6 Practical Tips When Using DIEF for Dynamics AX 2012 R3

by | Updated October 6, 2016 | Dynamics AX

I have been working with DIEF in Dynamics AX 2012 R3 over the last several weeks. After logging a few hours I have learned a some new tips and will share them in this blog post.

In one of the projects, the requirement was to create a custom entity for the table that contains the information to associate an AX user with a Worker. This is a one-to-one relationship defined in the DirPersonUser table to the DirPerson table. The DirPersonUser table is a Date Effective table in AX with a ValidTimeStateType of UtcDateTime and just four fields.


After running the Custom Entity Wizard for this DirPersonUser table it produced a private project in the AOT with several objects. The staging table looked like the following:


I knew the import file from the external system would only have the Personnel Number representing the Worker record and the User string representing the AX user. Example of the Excel file:

Chris R_File

Since the PersonnelNumber field is not in the new entity table for staging, I added it manually. I also deleted the DirPartyTable_ fields to simplify the staging table as I thought those were unnecessary. I decided at that point I will use a method in the new entity class to handle the PersonnelNumber to RecId translation that is required by the PersonParty field of the DirPersonUser table. I wrote the following method to handle this translation:


Chris R_code

DIEF Tip #1

When you add custom methods to a DIEF entity class, the name of the method must start with ‘generate’ so it shows up in the DIEF mapping visualization form. Use a container for the return type if you want to map the data to the target table.

The custom method shown in the mapping form – note the return value from the method maps to a field in the target table:

Map Staging to Target

Finally, when I went to run the process in AX to generate records from the Staging table to the Target table I came across another problem. It showed that there were 0 records in my Staging table when I knew there were records:

Target Data Execution

To troubleshoot this issue, I ran a SQL Profiler trace and was able to see something interesting with the select statement. I noticed the Date fields coming into play and decided that those were not necessary and causing the incorrect results.

Select Count

I then removed the following date fields from the Staging table so it was no longer a date effective table and removed these fields from the unique index.

DIEF Tip #2

Sometimes SQL Profiler is helpful to troubleshoot issues with Dynamics AX. If find it useful in working on DIEF in addition to the X++ code debugger. To use it, add the TSQL and Stored Procedure events in the trace.  Start the trace, reproduce the error, and then stop the trace. It takes practice to use this tool but I think it is overlooked when troubleshooting AX development.

The date fields I removed from the staging table:


DIEF Tip #3

The staging table can be changed to meet your business requirements. In my example I added the PersonnelNumber because I knew I wanted to use it from the source file in my custom method. I removed additional fields and altered the Index so the select statement would return my desired records.

In other DIEF projects I have seen a problem where the results of the Staging to Target process would show records being updated when I knew they were only created.  This is due to a missing or incorrect Relation defined from the Staging to Target table.

DIEF Tip #4

If you run into a problem where you see an incorrect number of records updated or created, check the Relations defined on the Staging table.  Create a relation where the records from the two tables would form a one to one relationship


DIEF Tip #5

You can override the insertUpdate method of the entity class to handle customization scenarios. The following example checks for existing records in the target table and provides only update code.  If there is not an existing record, then raise an error that will be show in an Infolog during the DIEF processing.


DIEF Tip #6

The last tip is related to the DefaultDimension field on a target table.  If you need to provide this value, there is functionality built into the framework to handle it.  Select the desired dimension fields and a delimiter in the Source data format form under DIEF in AX.  This will create a dimension format similar to what you would provide in the source file.  Here is a simple one field dimension:

Source Data Formats

Source file example:


If the entity class has a generateDefaultDimension method, you can map your source and target fields in the mapping form.  Or you can also use this method in your custom code similar to the following example:


Good luck with your DIEF projects in Dynamics AX!

Related Posts


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Upcoming Events


02jun2:00 pm2:30 pmBusiness Intelligence for Batch Manufacturers

16jun10:00 am10:30 amHow AP automation can speed up month-end close in D365 Finance

17jun11:00 am12:00 pmConfab Live with Stoneridge – Real Time Marketing Strategies for Success

23jun10:00 am10:30 amThe Modern Manufacturer: Cost Accounting in D365

30jun10:00 am10:30 amAP Automation Checklist for a 2022 Rebound

30jun2:00 pm2:30 pmAchieving Success: How Technology Is Helping Nonprofits Thrive


01jul11:00 am12:00 pmConfab Live with Stoneridge – Dataverse Virtual Entities

14jul12:00 pm12:30 pmBeyond Reporting - What Business Intelligence Can Do For Your Agribusiness

15jul11:00 am12:00 pmConfab Live with Stoneridge – Integration Strategies for End User Success

21jul10:00 am10:30 amThe Modern Manufacturer: Manufacturing Software in the Real World

21jul12:00 pm1:00 pmIs it Worth it to Upgrade to Dynamics 365 Finance and Supply Chain Management? - Everything AX Users Need to Consider

About Stoneridge
Stoneridge Software is a unique Microsoft Gold Partner, with emphasis on partner. With specialties in Microsoft Dynamics 365, Microsoft Dynamics AX, Microsoft Dynamics NAV, Microsoft Dynamics GP and Microsoft Dynamics CRM, we focus on attracting the most knowledgeable experts in the field to our team, and prioritize delivering stellar solutions with maximum impact for your business. At Stoneridge, we are deeply committed to your results. Each engagement is met with a dedicated team, ready to provide thorough, tailored, and expert service. Based in Minnesota, we intentionally “step into your shoes,” wherever you are. We focus on what you care about, and develop trusting, long-term relationships with our clients.

Subscribe To Our Blog

Sign up to get periodic updates on the latest posts.

Thank you for subscribing!