November, 2010

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    Planning parameters vs. demand profile

    • 0 Comments

    Most of the times, when a question arise about why NAV suggest such a planning proposal, it arises the question on how planning parameters are determined by the given company. When we talk about planning parameters, we refer to: reorder point, reorder quantity and safety stock.

    The safety stock is the quantity a company would like to hold on stock to address uncertainty. Lets come back later to this.

    Reorder point is based on certainty. For a company, the certainty is based on the demand profile. So, if we have historical data which defines that the average demand is X during the vendor lead time, we should set this reorder point to a minimum of that average demand. In other words:

    - we know that vendor lead time is 7 days

    - the average demand during 7 days is about 125 pieces

    - reorder point should be 125

    Once we determine this reorder point, it will act as a trigger so when stock is on or below that stock level, it will generate an action for planners to create a replenishment. In other words, if our stock falls below 125 pieces, we need to replenish since it will take 7 days for the vendor to complete our order and we need to ensure we have enough in stock to cover the demand within those 7 days.

    Of course, there are industries where uncertainty needs to be planned for. In this case, we use the safety stock and the reorder point will be increased to account for: average demand during lead time + safety stock.

    The reorder quantity is calculated depending on the specific item type, ordering costs, or other consideration. In some cases, we reorder as much quantity as we can allocate in the warehouse space we have for this bin (maximum quantity). In other cases, this is based on the economic order quantity where we need to determine the optimal quantity to be ordered.

    In any case, planning parameters have to be thought, agreed and continuosly verified. In other case, NAV planning will not be able to provide realistic results when planning parameters are not based on what your business is about.

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    NAV “core” Planning: CU 99000854 ( IV ): Planning states

    • 1 Comments

    Not sure if you are familiar with this. But, I believe it worths covering it …

    Have you ever realized NAV Planning goes through different steps or phases of the planning? StartOver, MatchDates, MatchQty, CreateSupply, ReduceSupply, CloseDemand, CloseSupply, CloseLoop. All these steps are being performed on the PlanItem procedure from CU99000854. The way planning goes through each of these steps depends on the reordering policy. But basically:

    First state is StartOver which determines if there is any demand to plan for. If so, it try to determines if there is any supply. If this is the case, next state would be MatchDates. If no supply exists, next state would be CreateSupply. If there is no other demand to plan for, next state would be ReduceSupply (if any exists) or CloseLoop (to finalize the loop through all states).

    MatchDates state. This is about matching demand and supply dates to make sure that both can be plan together (ie. supply can be used to meet demand). If cannot be met, next state would be CreateSupply (another supply needs to be created). If it can, the existing untracked quantity in the supply needs to be reduced and state would be ReduceSupply.

    MatchQty state. If supply quantity is not enough, it needs to be closed (no more available) through CloseSupply state. If this is a supply where quantity can be increased, then CloseDemand state can be next.

    CreateSupply state. This is the step where supply will be created depending on the policy.

    ReduceSupply state. Here, the untracked (unnecessary) quantity will be reduced from the supply. Next state would be to close the supply.

    CloseDemand state. In here, the demand will be closed which means that demand has been planned for. The next thing (state) to do here would be StartOver to start the planning of another demand.

    CloseSupply state. This is similar than CloseDemand state but from the supply perspective. If supply has been entirely planned, another supply needs to be considered and StartOver state will be next.

    CloseLoop state. This is where planning finalizes. Before doing that, it will determine if ROP has been crossed. If so, it will be planned for again by going through the StartOver state.

    Hopefully someone finds the above info useful. Think about a sequence of steps before plan can be considered as finalized. These sequences of steps are being done in the PlanItem procedure through a WHILE loop until plan is done.

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    NAV “core” Planning: CU 99000854 ( III ): integrating MRP with Jobs planning

    • 0 Comments

    This post is not for the reader to use the suggested code but to test it and enhance it as required. Yeap, this is a disclaimer so reader knows that testing should always be done. Also, the below code is not completed but might provide a good idea on how to enhance NAV planning with Jobs material planning.

