Erik P. Ernst on Microsoft Dynamics and Navision

Erik P. Ernst on Microsoft Dynamics and Navision

Get help with your project

I'm a Dynamics NAV/Navision freelancer and helps partners and end-users with their NAV implementations. I do everything from third-party management advisory, coaching of new NAV teams, project management, training, setup and development.

Do you want to hire me to help getting your project a success? Then contact me via my contact form here on this page.

Follow Me

Subscribe

  • It is no longer possible to get new Dynamics NAV 2013 licenses

    Last week was getting a new license for a customer I had been working on for the last 5-6 months. There we were ready to install on the customers servers and start the training. But when I received it I could see that it was not for NAV 2013, but for NAV 2013 R2. A license for NAV 2013 “R1” could no longer be issued.

    Diving into this issue I also found out that this was changed as of October 6th. 2013. As of this date running NAV 2013 with a NAV 2013 R2 license is considered “downgrading” and no longer legal according to the licensing terms. I was told by Microsoft that I would just have to upgrade to NAV 2013 R2, before going live with the customer, then there would not be any problems and everything would be legal!

    As it is not an option for my customer to go for NAV 2013 R2 at this point in their project, this of course got me very worried. Potentially this could be a big problem, not only for me, but also for other projects already working on a NAV 2013 where they have not purchased the license, but also companies who do multi-site rollouts based on a NAV 2013 template. They would no longer be able to get new NAV 2013 licenses and would be forced to upgrade their template.

    There are no technical issues in using a NAV 2013 R2 license for NAV 2013. Only legal!

    The problem isn’t so much that they have changed this. But I does think that it’s a big problem that they haven’t announced this change in the licensing conditions. When they released NAV 2013 last year, we were given a notice that we can still get NAV 2009 licenses until the end of 2013. That gave customers and partners a good time-frame to plan their implementations and eventually buy the needed NAV 2009 licenses, before this date.

    This was yesterday. And I’m very thankful for being at Convergence in Barcelona, as a lot of the Microsoft executives are also here. Luckily everyone I talked to about this could see this potential big issue. And after talking to a few of the people at Microsoft I found the right person to talk to.

    He explained to me why it had been changed and what their intension for doing were. As I understood it, then it was both because he was told that upgrading from NAV 2013 to NAV 2013 R2 was just a minor task, but also because NAV 2013 does not enforce the 3-table rule in regards to the limited user license, as R2 does. He told me that he was already working on an addendum to the licensing terms, which would “allow” customers to run NAV 2013 with a NAV 2013 R2 license. He was “just” had to get it translated into all the different languages and had really not planned on sending it out until January. But he agreed on uploading the English version new terms to PartnerSource within the next couple of weeks.

    So I’m almost happy again. Happy that I have been here in Barcelona so I were able to meet the right person and get an answer right away. But only almost happy, because he also told me that it only would be allowed to run NAV 2013 with a NAV 2013 R2 license, if you have a “technical” reason why you cannot use NAV 2013 R2 and that it would only be until the end of March 2014.

    I’m looking forward to see the addendum and the actual terms of using a NAV 2013 R2 license with NAV 2013 when it get released.

    I will keep you updated.

  • Convergence 2013 EMEA–live from Barcelona

    Today was the last day of Microsoft Convergence 2013 EMEA. Microsoft’s own conference for Dynamics customers. This year is the first time for some years where the conference is back in it’s “old” multi-day format in Europe. The last couple of years it has been arranged as single day events in multiple difference cities in Europe. In the US, it has always been a multi-day event.

    It’s my first Convergence for years as I have not participated in the US Convergence since 2005 and I skipped the one-day Convergence completely as I didn’t find it worth the travel. But this year it’s back as a big and well-visited conference taking place in beautiful Barcelona.

    The first day, November 4th., was a user group day arranged by the Federation of Dynamics User Groups (FoDUG) together with Microsoft. FoDUG is a group of many different Microsoft Dynamics user groups, so far the Dynamics User Group (http://dynamicsuser.net), German MBuf, the Dutch Dynamics User Group and Dynamics Communities (NAVUG, AXUG and CRMUG). The content of the UG Day was all directed towards end-users and all lead by either end-users or Dynamics MVP’s within all three products. Dynamics GP is not available in Europe so is not covered by Convergence EMEA.

    My sessions

    First I was in a “roundtable” discussion regarding international Dynamics NAV deployments together with Michael Horn (Voith Turbo), Yohei Ujita (Nissin Foods), Peter de Bruin (SAASplaza) and Andy Hafer (NAVUG). It was a session where we discussed the different issues companies have when doing international/multisite NAV implementations, such as licensing, architecture (single or multi database setups), working with partners and of course dealing with local legal requirements. I think it was a good session and it was interesting to hear how different companies are dealing with international implementations in many different ways.

    My next session was titled “Dynamics NAV development tips and tricks for end-users”. It was a presentation session showing how end-users are able to use the basic development tools in NAV 2013 and 2013 R2. So I showed how users can create new fields, how to insert them into pages and even briefly showed how to add them to (simple) reports. I also managed to cover creation of new tables, based on using “copy & paste” of existing tables to link them to new lookup fields. But we also talked about the different limitations, and what end-users should avoid doing, even when their license allow them to. It was a lot to cover in a just one hour. I could easily have spent a lot more time on this. I have attached my presentation to this blog post, as many of the participants asked for it and I did not upload it to Microsoft in time to be on the official site.

    Dynamics CRM 2013 Global Premier Event

    Monday night was the “release party” of the newest version of Dynamics CRM. It was a big and very American marketing event with a lot of videos with customer cases, onsite and online interviews. In the almost 2 hours the “event” there no demo’s and we basically didn’t see the product in it self. But there were plenty of opportunities to see CRM 2013 after the event.

    Kiril’s Keynote

    Tuesday the actual Convergence started with Kiril Tatarinov giving the keynote. Often the keynotes on Convergence can be a little “too much” for Europeans like me, but this year it was actually great. Sure there where lots of PowerPoint slides showing market trends and numbers. This part was covered by Jean-Philippe Courtois. So Kiril didn’t have to cover this in his part of the keynote. Instead he had invited a number of customers on the stage talking about their implementations. First he had two interesting NAV customers. Biocop, a smaller Spanish organic food distributor and Heineken, who needs no further introduction. After this he had two AX customers, first Pandora, a Danish jewelry company and then Chanel, the French company who also needs no further introduction. The last customer was more surprising. Carrefour the worlds second largest supermarket chain. They have selected Dynamics AX as their new ERP system. That is the kind of large enterprise customers Microsoft really want to use Dynamics AX!

    The rest of Tuesday and Wednesday was primarily used for a large number of break-out sessions covering the AX, NAV and CRM. The target of Convergence is customers and potential customers. Therefor the technical level on most sessions is not supposed to be very high. For a “techie” and MVP like me that of course means that technically I have not learned that much. But I will still say that it has been worth going here. There is something special about these big Microsoft events. Even if you don’t want it, then you kind of get a “buzz” that stays with you for many days after you get back. Microsoft knows how to get people exited. You’ll meet a lot of interesting people and are able to find people from Microsoft who can answer most of the questions you might have, even if not on the official program.

