RTM’d today: Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

imageNOTE: This book has been updated for R3. You can buy it here from The Microsoft Press Store.

We’re very happy to announce that Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 (ISBN: 9780735667105) has shipped to the printer. The book will be shipped to retailers in just a couple of weeks.

This book is the result of a collaboration of 20+ authors and just as many reviewers from the Microsoft Dynamics AX Team. After many months of hard work and determined cooperation, Microsoft Press is glad to have a strong and in-depth offering from a group of writers and developers who are passionate about their product. 

After you review the Contents at a glance, be sure to read the informative excerpt from the book’s Introduction.

Contents at a glance

CHAPTER 1 Architectural overview
CHAPTER 2 The MorphX development environment and tools
CHAPTER 3 Microsoft Dynamics AX and .NET
CHAPTER 4 The X++ programming language

CHAPTER 5 Designing the user experience
CHAPTER 6 The Microsoft Dynamics AX client
CHAPTER 7 Enterprise Portal
CHAPTER 8 Workflow in Microsoft Dynamics AX
CHAPTER 9 Reporting in Microsoft Dynamics AX
CHAPTER 10 BI and analytics
CHAPTER 11 Security, licensing, and configuration
CHAPTER 12 Microsoft Dynamics AX services and integration
CHAPTER 13 Performance
CHAPTER 14 Extending Microsoft Dynamics AX
CHAPTER 15 Testing
CHAPTER 16 Customizing and adding help

CHAPTER 17 The database layer
CHAPTER 18 The Batch framework
CHAPTER 19 Application domain frameworks
CHAPTER 20 Reflection
CHAPTER 21 Application models
Appendix: Resources for code upgrade


Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 represents a new generation of enterprise resource
planning (ERP) software. With over 1,000 new features and prebuilt industry
capabilities for manufacturing, distribution, services, retail, and public sector, Microsoft
Dynamics AX 2012 provides a robust platform for developers to deliver specialized
functionality more efficiently to the industries that they support.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is a truly global solution, able to scale with any
business as it grows. It is simple enough to deploy for a single business unit in a single
country/region, yet robust enough to support the unique requirements for business
systems in 36 countries/regions—all from a single-instance deployment of the software.

For this version of Microsoft Dynamics AX, the entire codebase was analyzed and,
where necessary, reengineered, so that the application is built more holistically around
a set of unified principles.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 is substantially different from its predecessor, which
can mean a steep learning curve for developers and system implementers who have
worked with previous versions. However, by providing a broad overview of the architectural
changes, new technologies, and tools for this release, the authors of Inside Microsoft
Dynamics AX 2012 have created a resource that will help reduce the time that it takes for
developers to become productive with this version of Microsoft Dynamics AX.

The history of Microsoft Dynamics AX


Historically, Microsoft Dynamics AX encompasses more than 25 years of experience
in business application innovation and developer productivity. Microsoft acquired the
predecessor of Microsoft Dynamics AX, called Axapta, in 2002, with its purchase of the
Danish company Navision A/S. The success of the product has spurred an increasing
commitment of research and development resources, which allows Microsoft Dynamics
AX to grow and strengthen its offering continuously.

The development team that created Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 consists of
three large teams, two that are based in the United States (Fargo, North Dakota, and
Redmond, Washington) and one that is based in Denmark (Copenhagen). The Fargo
team focuses on finance and human resources (HR), the Redmond team concentrates
on project management and accounting and customer relationship management
(CRM), and the Copenhagen team delivers supply chain management (SCM). In
addition, a framework team develops infrastructure components, and a worldwide
distributed team localizes the Microsoft Dynamics AX features to meet national
regulations or local differences in business practices in numerous languages and
markets around the world.

To clarify a few aspects of the origins of Microsoft Dynamics AX, the authors
contacted people who participated in the early stages of the Microsoft Dynamics AX
development cycle. The first question we asked was, “How was the idea of using X++ as
the programming language for Microsoft Dynamics AX conceived?”

Many hypotheses exist regarding the origin of the original product name, Axapta.
Axapta was a constructed name, and the only requirement was that the letter X be
included, to mark the association with its predecessor, XAL. The X association carries
over in the name Microsoft Dynamics AX.


Who should read this book

This book explores the technology and development tools in Microsoft Dynamics AX
2012. It is designed to help new and existing Microsoft Dynamics AX developers by
providing holistic and in-depth information about developing for Microsoft Dynamics
AX 2012—information that may not be available from other resources, such as SDK
documentation, blogs, or forums. It aids developers who are either customizing
Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for a specific implementation or building modules
or applications that blend seamlessly with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. System
implementers and consultants will also find much of the information useful.


To get full value from this book, you should have knowledge of common object-oriented
concepts from languages such as C++, C#, and Java. You should also have knowledge
of relational database concepts. Knowledge of Structured Query Language (SQL) and
Microsoft .NET technology are also advantageous. Transact-SQL statements are used to
perform relational database tasks, such as data updates and data retrieval.

Who should not read this book

This book is not aimed at those who install, upgrade, or deploy Microsoft Dynamics
AX 2012. It is also beyond the scope of this book to include details about the sizing
of production environments. For more information about these topics, refer to the
extensive installation and implementation documentation that is supplied with the
product or available on TechNet, MSDN, and other websites.
The book also does not provide instructions for those who configure parameter
options within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 or the business users who use the
application in their day-to-day work. For assistance with these activities, refer to the
help that is shipped with the product and available on TechNet at http://technet

Organization of this book


Although Inside Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 does not provide exhaustive coverage
of every feature in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, it does offer a broad view that will
benefit developers as they develop for the product.

This book is divided into three sections, each of which focuses on Microsoft
Dynamics AX 2012 from a different angle. Part I, “A tour of the development
environment,” provides an overview of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 architecture
that has been written with developers in mind. The chapters in Part I also provide a
tour of the internal Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 development environment to help
new developers familiarize themselves with the designers and tools that they will use to
implement their customizations, extensions, and integrations.

Part II, “Developing with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012,” provides the information
that developers need in order to customize and extend Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
In addition to explanations of the features, many chapters include examples, some
of which are available as downloadable fi les that can help you learn how to code for
Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Part III, “Under the hood,” is largely devoted to illustrating how developers can use
the underlying foundation of the Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 application frameworks
to develop their solutions, with a focus on the database layer, system and application
frameworks, reflection, and models.

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