    What I would like to cover here is how to integrate MRP with Jobs so material required for jobs create action messages. Before that, we might need to refresh how CU99000854 determines where the demands are coming from. This was covered on my earlier post about CU 99000854 (Demand Types). As a remider, logic is on function DemandToInvProfile. Here it goes through the different types of demand (Service, Sales, Production, …) and make planning aware of them.

    Back to our topic, this same function is where we need to add code so MRP is aware that Job Planning Lines carry demands (material requirements). As an example, the piece of code we could consider is the following:

    // Copyright © Microsoft Corporation. All Rights Reserved.
    // This code released under the terms of the
    // Microsoft Public License (MS-PL, http://opensource.org/licenses/ms-pl.html.)

    JobPlanningLine.SETCURRENTKEY(Type,”No.”,”Variant Code”,”Location Code”,”Planning Date”);
    JobPlanningLine.SETRANGE(Type,JobPlanningLine.Type::Item);
    JobPlanningLine.SETRANGE(“No.”,Item.”No.”);
    Item.COPYFILTER(“Location Filter”,JobPlanningLine.”Location Code”);
    Item.COPYFILTER(“Variant Filter”,JobPlanningLine.”Variant Code”);
    JobPlanningLine.SETFILTER(“Planning Date”,’>%1&<=%2',0D,ToDate);

    IF JobPlanningLine.FIND('-') THEN
    REPEAT
    InventoryProfile.INIT;
    InventoryProfile."Line No." := NextLineNo;
    InventoryProfile.TransferFromJobPlanningLine(JobPlanningLine);
    IF InventoryProfile.IsSupply THEN
    InventoryProfile.ChangeSign;
    InventoryProfile.INSERT;
    UNTIL JobPlanningLine.NEXT = 0;

    What we are doing above is using the job planning lines of type "Item" to be considered as demand and use the planning date as due date for the demand.

    Going forward, reader could take it from here to finalize the development.

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    NAV 2009 Tips and Tricks: Link documents and URLs to task pages

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    You can use links on your task pages to guide users to additional information. The links can be the URL addresses of web sites or links to documents on a computer.

    In the following example, you can see how to add a link to a customer card task page. The link is then viewable both from the customer card and the customer list.

    1. Open a customer card to which you want to add a link to a document or URL.

    2. If the Links FactBox is not displayed on the page, customize the page to display Links.

    3. In Links, click Actions , and then click New.

    4. In the Link Address field, enter an address for the file or website, such as C:\My Documents\invoice1.doc, or www.microsoft.com.

    5. Fill in the Description field with information about the link.

    6. Click Save.

    7. In Links, click on the link in the Link Address field. The appropriate program, such as Microsoft Word or Microsoft Internet Explorer, opens and displays the link target.

    For more information about usability and the RoleTailored client, see the blog post Useful, Usable, and Desirable.

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    NAV “core” Planning: CU 99000854 ( II ): Demand types

    • 0 Comments
    First, lets review the foundation here … lets review what the "Supply Planning White Paper" mentions:
    "
    DEMAND AND SUPPLY:
    Demand is the common term used for any kind of gross demand, such as sales order and component need from a production order. In addition, the program allows more technical types of demand, such as negative inventory and purchase returns
    Planning parameters and inventory levels are other types of demand …
    "
     
    Checking the CU 99000854, what is a demand for NAV planning engine?
    a. Sales Orders
    b. Service Orders
    c. Planned Production consumption
    d. Transfer orders
     
    The actual code to find the data considered as demand can be found on the DemandToInvProfile procedure in CU 99000854.
     
    As an example …
    a. sales orders are being considered as demands by using this query:
    SalesLine.SETCURRENTKEY(Type,"No.","Variant Code","Drop Shipment","Location Code","Document Type","Shipment Date");
    SalesLine.SETFILTER("Document Type",’%1|%2′,SalesLine."Document Type"::Order,SalesLine."Document Type"::"Return Order");
    SalesLine.SETRANGE(Type,SalesLine.Type::Item);
    SalesLine.SETRANGE("No.",Item."No.");
    Item.COPYFILTER("Location Filter",SalesLine."Location Code");
    Item.COPYFILTER("Variant Filter",SalesLine."Variant Code");
    SalesLine.SETFILTER("Outstanding Qty. (Base)",’<>0′);
    SalesLine.SETFILTER("Shipment Date",’>%1&<=%2′,0D,ToDate);
     