    The location

    Barcelona is a great city to visit, and I wish that could have stayed a few more days to see it again. Last time I was here is over 25 years ago. And the weather in Barcelona is currently much better than the cold and rainy Denmark where I live.

    The actual conference center Barcelona Fira looks like most other conference and exhibition centers in the world. The food was great here and in the exhibition area there was coffee, drinks, fruits and snacks available at all times during the day. But the sound system in most session rooms where really bad. So bad that it in many sessions was really difficult to hear what the speakers were saying! And especially on the UG day the setup was not good. Many of these sessions where supposed to be in the roundtable and interactive format, but since they all had the typical “theater” setup then it was difficult to get a real interactive discussion going.

    But all together I’m very impressed by what Microsoft have been able to pull together in basically less than 4 month. And I hope that they are doing it again next year.

  • Cash Management in Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 – What is it and why now?

    As I wrote in my last blog post then Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 has lots of new functionality. One of the new features I’ve been looking forward to the most is the improved Cash Management module.

    But what does that mean? Well it’s not really about managing cash in the old way, like managing the cash you have laying around in your company. It’s all about managing your bank accounts, and the improvements are in the area of bank reconciliation and electronic payments.

    Vendor Payments

    The functionality in NAV allows you to use your familiar Payment Journal – Suggest Payments and export the payments in a file format that you can import into our online bank system, so that you don’t have to re-enter all your payments. This greatly improves both productivity and quality, as the bank account information, amounts and payment identification (vendor invoice numbers etc.) are taken directly from NAV. You just have to go online and approve/sign the payments electronically.

    Customer Payments

    When it comes to importing customer payments NAV 2013 R2 initially will support the SEPA Direct Debit format. This can be used if you have a signed agreement with your customers to automatically receive payments from them. This is really usable for customers with whom you have a recurring contract or subscription. It could be property management companies charging for rent, insurance etc., but also companies who otherwise would have been using credit cards for automatic recurring charges. But Microsoft has also created a “framework” to allow for easy development of additional debit payment imports. These are not yet within the SEPA setup, but are typically different from bank to bank. When NAV 2013 R2 is released in October 2013 it will support multiple Danish banks, but it is to be expected that more European countries will follow soon there after. Especially in countries who in the current NAV 2013 already supports this as part of the localized version. Microsoft says that it will only require minor configuration to support other banks, similar to the Danish formats included.

    Bank Reconciliations – Bank Statements

    The current Bank Reconciliation functionality is another improvement in NAV 2013 R2. The current functionality allow you to suggest lines from the bank account ledger entry table. Then you can manually enter any differences in the amount or missing lines. When the statement is in balance then you can transfer the differences to your General Journal to be posted from here. After posting the differences you can once again have NAV suggest the lines, this time including the corrections, and hopefully now you statement is in balance in you can post it. There is no functionality today which really allows you to match your bank account/check ledger entries against the bank statement, which in my mind is the “real” reconciliation functionality. You cannot manually match/apply a manually entered line against the bank ledger entries!

    That’s changed in NAV 2013 R2! The basics are the same. You can use the same functionality to have your system suggest and insert lines. But now there’s no need to suggest more than once. After you have transferred the differences to the General Journal and posted them, then they show up in the the bank account ledger entry view next to the statement lines. And you can now either match them automatically or manually.

    But that’s not all. You now also have functionality to import your bank statement directly if your bank provides this in a file format. With the first release in here October 2013, again this only includes build-in support for Danish banks.

    But why now?

    Why is Microsoft doing this now, then they previously always have said that this type of functionality would be something local ISV partners should provide? Well I think that there are two reason for this. Primary because they need it for the new Microsoft Dynamics C5 2014 sub-product. The current Dynamics C5 2012 already has support for electronic payment, and in Denmark where this is used by almost every company, then this is a very important feature. And if the C5 customers would have to buy an add-on to get this functionality, then C5 would too expensive for small companies. But in reality they could just have done it as a Danish only localization, like they have done in several other countries. So the second reason for why I think that this is coming as new standard functionality is that we now have the SEPA standard, which means the same format for a lot of it all over Europe.

    SEPA background information

    The new electronic payment setup is developed around the so-called SEPA formats. SEPA or Single European Payments Area is a file exchange standard created by the European Union managed by the European Payments Council (EPC), the European Central Bank (ECB) and European Commission. The SEPA formats are backed by 32 European Countries, the 27 EU member states and Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Monaco. In all countries the SEPA formats is going to replace the current national formats. For countries using the Euro this will be no later than January 1st. 2014. The non-Euro countries like Denmark, Sweden, GB and the non-EU members, each have their own deadline.

    Until now SEPA has developed two formats supported by NAV 2013 R2. One for vendor payments - SEPA Credit Transfer (SCT) and one for customer payments/direct debits: SEPA Direct Debit (SDD). They also have a format for cards – the SEPA Cards Framework – but this is not jet supported by NAV.

  • Microsoft PartnerSource NAV Favorites (updated)

    Partnersource is Microsoft's closed site for their partners to gain access to everything from sales and marketing information, whitepapers, new versions and updates etc. But also their knowledgebase including a lot a listing of registered errors and issues (and sometimes including references to fixes and work arounds). If you're a customer, then you might know Customersource. Partnersource is very similar designed.

    Compared to the rest of Microsoft's website, then Partnersource is really not very easy to find your way around. It's really not what you could expect from the worlds biggest software company! So over the years I have build up a list of favorites of the places on Partnersource which is most important to me. As there are many new people here on DUG, then I thought I wanted to share this list with you.

    International Main Page
    This is the welcome page for international partners. You might also land on the welcome page for your own country. But you can always change to the international page (I'm not sure if you can change to other countries pages, I think this depends on your setup).

    Dynamics NAV Solution Page
    I always change directly to the page specific for Dynamics NAV to see the latest news for Dynamics NAV. Lately this page has become better. Now you have a "Quick Links" box, which actually is quite ok. The great thing about the Dynamics NAV page is that you can now subscribe using RSS to the different areas of the page (Sales & Marketing, Support & Deployment, Training and Certification, Most Recent/Popular KB Articles). But as a developer, none of these are really worth too much. At least not to me.

    Download Pages for Dynamics NAV

    I think knowing that people cannot find their way around Partnersource, then Microsoft has created Launch and Download Portals for the different versions of Dynamics NAV. First time they did this was with the relesae of NAV 4.0 SP3. On the Launch Portals you find links to everything from announcements, release notes, known issues, presentations, fach sheets, white papers and training links. On the Download portals lanugage modules and the "actual" product CD/DVD download as well as upgrade toolkits for all countries.

    Database Archive for Microsoft Dynamics NAV (US/NA versions)
    This page is great. Includes all databases from Navision Financials 1.00 through Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2. Does also contain the Improvement documents and some of the old manuals. The only problem is that this only contains the North American versions (US, Canada and Mexico). I whish somebody had a link to a similar pager for other countries.

