PageUp and PageDown in the Role Tailored Client

If you have been working with the Role Tailored Client you are probably aware, that it doesn’t support PageUp and PageDown in Task Pages. The reason for removing this support was, that the new User Experience is centered around starting from the List, and this way you have a better overview and can find the records you are searching for right away easier and then open the Task Page.

This is all good, but users have told us, that they would like to use PageUp and PageDown in Task Pages anyway and the reason is that they want to do work on all the records they have selected in a List Place with e.g. Delayed Sales Orders. Why does the user have to close the Task Page, select the next record and reopen the Task Page.

Another scenario is users looking through recent sales orders, to find an order where the customer bought 20 bicycles (because the user remembers this).

So, no doubt that this is something we will be looking at supporting in the future – but NAV 2009 is released, and it does NOT support PageUp and PageDown.

In this post I will explain how to make a poor-man’s PageUp and PageDown in a Page – the goal is to show how this is done, and if anybody run into a customer, with the need of having PageUp and PageDown in e.g. the Sales Order Page – then they can use this as inspiration.

It isn’t a perfect solution, but it is better than nothing. To apply it on ALL pages would be a lot of work – but to apply it on a couple of pages (where the users request it the most) might be the difference between an unsatisfied user and a happy user.

In this sample, I will add the functionality to the Sales Order List Place, which is page 9305. In the List Place we will add an action called Edit All and in the Task Page for the Sales Order (which is 42) we will add two actions: Next Record and Previous Record.

The Edit All action

First, open the Page Designer for Page 9305. Move the selected line to the line after the last object – and select View -> Actions.

In the list of actions – create a new action called Edit All.

image

In the properties of action we change two values:

image

We set the Image, so that the action has the same image as Edit, and we set the ShortCutKey to Return.

Setting the ShortCutKey to Return means that whenever you press ENTER in the list – this action is called instead of the built-in Edit. DoubleClick does the same as ENTER, so my action also gets called when double clicking a row. Ctrl+Shift+E still calls the Built-in Edit action, like when you select that action in the Menu – the only trick here is ENTER and double click – no magic.

Close the properties and hit F9 to modify the code for the actions. Unfortunately F9 doesn’t position you in the action you are modifying, so you will have to find the right action, add the following variables

image

and the following code

<Action5> – OnAction()
newrec.SETPOSITION(GETPOSITION());
newpage.SETRECORD(newrec);
//newpage.SetViewFromList(GETVIEW(true));
newpage.RUN();

Note, that the SetViewFromList method call is out commented – we haven’t created this function yet on the Sales Order page, so this function more or less does exactly the same as the normal Edit function – open the Sales Order page with the currently selected record.

But we want more…

The Card needs to know the View

In order to support Page Up and Page Down, our Task Page needs to know the Filter and sorting from the List. Both these things are in the value we get from GETVIEW, so we will create a function on the Sales Order page to receive this from our list.

Design the Sales Order page (42) and hit F9 – create a new Global Variable called View (Text[250]) and set the Include In Dataset in the properties

image

Reason for the include in dataset is that it now can be used in the property expressions on actions (we don’t want to have the Next and Previous actions enabled if you cannot do next or previous).

Also create a function called SetViewFromList like this

SetViewFromList(ViewFromList : Text[250])
View := ViewFromList;

We could also insert the following lines to our OnOpenPage (as the first lines)

IF View <> ” THEN BEGIN
CurrPage.CAPTION := View;
END;

Having done this, and saved (with compile) the Sales Order page, we can go back to the Edit All action and remove the comment from the line

newpage.SetViewFromList(GETVIEW(true));

Save and run.

Open your sales order list place, create a filter on Location Code = YELLOW and double click on an order and you will get an order with a different caption

image

A little nerdy –  but I didn’t want to create a function for making the filter human readable in this post.

So far so good…

The Next and Previous Actions

So now, our Task Page knows about the filter, which was applied on the list. We of course haven’t done anything with it yet – but the remaining should be pretty straightforward for people who knows C/AL

Create two actions (at the very end of the list – make sure to get the indent right)

Set the shortcut key of Next Record to Ctrl+PgDn and the shortcut key of Previous Record to Ctrl+PgUp. For some reason I cannot use PgUp and PgDn, the Client crashes when I try to do this with an invalid Shortcut key value – I guess we could have handled this situation a little nicer:-).

Both actions should also have an enabled expression called View <> ”

image

Before adding in the code for these actions we create another global function called NextPrev. In this function we add two local variables

image

and the following code

NextPrev(Ascending : Boolean)
newrec.SETVIEW(View);
newrec.SETPOSITION(Rec.GETPOSITION());
newrec.ASCENDING(Ascending);
newrec.NEXT(1);
IF Rec.GETPOSITION() = newrec.GETPOSITION() THEN EXIT;
CurrPage.CLOSE();
newpage.SetViewFromList(View);
newpage.SETRECORD(newrec);
newpage.RUN();

Basically what we do is to locate the next record (ascending or descending) that matches the filter – and if this record is different from the current record – it closes the current page and opens a new page with the next or previous record (it is not possible to change the current record on a page).

It also transfers the View to the next page, so that Next and Previous still works.

The code for the actions should be straight forward

<Action3> – OnAction()
NextPrev(TRUE);

<Action5> – OnAction()
NextPrev(FALSE);

Save, Compile and run the Role Tailored Client.

Yes – it does some flickering when the page closes and reopens – but it works.

Note that if you move the window and use next and previous, then the next window will open on the currently saved position (the CLOSE doesn’t complete and save the new location as the preferred location until after the new page opens) so the window will jump back and forth – I haven’t found any way to avoid that.

Enjoy

Freddy Kristiansen
PM Architect
Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Search in NAV 2009 – Part 3 (out of 3)

If you haven’t read part 2 and part 1 of the Search in NAV 2009 posts, you should do so before continuing.

This is the 3rd and final part of the Search in NAV 2009 post. In this section I will show how to create a Windows Vista Gadget and have this gadget connect to NAV through Web Services and search in NAV (like the System Tray version in part 2).

We will create an installable Gadget like:

image

and when installed the user should be able to perform searches like:

image

Giving the user the opportunity to click on items and link into NAV 2009.

