Wednesday, June 06, 2018

[Learning] Transportation management in Dynamics 365 Finance & Operations

I don't talk much about TMS in this blog, so I decided to correct that a bit, and post a set of educational links for those interested in starting up with Transportation management in AX.

If you are already familiar with all the concepts, you probably won't gain that much from these, but for those just starting up, I think it can provide a great overview of what the system can do.

You can start by reviewing the presentation one of my colleagues did a while back.


For a more in depth look, you can go through the TMS learning course (note it is based on AX 2012 R3, but the functionality is largely still the same in the latest release):

https://mbspartner.microsoft.com/AX/CourseOverview/1123

A couple more learning videos are available through the below link:

https://mbspartner.microsoft.com/EOP/Topic/77


Transportation management implementation guide and white papers available can be found through our SCM team blog posts:




And, finally, we have a permanent page on doc.microsoft.com, that you can access through the below link. This is where most of the upcoming functional changes and updates will be communicated going forward.

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/supply-chain/transportation/transportation-management-overview


And, of course, if you have further questions after this, please reach out, so we can connect you with the right people to help.

Thanks

Sunday, June 03, 2018

Extensibility: You can now log extensibility requests for Microsoft through LCS

If you weren't living under a rock for the last 2 years, you have already heard about us locking down overlayering starting with the latest release of  Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations 8.0, and relying solely on the extension model of developing customizations going forward.

But, of course, as this is a moving target, not everything can be done through extensions in the current release.
You will discover that some customizations, which were possible with overlayering, cannot be done through extensions. To enable the same business requirements without overlayering, we have added many extension capabilities and expect to add more going forward. For some customizations that were done with overlayering, you will need to log requests, to make us aware of what you need.
So, how do you log such requests?

Starting in June 2018 you can now log extensibility requests through your LCS project.
Prior to logging a request, make sure you've evaluated alternatives, and have all the necessary information as part of the request for Microsoft to have an easier time adjusting the core code to your specific requirements.

Here's how the "New extensibility support request" form looks like on LCS:

Add a new extensibility request

Follow the below link to find out more details and read through a step-by-step guide on logging extensibility requests:

https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/extensibility/extensibility-requests

Saturday, October 07, 2017

Development tutorial: Extensibility: Replaceable in Chain of Command methods

Recently we announced a new and pretty powerful Extensibility feature, wrapping methods with Chain of Command in augmentation classes. This allows to write much cleaner extensions with fewer lines of code, as well as provides some extra capabilities like access to protected fields and methods of augmented object, easier way of ensuring a single transaction scope for standard and extension code, etc.

If you are not yet familiar with this feature, you are missing out. Go read about it:
https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/extensibility/method-wrapping-coc

There was one significant restriction applied (by design) to these wrapper methods:

Wrapper methods must always call next

Wrapper methods in an extension class must always call next, so that the next method in the chain and, finally, the original implementation are always called. This restriction helps guarantee that every method in the chain contributes to the result.

However, what this resulted in is a more complex implementation and "workaround-like" solutions in standard code to enable some of the commonly requested extension points, where the ISV/VAR would like to completely replace the standard logic with an alternative implementation that does the same or a very similar operation.


With Platform update 11 we have added a new attribute, which allows Microsoft (on request from multiple partnres), where it is justified, to decorate a particular protected or public method, allowing wrapper methods to not call next on it, replacing the logic of that method.

Here's how it looks:

/// 
/// Attribute used to enable or disable replacing a method in an extension class. 
/// 
/// 
/// Private methods can not be set to be replaceable even with the usage of this attribute.
/// 
public class ReplaceableAttribute extends SysAttribute
{
    boolean isReplaceable;

    public void new(boolean _isReplaceable = true)
    {
        super();
        this.isReplaceable = _isReplaceable;
    }
}

Example

OK, let's now look at an example of how this will be used.

Note. Since the attribute only appeared in PU11, that means that all application released up to and including Spring release 2017 do not have any methods marked with this attribute. It is only now with the Fall release of 2017 that you might see some methods being tagged this way.


Say, an ISV wanted to provide an alternative implementation for looking up Warehouses on a specified Site, more specifically, for the method InventLocation.lookupBySiteIdAllTypes().
One way to solve this could be to add a delegate, invoke it at the beginning of the method, and then check the EventHandlerAcceptResult to see if someone has replaced the implementation, in which case, short-circuit the method execution, so standard logic is not executed.

