dynamics-ax: Modeling the world, with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012
Well as promised, this post is a part of my post Microsoft Dynamics AX Technincal Conference 2011 (DAXCONF) coverage. As the name implies, we are going to talk about models.
Now with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, modeling concepts are seen throughout the entire application. This ranges from deployment, to business logic, to the data layer, and beyond.
To help with all this modeling, I think its important to understand a general theme that is being used across Microsoft products and technology research. Take a look at the following site.: Microsoft's Technical Computings - "Modeling the world" Site.
It's very important, as a technical person, to understand the high level concepts, and theme's that Microsoft is using throughout it's products, and "Modeling the world" site is a PR attempt to help the world understand's Microsoft vision in this area.
Now take these concepts, and add pratical application to them. What do you get? A Generational Shift in ERP with Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
This, by far, is not just a marketing tag line. The sheer amount of changes that is represented in the Dynamics AX 2012 release is huge compared to all the changes and improvements done to all the version of Dynamics AX, since Microsoft took over the development of the product.
These investments are all geared toward driving powerful, flexible & yet simple ERP software, that is designed with today's proven design models, and focused on modeling over coding.
This is actually not new to Microsoft Dynamics AX. Modeling concept has driven the product since day one. Ask any one of the Damgaurd guys, and they will tell you Model Driven Development was as the heart of the design, in creating concepts like an AOT. (Application Object Tree).
So with this shift in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, if Model Driven design has been a part of the many versions of AX that have been released, what is new? A lot!
First, lets start at the deployment level, with .axmodel files, and models that exists in layers. We got are first peek that this here.:
Dynamics AX 6.0: A look at MFP's write up on the AXModel concept
In this model concept, we see the ability to deploy objects through a new axmodel file concept, and also, we see within a given layer, the ability for multiple models to exists. This in turn empowers the ability for the AX customer to have multiple ISV solutions within a given layer. This also opens the door for more options between ISV's to offer a more simple and unified model for a customer with multiple ISV solutions as part of thier instance of AX.
The goal with this concept.: Simplify the deployment of objects, and multiple ISV solutions to a single layer
Moving from this level, we see modeling taking place at the database layer within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. This, I should say is taking and modeling the dataset's that make up Dynamics AX 2012, through the use of table type hierarchies.
One could argue this point as more focring OO design concepts, onto relational data. Such concepts are not in place within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012, with it's use of super types and sub-types for table objects. However, taking and designing such dataset layouts is based on a data modeling concept.
The goal here: Greater flexibility, with reduced size and greater noramilzation
For this area, we have not seen much in the public domain released yet. Only talked about. However in two weeks Microsoft will be releasing the compiled contect from #DAXCONF. With this release, we will see more concreate and abstract examples of this. ;-)
Moving up the chain, from the data layer, and into the business process layer, we see Workflows within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012.
The above is a screen shot, from the following, in which the AX '6'+WF+.Net 4.0 preview was done, by Microsoft. Of course we know this now as the WF within Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. Dynamics AX 6, DotNet 4 and the WF Designer
This modeling, for functional and technical consultants, will be a huge game changer. This alone with change the face of how Microsoft Dynamics AX ERP implementations are designed, planned, developed and executed. Why? you ask
Go back to modeling the world, and the theme being applied. This is Model Driven Development, for AX, at it's next level. Bringing the documentation of a process, the configuration of a process, and the modeling of a process together with WF.
In doing so, taking and raising the level in which should business process modeling, or BP Modeling, takes place. It will use code elements, which some will be custom, or veritcal specific. However the idea is less code, and more modeling. Therefore taking and allowing the knowledgable BA or functional consultant to model a process with WF and AX 2012, and enable that process in doing so.
This is where the concepts of DSL's or Domain Specific Languages start to apply to Dynamics AX in a pratical away, to help resolve and address a companies business domain issues.
The point: Simplify the configuration and setup of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 for a customer, with less code and more modeling.
So as we can see, modeling the world is a theme very much a part of Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. This truely is a Generational Shift with ERP design, and one that we all need to understand --- at all the levels it exists. It is going to change how we think, design, develop, deploy and run Microsoft Dynamics AX.
That's all for now, but be sure this is the first in many post. We are just getting started, with so much more to cover. Check back soon, as more to come!
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