As you will notice the results window is different from the results window in part 2 and the main reason for this is, that I couldn’t get intra document links (that be <A HREF=”#Customers”> and <A NAME=”Customers”>) to work in a flyout. Every time you would click a link which should reposition yourself in the document – it would reload the page and leave me with a blank page.

After having struggled with this for some hours I decided that that piece was primarily done in order to help keyboard users – and since Gadgets kind of require the mouse I decided to remove the intra document links.

If anybody finds a way to do this, feel free to add a comment and make me smarter! 🙂

I actually think the sample shows that the strategy of having the Web Service just return a result set and have the consumer format this in the way that fits the consumer is the right decision.

What is a .Gadget file?

If you ever downloaded a file called Something.Gadget and opened it, you might get a warning like this

image

and if you say Install, then the Gadget gets installed – very easy indeed, but what is this?

As a hint – try to rename the file to Something.Gadget.zip – and you will see.

The file extension Gadget is known by Windows Sidebar, which will look for a Gadget.xml in the .zip file and if a correct Gadget.xml is present, it will display this installation dialog and if you select to Install, the .zip file is unpacked into a directory under

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\Gadgets

and add the gadget to the sidebar.

Note that the .zip file should NOT contain the outer directory – only the content.

And what is the Gadget then?

The Gadget is actually just a small html document, which can contain Javascript, VB Script code or other client side code, supported in html. The first file read by the Sidebar is the Gadget.xml file, which in my Search example looks like:

<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″ ?>
<gadget>
<name>NAV Search Gadget</name>
<namespace>NAVsearch</namespace>
<version>1.0</version>
<author name=”Freddy Kristiansen”>
<info url=”
http://blogs.msdn.com/freddyk” />
</author>
<copyright>None, feel free to use!</copyright>
<description>Freddys NAV Search Gadget</description>
<icons>
<icon height=”48″ width=”48″ src=”Images/Navision.ico” />
</icons>
<hosts>
<host name=”sidebar”>
<base type=”HTML” apiVersion=”1.0.0″ src=”gadget.html” mce_src=”gadget.html” />
<permissions>full</permissions>
<platform minPlatformVersion=”0.3″ />
</host>
</hosts>
</gadget>

So, this is where you define Name, Namespace, Version, Author, etc.  But also Icon to display in the Add Gadget and the html document to display in the sidebar (in this case gadget.html).

In my sample I will be using Javascript – not because I by any means is an expert in Javascript – but I did some Javascript coding back around year 2000 – so I guess it is time to refresh my memory. I use notepad as my editor – and the biggest problem I have run into is, that whenever I make a mistake (like misspell something btw. Javascript is case sensitive) execution of Javascript will just stop without giving any form of error. I guess there are better way to write Javascript than this – I just haven’t found it.

Gadget.html

Note, that this is not an HTML tutorial, I expect you to know the basic constructs of HTML and Javascript – you should be able to find a LOT of content around these things on the Internet.

The body section of my gadget looks like this:

<body bgcolor=”0″ leftmargin=”0″ topmargin=”0″ >
<g:background opacity=”100″></g:background>
<table width=”100%” height=”100%” border=”0″ hspace=”0″ vspace=”0″ cellpadding=”0″ cellspacing=”0″>
<tr>
<td height=”36″ align=”left” valign=”top” background=”Images/gadgettop.png” nowrap><p style=”margin-top: 10px”><strong><font color=”#FFFFFF” size=”3″ face=”Segoe UI”>&nbsp;NAV Search</font></strong></p></td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td height=”22″ valign=”middle” background=”Images/gadgetmiddle.png”>
<input type=”textbox” id=”SearchText” onFocus=”hideFlyout();”><input type=”image” src=”Images/search.png” id=”doSearch” onClick=”search();”>
</td>
</tr>
<tr>
<td height=”28″ border=”0″ background=”Images/gadgetbottom.png”>

Microsoft Dynamics NAV

</td>
</tr>
</table>
</body>

As you can see, most of this is HTML in order to make the Gadget look right. The only two Javascript methods that are called is

  • hideFlyout() – when the textbox receives focus.
  • search() – when you click the search icon (or press enter in the text box)

and of course our Gadget has references to some images from an Images folder.

The main search function looks like this

// Main search function
// search after the content in the textbox
function search()
{
// If flyout is shown, hide it
if (System.Gadget.Flyout.show)
{
hideFlyout();
}

    // Get search string
str = document.getElementById(“SearchText”).value;
if (str != “”)
{
// Perform search
result = doSearch(str);
if (result != “”)
{
// Store HTML to use when flyout pops out
newHTML = result;
// Display result in flyout
System.Gadget.Flyout.show = true;
}
}
}

System.Gadget.Flyout is part of the Gadget Framework and gives you access to set a document used for flyouts, show the flyout and hide it again.

The flyout is (as you can imagine) also just a HTML document – even though it doesn’t behave totally like a normal browser showing a HTML document – more about that later.

As you can see, the function, which will be doing the Web Service connection and the “real” search is doSearch:

// the “real” search function
function doSearch(searchstring)
{
// Get the URL for the NAV 2009 Search Codeunit
var URL = GetBaseURL() + “Codeunit/Search”;

// Create XMLHTTP and send SOAP document
xmlhttp = new ActiveXObject(“Msxml2.XMLHTTP.4.0”);
xmlhttp.open(“POST”, URL, false, null, null);
xmlhttp.setRequestHeader(“Content-Type”, “text/xml; charset=utf-8”);
xmlhttp.setRequestHeader(“SOAPAction”, “DoSearch”);
xmlhttp.Send(‘<?xml version=”1.0″ encoding=”utf-8″?><soap:Envelope xmlns:soap=”
http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/”><soap:Body><DoSearch xmlns=”urn:microsoft-dynamics-schemas/codeunit/Search”><searchstring>’+searchstring+'</searchstring><result></result></DoSearch></soap:Body></soap:Envelope>’);

// Find the result in the soap result and return the rsult
xmldoc = xmlhttp.ResponseXML;
xmldoc.setProperty(‘SelectionLanguage’, ‘XPath’);
xmldoc.setProperty(‘SelectionNamespaces’, ‘xmlns:soap=”
http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/” xmlns:tns=”urn:microsoft-dynamics-schemas/codeunit/Search”‘);
result = xmldoc.selectSingleNode(“/soap:Envelope/soap:Body/tns:DoSearch_Result/tns:result”).text;

// Load result into XML Document
xmldoc = new ActiveXObject(“Msxml2.DOMDocument.4.0”);
xmldoc.loadXML(result);

    // Load XSL document
xsldoc = new ActiveXObject(“Msxml2.DOMDocument.4.0”);
xsldoc.load(“SearchResultToHTML.xslt”); 

    // Transform
return xmldoc.transformNode(xsldoc);
}

Wow – a lot of code.