A potential implementation shown below:

public class InventLocation extends common
{
    public static void lookupBySiteIdAllTypes(FormStringControl _ctrl, InventSiteId _inventSiteId)
    {
        EventHandlerAcceptResult lookupBySiteIdResult = EventHandlerAcceptResult::newSingleResponse();
        InventLocation::lookupBySiteIdAllTypesDelegate(_ctrl, _inventSiteId, lookupBySiteIdResult);

        if (lookupBySiteIdResult.isAccepted())
        {
            return;
        }

        SysTableLookup sysTableLookup = SysTableLookup::newParameters(tableNum(InventLocation), _ctrl);
        ListEnumerator listEnumerator = List::create(InventLocation::standardLookupFields()).getEnumerator();

        while (listEnumerator.moveNext())
        {
            sysTableLookup.addLookupfield(fieldName2id(tableNum(InventLocation), listEnumerator.current()));
        }

        sysTableLookup.parmQuery(InventLocation::standardLookupBySiteIdQuery(_inventSiteId));
        sysTableLookup.performFormLookup();
    }
}

Lookups is one of the common examples, where people might was a complete replacement of the standard logic. Note that by definition that means only one of the ISV solutions can replace it. If two attempt to accept() the result, an error will be shown.
That would typically mean that a logical conflict exists between the two ISV solutions, and the VAR would need to decide which ones to use, or make it configurable somehow.

Now, let's try to see what could be done with the new attribute, if Microsoft were to apply it on this method.

public class InventLocation extends common
{
    [Replaceable]
    public static void lookupBySiteIdAllTypes(FormStringControl _ctrl, InventSiteId _inventSiteId)
    {
        SysTableLookup sysTableLookup = SysTableLookup::newParameters(tableNum(InventLocation), _ctrl);
        ListEnumerator listEnumerator = List::create(InventLocation::standardLookupFields()).getEnumerator();

        while (listEnumerator.moveNext())
        {
            sysTableLookup.addLookupfield(fieldName2id(tableNum(InventLocation), listEnumerator.current()));
        }

        sysTableLookup.parmQuery(InventLocation::standardLookupBySiteIdQuery(_inventSiteId));
        sysTableLookup.performFormLookup();
    }
}

The ISV can now in his model wrap this method in an augmentation class, provide his own implementation, and avoid calling next():

Important. 
We recommend to always make the call conditional, so that your own logic that is not calling next is only invoked for your specific case. This will make you a good citizen, that can co-exist with other ISV solutions also wrapping the same method.


[ExtensionOf(tableStr(InventLocation))]
public final class MyPU11InventLocationTable_Extension
{
    public static void lookupBySiteIdAllTypes(FormStringControl _ctrl, InventSiteId _inventSiteId)
    {
        const str MySpecialWarehouseCtrlName = 'MySpecialWarehouseCtrl';
        if (!_inventSiteId || _ctrl.name() == MySpecialWarehouseCtrlName)
        {
            // Your own logic
            _ctrl.performTypeLookup(extendedTypeNum(InventLocationId));
        }
        else
        {
            next lookupBySiteIdAllTypes(_ctrl, _inventSiteId);
        }
    }
}

Pretty easy and neat, huh?

Missing an extension point? Log it!

Again, remember, that in order to skip calling next, the method needs to be marked by Microsoft as Replaceable.
If you need a particular method to be Replaceable, or if you in general need an extension point that is not available in the latest available release, please follow the instructions outlined here to create an extensibility request for us.


Links


To review the list of features included in Platform update 11, see the What's new or changed topic and refer to the KB article for details about the customer found bug fixes included in this update.

Development Tutorial: Extensibility: Adding a table display/edit method and showing it on a form in PU11

In my previous post I described the capabilities of the Dynamics 365 FOE platform update 10, when it comes to working with display/edit methods.

In Platform Update 11 a few improvements came out, which I will describe below (with an example).

Let's use the same example as in my previous post, and add a new display method showing the internal product name for a selected product - we'll compose it by appending some text to the product search name.


Step 1 - Create a table extension and add a new display method to it - New recommended approach


All the approaches described in the previous post are still applicable, but are, in my opinion, not as intuitive as the below, so I'd recommend to always use the below approach.

[ExtensionOf(tableStr(EcoResProduct))]
public final class MyPU11_EcoResProductExtensionOfTable_Extension
{
    [SysClientCacheDataMethod]
    public display Name myInternalProductName()
    {
        return "PU11: " + this.SearchName;
    }

    // This is same as in PU10
    [SysClientCacheDataMethod]
    public static display Name myInternalProductNameStatic(EcoResProduct _ecoResProduct)
    {
        return "PU11 static: " + _ecoResProduct.SearchName;
    }
}

OK, so what do we have here?
A simple instance method, no redundant arguments, access to table fields and methods through this.
Just as with overlayering, there's really no difference.

NoteThe logic of the method is not really important - you'd have your fields used here, most probably, but for the sake of the example I just use SearchName field.

