In this short interview with Murray on his release of book Extending Dynamics Ax 2012 learn more about his experience of writing his book, how this book can benefit users, his future plans and get to know the software tools that makes Murray a productive man in the AX world. I would like to Thanks Murray for offering his time towards this interview.
How is the experience of authoring a book, this being your first book in spite of many publications on the web so far?
Writing the book was thoroughly enjoyable, and was not as hard as I thought it was going to be. This was partly because I had already compiled all of the content through my past blog posts, and also because I had got into the habit of writing because of the blogging. One added benefit, I think that writing the book improved by blog posts as well, because I now structure them in a way that I can easily convert them over to more of a chapter format if I need too.
One aspect that was a new experience though while writing the book was the editing and critique. For the first chapter, I was caught off guard, but after sucking back my pride, and taking an objective look at what the editors and reviewers were suggesting, I soon realized that critique is great, and incorporating their suggestions only made the book better.
How will readers benefit from this book?
This book is all about doing more with what you already have. Dynamics AX is a great application, but there are other tools that you probably have laying about within your organization that you can use in conjunction with Dynamics AX to make it even better. I tried to make the examples in the book useful enough to be used at least as a starting point for solving common problems that everyone is having. Once you have mastered a chapter, you may find that you are able to extend out even further than the book does.
Also, there is probably about 20 lines of code in the whole book, and even those examples are simple enough that a non-developer would be able to add them to Dynamics AX. I did this on purpose, because a lot of the examples are configurable, not developed. I wanted the power users to take control of Dynamics AX and do more with it.
What tools or software’s that you use to make yourself productive and would recommend other Dynamics Ax community?
Apart from the tools that everyone is probably familiar with like PowerPoint (which is my storyboarding tool), SkyDrive (which allows me to access all of my files from any of my computers), Word (for collaboration and review), and PaintShopPro (for image cropping), I need to highlight one of the most useful tools in my utility belt, which is DuckLink Screen Capture (http://www.ducklink.com/p/free-screen-capture-tool/). This is free, and is the Swiss Army knife of screen capture. I don’t know where the name came from, but I don’t care, because I could not live without it.
What topics are you currently working with respect to Dynamics Ax?
I am continuing to learn the other areas of Dynamics AX – there is so much functionality in the system, and so many gems hidden away that I doubt that I will stop.
I already have enough content for a second Extensions Cookbook and have submitted it to PACKT for approval. This one will be a little more functional, and show how you can configure the secondary features that people want to use, but are maybe a little too intimidated to try tackling. Including Lean Manufacturing, Retail, Costing, Development of new Workflows, and Service Management. I think that illustrating these examples will show people that they are really not that hard to configure, but still very useful and something to take advantage of.
A follow on project that I have just started planning out is a guide for configuring Dynamics AX from a blank system. It may seem daunting to configure a completely new system, but it’s not that hard. Getting the base data in to a point where you can start running common business transactions is not hard if you don’t over-complicate it. I am sure that companies just starting to implement Dynamics AX will like the content.
Read the review of the book here