    b. service orders …

    ServiceLine.SETCURRENTKEY(Type,"No.","Variant Code","Location Code","Posting Date");
    ServiceLine.SETRANGE("Document Type",ServiceLine."Document Type"::Order);
    ServiceLine.SETRANGE(Type,ServiceLine.Type::Item);
    ServiceLine.SETRANGE("No.",Item."No.");
    Item.COPYFILTER("Location Filter",ServiceLine."Location Code");
    Item.COPYFILTER("Variant Filter",ServiceLine."Variant Code");
    ServiceLine.SETFILTER("Outstanding Qty. (Base)",’<>0′);
    ServiceLine.SETFILTER("Posting Date",’>%1&<=%2′,0D,ToDate);
     
    c. production order consumption …
    ReqLine.SETCURRENTKEY("Ref. Order Type","Ref. Order Status","Ref. Order No.","Ref. Line No.");
    ReqLine.SETRANGE("Ref. Order Type",ReqLine."Ref. Order Type"::"Prod. Order");
    ProdOrderComp.SETCURRENTKEY("Item No.","Variant Code","Location Code",Status,"Due Date");
    ProdOrderComp.SETRANGE("Item No.",Item."No.");
    Item.COPYFILTER("Location Filter",ProdOrderComp."Location Code");
    Item.COPYFILTER("Variant Filter",ProdOrderComp."Variant Code");
    ProdOrderComp.SETRANGE(Status,ProdOrderComp.Status::Planned,ProdOrderComp.Status::Released);
    ProdOrderComp.SETFILTER("Due Date",’>%1&<=%2′,0D,ToDate);
     
    and so on with other type of demands like planned consumption (check DemandToInvProfile procedure).
     
    For any of these "queries", the exact filters used should be analyzed. For instance, sales line considered are those which have a shipment date equal or earlier than the planning ending date … regardless of the status in the sales order.
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    NAV “core” Planning: CU 99000854 ( I )

    • 1 Comments
    Why focusing Codeunit 99000854? If you interested on what is the logic behind NAV planning, you should look into this codeunit.
     
    This codeunit is the link between how NAV planning logic is written (= "NAV Supply Planning White Paper") and how this logic is executed (=functionality around Planning and Requisition Worksheets).
     
    Based on this, I will be posting a series of entries regarding how this CU 99000854 performs. Furthermore, this series on entries will:
    - provide info about what are the demands taken into account during planning run
    - understand what are the considered supplies in NAV
    - identify the primary code related with the how NAV will treat demands and supplies (ie. will any of these be allowed to reschedule?)
    - understand why priorities are needed when netting demands/supplies
    - understand what is the forecast and blanket order consumption
    - verify what is the planning flexibility flag in NAV
     
    To start with, we will be understanding what are the demand types from a NAV planning engine perspective.
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    What happens when both Inbound and Outbound Production bin codes are the same …

    • 1 Comments
    This is an unexpected setting for NAV. Think about this …
    - If this is the "Inbound Production Bin Code", NAV understands that stock on these are not available since is pending to be consumed in Manufacturing
    - If this is the "Outbound Production Bin Code", NAV understands this is available since stock is whatever has been already produced and it is ready for any sales, transfer, other production stage …
     
    So, depending on what production bin is, NAV determines this is available or not. And … what happens if we set both inbound and outbound production bins the same? Problems … yeap, problems. In one hand, NAV removes inventory from the stock availability when this is the inbound. Thus, it will not be available. For your curiosity, this is done on the CU7312 – SetOutboundFilter where NAV determines if the stock can be used or not.
     
    As previous post here, if users need stock from the "Inbound …" (ie. stock which was placed to be consumed but due to a sales urgency needs to be picked), this stock need to be moved (Warehouse movement) to any other bin which is able to be picked from.
     
