Using Display Methods in PrecisionForm Reports for Dynamics AX
I was recently working on development changes for a client’s picking list report in Microsoft Dynamics AX and I could not get a display method to show up in the report. This client uses BottomLine’s PrecisionForms product to create their report designs. If you have not worked with PrecisionForms, how it works is Dynamics AX generates the datasets it would normally use for the SSRS report, PrecisionForms intercepts the datasets being sent to SSRS and generates xml files containing the values from the datasets. PrecisionForm’s design mechanism then reads the xml, populates the design with the values stored in the xml file and generates the report. Without PrecisionForms using normal AX/SSRS reports you are able to have display methods on the tables used by your AX query and get them into your reports. In SSRS when you select the query to use for your dataset, you can choose to select the fields within the query and also the display methods.
In my scenario, I added a handful of display methods to two different tables and I could see them in SSRS and had added them to my dataset. When I would print the PrecisionForm report though, in the xml I could see existing base AX display methods so I knew it should be possible to use them but I could not see the display methods I added. I restarted the AOS, reporting service and the whole machine and nothing made a difference. Finally, I went into AX to System administration > Setup > Bottomline > Enabled Reports. In this form you enable the reports you want to print out as PrecisionForm reports rather than SSRS reports. I selected the picking list report and clicked on the Setup tab in this form. At the bottom of this tab, there is a button labeled ‘Refresh Report Label IDs’.
Apparently, this button does more than refresh labels. After clicking that button, I went back and reprinted my picking list. My display methods started to show up in PrecisionForms xml file. Problem solved.
As a side topic, I am a big fan of how much time and money PrecisionForms saves our clients. The report designs are done by non-development client team members and whenever we apply hotfixes or cumulative updates, the PrecisionForm reports are largely immune to the changes. Lastly, in my opinion, the reports look nicer.