This is actually the only code in the Gadget connecting to Web Services – all the other code is housekeeping and has as such nothing to do with NAV 2009. Basically we just get the URL for the Web Service and use XMLHTTP to connect to the Web Service and get a SOAP response back. We use XPath to find the XML result from our codeunit. Load this into a XML Document. Load the XSLT into another XML Document and transform the XML using the XSLT – somehow similar to the way we did it in C# in part 2.

I will post other examples of Gadgets communicating with NAV Web Services, stay tuned.

The basic initialization of the gadget is done in

// Microsoft suggests using onreadystatechange instead of onLoad
document.onreadystatechange = function()
{
if(document.readyState==”complete”)
{
// Initialize Settings and Flyout
System.Gadget.settingsUI = “settings.html”;
System.Gadget.Flyout.file = “flyout.html”; 

        // Add eventhandler for Flyout onShow
System.Gadget.Flyout.onShow = flyoutShowing;  

// Write default Base URL in settings if not already done
GetBaseURL();
}
}

When setting the value of settingsUI on System.Gadget the gadget will get a small image icon when you hover over the Gadget and an Options menu item in the Context menu. Both these options will open the HTML defined in settingsUI.

There is no code in the Flyout – the only special thing is with the flyout is that it contains an IFRAME element, which loads the content.html document in order to get a scrollbar if the content of the flyout becomes too big.

The GetBaseURL function is used under startup – and when we need to connect.

// Get the Base Web Services URL
function GetBaseURL()
{
// Read the URL from settings
var URL = System.Gadget.Settings.readString(“URL”);
if (URL == “”)
{
// No settings in the settings.ini – write the default URL
URL = defaultURL;
System.Gadget.Settings.writeString(“URL”, URL);
}
// Always terminate with /
if (URL.substr(URL.length-1,1) != “/”)
{
URL = URL + “/”;
}
return URL;
}

The reason for calling the function at startup is, that we set the settings to the default URL if it isn’t already defined. It is better that the settings dialog comes up with “some” default than just a blank URL – IMO.

The settings.html contains two functions for doing the housekeeping of the settings:

// Initialize settings Form
document.onreadystatechange = function()
{
if(document.readyState==”complete”)
{
// Read settings and set in form
URL.value = System.Gadget.Settings.read(“URL”);
}
}

// Event handler for onSettingsClosing
System.Gadget.onSettingsClosing = function(event)
{
if (event.closeAction == event.Action.commit)
{
// Write new URL into settings
System.Gadget.Settings.writeString(“URL”, URL.value);

        // State that it is OK to close the settings form
event.cancel = false;
}
}

I will let the code speak for itself.

The System.Gadget.Settings read and write functions stores the settings in

C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows Sidebar\settings.ini

and the settings will be stored in clear text, you will actually be able to modify this file as well.

That’s it for the NAV Search demo – I hope you like it, you can download the Gadget from http://www.freddy.dk/Search – Part 3.zip. Note that this download cannot stand alone – you need the NAV piece of this, which you can find in Part 1.

Enjoy

Freddy Kristiansen
PM Architect
Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Search in NAV 2009 – Part 2 (out of 3)

If you haven’t read part 1 of the Search in NAV 2009, you should do so before continuing.

In this section we will create a small Winforms application, which uses the Web Service we just created in part 1.

Our application will be visible as a System Tray Icon, it will have a global Windows Hotkey with which we can activate search and when you activate the Search application it will popup and look like this

image

In part 3 we will create a Windows Vista Gadget version of the same app.

Visual Studio

I assume that you have worked with Visual Studio and C# before (this is not a C# tutorial – though you can of course play around with the code if you want to learn) and I will be using Visual Studio 2008 (incl. SP1) for my samples, and I won’t go into details about every function in the solution – I will however try to explain how things works and show a couple of the functions (you can download the full sample and play around with it).

In Program.cs (main program), we create an instance of the SearchForm. We do not give the form to Application.Run() – this would show the Search Form immediately and we don’t want that.

The Form has a NotifyIcon (an Icon in the System Tray) and a context menu for that Icon – all of that is setup in the Visual Studio Forms Designer and you will find event handlers for the menu items and for when the user is clicking the NotifyIcon in the code.

The application has a reference to the Search Web Service from part 1 – and currently this is pointing to

http://localhost:7047/DynamicsNAV/WS/CRONUS_International_Ltd/Codeunit/Search

If you need to change that, you do not need to recompile and change the application – you can do this by modifying the .config file, which gets deployed next to the .exe file (named the same as the .exe file with .config behind – standard .net thingy).

The NAVSearch.exe.config contains a setting for the reference, that looks like this:

<setting name=”NAVsearch_SearchReference_Search” serializeAs=”String”>
<value>
http://localhost:7047/DynamicsNAV/WS/CRONUS_International_Ltd/Codeunit/Search</value>
</setting>

The “main” code is the Event Handler for the Search Button Click event. I will let the code and the comments speak for itself.

/// <summary>
/// Event Handler for Click on the Search Button
/// </summary>
private void bSearch_Click(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
// Create the Service proxy class
SearchReference.Search searchService = new NAVsearch.SearchReference.Search();
searchService.UseDefaultCredentials = true;

    // Invoke the DoSearch method
string result = “”;
searchService.DoSearch(this.eSearch.Text.ToUpper(), ref result);

    // Did we get a result back?
if (!string.IsNullOrEmpty(result))
{
// Load the result into an XML Document
XmlDocument xmlDoc = new XmlDocument();
xmlDoc.LoadXml(result);

        // Load the XSLT Transformation document
XslCompiledTransform xslTrans = new XslCompiledTransform() ;
xslTrans.Load(Path.GetDirectoryName(Application.ExecutablePath) + @”SearchResultToHTML.xslt”);

        // Perform the transformation in memory
StringBuilder sb = new StringBuilder();
StringWriter sw = new StringWriter(sb);
xslTrans.Transform(xmlDoc, null, sw);

        // Hide the Search form
HideSearchForm();

        // Set local image path
string html = sb.ToString().Replace(“#path#”, “file://” + Path.GetDirectoryName(Application.ExecutablePath) + @””);

        // Show the Search Results form
resultsForm = SearchResultsForm.ShowHTML(html);
}
}

The result returned from WebServices was a BigText, which is a string in C# – we simply take that string and load it in an XML Document (if it isn’t empty of course).

