Saturday, October 07, 2017

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.