Wednesday 26 September 2018

Form patterns in D365

Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations makes development easier by providing a guided experience for applying patterns to forms to ensure they are correct and consistent. It helps to validate form and control structures and the use of controls in certain places. 

Using patterns also ensures that each new form encountered by a user is immediately recognizable in appearance and function. Form Patterns can provide many default control properties, which leads to a more guided development experience. The use of Form patterns also ensures better compatibility with upgrades. 

The foundation elements of Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations are being built with those legacy form styles and patterns in mind so that the transition from Microsoft Dynamics AX 2012 to Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations is as easy as possible.

Steps for Applying Form Pattern:

Applying a pattern is a straightforward process which are as follows:

Acquire target:
Decide which form you want to apply a pattern to.

Determine pattern:
Based on the information you will be display, consider the different form patterns available and choose which one will best fit your scenario.

Apply pattern:
Applying the pattern is as simple as right clicking the form design and choosing the pattern you want.

Deal with errors:

After the pattern is applied, you can use the Pattern tab in the pattern information panel to make sure you add the correct controls in the correct order for that pattern. 

Form Pattern Types:

D365 has nearly 40 form patterns that you can apply to your custom forms. Below are the types of form pattern which are as follows:

  • Details Master
  • FactBoxes
  • Simple List
  • Table of Contents/Set up page
  • Operational Workspace form.

Details Master:
A Details form is the primary method for entering data into Microsoft Dynamics 365 for Finance and Operations.  These forms allow the user to view data, edit data, and act upon data.  All content on these form types is structured into FastTabs that can be expanded and collapsed, allowing for multiple FastTabs to be open at the same time. The FastTabs can contain fields or a grid, and each FastTab can have a local toolbar. 

Factbox in general, are used to provide “related information” for a record.  They make sure the user does not have to open additional forms to get important information, such as totals, balances, overdue orders, and email addresses.  The FactBox Grid pattern should be used when there is a child collection (potential for multiple rows) of related information.  A FactBox is created as a separate form with the FactBox pattern applied, and then added as a part on another form.

Simple List:
Displays details for a simple entity as a grid, typically with less than 6 fields per record and have no parent-child relationship. However, there can be exceptions where a simple entity may contain up to 15 fields. A list page is another type of form pattern which still displays data in a grid format and list, however, it may be data relating to a more complex entity.

Table of Contents:
Table of Contents pattern is used for a form that displays setup information or loosely related information sets. This pattern is commonly used on set up or parameter pages, which are frequently accessed through the Navigation menu as well as through Workspaces. This pattern should be used when two or more logically related forms are needed for configuring setup. The vertical arrangement of tabs implies the order of completion.  This form pattern contains a collection of smaller content regions that each follow a container pattern like a Simple List, a Simple List and Details, or fields and field groups. 

Operational Workspaces:
Workspaces are a new concept that takes over as the primary way to navigate to tasks and specific pages. A workspace must be created for every significant “activity” supported in the product. Such an “activity” is less granular than a task and more granular than a legacy “area page”.

Lastly you can also run a form patterns report from Visual Studio. This will export a CSV file that we can open in excel and see all of the form names along with their form patterns. A full list of form patterns and sub-patterns, along with their uses can be found in the Form Pattern Reference Guide.

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