Dynamics AX.

The only other thing I will mention, and this is more of a vain thing to say on my part, but I noticed the links section did not have my blog here. :-( Oh well, I guess I can't be inlcuded on every Dynamics AX list.

So, as a re-cap, 4.5 out of 5 stars, really an overall great book and for the target, worth investing even though it's a little higher priced than I expected.

To find out more details about the book, including where to purchase it, visit PackT publishing page for this book here.: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 Programming: Getting Started

Well that's all for now, check back soon as more post are coming!

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