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Dynamics AX Updates

Microsoft Dynamics AX Form Overview

A Dynamics AX form is a window that you open from the Microsoft Dynamics Axapta client workspace that shows information and enables you to perform actions. For example, the below figure shows the form you use to view and enter information about a customer. Notice how the form has tabs, fields, and the buttons that you can use to view, update, and perform actions with a customer record.

Customer details form

Dynamics AX Form

Customer details form

Form Design Patterns

To create a form, you should first select a design pattern for that Microsoft Dynamics AX form. A design pattern is a set of guidelines that standardize the appearance and use of the form. You should select the design pattern that reflects the type of data that appears in the form and how you expect to use the Dynamics AX form.

The following sections give an overview of the design patterns. There are patterns for the forms that open in the separate window and for navigation forms that appear in the client workspace.

Forms

The following table lists the design patterns for the forms.

Pattern Description
Details form  You use the form to see, enter and update an individual record. In addition, form enables you to perform actions on that record.
Details form with lines  You use the Dynamics AX form to view, enter and update an individual record that is associated with one or more related lines. In addition, form enables you to perform actions on that record and the lines.
Dialog  You use the form to initiate a task or process where you must give input. The form enables you to mention whether to continue or cancel the task or process.
Drop dialog  You use the form to enter or update the small amount of data. The form enables you to enter information values without having to leave the parent form.
Simple details  You use the form to see, enter and update a record. You use the form for setup data or a record that is dependent upon another record.
Simple list  You use the Dynamics AX form to view, enter, and update records that appear as a list of records in a grid.
Simple list and details  You use the form to view a list of records and details form at the same time. The detail section of a form shows additional fields for the highlighted record in the list.
Table of contents  You use the form to complete the series of related setup or configuration tasks. The form adds a list of buttons that you click to specify the fields that appear in the form.

You might notice that there are no design patterns for the journal and inquiry forms. The structures of these forms are dependent upon the information and the process they support.

Navigation Forms

You use the navigation forms to find information, open forms, and perform actions. Example, you use the list page to find a single record or a collection of records that you want to work with. Unlike other forms, the navigation forms open in the content pane of the client workspace.

The below table shows the types of navigation forms that you can create.

Pattern Description
Area page  You use the form to list links to the list pages, content pages, forms, reports, classes, jobs, and queries for a module.
List page  You use the form to see the list of records. You use the list page to browse records, choose one or more records, and perform an action upon the highlighted record or records.
Role center  You use the role center to shows the collection of data that is relevant to your Microsoft Dynamics AX role.

Form Development

You use the Application Object Tree (AOT) to create the new form. The AOT enables you to add form components and to view and set values for the properties of the Dynamics AX form. You use property values to mention the appearance and behavior of the form. If the desired behavior cannot be set by using properties, you can use X++ code to customize the form behavior.

Templates

To create the form that implements a design pattern, you use a form template. The template generates the new form that has the basic structure and components specified by the design pattern. The template reduces the number of steps that you have to complete to make the new form.

To create a form with the template, right-click Forms in the AOT. Click New Form from the template, and then click the template that specifies the type of form you want to create. A form is generated from the specified template. The new form contains controls that implement the form structure mentioned by the design pattern for that form. In addition, the several properties are populated with values that apply to the specified type of form. To complete the form, you include controls that provide access to the data and actions that the form supports.

For example, you use the AOT to create the form and you click the SimpleListDetails template. If you expand the Design node of the new form, you see that the form already adds several controls. In addition, Style property in the Design node of that form is set to SimpleListDetails.

The following table lists the templates and describes the types of forms the templates created.

Template  Purpose
DetailsFormMaster  Use the template to create the Details form to view, edit, and act on master data.
DetailsFormTransaction  Use the template to create the details form with lines to view, edit, and act on master data that has line items.
Dialog  Use the template to create the dialog window that provides a response to a question.
DropDialog  Use the template to create the drop dialog form to perform an action with data.
ListPage  Use the template to create the list page you can use to find, analyze, and performs actions on master data.
SimpleList  Use the template to create the simple list form to view, edit, and act on dependent or reference data.
SimpleListDetails  Use the template to create the simple list and details form to view, edit, and act on dependent and reference data.
TableOfContents  Use the template to create the table of contents form to view and edit configuration or setup data.

Dynamics AX Form Style Properties

Each form has one or more properties that you can use to specify the design pattern for the Dynamics AX form. These properties are called metadata style properties. When specifying a value for the metadata style property, you enable the client framework to substitute values at runtime for several other form and control properties.

You use metadata style properties to simplify Dynamics AX form development. When you specify a value for the Design. Style property, you reduce the number of form property changes you have to create. The selection of the form style has the following effect on form and control properties.

  • If the style requires a form or control property to have a mentioned value, that property is made inactive in the AOT property sheet. The property is populated with the required value at runtime when the Dynamics AX form is opened.
  • If the style has recommended values for some Dynamics AX form and control properties, the client framework populates the property by using the recommended value when the form opens. However, the framework only uses the template value if the AOT property sheet shows the default value for that property.
  • As a result, you can override the template mentioned property value by using the AOT to set a non-default value for a property.

The below table describes the properties you can use to specify the metadata style for a form.

Property Description
Design.Style  You use this property to mention the design pattern for a form. If you use a template to create the form,  the property is set to reflect the design pattern that the template uses.

You should verify that Style property accurately reflects the type of form you want to create. If you want to validate the Dynamics AX form design, the validation tool uses the Style property to identify the validation template for the form.

In addition, you can use the Properties sheet of the AOT to manually set or change the Style property of a Dynamics AX form.

Form.FormTemplate  You use this property to mention whether the form uses an interaction class. All the list pages require that you use an interaction class. The interaction class enables the list page to appear in both the client and the Enterprise Portal.

Components

To complete the form, you include form components that retrieve data. Mention how the data is used and displayed, and set security permissions for the form. The below table lists the components you find under each form node in the AOT.

Name Description
Methods  You include or override X++ methods for the form. You can use X++ to customize the appearance and the behavior of  the form.
Data Sources  You mention the database query, table, or view that the form uses to retrieve the data that appears in the form.
Parts  You include Parts that appear on the form. A Part is the specialized type of control that provides information related to the record that appears in the form. List pages and the details forms have a FactBox pane or preview pane  where the Parts appear.
Designs  You include the controls that appear on the form to the Design node of the form.
Permissions  You mention access levels for the securable objects that appear in the form.

Validation

The Development Workspace adds the tool you can use to validate a form. You use form validation to identify the differences between the design of the form you created and the form design pattern best practices for that type of form. Validation supports you create forms that follow the form design patterns used throughout the client.

To validate the form, you use the form style best practice tool. The tool compares the structure of the form and the values that you specified for form and control properties to a standard form design template. The tool uses the value in the Design.Style property of the form to determine the template that is used to validate the form.

To use the tool, right-click a form in the AOT, click Add-Ins, and then click Check form style best practices. The Form style analysis window opens and lists the form of style best practice violations for that form. You can use Fix violation button to fastly fix many design issues with the form. You can also use the Re-analyze button to repeat the validation of a form.

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