    FYI "Open Shop Floor Bin Code" and "Adjustment Bin Code" have same treatment as the "Inbound Production Bin Code". Thus, stock there is not available for a pick.
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    Using inbound Production Bins as Pick Bins

    • 0 Comments
    What are the inbound Production Bins in NAV? These are the bins defined in the Warehouse setup with the following names:
    - "Open Shop Floor Bin Code". This is the one used with Backflushing when Flushing Method is set to Backward/Forward
    - "Inbound Production Bin Code". This is the standard bin for the consumptions and it is also used with flushing when this is set to "Pick+Backward" or "Pick+Forward"
     
    From this perspective, should we have these type of bins set with the Pick flag enabled? Well, it mit might be on your customer but NAV availability calculation wouldn’t like it. Think about this:
    - Inbound Production bins contain inventory required for Manufacturing
    - This inventory should be respected and "soft reserved" for Manufactuing (not as the general reservations)
    - Based on this, if there is a customer (ie. a sales order picking) which tries to take inventory from these bins, NAV provides an error to preserve the need from Manufacturing
     
    This is reasonable, I believe. Do not take the inventory which is required by Manufacturing personnel. Now, what happens if there is an urgent customer order which requires to take inventory from this bin? In this case, it would be required to move inventory (Movement document in Warehouse) from the production bin to a pick bin.
     
    Having this in mind, it is not adviced to have these inbound production bins with the Pick flag activated. This will disturb inventory availability calculations and it is not an intended workflow.
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    NAV: ERP or MRPII tool?

    • 0 Comments
    Does Dynamics NAV provide MRP II tools?
     
    I am not sure how much the reader is familiar with this terminology but just in case …
     
    ERP: Enterprise Resource Planning. As its name describes, ERP’s are intented to provide visibility of all resources in a company and provide planning tools for them (CRP as well asMRP planning). From this perspective, the whole enterprise is taken into account.
     
    MRP II: Manufacturing Resource Planning. These are similar to ERP’s except MRP II focuses on manufacturing. With this in mind, the tools provided by an MRP II are more powerful from a manufacturing perspective however they loose perspective on the overall enterprise (ie. business priorities, strategic planning, etc.)
     
    Dynamics NAV, which is an ERP, does not provide a full MRP II suite of tools … but it is not intended to provide them. Dynamics NAV provide the following capabilities which a MRP II does not provide:
    - Integrates Planning and Control departments in a company
    - Provides visibility on the Strategic Business Planning (ie. forecast or production plans)
    -Supports plans and activities of marketing, finance and production to create plans to achieve the overall goals of the company (ie. demand planner)
    - Provides Execution to the Purchasing and Sales (ie. Order management)
    - …
     
    Therefore, Dynamics NAV is an ERP and not an MRP II but … who knows in the near/mid-term future. I personally believe ERPs will be adding MRP II tools to their own functionality.
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    Unforgettable: NAV Supply Chain Management

    • 2 Comments

    Do you like that song? "Unforgettable", Nat King Cole, 1954.  And yes, you are right: this is nothing to be with NAV. But, I was asked to start posting on this blog and wanted to explain what my posts would be about.

    "Unforgettable" is what SCM (Supply Chain Management) is about when you come to the ERP arena. Most of the times, we go into the technical details of the NAV implementation and we forget what is the ultimate goal: a tool to boost the productivity, a tool to expand or extend the limits on how companies can reach or provide services.  In other words, do not forget that NAV needs to be optimal for your company productivity.

    Just to ensure we all readers of this blog have common understanding, SCM is considered from a APICS definition to be all those tools which enables to increase customer satisfaction while minimizing inventory and reducing costs. From a Dynamics NAV perspective, granules which relate to SCM are those which map the following business processes:
    - Sales & Purchase Profit (sales and purchase order management)
    - Inventory Optimization (planning, inventory management)
    - Warehouse Management
    - Cost Reduction (Cost method and application)
    - Service Management

    Now, that I introduced myself, I will be posting my first post following ...

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 – Announcing the Date for Worldwide General Availability - December 15, 2010!

    • 0 Comments

    We are almost ready with Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 - and we can't wait to tell you about it! This release has even more focus on improving business productivity for partners and customers. Take a minute to consider the possibilities and new opportunities that Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 offers your business with features like built-in integration with Microsoft Dynamics CRM, new cloud opportunities, RoleTailored client access for remote and roaming users, Microsoft Application Virtualization support, and Online Payment Service for Microsoft Dynamics NAV. What's more - there are some really cool business data visualization capabilities and many of the new features and enhancements will make it easier for you to grow your business by providing even better solutions for customers. Partners can go to PartnerSource and read more about Key Highlights here. You can also read the updated Statement of Direction Addendum. The date for Worldwide General Availability of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 is December 15, 2010. Stay tuned for more news!

