Since my start in X++ development over 6 years ago there are many small things that I have learnt that I wish I had known from the start. Small things that won’t necessarily help you post a stock journal from code or perform complex integration tasks, but none the less makes your day ever so much more productive. If you are a seasoned developer you will most probably already know most of these, but I thought I’d put them all down in a neat list for new guys to go through. Here are some of my favourites along with links to short articles on how to do them. (I will hopefully add some more over time).
1. Keyboard Shortcut to view properties of an AOT element: Simply Hit “Alt+Enter” on any AOT element to view its’ properties list. Much quicker than fumbling with right clicking on the mouse. (view more shortcuts)
2. Drilling down to the AOT from an open form: Instead of reverse engineering forms from menu structures or navigating in the AOT to edit a specific form, simply right click on any form, click “Personalise”, select the “Information” tab, click on the “Edit” button next to the form name. (view details)
3. Drilling down to the dictionary type of an object in the AOT. E.G. Edit enum or EDT being used by a field on a table. Navigate to an element in the AOT e.g. A enum field on a table. Right click on the element, click “add-ins”, click “Open in new Window”, click “Open used Enum” etc…. (view details)
4. Drill through to code from Info log – Quite often the info log will allow you to drill down into the code the called the error message. If you notice a small arrow on the error icon you can simply double click on the line to take you to the code. (view details)
5. Infolog code drill down does not work if code is running in CIL. As an addition to the above you will not be able to drill down to code if it is running in CIL. For DEVELOPMENT/DEBUGGING purposes only you can simply disable code from running in CIL in your User Options.
6. Run AX as an alternative user. For debugging security or processing workflow it is often needed to run AX as an alternative user. Simply press Shift and right click on the AX icon on your desktop. You can then select “Run as different user”. (view more)
7. Determine Field name from control on Form. Sometimes you need to quickly find out the database table and field that is shown on a form without navigating through the complex AOT form. Simply right click on the field, click “personalise”. Under “System Name” you will see the following: Control name, Datasource Name, Table Name and finally Field Name. (view details)
8. Locate specific AOT object without scrolling. This may be an obvious one as Windows uses this technique in many other applications. Open the AOT and expand and click on the main node of the object you are looking for e.g. Classes. Then simply type the name to navigate to the specific object. (view details)
9. Creating an Development Environment shortcut. As a developer you don’t necessarily want to login to the Dynamics AX front end whenever accessing the AX shortcut, but rather want to open a development workspace directly. To do so right click on the AX shortcut on your desktop, click properties, on the shortcut tab in the “target” field add “-development” after the path to the Ax32.exe file. (View step by step)
10. Enabling breakpoints / debugger. One of the most important tools in a developers toolbag is the debugger. There are a few items on the checklist that you should ensure before you can successfully debug code: View them here.
11. Enabling viewing of Layer and Models. In a complex AX environment it is very useful to know what model and layer an object forms part of in order to search for patches or fix yourself. You can easily enable the AOT to display these by navigating to: File -> Tools -> Options -> Development -> Application Object Tree -> Application Object layer -> Select “Show All layers” and Application Object Model -> “show on All elements”.
12. AX Layer Config files. Create AX shortcut files to allow you to easily logon to the layer of your choice. View how here. (link available soon)
13. Profiler / SQL Trace. You can easily make use SQL Tracing or profiler to see the exact SQL being executed behind the scenes. This can be very useful for debugging purposes. (link available soon)
14. Using Alt+[Up/Down] keys to reorder AOT elements. To rearrange object elements like controls on a form grid simply hold in ALT and press the Up and Down keys to rearrange its order in the parent. (view details)
Anyway thats my list for now. Please let me know of any other quick tips and tricks that you think new developers (or old) should know about!
Keep a lookout for some more detailed explainations on some of these coming up in the follow days.
For some more advanced tips, tricks and coding patterns please also checkout the knowledge base at dynamicsaxtraining.com