Book Give-away: “Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Security How-To”

Similar to the last time when our great friends from Packt Publishing provided two copies of electronic version of book “Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development Cookbook”, this time they are offering two books to best commenters, but these two lucky commenters can win a paper copy this time (more details below).

Win A free copy of theMicrosoft Dynamics AX 2012 Security How-To“, just by commenting!
For the contest we have two copies of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Security How-To to be given away to two lucky winners.

How you can win:
To win your copy of this book, all you need to do is come up with a comment below highlighting the reason “why you would like to win this book”.

Please note:
Winners residing only in the USA and Europe would get a chance to win print copies. Others would be provided with eBook copies.

Duration of the contest & selection of winners:
The contest is valid for 7 days, and is open to everyone. Winners will be selected on the basis of their comment posted.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Security How-To, a practical, hands-on guide providing with a clear step-by-step exercise, in order to help achieve the practical experience for implementing the new security features within MS Dynamics AX 2012.

This book is ideal for AX implementer, AX developer, network administrator or IT Person charged with configuring Dynamics AX2012. Using this book, readers will learn to add a security role and privileges to an existing role, understand to assign user to role, develop extensible data security policies and create permission using AOT.

Microsoft Sinergija 2012 – Review

This year Microsoft Sinergija had the slogan “Moving Up”, with focus on the cloud. This is my sixth year in a row to present at this regional ICT conference. I had two tracks: one about Microsoft Dynamics AX and one about Microsoft Office 365.

As an MVP for Microsoft Dynamics AX I was invited to open the track and give the introduction about a good local partner company, Merit Solutions. Merit is focusing on Microsoft Dynamics AX and Microsoft Dynamics GP in North America, but has strengthened their local presence with implementation of their Life Sciences module “MaxLife” in local pharmaceutical company. Merit is real young and agile company (they are using Scrum), but they have really considerable number of reference implementations, upgrades and similar projects. They also worked on creation of exams for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 as I did :)

In the spirit of conference slogan, my second track for presentation of our implementation of Microsoft Office 365 in Delta Sport. We were the first Microsoft pilot in the region and then we went into production. This was done with the help of a local ICT company, CPU,  which has top notch employees including Nebojsa Šešlija (ex Microsoft Exchange MVP) whose expertise was very important in our implementation.

At “Grand opening ceremony”, GM of local Microsoft Office mentioned our Office 365 move as reference case. The opening was really enjoyable featured “a cappella” choir Viva Vox.

Day before the conference, local Microsoft DPE (Developer and Platform Evangelist), Siniša Perović organized a dinner for all MVPs and other long time lecturers. It was great and a real pleasure to talk again in person to some of them. Also the event beside the technical knowledge, provides a excellent chance to network.

PS> Hats off to Alessandro, Aleksandar, Catalin, Dean, Nenad, Ivan and Siniša for staying until the end :)

Book Give-away: “Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development Cookbook”

Book Give-away: Hold a chance to win free copy of the “Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development Cookbook“, just by commenting!

For the contest we have two copies of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development Cookbook to be given away to two lucky winners.

How you can win:
To win your copy of this book, all you need to do is come up with a comment below highlighting the reason “why you would like to win this book”.

Duration of the contest & selection of winners:
The contest is valid for 7 days, and is open to everyone. Winners will be selected on the basis of their comment posted.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Development Cookbook is written by Mindaugas Pocius, a recognized Microsoft Certified Professional for Dynamics AX who is also one of the leading experts in Microsoft Dynamics AX. This is a practical cookbook, designed to demonstrate advanced development techniques for exploring data manipulation concepts in Dynamics AX. With the creation of custom look-ups using AOT forms and generating dynamically from the X++ code, readers can enhance applications by using advanced form controls to create various Microsoft office documents for exporting/importing business data for further analysis.

After reading this extensive cookbook, readers will not only be able to create and manage purchase and sales orders from code, but also create a custom electronic payment format and process a vendor payment using it. This book will help Dynamics AX developers to go beyond the basics of Dynamics AX programming and use implementations which can also be applied to learn the functional aspects of Dynamics AX.

Update:
The contest is finished. I wish to thank everyone who participated. The lucky winners will be contacted directly with instructions for getting the book.

Microsoft MVP Award – Dynamics AX for the third time

At the beginning of this month (not an April Fools’ Day joke) I was notified by Microsoft that I have been re-awarded as MVP (Most Valuable Professional) for Dynamics AX. Same as the last year this is a great honor for me, especially with so few MVPs in Microsoft Dynamics AX field. In this area currently only 9 other people in the world share this award.

You can see who are some of the new MVPs in CEE in this award cycle here. Congratulations to them and to all other re-awarded MVPs.

I will do my best to continue helping the community in future, as I did in past.

Speaking @ FON in Microsoft Academic Tour “Пролеће@University ’12″

As one of the MVPs from our country, I have been invited to participate in Microsoft Academic Tour “Пролеће@University ’12″. Since I am deeply involved with academia, I loved the idea, and gladly accepted.

