Dynamics AX 2009 & Communicator – Better Together

I just discovered that you can enable integration of AX and communicator such that you can see a contact’s status right from within AX. To me this was so cool I couldn’t wait to check it out and share the goodness.

You can see Communicator presence for any party type person in AX so it will work for customers, vendors, contacts, employees and so on.  This would be any entry in the DirParyTable with a Type = Person. I tested this out with AX 2009 and Microsoft Office Communicator 2007 R2. Here’s how you set it up.

  1. Log in to Communicator.
  2. Open AX and make sure the Presence Support configuration key is checked. To do this, go to Administration > Setup > System > Configuration.
  3. Create a new customer by going to Accounts Receivable > Customers. Click the Customers button.
  4. Add a new customer and set the Address book type to Person.     

  5. On this screen, click Setup > Advanced contact info.
  6. Select the Contact information tab. Click CTRL+N to add a new record and enter in the contact details. Be sure that you enter the email address in the Communication field and check the Communicator sign-in address field.

  7. Now go to the General tab and voila! you can see the presence icon for the contact. If you click the icon, the Communicator options menu appears.

You can see where this functionality could really be a time-saver for certain roles in your organization. For example, if the person responsible for expense reports could IM employees right from in AX when they are reviewing an expense report and have a question.

If you want to do some integration in your forms with Communicator, check out this interesting blog post that shows you how to send an IM from within AX through code: http://gregondax.wordpress.com/.

T-3 Days

The Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference is only three days away. Hope to see you there!

New Code Sample for AX 2009

‘Tis the season for gift giving. And what better gift than sample code.

 For you AX 2009 techies, we have a new code sample called the Facility Management sample application. Like the Fleet Management sample app, this code is designed to show you the basics of application development in AX with a functioning yet simple application module. This application lets users enter and track facility management requests.

We hope you find both code samples helpful. It’ll be hard to top this next year.

The Help Guy – Who Knew?!

Not me! Within our very own company we have someone that blogs regularly about help files and formats. If you write or integrate content with Dynamics AX help, this could be a handy resource.

You can find his blog at http://blogs.msdn.com/b/thehelpguy/. In particular, the Help Guy’s latest post about the current state of the various Microsoft help systems and formats is very interesting: http://blogs.msdn.com/b/thehelpguy/archive/2010/10/26/help-state-of-the-union-october-2010.aspx.

Top 10 Reasons to Attend the AX Tech Conference

Here are my top 10 reasons to attend the Microsoft Dynamics AX Technical Conference.

  1. Rub elbows with AX industry luminaries. Or at least bump in to a PM or SDET from the product team. In this conference, the break-out sessions are all highly technical and presented by the developers, testers, PMs and writers that worked on the features. So your chances are good that you’ll run into someone that has actually worked on the product. Bring your list of questions or your feedback.
  2. Stay ahead of the curve. This is an opportunity to take a forward-looking view and see what features are coming in the new version. You’ll get a glimpse of the new features in AX and understand what they mean for you.
  3. Get your burning questions answered. Whether your company is already working with the new version of AX through TAP or your company is just considering the move to AX, this is the place to get your technical questions answered.
  4. Network with your peers. This is without a doubt the best opportunity for AX geeks to get to meet other AX geeks. No other conference brings together as many Dynamics techies as this one, so this is a great opportunity to find out what other companies are doing and how they are solving technical problems, uh, I mean challenges. Be sure to bring a stack of business cards.
  5. Cool Swag. They’re still working out the details, but in usual MS fashion, each attendee will get an assortment of cool goodies. Your co-workers will be envious.
  6. Free software. Every attendee gets a pre-release version of AX to take back with them.
  7. Hands-on experience. Sure, you can hear all about the next AX in the sessions, presentations, and round tables. But you can also actually log some computer time and work with the product in the labs. The labs are all staffed so you can ask questions while you’re taking a test drive.
  8. Learn about the new features for developers and admins. Through deep-dive technical sessions, you’ll learn about the new features specifically for developers and administrators. Not only will you learn the nitty gritty details, but you’ll also learn about why features were implemented and the strategy behind them.
  9. Understand the new product features for business users. This is a technical conference, but it’s also an opportunity to learn about the product changes for business users. This is news you can use if you’re developing business solutions, customizing modules or working with customers on implementations.
  10. Visit the company store. As if basking in the glow of the Microsoft campus wasn’t incentive enough, you also get the chance to visit the company store. And this means two things: more Microsoft branded doo-dads than you can shake a stick at and discounted software. Nuff said.

Process Manufacturing and AX 2009 – New Book

For those of you on the business side of Dynamics AX, there’s a new book out called Managing Process Manufacturing using Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009. Written by Scott Hamilton, this book explains the functionality in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009 that supports process distribution and manufacturing including scenarios involving discrete manufacturing.

In the author’s words, “The targeted reader includes those individuals implementing or considering Dynamics AX as their ERP system, as well as those providing consulting assistance.  The book content (400 pages) provides a complete walk through of functionality related to operations and supply chain management in process industries, and includes 70+ case studies.”

I’m not a process manufacturing geek, so I can’t really comment on its usefulness, but the book has received some good feedback from luminaries in the ERP space.

Default Location when Saving Attachments in Outlook 2010

If you’re an Outlook 2010 user, you’ve probably noticed that when you save an attachment, it brings up some default file location. Then you have to click through to navigate to the folder where you like to save your files. This was really getting me down and I figured it was one of those small issues that had a solution, so today I finally decided to investigate.

What I found is this KB article entitled How to change the folder where e-mail messages and attachments are saved in Outlook 2003 and in Outlook 2007. The article explains how to add a registry entry so that when you save an attachment, the Save Attachment dialog opens to the default location that you specify. In spite of the title, the process does work with Outlook 2010.

This tip could save you a few seconds each time you save an attachment. I feel my productivity soaring already.