    Upgrade Toolkit Archive for Microsoft Dynamics NAV (US/NA versions)
    Also a great page if you need to upgrade an old version of Navision. Includes upgrade toolkits back to Navision Financials 1.0 (when it was called Avista Financials) up to Dynamics NAV 2009 R2. Again only for the North American versions. This page would also be great to have for all other countries.

    Navision Developers Toolkit Archive
    A nice page to find the older versions of Navision Developers Toolkit. (*1) The Developers Toolkit was discontinued as of October 1st. 2011. If you need this for newer versions, then I suggest that you take a look at MergeTool instead.

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV Local Functionality
    This page contains links to files describing the local functionality of all the localized versions of Dynamcis NAV.

    Microsoft Dynamics Training Materials
    Training materials for Dynamics. Only available for partners who subscribe (pay) to this. (*1)

    Microsoft Dynamics VPC's
    Download the VPC's (virtual pc's) from this page. Both for Dynamics NAV, Dynamics GP and Dynamics AX etc. (*1)  Seems this page is no longer being updated! (*3)
    VPC/Virtual machine for NAV 2013 (*3)

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV on MSDN
    Not really a Partnersource page, but Microsoft's own page with lots of links to tools where most are still found on Partnersource. (*1)

    Other valuable pages

    Overview of Released Application Hotfixes for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 (*2)
    This page lists application hot fixes (code fixes) that have been released for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2.

    Overview of Released Platform Hotfixes for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2 (*3)
    This page lists platform hot fixes (client and servers etc.) that have been released for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 SP1 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 R2.

    Overview of Released Application Hotfixes for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 (*3)
    This page lists application hot fixes (code fixes) that have been released for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013.

    Overview of Released Platform Hotfixes for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 (*3)
    This page lists platform hot fixes (client and servers etc.) that have been released for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013.

    What's New in Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 (*3)
    Page with links to "what's new" training material about Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013.

    Get Ready for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 (*3)
    This page contains links to resources for developers, consultants, sales and marketing regarding Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 and NAV 2013 R2.

    Sometimes when you click the links directly from the blog entry here, you get a message: "Referring link not Secure". The way to get around this is to copy the html from the page and then open a new page and insert it here.

    If you have other "goodies" from Partnersource, then I would love to hear from you.

    (*1) This was added after the first publishing of this blog post on Feb. 5 - 2009.
    (*2) This was added on Oct. 26 - 2011

    (*3) This was added on Oct. 7th. 2013

  • Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 – new functionality: Service items and more

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 includes a lot of new functionality. Most of it described in the NAV 2013 R2 What’s New white paper. But other functions are a bit more “hidden” and will not appear unless you open the new “Small Business Role Center”. This new role center is designed to be the center piece in the Dynamics C5 2014 sub product. And sadly to say many of the features build to support C5 2014 are not integrated and useable in the rest of the product. Sadly because some of the new features have been requested for years by regular NAV users.

    Non-inventory service items

    One of the things we have heard our members ask for years is a way to create Items which do not have inventory. This is functionality you find in many other ERP packages. In NAV a work around has been to the resource table for this. And that works fine, as long as we talk about services sold on orders/invoices. But since Resources cannot be purchased, then it hasn’t been a super work around.

    In NAV 2013 R2 (in the “Small Business” role center) you can specify an item type to be either Inventory (default) or Service. If you select Service, then you can no longer specify the Inventory Posting Group, as no inventory costs are posted to G/L. Only the actual sales is posted.

    You can use Item Type = Service on sales and purchase invoices in the Small Business role center. But you cannot use them on Production Orders or Warehouse Documents.

    It would be nice to be able to use them on Production BOM’s and hereby on production orders. It’s not an uncommon request that companies want to include service costs, without having to specify it as work centers etc., and where no inventory is calculated. Otherwise this new Service Item Type is great and I hope that we are going to see it in the “standard” application in the post 2013 R2 releases.

    The new “Mini Item Card”

    NAV 2013 R2 - Mini Item Card

    Besides the new item type functionality then there are more news related to the item card. As you see in the above image then it’s now possible to set weather a “Stockout Warning” should be given and if negative inventory is allowed (Prevent Negative Inventory) per item. Again this is something I have developed several times for my customers and I’m happy to see this as “standard” functionality.

    You might also notice that the above item card is very simplified compared to the standard item card. The experienced NAV user would say “Where are all my fields? Where are the Invoicing, Replenishment, Planning, Foreign Trade, Item Tracking and Warehousing fast tabs?” In the above view you only see Item, Price and a “Sales Prices and Sales Line Discount” fast tabs. And only if you click on the “Setup” button, then you will also see then Cost and Financial Details fast tabs. Everything which is not included in the special “Small Business” Dynamics C5 2014 edition is removed. Only the absolute required fields are included.

    According to the “NAV 2013 R2 What’s new document” then the “Mini Item Card” and the other “Mini Cards” are only intended for the Danish version of Microsoft Dynamics NAV and requires a special small-business license. I think it’s a shame if Microsoft doesn’t open up for these features to customers with a “standard” NAV license.

    Filed under: , ,
  • Microsoft Dynamics NAV MVP awardee for the tenth time

    Today I have received the Microsoft MVP award for Dynamics NAV for the tenth time. In case you don’t know it, then MVP means Most Valuable Professional.

    Until I was contacted by Microsoft in 2004, because I had been nominated, I had never heard about it. October 2004, about 2 years after Microsoft’s acquisition of NAVISION, was the first time Microsoft gave anyone the MVP Award for Navision. Together with Luc from Mibuso, we were the first to receive it.

    But what is the MVP Award and how can you get it?

    Today most of the visitors here on the Dynamics User Group have heard about MVP’s. The MVP award is, despite what most people think, not only given based on a nominees technical expertise. It’s an award given as Microsoft’s way to say thank to the “exceptional, independent community leaders who share their passion, technical expertise, and real-world knowledge of Microsoft products with others”. The word “share” is very important. Because there might be experts out there who maybe know even more than the MVP’s. But if they never share their knowledge with the “community”, then they would never receive the MVP award. And sharing can be in many forms. Each year, 2-3 months before the “award period” is about to end, the MVP must report in details who much knowledge they have shared and how. So we need to report number of blog posts, number of blog subscribers, forum posts, YouTube videos, LinkedIn Group members, books published and speeches given etc. in the previous year. Previously “independent” meant that no Microsoft employees would receive the award, but this praxis was changed years year. So now Microsoft employees may also receive it. 

    I’m often asked by new members of our website how they can become an MVP. If there is any certification they have to take, or what they have to do.

    The answer is that it really takes a lot of time and effort becoming an MVP. There’s no “cheat-sheet” as to the certifications! Most often it takes years of continuously posting in the different forums, writing blogs (be sure to get many subscribers and readers) and other community directed activity. And when you start to be come “visible” in the forums, when your blog posts are referred to and used by other bloggers, when your book get published, then you just need someone to nominate you at the MVP site (you can even nominate yourself). Personally I have nominated many current and previous MVP’s over years.

    If someone is doing this just to become an MVP, then I would say that you’re wasting your time. The MVP award is most of all just what Microsoft says, a “thank you for all the hours you spend supporting our customers for free”! So if you don’t enjoy helping others, then just forget about it. You don’t get any “cash” or other way of payment with the award. So you can really call it an honoree award.

