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What's new: Enterprise Portal and Role Centers [AX 2012]

Updated: March 25, 2014

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R3, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012

Microsoft Dynamics AX provides a set of websites that give you access to data and that you can use to participate in business processes by using web-based forms. These sites are collectively called Enterprise Portal for Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Enterprise Portal can be configured to display role-specific home pages that are known as Role Centers. A Role Center provides an overview of information that pertains to a user’s job function in the business or organization. This information includes transaction data, alerts, links, and common tasks that are associated with the user’s role in the company. The information also include reports that are generated by Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services (SSRS) or Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services (SSAS). Microsoft Dynamics AX includes more than two dozen predefined Role Centers, which users can access from Enterprise Portal or the Microsoft Dynamics AX client.

Required software: Enterprise Portal and Role Centers require one of the following Microsoft SharePoint products:

  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2010

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2010

  • Microsoft SharePoint Foundation 2013

  • Microsoft SharePoint Server 2013

For more information, see Hardware and software requirements.

Search: Enterprise Portal search is provided by a product-wide feature of Microsoft Dynamics AX that is named Enterprise Search. Enterprise Search lets users search through data, metadata, and documents that are attached to records. Users can search for common nouns, such as “customer” and “cash flow report.” Users can also search for specific data, such as a customer name, product ID, or telephone number. For more information, see Enterprise Search.

User controls: If you created user controls for Enterprise Portal pages in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2009, you must update those controls for Enterprise Portal pages in Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012. For more information, see User Control Changes. For information about how to upgrade existing Enterprise Portal integrations, see Converting Enterprise Portal Content.

AX 2012 includes changes to the following areas:

  • User interface changes

  • Foundation improvements

  • Changes that support developers

What can you do?

AX 2009

AX 2012

Why is this important?

Locate data quickly on list pages by using various kinds of filters.

Filtering capabilities were limited, and advanced filtering was complex and difficult to use.

A new quick filter, an improved advanced filter that includes common language capabilities, and a custom filter are included.

Data can be found and modified quickly. For more information, see List filters.

Complete common actions on list pages more quickly by using an Action Pane.

Toolbars were primarily navigation-based.

Action Panes are divided into button groups and contain action buttons that can be used to perform common tasks on a selected record. For example, you can use an action button to create new sales orders.

Data can be found and modified quickly, and common tasks can be completed quickly. For more information, see Common page elements.

Configure Action Panes.

Menu options for actions were accessed from a toolbar that did not support images.

Administrators can use the new ribbon control to create Action Panes for Enterprise Portal task and list pages.

Data can be found and modified quickly, and common tasks can be completed quickly. For more information, see Common page elements.

Preview important and related information on list pages.

Users had to leave a list page or form to view important or related information about a selected record.

Users can use FactBoxes, Cues, Web Parts, and preview panes to quickly access related information without opening another form.

Data can be found and previewed quickly. For more information, see List pages (Enterprise Portal).

Manipulate data in hierarchical grids.

Grid views could not be manipulated.

Users can move tasks by using a drag-and-drop operation. Users can also indent or outdent tasks, and select multiple rows at the same time in grid views.

Control of data in grids is improved. For more information, see Common page elements.

Search data in hierarchical grids.

Grid views could not be manipulated.

Column-based quick searches, quick filtering (operator = “contains”), and advanced filtering (multiple operators) are supported.

Control of data in grids is improved. For more information, see Common page elements.

Stay on the current task page when you complete actions.

When a user clicked an action on a task page, a new Enterprise Portal page opened. The user had to click the Back button to return to the task page.

Modal dialog boxes open separate forms when users click an action on a task page. After the users have finished entering data and close the form, they are returned to the original task page, and the data is updated.

Because of navigation changes, users can complete tasks without undue confusion. Context is preserved when a user performs a task. For more information, see Task pages. For information about how to develop task pages, see How to: Create Web Menu Items.

Enterprise Portal has new user control components.

The user control components for Enterprise Portal pages limited the layout possibilities.

New user control components, such as AXColumn and AxMultiColumn, enable more flexible layouts.

The improved visual appearance of pages in Enterprise Portal improves user productivity. For developer information about how to work with user controls, see User Control Changes.

Enterprise Portal can use optimized lookups.

Lookups loaded data when they were displayed.

Lookups can be configured to load data when the page loads.

The user experience is improved, because users do not have to wait for the lookup to load. For more information, see AxLookup.

What can you do?

AX 2009

AX 2012

Why is this important?

Use enhanced initial setup and installation.

After administrators installed Enterprise Portal, they had to manually compile X++ classes on the web server.

The installation no longer requires manual compilation of X++ classes.

The installation experience is more efficient. For more information, see Install Enterprise Portal.

You have more options for deploying changes to a web server.

Administrators had to manually deploy changes by clicking various objects in the Microsoft Dynamics AX Application Object Tree (AOT). Additionally, administrators could not deploy changes from the AOT on a 32-bit client to a 64-bit Windows server.

Administrators can deploy changes to a web server by using the AxUpdatePortal utility or the Microsoft Dynamics AX client. Administrators can also deploy changes from a remote client computer to the web server.

The administration experience is more efficient. For more information, see, Deploy updates to Enterprise Portal, AxUpdatePortal Utility, and Checklist: Deploy Enterprise Portal changes to a different server.

More options for authenticating users

Enterprise Portal had limited authentication options. Domain account management was time-consuming.

Enterprise Portal includes support for forms-based authentication. This new authentication model is called flexible authentication.

The administration experience is more efficient. For more information, see Deploy a claims-mode Enterprise Portal site.

What can you do?

AX 2009

AX 2012

Why is this important?

Enterprise Portal supports tables that are structured into a table hierarchy.

The feature was not available.

In Enterprise Portal, you can use tables that are structured in a hierarchy.

The database structure can be more efficient. For more information, see Table Inheritance.

Enterprise Portal supports tables that use surrogate keys.

Tables typically displayed the key values.

Tables can have surrogate keys that are not displayed to the user.

The user interface is more user-friendly. For more information, see Surrogate Keys.

Create list pages that can be used in Enterprise Portal.

Separate list pages were created for Enterprise Portal.

A list page can be created and used in both the Microsoft Dynamics AX client and Enterprise Portal.

Less development time is required to create lists. For more information, see List Page Reference.

Enterprise Portal uses Microsoft Dynamics AX services to access data and metadata.

Enterprise Portal used .NET Business Connector to access data and metadata.

Enterprise Portal uses Microsoft Dynamics AX services to access data and metadata.

Deployment of Enterprise Portal is more flexible. For more information, see Services and Application Integration Framework (AIF).

Code for Enterprise Portal can use the new proxy implementation.

Proxies were limited to Enterprise Portal and were not easy to set up.

Proxies can be used not only in Enterprise Portal but throughout Microsoft Dynamics AX.

Proxies are easier to set up and use. Proxies enable Enterprise Portal code to access Microsoft Dynamics AX resources, such as X++ classes. For more information, see Proxies.

You can use the cross-reference tool in the MorphX integrated development environment (IDE) to see how resources for Enterprise Portal are used.

The cross-reference tool did not support Enterprise Portal resources.

The cross-reference tool supports Enterprise Portal resources.

It is now easier to see how resources are used in Enterprise Portal. For more information, see Cross-reference Tool.


Announcements: To see known issues and recent fixes, use Issue search in Microsoft Dynamics Lifecycle Services (LCS).
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