How to read data from a production instance in D365 #Dyn365FO

Recently I was trying to find the best way to read only updated/changed data from AX for some entities like customers and vendors in D365. To do this in AX 2012 we would generally get a read only database copy made of  production, enable modifiedDateTime fields and query the recently changed data from that database for our reporting needs but in D365 a cool new feature has been provided called change tracking. Through this you can get AX to push changes to your records to an external database outside of AX. A brief overview of this is that we use data entities to list what we need pushed out and configure them to export to our database. Read more on this here: https://docs.microsoft.com/en-us/dynamics365/unified-operations/dev-itpro/data-entities/entity-change-track

In Data management:

Register read only DB outside AX, providing its connection string:

 

Change tracking options:

Creating a Data entity to export records for a Date effective Table in Dynamics 365 #Dyn365FO

When creating a data entity for a data effective table there are a few properties we need to consider for our imports and exports to work correctly. There can be two scenarios.

1. Data entity is not date effective but one or more data sources within the entity are date effective.

For example we have to export details of a Party record. Now the Party record is saved under DirPartyTable that is not date effective but its First, Middle and Last names are stored in DirPersonName table that is date effective. In order to make sure that we get the latest names of this party while exporting data we need to configure the entity to do so, else it will send whatever record is first in DirPersonName against the party record. To configure it we simply need to set the Apply Date Filter Property to Yes for DirPersonName and make sure we add the ValidTo and ValidFrom fields of DirPersonName datasource to the entity field list.

Parent data source DirPartyTable, not DateEffective:

 

Child data source DirPersonName, that is date effective:

2. Data entity is date effective

What this means is that our data entity has at least one date effective data source and itself implements the date effective framework. Keeps track of latest and old records rather than overriding existing records on update. Will discuss this further in my next blog.

For more information about date effectivity in data entities see: Date effectivity

D365 Mystery Hosting Explained #Dyn365FO

Mystery: IIS was stopped but D365 app was still running. How could this be? Its a single box Azure VM and everything, not just the AOSService but ISS itself is off. I verified the app is connecting to the right database and verified the webconfig file points to my own server so some other machine could not be hosting the App, I checked all configurations and none point to a different server so what magic is going on here.

 

I’m sure this would not be a mystery for everyone but for a short time it became a mystery to me and might become to some others as well so I had to get to the bottom of the magic happening. After some research I got to know that after the recent platform update 12 D365 is hosted on IIS Express, and as you know IIS express runs on visual studio, so if you have Visual studio open your app will be hosted. I ran a few scenarios after this so here is a list of them.

 

  1. If Visual Studio is open, your IIS is stopped, D365 would still run on based on IIS Express.
  2. If Visual Studio is closed, your IIS is stopped, D365 url will give you a Service Unavailable error
  3. If Visual Studio is closed, IIS is running, D365 will run based of your AOSService site.
  4. If Visual Studio is Open, IIS is running, D365 will run.

Thanks to a post by Faisal here which lead me to this. It explains what else was done wrt to update 12 like elimination of Admin user on lcs and availability of a Developer user.

 

Mystery Solved!

 

Address and contact information table relationships to a party in #AX2012 & #Dyn365FO

Both address and contact information on a customer, vendor or any party record is stored at the party level. So while the parties Customer and Vendor are company specific the party record is cross company. If you create a customer against the same party in two companies and modify the address of Customer A in company X you will see the changes for Customer B in company Y. This is because when we are modifying a customers address or contact, it is actually modifying the party address and contact. You can test this out without getting into the development environment by creating a customer in one company with an address and contact, note down its party number that was created, then create a customer in another company and use the change party association option to assign the newly created customer the party number of the previously created customer. After this, change the address on any one of the customers and you will see the changes reflect on the other company customer as well. Now generally this is not the case as when you create a customer in a company a new party record gets created against it and within AX you always create a customer or vendor first and not a party itself.

Coming down to the technical’s in play for this. A party record is stored in the DirPartyTable and in order to query its locations(addresses/contact information) you can query the DirPartyLocation table which will give out  records that each represent an address and one record that represents all contact information records, to identify these there are NoYes enum fields such as IsPostalAddress. For example if there are 3 addresses on a customer and 5 contact information records, this table will show you 4 records. Each record contains a Location field that represents the RecId of  the LogicticsLocation table, this table contains links to the address and contact information records. Addresses are saved in LogisticsPostalAddress table and contact information is stored in LogisticsElectronicAddress table, each table has as relationship with the LogisticsLocation table as shown below.

Contains 4 records, 3 for addresses and one for contacts:

These records can be used to query the address in LogisticsPostalAddress table below, wrt to the following relationship:

Hopefully this gives you an idea of the crud operations of an address and contact information in AX. This applies to both AX 2012 and D365.

Solution: Data Entity synchronization errors in #Dyn365FO

After creating a data entity you might receive the following 15 errors upon building it, these recommend you to do a full build of your package but this will not resolve the issue. The cause of this error is an existing entity record in your DMFEntity table and like some solutions have mentioned that you delete those records and rebuild they will work for only once but when you make changes and run a build again you will get a the same errors, so lets come to what is causing this. It is clear that there is a duplicate but when I verified that there is none according to my Entity name and table names within the DMFEntity table that could cause a duplicate, what could it be? Well to your and my surprise the label you have on your entity is also a factor when it comes to duplication. And since D365 has existing data entities for a number tables out of the box it is quite possible that your new entity that you built got the default table label.

 

Error                Database synchronization failed. You may have to do a full build of the package ‘TrueValue_Retail’ and all of its dependent packages.                        0

Error                at Dynamics.AX.Application.DmfDataPopulation.`syncEntityMetadata(StringCollection dataEntityViewCollection, StringCollection compositeEntityList) in xppSource://Source/ApplicationFoundation\AxClass_DmfDataPopulation.xpp:line 817.’ on category ‘Error’.                        0

Error                Infolog diagnostic message: ‘Error synching entity metadata for entity – TVRetailExportLoyaltyCustomer. Message –    at Microsoft.Dynamics.Ax.MSIL.Interop.throwException(Int32 ExceptionValue, interpret* ip)                        0

Error                Infolog diagnostic message: ‘Cannot create a record in Entity (DMFEntity). Entity: Loyalty card, TVRetailExportLoyaltyCustomerStaging.                        0

 

Solution:

Give your entity a custom label.

Debugging without a startup project or startup Object in D365

To debug without setting up a startup project and startup object in D365 fotr operations. Follow these steps:

  1. Open your object in visual studio
  2. Place breakpoints
  3. Goto Debug>attach to process and check show processes from all users
  4. Select w3wp.exe and click attach.

DebugWithoutStartupObject

You can execute your process now from the client and execution will be stopped at your breakpoints.

 

Breakpoint symbols not loading AX7/D365

Recently faced a problem where my breakpoints weren’t loading for objects in the AOT that were not in my solution and therefore I could not debug.

Solution: In order to load symbols for objects that have not been included in your solution you have to uncheck the following check box.

Dynamincs365>Options>Dynamics 365>Debugging
Load symbols only for items in the solution

BreakpointsNotLoadingD365

To know more about how to debug in D365 visit: Debug X++