The stylesheet needed for transforming the XML into HTML (SearchResultToHTML xslt) is also included in the project, and it also includes the images used by the HTML. In the XSLT all the images are preceded with a path identifier #path#, which we replace with the application directory in order to show the HTML proper.

I won’t go into detail about how XSLT works, there are a ton of resources on the Internet explaining this, I use it for getting from the XML I get from the Search Codeunit to the HTML – and it works for the purpose.

ShowHTML is a static function on the Search Result Form, which opens the Search Result form and displays the HTML in a webbrowser control inside the form.

/// <summary>
/// Open the search result form and show an HTML document
/// </summary>
/// <param name=”html”>HTML document to show</param>
/// <returns>The Search Result Form</returns>
public static SearchResultsForm ShowHTML(string html)
{
SearchResultsForm form = new SearchResultsForm();
form.webBrowser1.DocumentText = html;
form.Show();
form.Activate();
return form;
}

There are a number of small functions in the application to control the behavior of the application.

Windows Key + Z opens up the Search Form – is controlled by the statements

User32.RegisterHotKey(this.Handle, this.GetType().GetHashCode(), (int)Modifiers.MOD_WIN, (int)Keys.Z);

in the constructor and the following method

/// <summary>
/// Event Handler for Windows Messages
/// </summary>
protected override void WndProc(ref Message m)
{
// Only react on WM_HOTKEY
if (m.Msg == (int)Msgs.WM_HOTKEY)
{
// Show the Search Form
this.ShowSearchForm();
}
// Invoke default Message Handler
base.WndProc(ref m);
}

Of course the global hotkey is destroyed in OnClosed – when exiting the application.

When the form is deactivated – we want to hide the form, that is achieved by

/// <summary>
/// Event handler for Deactivate form
/// Hide the SearchForm when it gets deactivated
/// </summary>
private void SearchForm_Deactivate(object sender, EventArgs e)
{
HideSearchForm();
}

and whenever the form is shown, there is some housekeeping to make sure that the Search Result form is closed, it opens up in the right location and it is activated and ready to type in.

/// <summary>
/// Show the Search Form
/// </summary>
private void ShowSearchForm()
{
// If the result Form is open – close it
if (resultsForm != null)
{
resultsForm.Close();
resultsForm = null;
}
// Set the location of the searchform to the lower right corner
this.Location = new Point(System.Windows.Forms.Screen.GetWorkingArea(this).Width – this.Size.Width,
System.Windows.Forms.Screen.GetWorkingArea(this).Height – this.Size.Height);
// SearchForm is topmost
this.TopMost = true;
// Show the Search Form
this.Show();
// Activate it
this.Activate();
// Select the text in the Search TextBox and put focus in the control
this.eSearch.SelectAll();
this.eSearch.Focus();
}

The original demo scenario was a user sitting in Word, wanting to find information about an item in his NAV. The user hits Windows+Z, types in what he is looking for and hits ENTER. The Search Result Form opens with focus and the user can use TAB to select the area in which we wants to look at results or the user can move directly to the search result he is looking for and press ENTER (or use the mouse of course).

When the user presses ESC in the Task Page opened from the Search Result Form the user will return to the Search Result Form and when the user presses ESC again the user is back in the Search Form – and one more ESC will bring him back into Word and the user can continue his work.

You can download the solution for NAV Search here http://www.freddy.dk/Search – Part 2.zip. Note that this download cannot stand alone – you need the NAV piece of this, which you can find in Part 1.

Enjoy

Freddy Kristiansen
PM Architect
Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Search in NAV 2009 – Part 1 (out of 3)

During the partner keynote and during a couple of the other presentations, we showed a small application, which was able to search in NAV 2009 through multiple tables, display a result set and allow people to drill into task pages in NAV 2009 from the search result window.

During the next 3 posts, I will explain how this demo is done and make it available for download. The sample comes with absolutely no warranty, but you can download it and see how things are done and reuse pieces of the sample or the full sample.

In the first part I will describe how the search functionality is done inside NAV, how to expose this as a Web Service and search from Microsoft Infopath, getting an XML result set back.

In the second part, I will describe how to create a small Windows application, which connects to the Web Service from part 1 and uses XSLT to transform the XML to a nice HTML document with links back into NAV 2009.

In the third part, I will describe how to create this as a Microsoft Windows Vista Gadget with a flyout showing the search results.

Scenario

The demo scenario goes like this:

In the tray of you Windows, there is a small Dynamics Icon

image

If you click this Icon (or use an assigned global hotkey), a small window pops up

image

The user types in what he is looking for and hit ENTER, which closes the Search Window and pops up the Search Result window:

image

Now the user can click on the links in the left hand side in order to link back into NAV, or select them with the keyboard.

The Vista Gadget which we will be completing in Part 3 looks like:

image

The only disadvantage of the Vista Gadget is, that it is doesn’t really support the keyboard very well – I like the System Tray version better:-)

But – much of this is later on – the outcome of the first part is basically the following:

image

Admitted – not very useful, but stay tuned for part 2 and 3.

Table definitions

When doing wildcard search on multiple tables, we of course need some setup tables, which will tell us which tables to search in. We also need to setup which fields in these tables we want to search in – and we need a table definition for a temporary table in which we can store the search result.

The Search Tables table defines which tables to search through.

image

Table No defines a table to search through.
Page No is the card page which should be used for showing a record from the table.
Id Field No is the field number of the ID field in the table.
Name Field No is the field number of the Name field in the table.

