As you may know, the application explorer is more powerful in Dynamics AX7 than it was in prior versions. Essentially you can enter text in the editor at the top of the application explorer and the system will find all the toplevel artifacts (like forms, classes etc.) that match that string. The default matching rule is simply: "Give me all artifacts with names containing the string the user provided".

Let me show some examples to show how this is convenient. Say you wanted to find elements called salestable:

While this result is correct, it produces too many results to be really useful. As described, all names containing the term "salestable" are included, and all types of artifacts are considered.

The first trick is to apply the key/value pairs to whittle down the results. Say we are only interested in the tables. We can then use the type keyword:

You can see what keywords are available by clicking the down-arrow button at the extreme right of the edit field. One of the most useful is the one that limits the search to a particular model.

This approach is certainly very useful, but there is an added benefit that is not immediately visible to carbon based life forms: The text that you enter can contain markup that specifies how the string is matched against the artifact names. As it happens, the strings provided are interpreted as regular expressions.

If you are a little rusty on regular expressions, you may find some brushing up material here. Regular expressions play an important role today because they are integrated into a lot of different tools (like editors), and because they are simple to understand. They are interesting from a theoretical perspective: They are closely bound to the theory of state machines, for instance.

Let's say that we were only really interested in tables whose names start with "salestable". You can match the start of the string by using the ^ (caret) character:

If you wanted only the artifacts named exactly "salestable", you could do that using both ^ and $ (that matches the end of the string):

Say we wanted to find all artifacts that start with "Sales" and end in the word "Intrastat"

Here we use the period ('.') to specify "any character and the Kleene operator (the '*') to specify: zero or more repetitions.

I hope you're seeing how powerful this feature is.