     

    But personally I’m very happy that I again have received the award. For me it’s a big honor. Even if there was no such thing as the MVP award, I would still be doing the exact same thing. So thank you Microsoft for giving it to me once again.

    Also congratulations to Mohana and all the others DUG members who also have received the MVP award today.

    Filed under: ,
  • Convergence EMEA 2013, Nov. 4th–6th. in Barcelona, Spain

    You might not even be aware of this, but on November 4th. to 6th. 2013, Microsoft’s only conference directed towards Microsoft Dynamics customers takes place in Barcelona Spain. It’s been a some years ago since they last had a real multiday Convergence conference for the whole EMEA (Europe, Middle-East and Africa) area. In the US the Conference is a very big and popular Dynamics end-user and partner conference, every year visited by a large number of participants.

    Previously most Convergence EMEA conferences in my opinion has been about 80% Microsoft marketing and product presentations and 20% end-user/developer directed “take-home” content.

    This year the first day of the conference is arranged by the Federation of Dynamics User Groups (FODUG) together with Microsoft. FODUG is basically an advisory board consisting representatives from a number of user groups working with Microsoft Dynamics, the most well known being CRMUG, NAVUG, GPUG and AXUG, as well as of course the Dynamics User Group. The UG-day is basically a day by the users for the users. All presentations are done by either end-users or Dynamics MVP’s.

    The remaining two days are with more traditional Microsoft Convergence content, but a notable larger number of more intimate break-out sessions.

    As of today you will be able to access the session catalog to see the full list of sessions. The Convergence EMEA conference covers the Microsoft Dynamics AX, NAV and CRM products. Not Dynamics GP, as this product is primary sold in the US.

    Personally I’m going to have a session on the UG-day about NAV development. The session will be on how end-users (without previous development experience) can use the object designers to add simple functionality without the need for a full application developer license. How they can add tables, fields, and add them to pages and reports. I’m also going to be a part of the roundtable discussion on International Implementations of Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

    There will also be plenty of opportunities to meet and network on the conference. And I hope to see many of you there.

    Microsoft Convergence EMEA is open for registration now.

  • Welcome to the Microsoft Dynamics C5 2014 users and professionals

    The new Microsoft Dynamics C5 2014 has just been announced. When released later this year it will be based on Dynamics NAV 2013 R2 which is also being released later this year. So far there has not been released too much details about what exactly will be included. But it will basically be a scaled down version of NAV, with a maximum of 3 users. The development system is said not to be open, but reports must be made using NAV’s standard 2013 R2 report designer.

    Microsoft Dynamics C5 might not be known by too many of our members. But Dynamics C5 is one of the most popular ERP systems to small companies in Denmark. It is build on the same platform as Dynamics XAL – the predecessor of Dynamics AX developed by Damgaard Data. The current version is C5 2012. But the last couple of years C5 has lost a lot of market shares to e-conomic, a relative newcomer who in about 10 years have gone from 0 to almost 200,000 customers in a 100% cloud based solution.

    For last number of years there has been rumors that Microsoft stop to develop and support C5 and that they instead would start to offer NAV with a licensing cost that could compete with e-conomic. But seen from the side-line, then I believe that the main problem why we haven’t seen this until now, is that C5 includes special features like online bank integration. Something which only has been available as a rather expensive add-on, costing more than the C5 license in itself. NAV 2013 R2 changes this with the new/updated Cash Management module, where these new features to import/export payments, bank statements etc. now is standard. And with Denmark as the first country where all the national banks are supported out-of-the-box.

    So now you also know why NAV 2013 R2 supports the Danish formats and not those in much bigger markets in Europe.

    You might remember a number of years back Microsoft introduced a product they called Entrepreneur. This was a special version of NAV targeted toward the same segment as C5, one to three users (or did Entrepreneur allow up to 5 users – I don’t remember), no access to the development system etc. But it was not only a scaled down version of NAV. It was basically an entirely new application, just using Navision as the platform. Upgrades to standard NAV was therefor not possible. To say it mildly, then Entrepreneur never became the success Microsoft wanted, and it was discontinued after a few years. I don’t think Microsoft will do the same mistake again. It is expected that C5 2014 will be based on the exact same codebase as NAV, just with a version which functionally is limited through the license, and with a new set of role centers made especially for Danish companies.

    Many of the bigger C5 partners have already started offering standard NAV to their clients as an alternative to bigger C5 clients (some C5 clients has almost 50 users). So for them C5 2014 will not be a challenge. But for the rest then the C5 2012 to C5 2014 change will be big. Nothing is going to be as it used to be for them. Personally I have so far helped three former C5 partners, in their transition to become a NAV partner. And one thing they all agrees to is that NAV is much more complex than C5, it takes much more time to do everything in NAV, but you can do everything in NAV, which you can’t in C5.

    I hope that Microsoft is going to be successful with this new Dynamics C5 2014.

    And I welcome all C5 2014 users and professionals into the Dynamics User Group. You will be able to use the existing Dynamics NAV foras, just remember to write that you’re using C5 2014.

    Users of C5 2012 and previous version are of course also welcome, but please use the special Danish forum for these older versions of C5. The same forum to be used regarding other special Danish features.

     

    Filed under: ,
  • How to become a great Microsoft Dynamics NAV developer: Which tables to use?

    Coming from a different development environment, then you will often bring your habits of doing development with you. And when met with a requirement then you think that the way that looks the shortest is the best and easiest. With NAV (or for that matter any other advanced ERP system) it is not always the case.

    I know I was promising that the next blog post in this series was going to be about the debugger. But the last week I have seen several forum posts, which have made me change my mind. I see posts where it’s obvious the questions comes from experienced developers, but it also show that they lack the overall understanding of the way Dynamics NAV works and how the system is overall designed! They really need to go back and get more familiar with the system, exactly what I wrote about in my first blog post in this series: How to become a great Dynamics NAV developer: Getting Started.

    Microsoft Dynamics NAV is an advanced ERP system which is used to manage both small, medium and large companies world wide. It is handling all sorts of administrative functions of which many are regulated by both international and local legal requirements. Many functions work the way they do because otherwise they would not be approved by the governments and auditors who validate the companies financial reporting etc. These requirements are not only within the areas of VAT/Sales Tax calculations, but also within traceability, unique number series and a lot more.

    Today the system has about 250,000 lines of source code, then no developer is expected to know them all. But NAV developers should know the general structure and especially who almost everything is linked throughout the system. They should know the overall data flow, by which I mean how data is generated and flows through the system.

    Like how a Sales Order becomes a Posted Sales Invoice when posting it and that it at the same time first generates Gen. Journal Lines which becomes General Ledger Entries and a Customer Ledger Line (and Detailed Customer Ledger Line), as well as Item Journal Lines which becomes Item Ledger Entries. All in one function, which calls multiple codeunits all doing a small part of the work. And if you learned this, then you will be happy know learn that the Purchase Orders structural works exactly the same, just with different codeunits and different tables.

    Dynamics NAV - Sales Posting

    So whenever you need to create data in Navision you should look at how data in similar or the same table is done in the standard system. Exactly as I wrote in my “Getting Started” post.

