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Introducing the Dynamics AX Kernel Class DictTable

By Bill Thompson | November 12, 2014

I want to introduce some rather helpful kernel based classes that have a name that starts with the word Dict (AOT >> System Documentation >> Classes node). These classes can be used within X++ code to find out information about different objects of different types. The specific class I want to bring to your attention today is the DictTable class.

This class allows the Developer to retrieve quite a bit of information programmatically about a table. Why bring this up? Well, I have seen code where some inexperienced Developers will use the treenode() object to traverse the AOT to find information about a specific table (for example, a Table ID value). While this will work, it can be a bit less performant than using the DictTable class.

This kernel based class is used in X++ code just like any X++ based class. A variable of type DictClass is defined, it is instantiated, and methods are called to retrieve specific information. The following job will retrieve information about the AOT based table CustTable.

static void DictTableExample(Args _args)

{

DictTable       dictTable;

dictTable = new dictTable(tableNum(CustTable));

if (dictTable)

{

info(strFmt("Id: %1, Name: %2",dictTable.id(),dictTable.name()));

info(strFmt("Label: %1, Total Fields: %2",dictTable.label(),dictTable.fieldCnt()));

}

}

The results of this job show the following:
Info       Message (04:08:02 pm) Id: 77, Name: CustTable

Info       Message (04:08:02 pm) Label: Customers, Total Fields: 189

That is quite a bit easier than writing up treenode().

The next question I can hear coming is why do I need or want to have to do this. If you are familiar with the document handling system in Dynamics AX, you will know that the DocuRef table stores the links to the many different types of document handling information across many different document types and modules. Looking at the table structure, you will see 2 columns, RefRecId, and RefTableId. These fields are really storing the specific record information (RecId) that resides in a specific table (the table Id). By using the DictTable class, you can create generic code that can respond to this information, and use it to do lookups in the parent table to retrieve whatever you need for your requirements.

More information on the DictTable class can be found on MSDN:

http://msdn.microsoft.com/en-us/library/dicttable(AX.60).aspx

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