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Integrating Other Applications with Microsoft Dynamics AX

The ability to integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX with other systems inside and outside of the enterprise is a common requirement. There are a variety of technologies you can use to programmatically integrate Microsoft Dynamics AX with other applications that enable you to integrate functionality or exchange data. These technologies include the following:

  • Application Integration Framework (AIF) – Exposes business logic to other internal or external systems. AIF enables you to integrate functionality and exchange data with other systems.

  • Business Connector – Enables external applications to access Microsoft Dynamics AX data and invoke business logic.

  • Common language runtime (CLR) – Provides interoperability with external .NET components and enables you to execute managed components from within X++ code.

The integration components in all these methods interact with Application Object Server (AOS), as shown in the following figure. Therefore, integration between Microsoft Dynamics AX and any other system is done only through AOS.

Microsoft Dynamics AX Integration Technologies

Microsoft Dynamics AX integration technologies

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AIF provides an extensible framework within Microsoft Dynamics AX that enables the exchange of data. AIF is comprised of three primary components:

  • Services - AIF enables you to expose any business logic as a service to be consumed by other applications. Within Microsoft Dynamics AX you can create, customize, and publish services.

  • Document services - A specific implementation of services in which the Microsoft Dynamics AX business logic is exposed through document services. Document services are typically used to exchange data with other systems.

  • Consume Web services - In Microsoft Dynamics AX, you can consume external Web services from your X++ code.

Document Services

Document services exchange data in the form of XML documents. Document services provides the tools to build business-to-business (B2B) and application-to-application (A2A) integration between your system and trading partners or other external software systems. AIF ships with many services that encapsulate common business functionality that you can use out of the box. In addition, there is a wizard that you can use to create your own custom document services.

AIF document services has the following types of exchanges:

  • Adapter-based exchange – An asynchronous document exchange that uses an adapter in Microsoft Dynamics AX. In this type of exchange, documents are moved through the system in queues and processed by the batch jobs. Adapter transports supported by AIF are Microsoft Message Queuing (MSMQ), file system, and Microsoft BizTalk Server. If you use the Message Queuing or BizTalk adapters, you must have Message Queuing or BizTalk Server 2006 installed on the AIF gateway computer.

  • Web services-based exchange – A synchronous document exchange that uses Web services and requires that IIS be installed and configured to send and receive data. Because this type of exchange is synchronous, queues are not used. The Web services can be generated automatically from the Microsoft Dynamics AX business logic. Developers with limited Web experience can easily expose services through Web services. AIF supports WCF services.

For more information about AIF, see Application Integration Framework Overview. For more information about setting up AIF, see "Configuring and managing AIF" in the Server and Database Administration Help.

The Microsoft Dynamics AX Business Connector enables external applications to access Microsoft Dynamics AX data and invoke business logic. The Business Connector consists of the following components:

  • .NET Business Connector – Provides interoperability with the Microsoft .NET Framework. Use these components for integration with external applications that are written in managed code and are built with the Microsoft .NET Framework. The .NET Business Connector requires the installation of the Windows Server SDK. For information about .NET Business Connector, see .NET Business Connector Overview.

  • COM Business Connector - Provides interoperability with Microsoft COM. COM Business Connector is no longer going to be supported in a future release. For more information, see COM Business Connector Overview.

For more information about the differences between the .NET Business Connector and the COM Business Connector, see Differences Between .NET and COM Business Connectors.

Classes in assemblies that are managed by the CLR can be accessed from X++ code. This feature of Microsoft Dynamics AX is called common language runtime interoperability, or CLR interop.

CLR interop works only in the direction where X++ code calls CLR managed assemblies. It does not support calling X++ classes from a CLR managed assembly.

For more information, see .NET CLR Interop Overview.

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