It’s been more than a year now since AX 4.0 was released. The reception so far has been fantastic. Recently I came across a document listing some of the framework improvements that we did in Ax 4.0. This is not a comprehensive list and does not include the app enhancements. There are documents available in partner source/ customer source which lists all the AX 4.0 enhancements. I thought I can share this list  in my blog  as a quick ref to Ax 4.0 platform improvements.

Client

·         Improved UI -- Outlook 11 look and feel  - Familiar MS Office style UI and consistency with other MBS apps; reduce window clutter and better navigation

o   Easier Navigation with Navigation Pane

o   Improve content management
and organization with Favorites and Task Pane

o   Reduce Window Clutter with Collapsible Navigation Pane and workspace

o   Better personalization

o   Familiar Office 11 style  user interface

o   Theme Support ( XP and Vista)

o   Global Search

·         Revamped Help System : obj: closer alignment with other MS products

o   Based on chm files using standard help authoring tools & Help can now be dynamically updated post launch

 

EP

·         Familiar SharePoint look and feel

·         Built on Windows SharePoint Services / MOSS 2007

·         Stateless Programming model for Scale Out scenarios

·         Enhanced Authoring Experience

·         Integrated collaboration services

·         Web framework opened up to existing portals enabling easier integration

·         Common Search

·         Easier Customization / Personalization

 

·         Why we did it

1.       Aligned with Microsoft Portal strategy by building the portal based on SharePoint.

2.       The technology stack moved from IIS 5.0/ ASP(script based) /BC COM to IIS 6.0/ASP.net/BC.net for better performance , reliability and scalability

3.       Page Authoring and Customization using browser and FrontPage.

4.       Leveraging SharePoint core capabilities such as content , collaboration , personalization and search inside Enterprise Portal

 

Reporting & BI

·         Reporting Services integration in 4.0

·         Out of the box support for Report Builder with perspectives

·         End user ad-hoc reporting with Report Builder

·         Support for SQL 2005 Analysis Server

·         Why we did it

o   Tighter integration with MS Stack

o   Support end user ad-hoc reporting

 

Security

·         Active Directory Integration (Single Sign On)

·         Removed support for 2 Tier (3 Tier Only) – All access to DB through AOS

·         Code Access Security for X++

·         Encryption in Enterprise Portal

·         Table Permission Framework

·         Comprehensive SWI review and penetration testing done by 3rd party vendor

·         New Batch Framework

·         Restricted Write Access to AOT to developers & admins

·         Improved Server API security (dangerous APIs)

·         Why we did it?

1.       To secure access to business critical information in AX , moved away from custom authentication to integrated windows authentication for the client , portal and BC.

2.       Code Access Security for X++ classes to secure APIs and prevent unauthorized , unintended privilege to calling code

3.       URL encryption in Enterprise Portal to prevent URL manipulation

 

 

Server

·         Data Access 

o   Optimistic Concurrency Control(OCC)

§  Finer grained locking

o   RecID increased to 64 bit and per table

o   Improved Indexing

o   Cursor Optimization

o   Why we did it?

§  Support for larger amounts of Tx Data

§  Improved Performance

·         Core Server

o   Moved from proprietary transport protocol to RPC

o   AOS moved to a Windows Service

o   NLB based load balancing (in 4.0. We added our own load balancing in SP1 so now we don’t recommend NLB any longer)

o   New Logging model

o   Session info moved to database

o   Why we did?

§  Robustness

§  Aligned better with MS Server technologies

§  Improved Perf

·         Better administration – single form for managing /viewing all server/user sessions

 

Programmability

·         AIF

o   XML based, customizable document exchange

o   Configurable platform for ready-to-use services

o   Wizard for generation of custom services

o   A2A and B2B integration through MSMQ, web services and BizTalk Server

o   Extensible X++ framework

 

·         .NET BC

·         CLR Interop

·         Why we did it?

o   Better Application Integration

o   Tighter Integration with .NET

 

Setup

·         One click install

·         Role based install

 

Alerts

·         End users can  create alert rules in Ax and receive notification through email or in  Ax Client or Enterprise Portal

  • Admin can Create, modify, and delete alert rules for individual Microsoft Dynamics AX users
  • Admin Create alert rule templates to be used by End users
  • Customizable email notification by defining  HTML or Extensible Style Language (XSL) template that merges alert data into an e-mail message at runtime

Others

·         Unicode enabled the application

·         Many bugs fixed for high CPE