    An example – import data into the customer ledger entry

    But let me try to explain what I mean by coming with an example. The below could be a requirement you have received from your employer/client:

    “We need a system which imports data from our external system, which tracks whenever our customers are logged into our XYZ system. This data you need to import is a simple text file containing: Customer no., Date, Time, Description and Amount. The external system have issued a “Receipt of service” via email with a transaction no./invoice no. We need you to add it to the customer ledger (to create a Customer Ledger Entry) so that it will be included on the customers monthly statement, and that we can register that the customer pays. You also need to create one G/L Entry per day (file is issued per day) which needs to be posted to our account no. 1010. There is not VAT on this service.”

     

    Then as a new developer you might think that this is a very easy request. You can quickly create a solution which inserts the file data into the Customer Ledger Entry. Not really a lot of data in this table, and when I don’t have to worry about VAT etc. then this is easily done. And one G/L Entry line is also not a problem.

    Well I'm sorry to say it, but you’re wrong!

    1. Firstly then you should NEVER insert anything directly into the entry tables. Because no entries stand alone in NAV. As I said above, then everything is linked tightly together. Not only are entries in NAV always linked to a Register. The register is the place the auditor can use to get a complete overview over all postings made to the system. All ledger entries including General, Customer, Vendor and Item Ledger Entries are part of a traceable register.
    2. Second you cannot create a “stand-alone” G/L Entry. All G/L Entries needs both a balancing debit and credit post, otherwise the system will become “out-of-balance” or in-consistent. This will prevent you for doing any new postings, until the system again is consistent.
    3. Third you need to know that a Customer Ledger Entry (and a Vendor Ledger Entry) always has a directly linked G/L Entry and that it is using the same Entry No. as it’s G/L Entry. So if you were to insert the usage directly into the Cust. Ledger Entry table, then you would also have to create the linked G/L Entry. This of course could solve the issue of keeping the system consistent.

    There is a lot more to think about, than just inserting data into a few “simple” tables. But as long as you know the structure of Dynamics NAV, then it’s still a rather simple request.

    So how would the experienced NAV developer handle this request?

    Personally I would start by questioning the file content. It’s ok that no actual invoice is required and doesn’t need to be printed, but there should always be a link which makes it possible to trace all posts in the system. Not only because at some point the customer will start asking questions about his monthly statement, but also because it’s a legal requirement that everything is traceable within the system and that all sales has a unique invoice no. So as a minimum the transaction no. should be included and added to the statement. Very similar to how you own credit card statement from you bank works. This transaction no. should be used as the Document No. within NAV.

    As I wrote above, then the only right way to create Entries in NAV is to follow the way Entries are created in standard NAV. And the standard flow is that G/L Entries are always created via General Journal Lines. So your file import should start by creating Gen. Journal Lines – not General Ledger Entries or Customer Ledger Entries. One line for each line in the file. It doesn’t need to “physically” store the General Journal Line in your database, but it can be a good idea to do it. Not only because it allows you to test your work this way. But also because it is often preferable for the client if they are able to verify the file content manually (by printing the Gen. Journal Test report). If they still prefer to have it post automatically, then you can easily add this, when you know that everything imports and posts correctly when done manually.

    When creating the import using the General Journal instead of directly to the G/L Entry and Cust. Ledger Entry tables, then it also enables you to use the standard table and field triggers of the General Journal Line table. So when writing your import code, then the best way is to start by testing how to manually enter the same data using the Gen. Journal Line. Find out which order the fields should be validate. The order it is done in, is often quite important. I.e. it’s important that you validates line type and account no.’s before validating the amounts. But using the debugger whilst testing how it works when you do it manually will answer these questions for you.

    Then I would do it by using the G/L Sales Account as the primary account on each line and the customer no. as the balancing account. This way both my debit and credit part of each post is taken care of.

    Avoid hard coding

    Finally I would make sure I don’t have to “hard code” anything into the system. If you’re not familiar with the term “hard coding” then this is one of the biggest mistakes a developer can do, and it means that you are putting setup data directly into the code.

    In this example, even though the client directly specifies that account no. 1010 is to be used, then I would never put this number into my source code directly. Instead I would create a new field to store this setup data into. Either in a new “XYZ Import Setup” table or in an existing related table.

    The new table is the best way when you think about future system upgrades. But when a new table (and related form/page) costs money in NAV, and because it takes a little longer to create a new table and form/page compared to adding it to the an existing, then most developers would choose to use an existing. Even though it is not the better way and the extra money spent now is saved many times later.

    Post Scriptum

    As with most other situations in life, there is not just ONE WAY to do things. Not only might you have different ways you prefer to do things, but the request could also be slightly different. And as such my way of doing it is just one of the ways. But even though you might do it a bit different, then you should never write/import directly to Dynamics NAV entry tables. 

  • How to become a great Microsoft Dynamics NAV developer: Tables and other objects

    One way Dynamics NAV differs from most traditional development environments is the way everything is divided into different objects. In NAV these objects contains the complete application definitions or programming source code, if you prefer to call it so.

    This post in my series with tips and tricks for new NAV developers is about the the NAV objects, but mostly about tables.

    The Object Table

    Inside the NAV database all the objects and their definitions are stored inside the Object table (no. 2,000,000,001). You cannot see this table from within the NAV table designer, but if you open the table via SQL Server then you can see it here. You cannot see the actual source code here, as it is stored in the BLOB (binary large object) field “BLOB Reference”. But you cannot change the objects directly from this table, only indirectly using the Object Designer.

    The different objects types which are available in NAV are:

    • Tables
    • Forms (classic client)
    • Pages (from NAV 2009 RTC and NAV 2013)
    • Reports
    • Dataports (pre NAV 2013)
    • XMLPorts
    • Codeunits
    • Query (from NAV 2013)
    • MenuSuite

    Object numbering system

    As a new user its important to know your way around the different objects. The number assigned to the object tells you a lot about the object and if you are able to modify the object or not, depending on your license type.

    All the objects inside NAV are numbered according to the below table:

     Object no. range Description Comment

    1 - 9,999

    Standard application design area

    Partner development license allows you to modify objects in this area, but you cannot insert new objects.

    10,000 - 49,999

    Country/region design area

    Partner development license allows you to modify objects in this area if your license has a permission in that country/region. You cannot insert new objects.

    50,000 - 99,999

    Customer design area

    You can create and modify all objects in this area with a partner development license. An end-user license can only create/modify/run objects in this range, if they have purchased access to the specific numbers.

    100,000 - 999,999,999

    ISV/add-on design area

    ISV/add-ons are assigned objects to specific ranges in this range.
    Partner development license allows you to modify objects if your license has a permission in a specific add-on in this area. You cannot insert new objects. Even if you have access to an add-on in this range, then the ISV might have protected you from modifying the objects.
    2.000,000,000 – 2,999,999,999

    System area

    Objects in this area cannot be modified and you cannot insert new.

    You should avoid using the object numbers in the range 99,000 - 99,999, even though they are in the customer design area. These numbers are used by the training material for Microsoft Dynamics NAV.

    Field numbering system

    A similar numbering system exists for field numbers. You can only add/modify fields in tables you have access to according to the table above.

