Microsoft Dynamics Technical Conference, 2016 / Day 1 Session 4

My report from the technical conference.


Our fourth session on opening day, Tuesday February 23, 2016 was another breakout session. I chose Developer experience and customization in the newest release of Microsoft Dynamics AX with Robert Badawy, Senior Program Manager and Peter Villadsen, Principal Project Manager.


Last year I had mentioned that any Villadsen session was a must-attend. Well, apparently word is spreading! The crowds were spilling out the door (insert foreshadowing to the day 2 sessions). Fortunately, I was able to attend. Here are my notes.


The Development Environment

Extension on top of visual studio that handles all we need

Metadata includes source code (open code, source code, are a recurring theme in this conference)



The Visual Studio development tools

Visual Studio is the exclusive integrated development environment

  • Familiar AX 2012 concepts and patterns, like model elements, models, tree designers, the AOT, and others have been adapted to the Visual Studio development paradigms
  • There is no AOS needed at design/compile time as development is performed against files
  • A model element is represented by an XML file containing metadata and source code
  • The model store is represented as a set of folders and XML files, organized by model
  • Executing X++ code, displaying a form, or running a report is integrated with the familiar Visual Studio debug (F5, Ctrl-F5) experience
  • Execution is through the AOS web application that is running in the local IIS


Make sure you understand these bullet points

There are no blobs in the database, everything is open (see?)



Visual Studio with AX extensions installed

AOT is in Application explorer (AE), similar to 2012, but it’s a read-only view

New in the AOT is the model view

AE has a lot of nice search features

New: Static preview of the form you’re working on

There are XML files behind what you’re working on in VS

You can set your form as a startup object

A Build is an incremental build. It now includes report deploy, cross reference, can do sync

AOS was not running till we hit F5

Every project belongs to one model


Overview of packages and models


  • A Dynamics AX model is a group of elements (metadata and source files) that typically constitute a distributable software solution (including customizations of an existing solution). A model is a design-time concept.
    • For example: A warehouse management model, a project accounting model, etc.)
  • A Dynamics AX package is a deployment and compilation unit of one or more models. It inclues model metadata, binaries, cubes and other associated resources. One or more AX packages can be packaged into a deployment package, which is the vehicle used for deployment on UAT and production environments.
    • Packages are packed into a deployable package file for deployment to Sandbox or production environments.


Package is like a modelstore (already compiled)

Model is source code. Multiple models are in a package.



Packages, models, and Visual Studio projects


Packages on disk

  • Packages are folders located in the model store folder of the Dynamics AX application.
  • The default model store folder is typically “C:\Packages\”.


Model descriptors

  • A package folder contains a descriptor folder that lists all models that belong to the package.
  • A model descriptor file contains metadata about a model’s properties.


Application Explorer – we skipped over this slide


Full build dialog

  • Access the full build dialog from Dynamics AX > Build models…
  • All packages are listed, one package = one compiled assembly.
  • Models within a package are shown in brackets.


Package dependencies graph



K service volume\aos services\packages local directory \ package \model \axtables

Productivity features – from an extended TAP program

  • Drilling
  • Add search results to project
  • Add BP errors to new project
  • You don’t package a project or a model


The Dynamics AX customization framework


AX 2012: Layers and models. Compile collapses customizations across models and layers


Customization concepts in Dynamics AX

Overlayering, extensions, and hybrids

Don’t overlayer MS code – create an event delegate


Extensions: Concept and value proposition


Supported extensions as of today

Metadata: new elements, extend tables, forms, menus, enums, duties/roles, data entities

Source code: New X++ classes, app events, framework events, plugins, extension methods to classes and tables

No more client and server tier (server only)

No more client, only web browser


At this point I needed to leave to take an important call – regarding a new job – the parts that I missed are a demo on customizations and a Q&A.

Happy DAXing!




About janeteblake

Dynamics AX developer
This entry was posted in ax 7, AX7, Dynamics AX and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Microsoft Dynamics Technical Conference, 2016 / Day 1 Session 4

  1. Great recap, thanks. I hope the job call went well.

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