Thursday, January 28, 2010

Lookup form returning more than one value

I have been posted with the question of creating a lookup that would return more than 1 value into the calling record, filling in a number of fields and populating the selected control with the corresponding value at the same time.

I will try to answer that question by an example from the standard application, particularly using one of the forms owned by my (Inventory) team.


If we take a look at the lookup form for one of the item inventory dimensions (Configuration, Size or Color), we'll see the following tab page on it:
(assuming more than 1 item dimension is enabled for this item)

Basically, the user is able to select the configuration that belongs to a specific dimension combination. Note the check-box "" under the grid. If the user sets that check-box and then selects the configuration from a combination, the values for all item dimensions will be copied to the record from the parent form.
So, basically, the lookup returns more than just the configuration dimension value, but also size and color.

How is that implemented?

The lookup is implemented using a custom form, present in AOT, with name ConfigIdLookup.

The methods important for a working lookup are:

  • init() method.

In particular, the way the calling control is determined based on the args passed into the form:

callerControl = SysTableLookup::getCallerStringControl(element.args());

  • selectMode() method.

(called from setSelectMode() on this form). This method accepts an AX form control as parameter, and informs the kernel about which control should be used as the returning control.

  • closeSelect() method.

This method is executed on lookup forms wheneven a selection of a particular value is made. So, obviously, in this method you still have access you all the fields of the datasource with the selected record, as well as to the calling form through element.args(). Here is the code that handles the update of multiple fields:

if (ctrlTabPageCombination.visible() &&
selectAllCombi &&
// Genericly determine the InventDim datasource on the calling form
callerInventDimDS = inventDimFormSetup.callerInventDimFormDatasource();
if (callerInventDimDS)
// Get the current record of that datasource
callerInventDim = callerInventDimDS.cursor();
// Set the needed fields on the record based on the selection in the lookup form
// Basically, this is how you can achieve returning more than one value from a lookup
// Get the record where the values need to be put in, and put them in from the currently selected record
if (inventDimCombination_ConfigId.visible() && inventDimCombination.ConfigId)
callerInventDim.ConfigId = inventDimCombination.ConfigId;
if (inventDimCombination_InventSizeId.visible() && inventDimCombination.InventSizeId)
callerInventDim.InventSizeId = inventDimCombination.InventSizeId;
if (inventDimCombination_InventColorId.visible() && inventDimCombination.InventColorId)
callerInventDim.InventColorId = inventDimCombination.InventColorId;
// Refresh the datasource so that values are displayed on the calling form

If you want to know more

  • Spend some time investigating the existing methods on SysTableLookup class, like the method getCallerStringControl, filterLookupPreRun_DS, filterLookupPostRun.

  • Look at the methods in InventDimCtrl_Frm_Lookup class. They handle all the logic of looking up inventory dimensions, and contain some nice examples of traversing the calling object.

  • Investigate, how the lookup form described above prevents the closing of the form when the check-boxes are clicked or tab pages changed. Hint: take a look at the usage of canSelect form variable

Microsoft FY10Q2 Results

Time for another Microsoft earning announcement. I'm going to be missing you, Mr. Liddell, and your New Zealand accent. With so many tech companies reporting good numbers and with Windows 7's success, I dare say that we're expecting a rosy quarterly earning report. And, if that's the case and knowing Mr. Ballmer's past record, he'll say something financially scary soon to rain on the parade.

Places I track for news on earnings include:

What questions do you expect or would you like to come up during the call? And if they don't come up during the conversation with the analysts, what Q&A do you want to send Mr. Ballmer's way during our upcoming Town Hall meeting?

  • Windows 7 continued success: how does that turn into profits and what kind of projections are we looking at?
  • Entertainment and Devices re-org: how does that align for future success and avoidance of being one big huge money pit?
  • Windows Mobile 7: we so dropped the ball in our early phone OS presence that now it seems like it's a losing battle to have a dog in this fight. But WinMo7 is out there. To me, I can imagine this becoming like the Zune HD: well praised and all, but not making a dent in the market because everyone has already moved on to the iPhone platform.
  • Bing: % of market share on track?
  • Efficiency: are back to our "we always fire the bottom 10% every review cycle" line of B.S. or are RIFs and layoffs still in effect? Given that the tech market at least seems to be turning around with-respect-to hiring (at least looking at the internal openings in Microsoft and how often I get pinged by recruiters), does Microsoft need to close down on the layoffs loudly and publically for both morale and recruitment's sake?
  • iPad iPad iPad! So what, the techie echo-chamber screams for the iPad? I'll be quiet happy with my Kindle for now, just because I do need it for lots of book reading vs. momentary goofing around with apps and browsing. Still, it does extend Apple's reach into the Windows market. What 'cha gonna do about that, Microsoft? How come you never thought of something like this? Or a book reader? You had what and what? Wow...
  • Ballmer: seems as though people are questioning Mr. Ballmer's continued CEO-ship. How much longer did he say he's in for being CEO?

