Last update: Sunday, September 28, 2014

AX Doc Generator has a new home

It's been very quiet here for some years while I've been busy doing other things unrelated to Dynamics AX. Actually, I'm not sure if I will ever have a compelling reason to work on AX Doc Generator again, but at least it could do with a more appropriate home than here. So I've moved it to CodePlex, and you can find it on its new home: http://axdocgen.codeplex.com.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

AX Doc Generator 0.7.1 released

This page is about AX Doc Generator, a utility for Microsoft Dynamics AX that generates useful hyperlinked information and inheritance diagrams for tables, classes, etc., which you can browse in a web-like fashion from Internet Explorer. As of version 0.7, AX Doc Generator has been updated to support the 2009 edition of Microsoft Dynamics AX. Version 0.7.1 provides some additional convenient features, as well as an improved HTML page layout. You can skip the following if you prefer, and go straight to the download section or the example section.

The Problem

I started learning Dynamics AX in 2005. Having been used to well-documented technologies like Java and C, as well as being a fan of the O'Reilly Nutshell books, going to Dynamics AX was quite a culture shock. Class documentation was sparse at best, but often it was simply non-existent.

Furthermore, method listings turned out to be of litte use, as they only listed method names---no return types or parameter lists. If you wanted to see that information, you had to click on each method in turn to look at the method declaration.

Dynamics AX is a huge application, and the tables, types, classes, etc. refer to each other in a gigantic web of references that are difficult to follow. One of the biggest challenges to new Dynamics AX developers is to get to know as many objects as possible for the "big picture" to emerge.

(To be fair, though, I should mention that the state of available documentation has recently improved dramatically. Have a look at the Microsoft Dynamics AX Developer Center.)

The Solution

There is a lot of information sitting right there inside Dynamics AX. AX Doc Generator extracts this information and presents it in a structured and accessible manner. Features include:

  • Table information. All fields of a table are listed with field names, labels, type information, and relation information alongside each other. You can sort the field overviews by field names, labels, etc. Table methods are listed with full syntax-highlighted method signatures.
  • Class information. All class methods are grouped by access modifiers such that public methods (typically the most interesting) are listed first, then protected methods, and finally private methods. For kernel classes, property methods are separated from the other methods.
  • Class inheritance diagrams. Get a quick overview of class and interface hierarchies with clickable diagrams. The diagrams are automatically generated using Graphviz, which you will need to install in order to use this feature.
  • Hyperlinked information. All references to other objects, such as return types and parameter types, related tables, etc. are clickable, so you can easily become acqainted with the Dynamics AX system without having to open the AOT all the time.
  • Care has been taken to not clutter up the standard Dynamics AX AOT objects more than necessary for AX Doc Generator to be useful. The database and the label files are untouched.
  • AX Doc Generator is free open source software licensed under the MIT License.

Download

Download the appropriate version for your Dynamics AX system here.

Version Release date Applicable to
AX Doc Generator 0.7.1 April 5, 2009 AX 2009
AX Doc Generator 0.7 July 20, 2008 AX 2009
AX Doc Generator 0.6.2 July 1, 2007 AX 4.0
AX Doc Generator 0.6.1 May 6, 2007 AX 4.0
AX Doc Generator 0.6 March 2, 2007 AX 4.0
Axapta Doc Generator 0.5.2 December 4, 2006 Axapta 3.0
Axapta Doc Generator 0.5.1 September 11, 2006 Axapta 3.0
Axapta Doc Generator 0.5 August 20, 2006 Axapta 3.0

Examples

Here you can see examples of documentation as generated by the tool. When viewing a class, click on the headline to switch between method view and diagram view. Of course, if you want a more flexible reference, then I recommend you use the tool to generate specific (and ad-free) documentation for your particular system.

Reference Note
AX 2009 reference Complete reference
AX 4.0 reference Complete reference
Axapta 3.0 reference Complete reference