    Table number Field numbers Description  Comment

    1 - 9,999

    1 - 9999

    Standard application design area

    With a partner development license fields can be modified, but no new fields can be created.

    1 - 9,999

    10,000 - 49,000

    Country/region design area

    With a partner development license fields can be modified, if your license has within the country/region, but no new fields can be created.

    1 - 9,999

    50,0000 - 99,999

    Customer design area

    Fields can be added and modified.

    1 - 9,999

    100,000 - 999,999,999*

    ISV/add-on design area

    Fields can be added and modified only by the ISV to whom the field number range is assigned.

    10,000 - 49,999

    1 - 49,999

    Country/region design area

    With a partner development license fields can be modified, if your license has within the country/region, but no new fields can be created.

    10,000 - 49,999

    50,000 - 99,999

    Customer design area

    Fields can be added and modified.

    10,000 - 49,999

    100,000 - 999,999,999

    ISV/add-on area

    Fields can be added and modified only by the ISV to whom the field number range is assigned.

    50,000 - 99,999

    1 - 999,999,999

    Customer design area

    Fields can be added and modified.

    100,000 - 99,999,999

    1 - 9,999

    ISV/add-on design area

    Fields can only be added by the ISV to whom the tables number range is assigned. With a partner development license fields can be modified, if your license permission to the specific add-on range.

    100,000 - 99,999,999

    10,000 - 49,999

    Country/region design area

    With a partner development license fields can be modified, if your license has within the country/region, but no new fields can be created.

    100,000 - 99,999,999

    50,000 - 99,999

    Customer design area

    Fields can be added and modified.

    100,000 - 99,999,999

    100,000 - 999,999,999

    ISV/add-on design area

    Fields can be added and modified only by the ISV to whom the field number range is assigned. With a partner development license fields can be modified, if your license permission to the specific add-on range.

    * a part of this range also belongs to the standard application area, typically 99,000,000 – 99,999,9999.

    More information here: Dynamics NAV Number Conventions

    Table objects and SQL Server

    A new table is always created and modified using the table designer inside NAV, either directly in the classic client, or the “Dynamics NAV Development Environment” (NAV 2013). Navision will then create the table accordingly in SQL Server, or synchronize the changes to SQL.

    In general you should NEVER change the design of a Navision table directly from SQL Server. If you do then these changes are not synchronized back into Navision’s database definition and your system might start malfunctioning.

    Also when you have to move new or changed tables, in example from your local development database to the customers database. Then you must export the objects from your local version and import them again using the object designer in the classic client/development environment.

    A table per company in SQL Server

    If you open your database using SQL Server Management Studio you will notice that NAV creates a table per company. So for example the Item table is created as “CRONUS Danmark A_S$Item” – a combination of the company name (CRONUS Danmark A/S) and the table name.

    If you have tried to create a new company, then you might also have seen the first thing what happens is that NAV says “Creating tables….”. This is where all the new “company-specific” tables are created in the SQL Server database. When NAV synchronizes changes to SQL it does so to all the “physical” tables related to the table object.

    The only exception are tables where the property DataPerCompany is set to No in the Table Designer. This is used if you have tables where the data is to be shared between the different companies.

    But use this property with caution. First it will often give problems in a test environment, basically because you often will use the NAV backup function to copy companies. And after your database has its first company created, then you can no longer restore “Data Common to all Companies”.

    Now a lot of new developers would think that the DataPerCompany property is a great and easy way to solve a “master data” request. An example is if a company want to share their vendors or customers between their different NAV companies. Here I have seen many developers who think that this can be done just by setting the DataPerCompany to No. But the reality is that it takes a lot more than this property. If you start setting the property on the vendor table, then you also need to set it on all the related setup tables as well. And within long you have changed at least 30-40 tables and it then it easily get out of hand. Not to mention the above issues with backup/restores. It should really only be used for “simple tables”, which truly are common to all companies.

    A better way to solve the “master data” request is either to have a separate “master data company” and then synchronize between the companies. Maybe not easier to do, but much cleaner and in the long run, then it will give you a lot less problems, as you easier can separate the new functionality from the standard functionality. A key when we later are going to look at how to develop with upgrades in mind.

    About this blog series

    This blog post is the second in a series of posts with the purpose of helping especially Dynamics NAV developer newbies with some of the most frequently asked questions, basically small tips and tricks. If you have a suggestion to topics I should write about, then please write it in the comments below. If it’s a general question then I will put it on the list to be included in a future post. But I please don’t ask any urgent questions. Urgent and non-general questions should be asked in the forums: http://dynamicsuser.net/forums/navision.aspx

    In the next post in this series I will write about the debugger and how to use to to learn more about Dynamics NAV.

  • How to become a great Microsoft Dynamics NAV developer? Getting started

    As the webmaster of the Dynamics User Group for almost 18 years I have seen quite a lot of questions from confused and frustrated new developers who simply don’t understand Navision. “Why isn’t NAV and C/AL like the development languages they know, why isn’t it more like Pascal, Basic, C++ or even C#?”. Today nobody asks about Pascal or Basic anymore, but 18 years ago they were both quite common.

    Navision always had its own IDE (integrated development environment) called C/SIDE (originally short for client/server integrated development environment) and didn’t use Visual Studio as the development platform. This environment was tightly integrated into the (classic) client and specially optimized for ERP development. With the release of NAV 2013 the classic client is “dead”, only the development part of the classic client remains – now called “Microsoft Dynamics NAV Development Environment”. And this is still where all NAV development is done, with the exception of reports, where the report layouts is developed in Visual Studio using RDL.

    This blog post is the first in a series of posts with the purpose of helping especially Dynamics NAV developer newbies with some of the most frequently asked questions. If you have a suggestion to topics I should write about, then please write it in the comments below. If it’s a general question then I will put it on the list to be included in a future post. But I please don’t ask any urgent questions. Urgent and non-general questions should be asked in the forums: http://dynamicsuser.net/forums/navision.aspx

    Do you want to become a NAV developer or a NAV programmer?

    I know many people would say that a developer and a programmer is the same. But I don’t think so. You can rather easily turn a “classic” C programmer into a NAV programmer by learning them C/AL. But becoming a NAV developer takes more time. It requires that you besides knowing the actual programming (C/AL) also have a much broader understanding of NAV. That you know both how it works from the users point of view and more important why it works the way it does. A Dynamics NAV developer should also have a good knowledge of ERP/accounting and business management in general. All NAV developers needs to understand the concepts of debit/credit.

    Without this knowledge, then you’re often not able to fully understand the requirements you receive from the customers and/or consultants and come up with the best way to solve this requirement. You not only have to fulfill their requirements in a good technically way, but also in a way so that it is easy to use and doesn’t conflict with existing functionality.

    The NAV developer needs to be able to say “No” to the client/consultant, if they come up with a requirement. They need to be able to come up with alternative solutions or work-a-rounds. Why spend 10 hours creating a new functionality, if you can simplify the requirement and use existing functionality?

    So if a NAV programmer is someone who is able to write NAV code based on a detailed design specification, then the developer someone who is also able write the design specification. Which one do you want to become?