I have only one key in the Search Tables table – and that is Table No.

and the Search Fields table defines which fields to search for in these tables:

image

Table No is the table and Field No is a field which should be included in the search.

Also in the Search Fields we only have one key, which includes both Table No and Field No, and last but not least we need a table definition, which we use for a temporary table while doing the search.

image

for every match we find in a table, we create one record in this temporary table, where

Bookmark is the bookmark (used when launching a page in the Role Tailored Client).
Name is the name field of the record.
Table is the name of the Table in which the record was found.
Id is the id field of the record.
Page is the Page number we want to open in the Role Tailored Client for this record.

It should be clear how the outcome of this can become the XML you see in the InfoPath above – and probably also how this then transforms into the HTML in part 2 and 3.

The Search Codeunit

Disclaimer: Note, that I am not a trained C/AL developer – meaning that the following code might not be the most efficient – but it works for the purpose for which I use it. If you find things, that can be done smarter, better, faster or just things that are made stupid, let me know so that I can learn something as well.

First of all we create a Codeunit called Search and add the following code. The first section of the DoSearch method is all about searching.

The function loops through all Search Tables and for each Search Table, it loops through the Search Fields – and perform a search. For every match we create a record in the results temporary table (if it isn’t already inserted).

DoSearch(searchstring : Text[40];VAR result : BigText)
CLEAR(result);
results.DELETEALL;
IF searchtable.FIND(‘-‘) THEN
BEGIN
REPEAT
rec.OPEN(searchtable.”Table No”);
searchfield.SETRANGE(searchfield.”Table No”, searchtable.”Table No”);
IF searchfield.FIND(‘-‘) THEN
BEGIN
REPEAT
rec.RESET();
field := rec.FIELD(searchfield.”Field No”);
field.SETFILTER(‘*’ + searchstring + ‘*’);
IF rec.FIND(‘-‘) THEN
BEGIN
REPEAT
results.SETRANGE(results.Bookmark, FORMAT(rec.RECORDID,0,10));
IF NOT results.FIND(‘-‘) THEN
BEGIN
results.INIT();
results.Bookmark := FORMAT(rec.RECORDID,0,10);
results.Id := rec.FIELD(searchtable.”Id Field No”).VALUE;
results.Name := rec.FIELD(searchtable.”Name Field No”).VALUE;
results.Page := searchtable.”Page No”;
results.Table := rec.NAME;
results.INSERT();
END;
UNTIL rec.NEXT = 0;
END;
field.SETFILTER(”);
UNTIL searchfield.NEXT =0;
END;
rec.CLOSE;
searchfield.SETRANGE(searchfield.”Table No”);
UNTIL searchtable.NEXT = 0;
END;

Note, the FORMAT(recid, 0, 10) – which is the way to get a bookmark, which can be used for linking back into NAV 2009.

You probably noticed that the result is defined as a BigText and not as a XMLPort. If I was doing to use this function from C# only, I might have made it as a XMLPort – and used the strongly typed interface – but I also need to connect to this Web Service from Javascript (in part 3), so I will stick with the BigText.

That does however mean, that we manually have to build the XML document based on the temporary results table. The following code is also in the DoSearch function:

results.RESET;
results.SETCURRENTKEY(results.Table, results.Id);
IF results.FIND(‘-‘) THEN
BEGIN
CREATE(XMLDoc, false, false);
XMLDoc.async(FALSE);
TopNode := XMLDoc.createNode(1,’SEARCHRESULT’,”);
XMLDoc.appendChild(TopNode);
currentTable := ”;
REPEAT
IF results.Table <> currentTable THEN
BEGIN
currentTable := results.Table;
TableNode := XMLDoc.createNode(1,’TABLE’,”);
TableAttribute := XMLDoc.createAttribute(‘NAME’);
TableAttribute.value := currentTable;
TableNode.attributes.setNamedItem(TableAttribute);
TopNode.appendChild(TableNode);
END;
MatchNode := XMLDoc.createNode(1,’MATCH’,”);
MatchAttribute := XMLDoc.createAttribute(‘PAGE’);
MatchAttribute.value := results.Page;
MatchNode.attributes.setNamedItem(MatchAttribute);
ValueNode := XMLDoc.createNode(1,’BOOKMARK’,”);
ValueTextNode := XMLDoc.createTextNode(results.Bookmark);
ValueNode.appendChild(ValueTextNode);
MatchNode.appendChild(ValueNode);
ValueNode := XMLDoc.createNode(1,’ID’,”);
ValueTextNode := XMLDoc.createTextNode(results.Id);
ValueNode.appendChild(ValueTextNode);
MatchNode.appendChild(ValueNode);
ValueNode := XMLDoc.createNode(1,’NAME’,”);
ValueTextNode := XMLDoc.createTextNode(results.Name);
ValueNode.appendChild(ValueTextNode);
MatchNode.appendChild(ValueNode);
TableNode.appendChild(MatchNode);
UNTIL results.NEXT = 0;
result.ADDTEXT(XMLDoc.xml);
END;

Note that we build the XML in a server side COM object (XMLDoc) and after building the XML Document, I insert that in a BigText in one go.

That statement would fail in the Classic Client (because XMLDoc.xml often is larger than the allowed Text size) – but on the Service Tier, this works just fine because the ADDTEXT takes a string – and there is no size limit on that.

Populating Search Tables and Search Fields

Before we can test the Search Web Service, we need to define which fields we want the search mechanism to run on.

This can of course be done manually – or we can create a function to do this. I of course went for the second approach and created a function to populate the tables with the following data:

image image

You can see the code of that function if you download the sample, but basically it scans through metadata for all tables and searches for tables with a card form specified, which has a Search Name/Description in the table.

Now having populated the Search Tables we are ready to expose the code unit as a Web Service and test it. In the Web Service Table we need to expose the Search Codeunit:

image

having done this – you should be able to start an Internet Explorer and type in the following URL

http://localhost:7047/DynamicsNAV/WS/CRONUS_International_Ltd/Codeunit/Search

giving you the WSDL of the Web Service (given of course that your Service Tier is on localhost, DynamicsNAV is your instance name and you are using the default W1 database.

image

Testing the Web Service from Infopath

Infopath is a nice tool to test your Web Service methods and it is really pretty easy. I have added a walkthrough of how to do case you haven’t tried it before.