Step 2 - Add the method to a form through a table field group


So now let's see another thing, which was not possible before PU11.

Let's create an extension for the metadata changes of the EcoResProduct table, and add a new Field Group. After that we'll put our new display method in it, as shown below.

Select the new display method as the source for the new field group field.
As you can see from the image above, you can now use the drop-down, and it will show you all the display/edit methods created in Extension/Augmentation classes as well as the standard ones.
The syntax is the same as described last time:
  • :: for static methods
  • . for instance methods (new)
All that's left is to add the new field group onto a form.

Step 3 - Add the methods to a form through extension


Same as before, we create a form extension, and add the new fields to it.
With field groups it is as easy as with overlayering - you can just drag and drop the new field group from the DataSources\EcoResProduct node onto the Design of the form, and it will create the new group and sub-controls, and set the appropriate properties on them, as shown below:

Add new field group onto the form extension
As easy as that.

You can also add the fields bound to the new display methods directly, as shown before. Except now you can also use the instance display/edit methods, which wasn't available earlier.

Add an instance extension display method to a form


Limitations

  • The drop-down for display methods does not show the extension methods, as with field groups. This should be addressed in one of the upcoming updates.
  • You are still not able to declare the display method on the form itself, or on the form data source.

Conclusion

Some last words: The future is bright! :) 
The tooling is getting better with every release, and thanks to the monthly updates and binary compatibility of the releases, new innovation from Microsoft is just a month away!

Links

You can download the project from the example from my OneDrive.

To review the list of features included in Platform update 11, see the What's new or changed topic and refer to the KB article for details about the customer found bug fixes included in this update.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Development Tutorial: Extensibility: Adding a table display/edit method and showing it on a form in PU10

One of the super common tasks for an application developer working to address customer requirements is adding display methods showing some additional customer-specific information on existing forms.

Usually you would overlayer the corresponding table and form and insert the missing method. Overlayering is not an option soon, however it is possible to do the same using only Extensions.

As an example, let us add a new display method showing the internal product name for a selected product - we'll compose it by appending some text to the product search name.

Step 1 - Create a table extension and add a new display method to it - Option 1


As you know, there are two ways to create extension classes now, so let's see both ways in action.
Here we'll look at the "old" way, where we create an actual extension class (as in .NET), so it must be static, and the display method must be static as well, and take the record as the first argument.

Here's how it looks for my example:

/// 
/// Extension class for EcoResProduct table.
/// 
public static class MyPU10_EcoResProductTable_Extension
{
    [SysClientCacheDataMethod]
    public static display Name myInternalProductName(EcoResProduct _ecoResProduct)
    {
        return 'IntName: ' + strReplace(_ecoResProduct.SearchName, ' ', '');
    }
}

As you can see, we can define the above method and it will compile even though normally declaring a static display method is not allowed by the compiler.
We can also decorate the method with attribute, like I have done here by applying the display method caching attribute.
The logic of the method is not really important - you'd have your fields used here, most probably, but for the sake of the example I just use SearchName field.

Step 2 - Create a table extension and add a new display method to it - Option 2


So, another "new" way to extend a table is through an augmentation class, using the ExtensionOf attribute. This is shown below for my example:


/// 
/// Extension class for EcoResProduct table.
/// 
[ExtensionOf(tableStr(EcoResProduct))]
final class MyPU10_EcoResProductExtensionOfTable_Extension
{
    public static display Name myInternalProductName(EcoResProduct _ecoResProduct)
    {
        return "Alt: " + _ecoResProduct.SearchName;
    }
}

As you can see, this again is a static method - declaring it as an instance method will compile and would allow you to reference the record through this, but you will not be able to use it as a display method on the form as of today.
The method also needs to take the record as the argument.
It, of course, can also be decorated with the SysClientCacheDataMethod attribute, as in the first example.

Step 3 - Add the methods to a form through extension

Note - Limitation

You cannot as of today add the newly created display methods to a field group on the table. It will compile, but the control will not show up on the form if you add the field group to it.


First off, we'll need to create an extension of the EcoResProductDetails form in the desired model.
Then we'll add a new tab page to it and place two new String controls into it.

Now, the trick is with how to specify the display method name in Properties.

See the example below:

Specify properties for form string control to bind it to a table data method
As you can see, the trick is to specify the full name, including the class name and the method name with the static method delimiter in the format:

<class name>::<static method name>

This is only supported for table methods, so you won't be able to do the same for a Form Data Source, for example.

Result

Here's how our new awesome display methods look at run-time:

Additional information shown through display methods on Product details form

Download the project

You can download it from my OneDrive here.

What's next

In an upcoming platform update we hope to provide a much more intuitive way of adding display methods, however the above approach will keep being supported.
Stay tuned for an update!