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    NAV 2009 Tips and Tricks: Promote Fields from a FastTab

    • 0 Comments

    You can expand and collapse FastTabs on a page. When a FastTab is collapsed, not all fields in the FastTab are displayed in the header of the FastTab. You can customize any FastTab so that the most important fields are shown on the header when the FastTab is collapsed. This will provide you with a summary of the information from the FastTab.

    1. To start customizing a FastTab, open the page that you want to customize, and then click Customize .

    2. Click Customize This Page.

    3. In the left column, click FastTabs.

    4. Under Show FastTabs in this order, select the FastTab that you want to customize.

    5. Click Customize FastTab... 

    6. To promote a field to the FastTab header, choose the field under Fields shown and then click Importance > Promoted.

    7. To remove the field from the FastTab header, choose the field under Fields shown and then click Importance > Standard.

    8. Click OK to close the Customize windows.

     Now when you collapse the FastTab you see the promoted fields.

    For more information about usability and the RoleTailored client, see the blog post Useful, Usable, and Desirable.

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    Outlook Synchronization and preventing duplication of contacts, tasks, etc.

    • 2 Comments

    When a new contact is created in Dynamics NAV, you may want to synchronize that contact to Outlook. Sometimes it could happen that during the next synchronization attempt, this specific contact seems to duplicate somehow. This blog describe how this could happen and what you could do to prevent this. This blog will also describe how the synchronization works in detail. A future blog will describe what to do when this situation has occurred.

    If you create a new contact in Dynamics NAV and synchronize that contact to Outlook via a normal synchronization, then a new contact will be created in the dedicated Outlook Synchronization folder in Outlook. Dynamics NAV must know that this process finished successfully, so what happens next is that a Unique Identifier is sent back from Outlook to Dynamics NAV. This Unique Identifier is stored in table 5302.

    When the contact is created in Outlook but the Unique Identifier is not sent back to Dynamics NAV, during the next synchronization attempt, a duplication could occur.

    Most of the time, this happens when the user does not know the synchronization is running in the background.

    E.g.:

    • switching off the “Show synchronization progress” option in the Outlook Add-In that shows the synchronization is running
    • switching off the “Show synchronization summary” option after a successful synchronization
    • enabling the “Schedule automatic synchronization every” option

    NOTE: using the “Schedule automatic synchronization every” in general is a bad idea because with a scheduled synchronization and with the current Outlook Synchronization solution, the progress bar and summary window will not be shown to the Outlook Synchronization user in Outlook!

    image

    With Office 2010 it is very easy to close Outlook –even when the synchronization is running! If the Unique Identifier is not sent back to Dynamics NAV, a previous attempt to synchronize new items to Outlook and the other way around will duplicate the synchronized data in Dynamics NAV or Outlook! The same scenario applies if the Outlook Synchronization User uses a laptop and closes the lid of the laptop (when he does not know the synchronization is running). Of course, this scenario could also happen if Outlook suddenly crashes; e.g. during a power failure, etc.

    There are many reason why a duplication could occur, but in general an Outlook Synchronization User should know that the Outlook Add-In is running in the background and therefore, we now do not recommend to disable the “Show synchronization progress” option and the “Show synchronization summary” option. Enabling these options again would prevent the most common cause why a duplication could occur.

    Regards,

    Marco Mels
    CSS EMEA

    This posting is provided "AS IS" with no warranties, and confers no rights

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    Grouping in RoleTailored Client Reports

    • 1 Comments

    When moving to the RoleTailored client some people have experienced difficulties with grouping in RDLC reports in cases where the requirements are just a bit more complex than a basic grouping functionality.

    I must admit that at the first glance it does not seem simple, but after a little research it does not look dramatically complex either. That motivated me to write this blog post and share my findings with all of you NAV report developers.

    So let's take a look at the task we are trying to accomplish.