Start InfoPath and design a Form Template

image

Base the Form Template on a Web Service

image

Only receive data, since we are not going to alter any data in this case

image

Use the URL pointing to the Search Codeunit Web Service

image

Select the DoSearch operation

image

and give the Data Connection a name

image

Set the title and the Subtitle and drag the search string to the parameters section and the result to the data section

image

Make the result field higher, select TextBox Properties and check the Multiline checkbox, and hit Preview

image

Now the Infopath template launches and can type in cycle in the search string and hit the Run Query button. You probably need to allow Infopath to communicate to your Web Service – but after that you should get the following result

image

That’s it – if you get something similar to this, the search method works.

In part 2 we will create a small Winforms application consuming this Web Service.

You can download a zip file containing the NAV objects in a .fob file and the Infopath template here: http://www.freddy.dk/Search – Part 1.zip.

Enjoy

Freddy Kristiansen
PM Architect
Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 launched!

Wednesday this week we officially launched Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 at Convergence EMEA – what a relief. We have been working hard on this release for a long time and although you always know what you would have made better when you launch a product, I think that NAV 2009 is a great release and expect a lot of this product.

Kirill Tatarinov opened Convergence EMEA with his Keynote on Wednesday and talked a lot about the current situation for the Microsoft and the partners. He talked about how it is more necessary now than ever before to stay connected to help each other through this difficult crisis. But the keynote was not all about the crisis – he also announced the launch of Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 – and we saw a demo of how a couple of personas was running the Role Tailored Client in NAV, we saw a forklift come on stage with packages and we saw how a mobile device was directly connected to NAV 2009 registering arrived packages in the Warehouse. We also saw how personalization can change NAV 2009 to become not just any other NAV – but your own personal NAV 2009.

There were a lot of other sessions around NAV 2009. Some about Web Services, some about warehousing, financial management, etc. etc.

Two of the sessions was about the TAP (Technical Adoption Program) and was called meet the partners and meet the customers. In these sessions people had the opportunity to ask questions to the partners and customers who had been part of the TAP.

The TAP had a goal of having 3 customers live on NAV 2009 before RTM. We smashed that goal and today, 10 customers in US, Denmark and Germany are live on NAV 2009. Dan Brown said in his keynote that we have over one year of server up-time before the product RTM’s – this is something completely new for NAV.

Some of the statements from partners and customers I noted was:

  • I don’t think we have had one single crash in NAV 2009 since we went live on September 11th 2008.
  • If I would do one thing different – I would only run the Role Tailored Client. Some users have stayed on the Classic Client and I think that the only reason for this is, that they have the option.
  • The users are more productive in the Role Tailored Client.
  • The help we have gotten through Microsoft in the TAP has been fantastic.
  • The users who only use NAV for 30 minutes a day have a harder time adjusting to the Role Tailored Client.
  • Some of the users who rely on fast data entry prefer the Classic Client.

A lot of positive feedback – and some negative. Of course we listen more to the negative feedback (as this helps us find out what we need to do better in the future), and I think it is fair to say that we have been doing a lot of investigation in order to be sure, that we know what we need to do.

So, if you ask me whether the product is ready – I would say it is ready. If you ask me whether we know how to make the product better – I would say yes – but don’t we always, that is kind of the essence of product development.

Always working on the next version.

Stay tuned.

Freddy Kristiansen
PM Architect
Microsoft Dynamics NAV

Creating and Running Hyperlinks

In the developer help for NAV 2009 (nav_adg.chm), there is a description for creating and running Hyperlinks – I will not try to repeat all the information in the documentation – so please read the documentation before reading this post.

There are however a couple of thing, which are not described in detail.

My next post is about the Search demo, which was shown at Convergence yesterday (Partner day) – I will describe how this demo is done, in a 2 step walkthrough (first is to get it to work on all operating systems and second is to make it work as a Windows Vista Gadget – stay tuned)

Bookmark

Bookmark This positions the cursor on a single record in a table.

Only automatically generated bookmarks should be used. If you enter an incorrect bookmark, you will get an error message.

dynamicsnav://localhost/DynamicsNAV/CRONUS International Ltd./runpage?page=22&bookmark=120000000089083237343

But how do you get your hands on this automatically generated bookmark?

It is actually described in another section of the documentation – Walkthrough: Creating a Link in a Report.

FORMAT(RecordRef.RECORDID,0,10)

The usage of value 10 in this expression is a RoleTailored client feature only that will format RECORDID into a text representation that is compatible with the URL handler of reports and pages. Note that this function only works if ISSERVICETIER = TRUE – if you run a code unit in the classic client, trying to use the FORMAT(xx,0,10) it will not return a bookmark for the Role Tailored Client.

Personalization ID

Personalization ID This is the unique identification used in personalization to store settings in the User Metadata table. If a personalization ID is not found, the page is launched without personalization. dynamicsnav://localhost/DynamicsNAV/CRONUS International Ltd./runpage?page=22&personalization=0000232e-0000-001a-0008-0000836bd2d2

What is this personalization ID and how do you get to that?

The Personalization ID is the way we distinguish the different views of things like the Sales Order List View. In Susans Role Center, there are 6 List Places, which all use the same underlying List Place (9305)

image

In fact, this is the reason for these List Places to be grouped together – that they have a common page number, and if we didn’t have the personalization ID, all these list places would share personalization – and in a Role Tailored User Experience, there are differences in which actions you typically would promote in a list place with shipped not invoices sales orders and a list place with ready to ship sales orders.

BTW – if you wonder where the last 4 come from – the are auto generated from the stacks in Susans Activities – and the reason for this is, that in order for navigation to work, we need to have a node in the navigation pane for every possible list place we can have in the navigation area.

The Personalization ID for these views are:

Sales Orders 0000232E-0000-0002-0008-0000836BD2D2
Shipped Not Invoiced 0000232E-0000-0007-0008-0000836BD2D2
Sales Orders – Open 00002364-0000-0006-0008-0000836BD2D2
Ready to Ship 00002364-0000-000C-0008-0000836BD2D2
Partially Shipped 00002364-0000-000B-0008-0000836BD2D2
Delayed 00002364-0000-000A-0008-0000836BD2D2

and how in earth did I find these ID´s?

