Web Services – Business Central Part- 1

You can use web services in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central to expose data to the outside world.

You can use web services to get data from Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central and use it in other applications.

Any application, programing language or program that can work with XML and/or JSON for example: – Power BI, Microsoft PowerApps, a custom .NET program, etc. can connect to Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central fetch the available data.

A web service can also be used to create new or update existing data in the application.

Both XML (Extensible Markup Language) and JSON (JavaScript Object Notation) are open-standard file formats that are readable by humans. They are used to send information between clients over web services.

In this post we will discuss some terminology and differences between SOAP and OData. We will also learn on how to configure these services in Microsoft Dynamics 365 Business Central.

SOAP relies on HTTP(S), SMTP, FTP for message negotiation and transmission.

The most common type of messaging pattern in SOAP is the Remote Procedure Call (RPC), where one network node (the client) sends a request message to another node (the server), and the server sends a response message to the client. It uses SOAP envelope, which defines the message structure and how to process it.

A SOAP service exposes a WSDL (Web Services Description Language) file that describes how the service can be called, what parameters it expects and what data structure it returns. This file is an XML based document, and is targeted to be read by machines, not by humans.

OData (Open Data Protocol) is an open protocol that is designed to use and query RESTful APIs. An API (Application Programming Interface) is a set of routines and protocols that is used to communicate between different software components.

OData is built upon REST services and can be used to query REST services. By providing extra query parameters to a URL, you can for example limit or filter the result set.

SOAP exposes a WSDL document, OData exposes an EDMX document, which contains metadata for all the published web services.

You can see all the available OData web services by going to the search box and search for web services.  This page is used to enable access to OData and SOAP web services.

ws-001

OData web services can only be used with object types pages and queries, not with codeunits.  There are two versions of OData you can use, version 3 and version 4.  Version 4 is an enhanced version, and important to know is that version 4 returns JSON where version 3 returns AtomPub documents which are XML documents.

From this window you can add new or manage existing Web Services.

It is simple 2 Step task Add new object give service name and enable Publish checkbox. You will get your OData and/or SOAP URL.

For example: – object type page can be used in OData and in SOAP web services.

Let us explore the Web-Service Urls. For test purpose, I have created a Service with the name Customers for Page Customer Card.

https://ksd-Desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers

When we open, for example, our Customers web service, we can have a look at the URL.

First we have our server name and the port it’s using.  “https://ksd-Desktop:7748”

Then we have our instance name, which in our case is BC130.

Then our OData version, so version 4.  “ODataV4”

And then our company name, “Cronus International Ltd”.

And then finally our web service name, which is, in our case, “Customers”.

Let’s try this url, when we execute this url in our browser we get json file listing customers similar to below:

WS-003.jpg

Here etag is the unique identifier of each records, it will be required when you update records, will discuss later.

If I remove my service name then:

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)

{“@odata.context”:”https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/$metadata#Company/$entity”,”Name”:”CRONUS International Ltd.”,”Evaluation_Company”:false,”Display_Name”:”CRONUS International Ltd.”,”Id”:”ab76c7b4-3c72-4805-86f7-7d91a10612ce”,”Business_Profile_Id”:””}

If I remove my Company Name then:

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/

WS-004.jpg

If I open the metadata url

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/$metadata

You will get EDMX file which shows metadata about the information in the OData web service.

ws-002

You can see some properties with our data types.  For example, if we scroll down, if we go to Customers, we have our entity type Customers, we can see some properties which our data types and max lengths.  We can also see what properties are primary key.  So this is number and so on.  So all useful information when you’re creating applications that use these OData web services.

Filtering the OData

You can set filter expression to the url few examples as below:

We will use the filter option top for limiting the result to top 5 records of customer.

After our service name, we type question mark, then the dollar sign, and then the word top equals 5.

For example :

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers?$top=5

Now the query will result in only first 5 records for customer.

If we want to see next 5 records then we can append &$skip=5 on above url

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers?$top=5&$skip=5

If you want to see specific customer you can modify url as:

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers(‘10000’)

Please refer to EDMX file to find correct name of the fields if wants to filter on specific fields.

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers(‘10000’)?$select=Name

You will get the result as below for above url query

“@odata.context”:”https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/$metadata#Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers/$entity”,”@odata.etag”:”W/\”JzQ0O044eFNmcWdXV0NpYlhTZDhUdTlrdytZUmdQbWRkL2U4TzZ4UEsxNGtod0

E9MTswMDsn\””,”Name”:”The Cannon Group PLC”}

You can add other fields too by appending the url with ‘,’

Customers(‘10000’)?$select=Name,City,Address……………

As told earlier please refer to EDMX file for correct Fields Name or Property it is case sensitive.

You can remove the Primary Key from the url to get list of selected fields for all customers.

Customers?$select=Name,City,Address……………

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers?$orderby=City&$select=Name,City,Address

You can use orderby to sort the data from other than Primary key, by default it is sorted by Primary Key.

You can use desc for descending sort.

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers?$orderby=City desc&$select=Name,City,Address

You can use filter to filter specific field values as:

https://ksd-desktop:7748/BC130/ODataV4/Company(‘CRONUS%20International%20Ltd.’)/Customers?$filter=City eq ‘Zutphen’ or City eq ‘Atlanta’&$select=Name,City,Address

you will get output as:

WS-005.jpg

You can use expressions like [filter=Balance_LCY gt 0] or [filter=Location_Filter eq ‘BLUE’] etc.

I stop here for today. We have seen how the Web Services OData can be used to query records.

We will discuss about other stuffs in our next post in more details.

Till then keep exploring and learning, see you in next post. Take Care of yourself.

 

Important

Most of the contents you find in this blog will be either inherited from MSDN or Navision Developer IT Pro Help. Some places images are also directly taken from these sites. Purpose is simple to try those stuffs and re-produce adding few things as per my understanding to make easy understanding for others and quick reference.

Here nothing under my own brand or authorship of the content. At any point of time we are just promoting Microsoft stuffs nothing personnel with same.

Hope stuffs used here will not violate any copyright agreement with them. In case by mistake or in-intestinally it happens and the Microsoft feels these should not be used Microsoft have full right to inform me about same and will be glad to take down any such content which may be violating the norms.

Purpose is to promote Navision and share with community.

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