Saturday, December 17, 2011

Changes in Reporting tools and Enterprise Portal in AX 2012

Hi there!
Well, I would assume that we are all excited about the new changes around the Reporting and Enterprise Portal tools in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, right?

Well, we should be, as Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 has truly eliminated the need of having to install two different pieces of software to support reporting and EP development.  Currently, in AX 2009 the Reporting and EP tools are required components that we “have” to install in order to integrate AX 2009 and Visual Studio 2008.

 In AX 2012, however, standard Microsoft Visual Studio 2012 tolls can be used to achieve this Reporting and EP Development.  

In AX 2012 most of the basic development and some customization tasks (like creating new pages or adding Web parts to existing pages are all performed directly in SharePoint) related to the Enterprise Portal can be performed using SharePoint Foundation 2010 or SharePoint Server 2010. In addition, AX 2012 allows us to focus on the development of content Web parts in the Enterprise Portal by only using the Enterprise Portal framework and Visual Studio.  In fact, the most sophisticated functionality of Enterprise Portal is created by using Visual Studio.

Personally, I believe, the fact that EP proxies were taken out of the equation is a great step, as this created endless issues when updating EP proxies between AX 2009 and Visual Studio 2008. In fact, it was a suitable nightmare!

Reporting is not that bad in AX 2009, but the fact that we needed to install a piece of software to make it work really bothered me. Instead, AX 2012 provides a model-based approach to develop any type of report. It also provides templates and modeling tools that are part of Visual Studio.  Further, the reporting features provided by AX 2012 are really well integrated with SQL Server Reporting Services, which includes a set of tools for us to define reports in the Visual Studio.

I believe in simplicity, and the less we need to worry about installing several pieces of software to only make “one thing” work, the better.

Take care!

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