Simple enogh – In a VPC, Classic Client I open the User Personalization table. Then I personalize these list places one after the other, and every time I have personalized a list place I refresh my table view and a new record pops up:

image

Sorted by Personalization ID.

For Task Pages – the personalization ID will typically just be the same as the Page ID.

But what can you use this for?

Very little as the matter of fact – if you launch a RunPage url with a list place as paramter, the list place will open as a task page, so you will need to specify which personalization you want – else you will create a personalization set with the same ID as the list place (9305 in this case). The personalizations stored under this personalization ID will never be used by the RTC (unless you launch that URL again), since we always specify the above ID’s.

So you should think that the following URL

“DynamicsNAV:////CRONUS International Ltd./RunPage?Page=9305&personalization=0000232E-0000-0007-0008-0000836BD2D2”

would open the Shipped Not Invoiced List Place in a Task Page.

That is unfortunately only partially true – you will open a Task Page with a List of Sales Orders and the Personalizations in this list are Shipped Not Invoiced – but you will NOT inherit the filters from Shipped Not Invoiced and the caption is also not what you would expect.

So now told what the personalization ID is and how to use it, but I am afraid it is only for limited usage right now.

If you want to launch a listplace you need to do like:

“DynamicsNAV:////CRONUS International Ltd./navigate?node=Home/Sales Orders/Ready to Ship”

Only problem with this URL is, that it always opens a new Client (eating one extra license).

I will investigate whether there are other ways of getting to a list place with filters and personalization – but for now, don’t specify pesonalization ID when launching pages via URL’s unless you have a good reason for doing so.

Enjoy

Freddy Kristiansen
PM Architect
Microsoft Dynamics NAV

NAV 2009 and Unicode!

The title might be a bit misleading, but I am writing this post as a response to a problem, which a partner ran into with NAV 2009 – and the problem is caused by Unicode. I am not a Unicode expert, so bare with me if I am naming some things wrong.

As you know, NAV 2009 is a 3T architecture and the Service Tier is 95% managed code (only the lower pieces of the data stack is still unmanaged code). You probably also know, that managed code supports Unicode natively – in fact a string in C# or VB.Net is by default a Unicode string.

In C# you use byte[] if you need to work with binary data. My earlier post about transferring binary data between the Service Tier and Client Side COM or Web Service consumers (you can find it here) I read the file content into a byte[] and use a base64 encoding to encode this content into a string, which is transferable between platforms, code pages etc.

Is NAV 2009 then Unicode compliant?

No, we cannot claim that. There are a lot of things, that stops us from having a fully Unicode compliant product – but we are heading in that direction. Some of the things are:

  • The development environment and the classic client is not Unicode. When you write strings in AL code they are in OEM.
  • The import/export formats are OEM format.
  • I actually don’t know what the format inside SQL is, but I assume it isn’t Unicode (again because we have mixed platforms).

Lets take an example:

In a codeunit I write the following line:

txt := ‘ÆØÅ are three Danish letters, ß is used in German and Greek.’;

Now, I export this as a .txt file, and view this in my favorite DOS text viewer:

image

As you can see – the Ø has changed and a quick look at my codepage reveals that I am running 437 – the codepage that doesn’t have an Ø.

Opening the exported file in Notepad looks different:

Txt := ‘’î are three Danish letters, á is used in German and Greek.’;

Primary reason for this is, that Notepad assumes Unicode and the .txt file is OEM. When I launch the RoleTailored Client, and take a look at that line in the generated C# source file in Notepad:

txt = new NavText(1024, @”ÆØÅ are three Danish letters, ß is used in German and Greek.”);

Nice – and we know that Notepad is Unicode compliant and C# uses Unicode strings, so the AL -> C# compiler converts the string to Unicode – how does this look in my favorite DOS text viewer:

image

Clearly my string has been encoded.

But wait…

If NAV 2009 converts my text constants to Unicode – what if I write this string to a file using my well known file commands in AL? – well, let’s try.

I added the following code to a Codeunit and ran it from both the Role Tailored Client and from the Classic Client.

file.CREATETEMPFILE();
filename := file.NAME;
file.CLOSE();
file.CREATE(filename);
file.CREATEOUTSTREAM(OutStr);
OutStr.WRITETEXT(Txt);
file.CLOSE();

and don’t worry, the results are identical – both platforms actually writes the file in OEM format (we might have preferred Unicode, but for compatibility reasons this is probably a good thing).

Another thing we should try, is to call a managed COM object – and take a look at the string we get there – and again we get the same string from the Classic and from the Role Tailored Client – but in this case, we do NOT get the string in OEM format – we get a Unicode string.

MSXML

Now if we call an unmanaged COM object (like MSXML2 – XMLHTTP) we actually get the OEM string when invoked from the Classic Client and a Unicode string when invoked from the Role Tailored Client. Typically XMLHTTP is used with ASCII only – but in some cases, they do have binary data – which might be in the 128-255 character range.

Our problem now is, that our binary data (which didn’t have any relation to any special characters) gets converted to Unicode – and the Web Service provider doesn’t stand a chance to guess what we mean with the data we send.

The next problem is that the Role Tailored Client doesn’t support a byte[] type (binary) – in which we could have build a command and send it over. I tried a number of things, but didn’t find a way to send any binary data (above 128) to the Send command of XMLHTTP.

The third problem with XMLHTTP is that the only way we can get a result back is by reading the ResponseText – and that is treated as a Unicode string and gets crumbled before we get it into NAV.

Remember that these problems will not occur if the web service provider uses XML to transfer data back and forth – since XML is ASCII compliant.

My first proposal if you are having problems with a Web Service provider, using a binary communication is to query the provider and ask for an XML version of the gateway. If this isn’t possible – you have a couple of options (which both include writing a new COM object).

Create a proxy

You could create a Web Service proxy as a COM component (probably server side) and have a higher level function you call. This would remove the XMLHTTP glue code from NAV and put that into the COM object.

Example – you have a Web Service provider who can verify credit card numbers – and normally you would build up a string in AL and send this to the Send command – and then parse the ResponseStream you get back to figure out whether everything was A OK for not.