I will be speaking about at Faculty of Organizational Sciences on 27.03.2012 about Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.

There is a very nice overview of this event at Microsoft Academic website, and there has been a short announcement at the faculty’s website.

Microsoft Sinergija (Synergy) 2011

This year I will be speaking at the annual Microsoft conference Sinergija 2011 (Sinergy).

As a CIO I am very proud that this year there are even two speakers from our company’s IT team, beside myself. This is a significant acknowledgement both to the whole company as well as to my work in inspiring and motivating others to grow and learn, but also to join the community and share the knowledge (starting with 2009 when one of my associates held one track, to 2010 and this with two of my associates being presenters).

You are kindly invited to come and check their sessions:

- System Center Service Manager – Implementing ITIL framework on 19.10. at 10:30 – 11:30.
- Data Mining In Retail Industry on 20.10. at 16:00 – 17:00.

As for me, I will be doing five tracks. The most important is Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 (a new version of Microsoft’s Flagship ERP system). I will be doing a session on Agile and also three community tracks (one of them is Agile/Scrum User Group meet-up and also Microsoft Dynamics User Group meet-up).

Community tracks are free, so anyone can come (more info: http://msacademic.rs/News.aspx?id=588).

Lean Architecture: for Agile Software Development

I recently got my hands on hard copy of an excellent book of James Coplien – Lean Architecture: for Agile Software Development. I was one of the reviewers for the book and have only the words of praise for it.

This book brings the world of the architecture right in the context of agile. If you are using Lean, Scrum, XP or any of the other agile approaches in any of the roles in the process, this is the book for you. If focuses on the collaborative approach as one of the key success factors of the good development teams. Written in the clear and understandable tone, with the concrete samples in almost every popular language, you will get your hands deep on the new approach that is complimentary with the idea of the book.

James was one of the main promoters of Scrum in Serbia and has already twice visited our country and passed a part of his knowledge without compensation.

The book is currently top title on Amazon for agile and architecture. If you have space to order it, I think this is an excellent choice.

Microsoft Dynamics AX – Remedy for slow Microsoft Excel import

Recently I have been asked to help with solving an issue that involved reading data from Microsoft Excel (xls format) into Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Original approach was used with default set of classes for Microsoft Excel (SysExcelApplication, SysExcelWorksheets, SysExcelWorksheet, etc.). The excel file in question was very small but with a rather large number of columns (~150). About 200 reads were made per row. What made us investigate this further was the fact that import was quite slow. After doing some basic profiling (we used Microsoft .NET’s System.Diagnostics.Stopwatch so we can cross-compare the results) we found out that the time required to process one row increases almost exponentially.

After that we developed a small application in Microsoft.NET/C# (with Microsoft Visual Studio) that was reading data from Excel using OleDbConnection class and saving it in Microsoft Dynamics AX using .NET Business Connector.  The increase in speed was several orders of magnitude but what is also important is that near exponential growth of time per row was missing.

We then applied the same principle with Microsoft Dynamics in X++ using its set of classes for ADO access (CCADOConnection, CCADOCommand, CCADORecordset). The speed was still around 100 times greater than with default approach and ~2.5 times slower than .NET. With this set of classes we were lacking the ability to do arbitrary (e.g. accessing the previous row values) row access like in .NET, so some caching was needed. Still the speed increase was incredible. Below is the graph of time needed (in milliseconds) to process one row with all three approaches.

If you haven’t tried this approach, I suggest it.  For it will surely out-weight the time needed for implementation, especially with bigger or files with many columns. Connection string and row selection query (you can remove absolute row range) for .NET and X++ should look something like this:

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connectionString = "Provider=Microsoft.Jet.OLEDB.4.0;" + "Data Source=" + filename + ";" + "Extended Properties=Excel 8.0;";
rowQuery = strfmt("SELECT * FROM [Excel 8.0;HDR=NO;IMEX=1;Database=%1;].[%2$%3]", filename, "OrderWorkSheet", "A:EJ");

Update: Zubair got in contact with me regarding this, and has produced full X++ samples for XLS and XLSX.

Microsoft Dynamics & the Cloud

Recently I have been asked by Software Advice (click here to visit their site) to share their interview about Microsoft Dynamics and the cloud with Marie Huwe, General Manager of Marketing for Microsoft Dynamics.

The interview is 14 minutes long and presents Microsoft’s roadmap for getting Microsoft Dynamics products in the cloud. You will hear about cloud partner profitability guide, cloud best practices, Dynamics marketplace and other cool tools that Microsoft is planning to apply. For me it looks best that some of these tools will be powered and will be accessible by Microsoft CRM which itself is the first one of Microsoft Dynamics products which is already in the cloud. You see the interview here.

Here is the link to Cloud partner profitability guide and one other pointer related to cloud and Microsoft Dynamics AX with focus on version 2012.