    I have a master table, which contains a list of sales people - SalesPerson. The sales people sell software partially as on-premises software and partially as a subscription. There are two tables, which contain data for these two types of sale: OnPremisesSale and SubscriptionSale.

    The example is artificial and is meant only to show different tricks on how to do grouping. The picture below shows the data for this report:

     For each sales person I need to output both sales of on-premises software and subscription sales and show the total sales. Something that looks like the following:

     

    Now we have all required information, let's start solving the task.

    1. First, I create an NAV report. Add all necessary data items, establish data item links for the proper joining of the data, and place all needed fields on the section designer in order to get them inside RDLC report.
    See the picture below.

    2. Next, I go to RDLC designer in Visual Studio. First I pick a list control, put the SalesPerson_Name field in the list, and set the grouping based on the SalesPerson_SalesPersonId field.
    3. After that, I place a row with column captions on top of the list.

    Design in Visual Studio as shown below.

    4.  Now I need to place two tables inside the list- one for the on-premises software and one for the subscriptions.
    A list can display detail rows or a single grouping level, but not both. We can work that around this limitation by adding a nested data region. Here I place a rectangle inside the list and place two tables inside this rectangle, one for On-Premises and one for Subscriptions. In each table, I add header text and add the CustomerName and Amount fields.

    5.  I also add two text boxes for the sum of amount - one inside the rectangle to show total sales for the sales person and one outside to show the overall amount. Both contain the same formula: =SUM(Fields!SubscriptionSale_Amount.Value) + SUM(Fields!OnPremisesSale_Amount.Value)

     

    The picture below shows the result of this design:

      

    6. It looks more or less correct, but there are uneven strange empty spaces between rows. In order to detect the root cause of this problem let's add visible borders to our tables. Change the BorderStyle property to Solid for one of the tables and to Dashed for another.

    So the result will look like this:

     

    7. This result indicates that our report has two problems:

    • Tables do not filter out the empty rows. The result set contains joined data for both on-premises sales and subscriptions - so each data row has an empty part of it. The Data Zoom tool (Ctrl-Alt-F1) is your best friend when you need to learn how your data looks.
    • Empty tables should be hidden from the output.

    So I will make two fixes in order to address these two bugs:

    • In the table's Property window, on the Filter tab set a filter: Fields!OnPremisesSale_CustomerName.Value > '' for one table and Fields!SubscriptionSale_CustomerName.Value > '' for another. (Note: In the Value field, you must enter two single quotes.)
    • For each table, set the Visibility expression to =IIF(CountRows("table2") > 0, False, True). The table name should be replaced with an actual table name. Table names are different, so the visibility expressions should also be different. Please avoid a copy/paste error here and do not forget to wrap the name with quotes.

    As an addition, I will make some minor changes to improve the report's readability: change fonts, font size, font style, and add separator lines.

    All these modifications will produce the following output:

     

    That is exactly it what I wanted to achieve at the beginning.

    I also have some tips, which might be helpful in your future reporting endeavors:

    1. Use lists. In many cases it is more convenient than creating a complex grouping inside a table. You can nest a list or any other data region inside the list.
    2. Do not forget that a list can display detail rows or a single grouping level, but not both. It can be worked around by adding a nested data region including another list.
    3. If there are some issues with layout, then make the invisible elements of the design temporarily visible - set visible style for table borders or change color of the different elements of the layout.
    4. Build inside Visual Studio. That can catch layout errors and reduce development time.

     - Yuri Belenky

  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV Team Blog

    How to use an external .NET assembly in report layout for RTC reports

    • 3 Comments

    This post shows how to include an external .NET assembly in your report layout when designing reports for RTC. The focus here is NOT how to build a .NET assembly, but how you can include such an assembly in your report design. But still, we will begin by creating our own .NET assembly for use in the layout.

     

    Creating a .NET assembly

    To keep it simple, let's make a .NET assembly to just add up two numbers:

    1. Start Visual Studio.
    2. Create a new c# project of type Class Library, and name it MyReportAssembly.
    3. Change the default Class name from Class1 to AddNumbers.
    4. Create a public function called AddFunction, which takes two integers as parameters, and returns the sum of those two.

