Ax 4.0 Platform – a big leap forward…


It’s been more than a year now since AX 4.0 was released. The reception so far has been fantastic. Recently I came across a document listing some of the framework improvements that we did in Ax 4.0. This is not a comprehensive list and does not include the app enhancements. There are documents available in partner source/ customer source which lists all the AX 4.0 enhancements. I thought I can share this list  in my blog  as a quick ref to Ax 4.0 platform improvements.


Client


·         Improved UI — Outlook 11 look and feel  – Familiar MS Office style UI and consistency with other MBS apps; reduce window clutter and better navigation


o   Easier Navigation with Navigation Pane


o   Improve content management
and organization with Favorites and Task Pane


o   Reduce Window Clutter with Collapsible Navigation Pane and workspace


o   Better personalization


o   Familiar Office 11 style  user interface


o   Theme Support ( XP and Vista)


o   Global Search


·         Revamped Help System : obj: closer alignment with other MS products


o   Based on chm files using standard help authoring tools & Help can now be dynamically updated post launch


 


EP


·         Familiar SharePoint look and feel


·         Built on Windows SharePoint Services / MOSS 2007


·         Stateless Programming model for Scale Out scenarios


·         Enhanced Authoring Experience


·         Integrated collaboration services


·         Web framework opened up to existing portals enabling easier integration


·         Common Search


·         Easier Customization / Personalization


 


·         Why we did it


1.       Aligned with Microsoft Portal strategy by building the portal based on SharePoint.


2.       The technology stack moved from IIS 5.0/ ASP(script based) /BC COM to IIS 6.0/ASP.net/BC.net for better performance , reliability and scalability


3.       Page Authoring and Customization using browser and FrontPage.


4.       Leveraging SharePoint core capabilities such as content , collaboration , personalization and search inside Enterprise Portal


 


Reporting & BI


·         Reporting Services integration in 4.0


·         Out of the box support for Report Builder with perspectives


·         End user ad-hoc reporting with Report Builder


·         Support for SQL 2005 Analysis Server


·         Why we did it


o   Tighter integration with MS Stack


o   Support end user ad-hoc reporting


 


Security


·         Active Directory Integration (Single Sign On)


·         Removed support for 2 Tier (3 Tier Only) – All access to DB through AOS


·         Code Access Security for X++


·         Encryption in Enterprise Portal


·         Table Permission Framework


·         Comprehensive SWI review and penetration testing done by 3rd party vendor


·         New Batch Framework


·         Restricted Write Access to AOT to developers & admins


·         Improved Server API security (dangerous APIs)


·         Why we did it?


1.       To secure access to business critical information in AX , moved away from custom authentication to integrated windows authentication for the client , portal and BC.


2.       Code Access Security for X++ classes to secure APIs and prevent unauthorized , unintended privilege to calling code


3.       URL encryption in Enterprise Portal to prevent URL manipulation


 


 


Server


·         Data Access 


o   Optimistic Concurrency Control(OCC)


§  Finer grained locking


o   RecID increased to 64 bit and per table


o   Improved Indexing


o   Cursor Optimization


o   Why we did it?


§  Support for larger amounts of Tx Data


§  Improved Performance


·         Core Server


o   Moved from proprietary transport protocol to RPC


o   AOS moved to a Windows Service


o   NLB based load balancing (in 4.0. We added our own load balancing in SP1 so now we don’t recommend NLB any longer)


o   New Logging model


o   Session info moved to database


o   Why we did?


§  Robustness


§  Aligned better with MS Server technologies


§  Improved Perf


·         Better administration – single form for managing /viewing all server/user sessions


 


Programmability


·         AIF


o   XML based, customizable document exchange


o   Configurable platform for ready-to-use services


o   Wizard for generation of custom services


o   A2A and B2B integration through MSMQ, web services and BizTalk Server


o   Extensible X++ framework


 


·         .NET BC


·         CLR Interop


·         Why we did it?


o   Better Application Integration


o   Tighter Integration with .NET


 


Setup


·         One click install


·         Role based install


 


Alerts


·         End users can  create alert rules in Ax and receive notification through email or in  Ax Client or Enterprise Portal



  • Admin can Create, modify, and delete alert rules for individual Microsoft Dynamics AX users

  • Admin Create alert rule templates to be used by End users

  • Customizable email notification by defining  HTML or Extensible Style Language (XSL) template that merges alert data into an e-mail message at runtime

Others


·         Unicode enabled the application


·         Many bugs fixed for high CPE