Going back to the layoffs: first of all, this round does need to wrap up by end of FY10. The stress of possible layoffs will continue to have a negative effects on Microsoft, let alone recruiting. We should have one last big flush and then call ourselves done. I'm tired of the layoff rumors as much as anyone else. Probably more so, given the comment fear-mongering. To paraphrase a commenter here: Mini-Microsoft has correctly predicted 12 of the last 3 layoffs.

One commenter made a good point in that it is going to take a while to work through the fat, though, because Microsoft dug itself into such a deep, undisciplined hole that when layoffs were needed, no one knew how or where to start and certainly didn't realize how bad it had become.


Thanks to the deferral $s, it was a break-out quarter. Some follow-ups:

-- Comments

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Short posts about AX every day

OK, so here is another one of those "A new blogger in town" posts.

But I couldn't resist, since I really like the idea of posting some little useful things about AX on a daily basis (weekends excluded, thank God!)

So I suggest all of you go and check it out for yourself.

The link is:

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Run AX as a different user from Windows Explorer

This is something useful for people who have already switched to Windows Server 2008 or Windows Vista / Windows 7.
As you have probably noticed, the Run as... command is not available in these versions of Windows any longer (it's still available from command line, of course, but that's not as user friendly).

As AX users/developers/etc., we all ofter have to log into AX as a different user, for example to verify security settings for a particular AX role being setup.
Having Run as... command in the context menu really saves time here.

So, Microsoft, namely Mark Russinovich, provided a way to return this useful command back into the standard context menu.

You can download and install ShellRunas from technet.

Now, to install it, simply follow the easy instructions below:
  1. Download and unzip ShellRunas by following the link above
  2. Copy ShellRunas.exe to your Windows\System32 folder
  3. Open a Command Line and run the following command: shellrunas /reg
  4. A message box confirming successfull installation should pop up. Click OK
  5. Now, holding down the SHIFT key, right-click the AX icon. You will see a Run as different user... item in the context menu

To uninstall the Shellrunas utility, simply execute the following command from a command prompt: shellrunas /unreg

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Editor script for simplifying the search in AOT

When doing code refactoring, or when investigating a particular class or form to understand the functionality behind it, it is often handy to search for variables used in its methods, looking at where and how each variable is used.

It is tedious to manually go through the steps of copying the name of the variable into the clipboard, opening up the parent class/form, opening up the AOT Find dialog for it, pasting the variable name into the Selected Text field and pressing Find now.

I have automated these steps, putting the code into an editor script.

You can download the xpo, which contains the EditorScripts class with the additional method, by following this link.

Now you should be able to very easily and quickly find the required code.

The code of the editor script:

/// Editor script for finding all occurrences of the selected text in the parent node of the selected method

/// Reference to the AX editor
/// 2010-01-05, ivanv

void addIns_FindAllOccurrencesInNode(Editor e)
TreeNode treeNode;
FreeText selectedText;

FreeText GetSelectedTextFromEditor(Editor _e)
str 1 curSymbol;
int iCopyFrom;
int iCopyTo;
FreeText _selectedLine;
if (_e.markMode() != MarkMode::NoMark && _e.selectionStartCol() != _e.selectionEndCol())
_selectedLine = strLRTrim(subStr(_e.currentLine(), _e.selectionStartCol(), _e.selectionEndCol() - _e.selectionStartCol()));
_selectedLine = _e.currentLine();
for (iCopyFrom = _e.columnNo()+1; iCopyFrom >= 0; iCopyFrom--)
curSymbol = subStr(_selectedLine, iCopyFrom, 1);
if (!strAlpha(curSymbol) && curSymbol != '_')
for (iCopyTo = _e.columnNo()+1; iCopyTo <= strLen(_selectedLine); iCopyTo++)
curSymbol = subStr(_selectedLine, iCopyTo, 1);
if (!strAlpha(curSymbol) && curSymbol != '_')
_selectedLine = (iCopyFrom < iCopyTo) ? subStr(_selectedLine, iCopyFrom + 1, iCopyTo - iCopyFrom - 1) : '';
return _selectedLine;

void FindLinesContainingSelectedText(FreeText _selectedLine)
Args args = new Args(formstr(SysAOTFind));
FormRun sysAOTFindFormRun;
FormStringControl containingTextCtrl;
FormButtonControl findNowBtnCtrl;

sysAOTFindFormRun = classFactory.formRunClass(args);

// Set the text to find
containingTextCtrl =;


// Launch the search process
findNowBtnCtrl =;

selectedText = GetSelectedTextFromEditor(e);
if (selectedText)
// Find the currently open method node
treeNode = TreeNode::findNode(e.path());
// Find the parrent node of the method
treeNode = TreeNode::findNode(xUtilElements::getNodePathRough(xUtilElements::parentElement(xUtilElements::findTreeNode(treeNode))));
if (treeNode)