    The whole project should look like this now:

    using System;
    using System.Collections.Generic;
    using System.Linq;
    using System.Text;

    namespace MyReportAssembly
    {
        public class AddNumbers
        {
            public int AddFunction(int i, int j) {
                return (i + j);
            }
        }
    }

    That's all the functionality we need - as mentioned we want to keep it simple!

    But we need to make a few more changes to the project before we can use it:

     

    Add a strong named key

    In Project Properties, on the Signing tab, select "Sign the assembly", select a New key (give it any name), and untick password protection.

     

    Add AllowPartiallyTrustedCallers property

    To allow this assembly to be called from the report layout you must set this property in Assemblyinfo.cs. So, in Assemblyinfo.cs, add these lines:

    using System.Security;

    [assembly: AllowPartiallyTrustedCallers]

    Full details of why you need those two lines here: "Asserting Permissions in Custom Assemblies"

     

    Compile to .NET 3.5

    When I built this project using Visual Studio 2010, I was not able to install the assembly. And when trying to include it in my report layout I got this error: "MyReportAssembly.dll does not contain an assembly.". So if you will be using the installation instructions below, and you are using Visual Studio 2010, then change "Target Framework" to ".NET Framework 3.5" under Project Properties on the Application tab. This is the default target framework in Visual Studio 2008. Visual Studio 2010 defaults to version 4.0. I'm sure there are better ways to instlal this and still build it for .NET 4, but that's outside of the current scope. Also if it later complains about reference to Microsoft.CSharp, then just remove that from the project under references.

     

    When this is done, build your project to create MyReportAssembly.dll

     

    Installing your new .NET assembly

    Again, the focus here is not on buildign and installing .NET assemblies, and I am no expert in that, so this is probably NOT the recommended way to install a .NET assembly, but it works just for the purpose of being able to see it in the report layout:

    Start an elevated Visual Studio Command prompt, and go to the folder where your net MyReportAssembly.dll is (C:\Users\[UserName]\Documents\visual studio 2010\Projects\MyReportAssembly\MyReportAssembly\bin\Debug\). Then run this command:


    gacutil /i MyReportAssembly.dll

    It can be uninstalled again with this command:


    gacutil /uf MyReportAssembly

    After installing it, open this folder in Windows Explorer:


    c:\Windows\Assembly


    and check that you have the MyReportAssembly there. If not, then check if the section above about compiling it to .NET 3.5 applies to you.

     

    Finally - How to use an exterenal .NET assembly in report layout
     

    So now we finally come to the point of this post: How do you use your new assembly in the report layout:

    1. Design any report, and go to the report Layout.
    2. Create a reference to your assembly: Report -> Report Properties -> References. Browse for your new .dll and select it.
    3. On the Code tab, create a function which will create an instance of your assembly and call the function:

     Public Function Addnumbers(Num1 as Integer, Num2 as Integer) as Integer
      Dim MyAssembly as MyReportAssembly.AddNumbers
      MyAssembly = new MyReportAssembly.AddNumbers()
      Return MyAssembly.AddFunction(Num1,Num2)
    End Function

     Then call this function nby adding this Expression to a TextBox:

    =Code.Addnumbers(1,2)

    And, finally, if you run the report like this, you would get the error "xyz, which is not a trusted assembly.". So back in the classic report design, in report properties, you just have to set the property EnableExternalAssemblies = Yes, and the report should run.

     

    That was a lot of work for just adding up two numbers, but hopefully is shows what steps are needed to open up your report layout to endless opportunities. Note: I have no ideas if this will work with visual assemblies or anything which contains any UI at all. Any experiences with this, feel free to add to the end of this post.

     

    As always, and especially this time since I'm in no way a c# developer:

    These postings are provided "AS IS" with no warranties and confer no rights. You assume all risk for your use.

     

    Additional Information

    If you plan to look further into this, then here are some recommended links:

    "Using Custom Assemblies with Reports"

    "Deploying a Custom Assembly"

    If your assembly calls other services, it is likely you need to consider passing on the user's credentials. For more information on that, here is a good place to begin:

    "Asserting Permissions in Custom Assemblies"

     

     

    Lars Lohndorf-Larsen

    Microsoft Dynamics UK

    Microsoft Customer Service and Support (CSS) EMEA

     

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