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Making the most of the Dynamics AX Task Recorder

ERP programs are vast pieces of software with a lot of functionality.

As a business solution, big functionality is a good thing; but for trying to learn and convey this to your audience, it can be quite daunting.

Luckily for you, Microsoft Dynamics AX has a built in function to record your actions as you complete a task. Once all your actions are completed, you are able to generate a Word, PowerPoint, or Visio document showing each window you opened, value you entered, and selection you made. Included in the document are screenshots taken along the way to better show your process.

Continue reading "Making the most of the Dynamics AX Task Recorder"

SMTP4DEV

Testing e-mail functionality in your Microsoft Dynamics AX/GP application/customization using external e-mail servers has always been a frustrating process. If your test e-mail somehow avoids anti-spam and other SMTP server services, it will still take several minutes to receive. Sometimes, it can take 5 – 10 minutes for your sent e-mail to arrive at the destination - and you can never be sure if your test e-mail is late or if delivery has failed due to an error in your application.

Wouldn't it be great to have a mock application that pretends to be a SMTP server and shows you what you sent immediately? That is exactly what SMTP4DEV does.

SMTP4DEV is free and you can download it from CodePlex at http://smtp4dev.codeplex.com. All you have to do is unpack and run, and make sure your mock SMTP server is listening.

Once you have SMTP4DEV running and listening, you can use the sample C# code to send an e-mail to your mock SMTP server. Notice the From and To e-mail addresses; they can be anything.

Execute the sample C# code and your test e-mail will immediately show in SMTP4DEV.

Now stop listening on port 25 and execute the same sample C# code again. Since SMTP server is no longer available, SmtpClient will throw an exception.

 

TFS – Exporting Data From Multiple Team Projects

Team Foundation Server (TFS) brings us a lot of improvements for Application Life Cycle Management and work item tracking.

For development teams following an Agile methodology (Scrum), working on a couple of projects and covering a wide set of technologies like ours, it’s fairly common to have a number of team projects for each project we are working on. However, there are a couple of drawbacks when using multiple team projects as described in Good Reasons to not create a new Team Project.

In order to enable managers to analyze and plan our engagement, we needed to find a way to export data from all team projects we are currently working on. Unfortunately, TFS doesn’t support this fairly reasonable request. TFS provides a great integration with Excel, which enables easy exporting, modifying the data and publishing it back to TFS. However, if the query contains work item data from multiple team projects, an error TF208015 is thrown and no data will be exported.

This is a known issue and it in the TFS backlog. Suggested workaround is to create separate workbooks bound to different team projects and then to aggregate the data from tables. This means that you will still need to do a refresh in multiple workbooks.

We managed to find a more elegant way of retrieving the needed data using TFS Power tools. This add-on contains Team Foundation Power Tool (tfpt.exe) – a command line tool that enables you to work with files and directories under version control, team projects, and work items queries.

So, what you need to do is to create a Query in Visual Studio Team Explorer that displays the data you need and then export the data using the following commands. These will generate the TSV(tab separated values) and XML file.

c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 Power Tools>tfpt query /format:xml "Engineering Team\Team Queries\Team Sprint Backlog - All Projects" /collection:http://tfs:8080/tfs/tfs%20projects > d:\allprojects.xml

c:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Team Foundation Server 2010 Power Tools>tfpt query /include:header,data "Engineering Team\My Queries\AllProducts" /collection:http://tfs:8080/tfs/tfs%20projects > d:\allprojects.txt

Data from this generated TSV (or XML) can easily be imported in Excel and analyzed further, to the great satisfaction of your managers.

Microsoft keeps an open channel and listens to new feature requests from the users, so if you would like to have this feature in a next version of the TFS, go to feature request, register and vote.