    How to start with NAV development?

    I therefor always suggest a new NAV developer that they start by learning how to use Dynamics NAV. Install the demo database, and then start using it. If you’re a new NAV developer working for a partner and you have never worked with NAV before, then you should really follow one of the implementation consultants when he/she helps the customer setup a new database. Be a part of the test-group. Create g/l accounts, customers, orders, post invoices, register payments etc. And always ask your self “What if I did this?”.

    A good way is also to follow the basic NAV training like “Dynamics NAV Introduction” and “Dynamics NAV Financial Management” or similar. Taking the “Dynamics NAV Developer” training is of course also a good idea, especially if your plan is to get the NAV developer certification. I know many partners would say that your focus is to get the NAV developer certification. But in my opinion then the certification in it self doesn’t really say anything about the knowledge of the developer, except that he/she might have been able to remember the answer to some standard questions. Personally I would prefer a developer with 1-2 years actual experience, then someone with a certification and less experience.

    There are also a lot of different books available today with the purpose of learning you how to do NAV development. Most are written by my fellow MVP’s and they are all very good. So you should check out Amazon or your local IT book store, if you want to see which ones to buy.

    The debugger

    When you have started using the system and feel comfortable with it, then start turning on the debugger. This way you can see exactly what happens when you use the system. You can see which objects are accessed, which code it executes and in which order.

    You should see the debugger as your best friend and tutor into NAV development. And it doesn’t matter if you’re a new developer or an experienced developer. Don’t see it just as a tool to debug errors!

    If you are developing to Dynamics NAV 2009 to the Role Tailored Client (RTC) then the debugger will not work here! With NAV 2009 you need to debug using the classic client. With Dynamics NAV 2013 Microsoft released a new debugger that works now with the RTC (now just called the Windows client). I’m going to dive more into how to use the debugger both in the classic client and in NAV 2013 in a later blog post.

    The standard system

    So the debugger helps you to get familiar the standard system. Because when you know which code is executed, then it’s also much easier to be able to customize the system.

    So if you’re asked to add a new field to the sales order and make sure that this field is transferred to the posted sales invoice, then you can use the debugger to see how the existing fields are transferred. And you will know exactly which objects to modify.

    In the user group forums what most new developers want when asking a development question is examples. How do I do this or that?

    And the standard system is full of examples. When you are familiar with the standard functionality, then it’s easy to identify similar functionality to what your development task’s requirement. Debug this functionality and then browse the objects, check the code and properties of the standard functionality and then eventually copy whatever code you need. Like if you need a new a new field which is almost similar to a standard field, then it’s easier to copy an existing field and the code related to this field and modify it, than to create it from scratch.

    How to optimize your use of the NAV developer forums?

    As a developer you can get a lot of help from the other members of the Dynamics User Group. We often see new NAV developers start using the NAV developer forum as soon as they get their first development assignment. And sometimes doing a full copy-paste from their development assignment, before they have taken the time to understand the assignment themselves. Whereas most of our members love to help you with your specific problems, then nobody really wants to do your job for you. So that’s not the way to use the forums. Often such question will not even be answered, at least not as fast as you want.

    Always understand your own question before asking it.

    When posting a question you should try to make the post as short as possible, but at the same time detailed and easy to read. And always mention the product version, as there might be big difference in how to solve a problem in Navision 3.70 or Dynamics NAV 2013. Don’t simply ask “How do I do this?” but write something like “I consider doing it this or that way. But I’m having a problem understanding how to do this (be specific). Is this a good way to do it, or is there a different way it could be done”. This is of course only an example. But the idea is for you to ask your questions so that they can be answered without taking too much time from your fellow member. In general then posts which requires too much time to answer are less likely to get a quick answer.

    Next post

    The next post in this series will be about the different objects in NAV, but especially about the table designer. And how to create and customize tables and fields.

  • Dynamics NAV 2013–You’re going to love it!

    The nerd inside me of course have been excited about NAV 2013 for a very long time. Just as I’ve always been excited about new technology. I have already written about Navision 2013. In the post “Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 – With my own first words” I wrote a little about the changed development environment. It was maybe not the most positive “review”. But as about 50-70% of my time then this is where I spent most of my time is spent as a NAV developer, then this was what I first focused on.

    Right now I’m in the process of doing my first upgrade from NAV 2009 R2 to NAV 2013. After some initial issues getting Mergetool for NAV 2013 to run (don’t compare reports – they are changed so much that they basically not comparable between the two versions) then I have now finished it. At least the compare part by now.

    Almost 90% changed

    At first I was really surprised to see that only 437 out of 3823(*1) objects have not been changed in NAV 2013 (compared to NAV 2009 R2 – excluding reports). That’s almost 90% of all the objects.

    The fact that there’s now only a total of 3823 objects is also great. In NAV 2009 R2 there were 5594 objects. With the classic forms and dataports no longer supported by Dynamics NAV, these objects have been removed from the database. Less objects means a less complex system and that it’s going to be easier to do future upgrades.

    There are also 459 new objects. Many of them created as part of the new functionality you might have been reading about in other posts: dimensions, cost accounting, cash flow, assemblies, time sheet functionality, queries etc.

    Code clean-up changes

    If you have followed Luc van Vugt’s blog posts on Dynamics User Group on “NAV 2013 Beta to RTM – Some Striking Code Changes” then you have seen that this version contains a lot of what I would call “code clean-up”. Changes where Microsoft have changed the way code is written and structured. Like when there is a new line and when there is not, in the individual “statements”. Changes that doesn’t add direct value to the end-user in the form of new or extended functionality. But more long term, then these changes are adding a lot of value to the overall quality of Dynamics NAV. When the code structure becomes more standardized then it also becomes easier to read and hereby easier to customize and debug (as long as all developers continue to follow the same standards).

    In the category of code clean-up you’ll also see that Microsoft now changed FIND(‘-‘) TO either FINDSET, FINDFIRST or ISEMPTY (depending on the requirement). These functions were added to NAV in version 4.0 (or was it 3.70?) to make the system perform better especially under SQL Server. But except for new code added since, then Microsoft did not change the remaining code until now with 2013.

    All the small changes

    Having worked with Navision for as many years as I have (20+) then one of the changes you most often are asked to do is to make fields wider. Like changing a code field from 10 to 20 characters, so that the customers data fit into the field. And here I think that the field I have most often been requested to change is “External Document No.”. This field used to be 20 characters long – now it’s 35! Item Description is a different and often changed field. This has been extended from a text of 30 to 50 characters. And there are many other similar examples. Nothing big, but these changes are going to cut out a lot of the typical small customizations and thus making future upgrades easier. Microsoft really listened to the customers here.

    Another small thing that always annoyed me with NAV was when you created a new Item and had to specify Unit of Measure. To do so, then you first had to create the Unit of Measure manually in the Item Unit of Measure table, before you could select it on the item. Microsoft now changed the code so that you now can enter the Unit of Measure Code directly without creating in the Item Unit of Measure table first. The validation code on the Item table will now insert it into the Item Unit of Measure table. A small change that really made me smile.

