Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Import Calendar data from Outlook to Lotus

Importing calendar data from Outlook to Lotus is not the most usual operation. On the Internet, there are rather plenty of examples and instructions describing how to make the exact opposite. The easiest operation is maybe this one.

In Outlook (2007 or 2010), go to your calendar view and perform a save as ... and select the ICS format. Use the date range option to limit the scope to future events only because later on during the import process, Lotus will impose a limit to maximum 500 events.

Once you have your ICS file, go to Lotus Notes (8.5 in my case) and open the Calendar. Select then file -> import and choose the ICS file type. Click OK and that's it.

Easier than expected.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Install Microsoft Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal Server

Last week, I finally decided to look at the installation of the Enterprise Portal (based on Windows SharePoint Services 3.0) for Dynamics AX 4.0. I therefore started to investigate about its installation and configuration. Microsoft provides a very complete document about it: Install and Configure a Microsoft Dynamics AX Enterprise Portal Server.

The instructions are quite detailed and can be followed as is. However there is no guarantee that everything will happen by the book. This is why before configuring and deploying the Enterprise Portal itself, I decided to check if all previous settings change did not prevent WSS to run. I checked the WSS Central Administration and it was full of "SharePoint encountered an unknown error." preventing me to view any page.

I decided to run the SharePoint Configuration Manager but it did not solve the issue. A quick look at the Event Viewer revealed hordes of different nasty errors under both the Application tab and the System tab: error 10016, 5214, 18056, 3351, 2424, 6611, 2426, 110, and 8214.

The solution was to concentrate on the errors from the System tab by order of appearance starting with the first one (Error 10016). As you can see, the error consisted of a service account requiring additional security permission on a Component Service administrative tool. Ultimately the solution was to add the Network Service account as user authorized to start that Component Service component service. The additional trick here was to identify the right Component Service as error 10016 message only referred to the CLSID of the Component Service and not to its full and clear name. Happily Google quickly provided the right component service name: IIS_WAMREG. The operation had to be repeated as well for the Business Connector account (as described in the installation document).

Once both accounts' permissions were set up, all errors stopped occurring and WSS was running correctly. It was then time to start with the configuration and deployment of the Enterprise Portal itself. I launched the Dynamics AX client and went to the Enterprise Portal setup in the Administration panel.

The Enterprise Configuration wizard is pretty straightforward and I have no particular comment about it. Upon completion, it proposes to launch the "Manage deployments" wizard. That wizard is slightly different than what is described in the documentation but it serves the same purpose.

However when running it, we had a small error upon completion. That error was unhelpfully logged as event ID 1000 in the Event viewer. On top of that, the EP custom site template was not deployed in SharePoint and this alone completely prevented the creation of the EP site.

The solution came from the following article from Customer Source (Article ID 940365).

Before finding the solution I tried a few time to remove and redeploy the Enterprise Portal. During these try-and-fail tentatives, I discovered that:
  1. Clicking on the Remove button (see below screenshot) while any site was selected would immediately and automatically crash the AX client.
  2. To remove the Enterprise Portal, you need to first double click on all ticked boxes then click the remove button.

After applying the fix from Customer Source, I still had the AX error, still the crash-upon-remove behaviour but the EP custom templates were correctly deployed. I could finally create successfully my first Enterprise Portal site.

After its creation, the first step is to link the EP site to a company from Dynamics AX. And of course the first tentative failed miserably. This time the solution came from article ID 931939, still from Customer Source. Once the solution got applied, I could link a Dynamics AX company to the EP site and start checking all its nice features.