Create a function in a new COM object which might be named:

int CheckCreditCard(string CreditCardNo, string NameOnCard, int ExpireMonth, int ExpireYear, int SecurityCode)

Then your business logic in AL would just call and check – without a lot of XML parsing and stuff.

This would be my preferred choice – but it does involve some refactoring and a new COM object that needs to be installed on the server.

Use temporary files to transfer data

As mentioned earlier – writing a file in NAV 2009 with binary data, creates a file in OEM format – which would be the same binary content as we are typing in the AL editor.

So, you could create the string you want to send to XMLHTTP in a temporary file, create a new COM object which contains a function which sends the content of a file to a XMLHTTP object and writes the response back into the same file for NAV to read.

The idea here is that files (and byte[]) are binary data – strings are not.

The function in the COM object could look like:

public int SendFileContent(object NAVxmlhttp, string filename)
{
MSXML2.ServerXMLHTTP xmlHttp = NAVxmlhttp as MSXML2.ServerXMLHTTP;
FileStream fs = File.OpenRead(filename);
BinaryReader br = new BinaryReader(fs);
int len = (int)fs.Length;
byte[] buffer = new byte[len];
br.Read(buffer, 0, len);
br.Close();
fs.Close();

    xmlHttp.send(buffer);

    buffer = xmlHttp.responseBody as byte[];
fs = File.Create(filename);
BinaryWriter bw = new BinaryWriter(fs);
bw.Write(buffer);
bw.Close();
fs.Close();

    return xmlHttp.status;
}

If you went for this approach your AL code would change from:

XmlHttp.Send(Txt);

(followed by opening the ResponseStream) to

file.CREATETEMPFILE();
filename := file.NAME;
file.CLOSE();
file.CREATE(filename);
file.CREATEOUTSTREAM(OutStr);
OutStr.WRITETEXT(Txt);
file.CLOSE();

myCOMobject.SendFileContent(XmlHttp, filename);

(followed by opening the file <filename> again – reading the result).

The second approach would also work from the Classic client – so you don’t have to use IF ISSERVICETIER THEN to do the one of the other.

In the Edit In Excel – Part 4, you can see how to create a COM object – should be pretty straightforward.

Build a binary string that doesn’t get encoded

You could create a function in a COM object, which returns a character based on a numeric value:

public string GetChar(int ch)
{
return “”+(char)ch;
}

Problem with this direction is, that this function should ONLY be used when running in the Role Tailored Client.

Calling this function from the Classic Client will case this string to be seen as Unicode and converted back into OEM – and that really wouldn’t make sense at all.

Convert to/from Unicode using strings instead of files

So what if the data you need to send is confidential and you cannot write that to a file?

Well – you can create a function, which converts the string back to OEM (making it the same binary image) – send it over the wire – and then convert the response to UniCode (so that when the string comes into NAV – it will be converted back to OEM again again).

Seems like a lot of conversion back and forth – but it would actually work from both the Classic and the Role Tailored Client, the code for that goes here:

public class MyCOMobject : IMyCOMobject
{
private static Byte[] oem2AnsiTable;
private static Byte[] ansi2OemTable;

    /// <summary>
/// Initialize COM object
/// </summary>
public MyCOMobject()
{
oem2AnsiTable = new Byte[256];
ansi2OemTable = new Byte[256];
for (Int32 i = 0; i < 256; i++)
{
oem2AnsiTable[i] = (Byte)i;
ansi2OemTable[i] = (Byte)i;
}
NativeMethods.OemToCharBuff(oem2AnsiTable, oem2AnsiTable, oem2AnsiTable.Length);
NativeMethods.CharToOemBuff(ansi2OemTable, ansi2OemTable, ansi2OemTable.Length);
// Remove “holes” in the convertion structure
Int32 ch1 = 255;
Int32 ch2 = 255;
for (;; ch1–, ch2–)
{
while (ansi2OemTable[oem2AnsiTable[ch1]] == ch1)
{
if (ch1 == 0)
break;
else
ch1–;
}
while (oem2AnsiTable[ansi2OemTable[ch2]] == ch2)
{
if (ch2 == 0)
break;
else
ch2–;
}
if (ch1 == 0)
break;
oem2AnsiTable[ch1] = (Byte)ch2;
ansi2OemTable[ch2] = (Byte)ch1;
}
}

    /// <summary>
/// Convert Unicode string to OEM string
/// </summary>
/// <param name=”str”>Unicode string</param>
/// <returns>OEM string</returns>
private byte[] UnicodeToOem(string str)
{
Byte[] buffer = Encoding.Default.GetBytes(str);
for (Int32 i = 0; i < buffer.Length; i++)
{
buffer[i] = ansi2OemTable[buffer[i]];
}
return buffer;
}

    /// <summary>
/// Convert OEM string to Unicode string
/// </summary>
/// <param name=”oem”>OEM string</param>
/// <returns>Unicode string</returns>
private string OemToUnicode(byte[] oem)
{
for (Int32 i = 0; i < oem.Length; i++)
{
oem[i] = oem2AnsiTable[oem[i]];
}
return Encoding.Default.GetString(oem);
}

    /// <summary>
/// Send data through XMLHTTP
/// </summary>
/// <param name=”NAVxmlhttp”>XmlHttp object</param>
/// <param name=”data”>string containing data (in Unicode)</param>
/// <returns>The response from the XMLHTTP Send</returns>
public string Send(object NAVxmlhttp, string data)
{
MSXML2.ServerXMLHTTP xmlHttp = NAVxmlhttp as MSXML2.ServerXMLHTTP;
byte[] oem = UnicodeToOem(data);
xmlHttp.send(oem);
        return OemToUnicode((byte[])xmlHttp.responseBody);
}
}

internal static partial class NativeMethods
{
#region Windows OemToChar/CharToOem imports

    [DllImport(“user32”, EntryPoint = “OemToCharBuffA”)]
internal static extern Int32 OemToCharBuff(Byte[] source, Byte[] dest, Int32 bytesize);

    [DllImport(“user32”, EntryPoint = “CharToOemBuffA”)]
internal static extern Int32 CharToOemBuff(Byte[] source, Byte[] dest, Int32 bytesize);

    #endregion
}

Unfortunately I have not found a way to do this without having a COM object in play.

Enjoy

Freddy Kristiansen
PM Architect
Microsoft Dynamics NAV