Feb 26, 2013 by André Arnaud de Calavon Category: AX2012 R2 2 comments

When new version of software is released, you like to have some answers on the following questions. What are the new features? Can it help your daily business?

I guess you all looked at what is new. But… are you aware of changed and even removed features? Will that have impact for your daily business?

Before continuing reading I like to point out that there is a clue at the end of this document.

Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2 was released and it continues expanding in countries and functionality. Since Dynamics AX2012 it is already known that some features have been changed, replaced and so on. For example: The product builder will be removed in the next major release. There is a new constrained based configurator. In the current AX2012 version both product configurators are available if you upgrade from previous version. If it is not possible to transfer the product models directly with this version, it can be done while AX2012 is already life. So there is time enough to prepare for future releases.

Also be aware of removed features. Not even from previous versions AX4.0 and AX2009, but also from AX2012 to AX2012 R2. Yes it is true… from AX2012 to AX2012 R2 some functionality has been removed.

So, are you interested what functionality is removed? For a few persons it will not be a shock as they did not know the removed functionality was available since AX2009. I’m talking about the Fill Utility. This utility enables mass-updates of records in Dynamics AX.

You have not seen this feature? Check out the configuration keys in AX2009 or the License configuration in AX 2012 (prior to R2). The Fill utility is not enabled by default. You had to enable this ‘hidden’ feature.

configR1 configR2
AX2012 feature pack AX 2012 R2

It was great to have a tool where you could easily change the value of a field in multiple records with just a few mouse clicks. It was a bit tricky when you had the wrong selection or a non-existing value in a reference field.

So now back to AX2012 R2…. The fill utility configuration is not available. Well, is the functionality now basically enabled by default? The right-click menu on a form field does not show the menu option… So new thought: Is the configuration key relocated in the configuration tree? As this functionality is named in the training AX2012 Financials I, it must be somewhere…

We must have overlooked something, so a check was done in the AOT. Where is the configuration key? Gone…

What other AOT elements were used in AX2012 feature pack? Do they still exist? No! is the answer. It’s gone as well… What happened? Why? What do I have to do in future? What’s new in AX2012 R2 does not help me out.

Documentation?

Maybe I can find something on Technet about the fill utility. There is documentation about the fill utility available. This topic has an important note:

Applies To: Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 Feature Pack, Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012”

It does not apply to Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 R2! No word, no reason. So now I’m really lost….

Documentation!

When you read the document “New, Changed and Deprecated Features for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012”, you will find out the functionality is depreciated in AX 2012 R2. See below the reason and the replacing feature:

Reason for deprecation The Fill Utility is being deprecated for several reasons:

  • The tool does not run any validation checks prior to executing commands. This can result in data corruption.
  • SQL can be used to update multiple records much more efficiently and accurately. Putting this power in the hands of an SQL database administrator will help ensure data integrity.
Replaced by another feature Yes. The feature has been removed and replaced by the use of standard SQL updates.

So from now on we have to deal with the SQL database administrator. These are great guys with a lot of knowledge. I only wonder if this will work well in all scenarios listed below:

  • Where/who is the SQL database administrator in a hosted environment?
  • Does the SQL database administrator knows the field- and tablenames when we want to have an update on a field of the employees? Mostly he does not have access to AX itself, so who is going to tell him?
  • If updates are done without knowing AX 2012 will it really help ensure data integrity?
  • Can we disturb and SQL database administrator and have a field changed on 476 (maybe more) lines of a vendor payment journal? The payments must be sent within 6 minutes…

In the meantime you are reading the document “New, Changed and Deprecated Features for Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012”, I will look for options to have the functionality back in AX 2012 R2…

That’s all for now. Till next time!

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Comments2
  1. Yasumasa NagataJuly 01, 2014   

    Thank you so much. And I also can understand why the difference on the course material: Financial 1 between English version and Japanese version…Yes, Japanese course material does not describe anything concerning “Fill Utility” functionality because Japanese language version had released from AX 2012 R2…Today, I discuss this feature with American that he always uses, but I don’t know anything this “Fill Utility” functionality. This feature is continued until AX2012 FP…
    Recently, AX2012 R3 had released, hopefully, I wish not to arise similar feature…

  2. Geoff FaulknerJune 30, 2015   

    I found your note while looking for the R2 fill utility and discovering it missing. I guess the other thing we could do would be to write a job to update the data rather than directly in the database.

    That will require some basic X++ coding knowledge, though.

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