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Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 reporting framework

Imparted from Inside Dynamics AX 2012 book

In the realm of reporting, there are two primary architectures to compare when considering asolution: client-side and server-side. Briefly stated, client-side reporting uses the power of the client to carry the bulk of the load when reports are constructed. The MorphX reporting framework is an example of a client-side reporting solution. For the most part, server requests are made simply to access the data. Server-side reporting, on the other hand, uses various server resources to aid in the processing and construction of a report. The Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 reporting framework is a server-side reporting solution. As you might expect, there are many trade-offs between the two models. The next sections discuss some of the benefits and limitations that are associated witheach design.

Client-side reporting solutions
As mentioned earlier, the MorphX framework is a proprietary client-side solution that is fully
integrated into the Microsoft Dynamics AX integrated development environment (IDE). In this model, reports contain references to data sources that are bound to local Microsoft Dynamics AX tables and views. They also define the business logic.

 

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The key benefits of a client-side reporting solution include the following:
■ Business logic is executed along with the design definition, allowing for programmable
sections in reports.
■ No deployment is needed: you import the report, and it’s immediately available to the client.
■ X++ developers can use familiar tools to construct report designs.
Notable disadvantages of a client-side reporting solution include the following:
■ Client components must be installed for a user to be able to view a report.
■ Users outside the domain, (outside the network boundary shown in Figure 9-1), must connect
to a Microsoft Dynamics AX client through Remote Desktop Connection to access reports.
■ Access is limited to the data that is accessible from the client.
■ Components such as business logic, parameter management, and designs cannot be shared
across reporting solutions.

Server-side reporting solutions
SSRS, the primary reporting platform for Microsoft Dynamics AX, is a server-side reporting solution.
This framework takes advantage of an industry solution that offers comprehensive reporting
functionality for a variety of data sources. This platform includes a complete set of tools that you can
use to create, manage, and deliver reports. With SSRS, you can create interactive, tabular, graphical,
or free-form reports from relational, multidimensional, or XML-based data sources.

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The key benefits of a server-side reporting solution are as follows:
■ It provides access to external data sources, including SSAS and web services.
■ It supports reporting in thin clients, with no additional client components required. Users
outside the domain (shown as the network boundary in Figure 9-2) can connect to Enterprise
Portal to access reports, instead of having to connect remotely to the Microsoft
Dynamics AX client, as in a client-side reporting solution.
■ The workload for report rendering is performed on the server.
■ Design caching improves the overall performance of report generation.
The key limitations of a server-side reporting solution are as follows:
■ The lack of a direct connection to local printers affects some scaling scenarios.
■ Report modifications must be deployed before they can be accessed by the client.
■ It requires additional server management for system administrators.

Report execution sequence

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The following list corresponds to the numbered items in Figure 9-3:
1. Menu item An entry point into the report execution sequence. Menu items contain
predefined hyperlinks that are used to instantiate and execute reports. Configuration keys can
be linked to menu items to manage user access.
2. Report definition (.rdl file) An XML representation of an SSRS report definition, containing
both the data retrieval and design layout information for a given report.
3. Application Object Server (AOS) The core of the Microsoft Dynamics AX server platform.
The query web service is used to access OLTP data.
4. Customization extension Design customizations are applied to produce a personalized
view of the report.
5. Report viewer The report is rendered for the user in the client.

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