    Bug fixes

    The next you’ll notice when you compare the code are the many bug fixes. These are both small errors with no major consequences, left out captions and some major fixes. I have not not so many bug fixes in a single release since Microsoft released Navision 3.70 in 2003. NAV 3.70 was basically just a major hot fix to NAV 3.60!

    Biggest upgrade since Navision Financials

    All these changes, fixes, all the new functionality, the new clients, new object types (queries), the removal of forms and dataports, the retirement of the native database is all together making Dynamics NAV 2013 to the biggest update since Navision Software released Navision Financials in 1995.

    Thus a traditional upgrade of a heavily customized customer is also going to be a big project. A very big project! And unless the customer already is running NAV 2009 on the role tailored client then you’ll often get a better and cheaper result by doing it as a new implementation rather than as a upgrade.

    New implementations

    New implementations are also going to be easier. Microsoft have done major improvements to the Rapid Implementation Tools (RIM) which they now calls the RapidStart tools. Here you’ll find tools to help you with data migration, setup data templates, tools to help you to create test and training databases.

    Reports in Dynamics NAV 2013

    As I started this post by saying, then my previous review was not that positive. The issues I pointed out here about specifically regarding the report designer have not changed. I still don’t like the way you create reports in NAV 2013. It’s surely not as simple as it could be.

    But really this doesn’t matter that much now. With NAV 2013 you have new ways you can create your “reports”. You can also use the new queries, ODATA or web services. Or even easier the free JetReports Express. Or Microsoft Excel with PowerPivot or ODBC. Reporting doesn’t have to be done inside NAV you have many options!

    Conclusion

    Sure there are other areas which still could need enhancements or reprogramming but all in all, then Dynamics NAV 2013 is the best Navision ever. And if everything was perfect, if everything what a customer could ask for was already there, well then we wouldn’t need NAV developers anymore. Luckily for me and all the other NAV developers that’s not the case - yet.

    I love Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013. And I’m sure that you will love it too.

    *1 = Please notice the compares here was done using the Danish NAV versions, so your number objects might be different if you are using a different country version of NAV.

  • Free Microsoft Dynamics Job Advertising

    Almost since our first website started in 1995 online advertisements for job offerings has been a part of it. It used to be known as the place to find job advertisements for Navision. At one point it was almost taking away the attention from the normal posts on the website and I raised the fees to get more serious job ads, as we heard many reports of “non-existing” jobs, just made to draw attention to the specific recruiters. These changes more or less stopped job postings, which was fine as other sponsors came along so it wasn’t that important anymore.

    Right now the results of the ongoing Dynamics Users Community Survey 2012 already shows me that one thing that many new members would love to see are more job posts. And it have always been going good together with the users of the website, who often are looking for new exiting jobs in the Dynamics community.

    Therefor I would like to invite all recruiters and partners of Microsoft Dynamics professionals (developers, consultants, technicians, project managers, sales people etc.) to post their job offerings for free (until further notice). All they have to do is to sign up as “Recruiter” or “Partner”. All job posters have to follow and apply to the guide lines. If you also want to have your company logo showed in the sponsor loops on the job pages, then you need to sign up as a sponsor. Otherwise not.

    Please contact me with your username to be allowed permission to post.

    Also please let me know if you as a user of the website have any thoughts about having more job offerings displayed on the website? Is it something you would like to see, or is it something which you are happy to to see?

  • It’s our birthday - 17 years!

    These days are the birthdays of the Dynamics User Group. 17 years! That means that the teenager is about to be considered an adult here in Denmark. That makes me feel almost like a father look at his child. Also in regard to what this child is going be come when it grows up.

    1995

    Ever since I started the Navision Online User Group (NOLUG) with our mailing list back in 1995, over navision.net, mbsonline.org to dynamicsusers.net, I have loved what I have been doing. Providing and foundation for a community of now Dynamics users and professionals to meet and share and help each other.

    nolugI created this website simply because I needed at that time. I was working in the US in 1995 and when I was over there waiting for my visa, I had nothing else to do than to start create one of "those web sites" which was just starting everywhere. I then joined BMI in New York, one of the first partners in the US, they needed a developer and that was very difficult to find, so many Danes were working there at that time. I soon learned that what I missed was the little BBS (Bulletin board system) that was run by Navision Denmark. But as I now were no longer with a Danish Partner, so I were not allowed. Also it was very expensive to use, as it was not based on the internet, but via old expensive international phone lines.

    Too bad! Then I simple decided to create some over the internet. I had my local Internet Service Provider Openix set up “mailing list” and invited everybody I knew was doing Navision to subscribe to it. Navision.net was known by almost everybody working Navision at that time, who had an email. It was 1997, so that still wasn’t everyone. Not even close.

    1997

    When we started getting 30-50 emails every day (some days even more) it was time to make the first “web based” version.  Not that it sounds scary to anyone today, but back then it was a lot of mails, and nobody really used “inbox rules” to automatically put them in sub folders. The first web “forum” was based on Microsoft Frontpage (their entry level web editor) and a “discussion template” it included.

    Not a very good period. The discussion list was used by a selected few, basically a lot who had been using the mailing list, basically everybody hated it. Me included. But it did the job.

    2000

    nolug2In 2000 I was able present the first database based NOLUG site. It had taken me almost two years to find the right way to do it. Over trying to build my own, until I found “ASP Forums”, the same “open source” but ASP based packages used by Microsoft also. Many people still call it “the original forum”. It was great and I learned a lot of about database based web programming.

    But already 2001 I updated the platform again. This time move to what basically was an upgrade, technically a new product. “Snitz 2000” was created by the same people, but much more a “product” than a forum template, some websites more or less called it. Like ASP Forums, Snitz 2000 was also based on Microsoft’s Access database.

    mbsonline

    2001

    In 2001 was also the change from the Navision Online User Group, into Microsoft Business Solutions User Group, or MBSOnline.org as the new website was called. Microsoft had taken over Navision, and we followed and expanded with Axapa (had happened when Damgaard “joined” Navision two years before) and now Great Plains and Solomon.

    2005

    We grew 50-100 users every day, and by 2005 we were 20000 members. And it didn’t look to stop. Then the performance of the website started to causing problems. This old Snitz and Access database was not really happy about accepting all the users. The many issues was driving me and the users more and more unhappy. And in these years I lost many users to Mibuso, who at that time most were known for their Download section.

    2006

    dugIn June 2006 I were able to present the new Dynamicsuser.net – the Dynamics User Group. The fifth generation of the website and an all new identity. It was a big step, away from APS and Access, hello to ASP.NET, Microsoft SQL Server and Community Server. Here at least there were a where performance shouldn’t have been an issue. It was used by Microsoft for most of both their forums and blogs. And it was “partly” open source. We went live in June, but I wasn’t able to get all the old posts and members fully converted until January 2007. And due to the fact that all this ASP.NET and SQL Server host was sort of new both to me and the internet service provider(s) I had been using, then we continued to have minor problems all the way until 2009.

    2009

    And as I wrote in my The State of the Community in 2009 then at that time we were number 2 in terms of the most used 3rd. party (non-Microsoft) Dynamics NAV and AX community site.

    2012

    Today October 2012 we are again number one. According to both Alexa and Compete then we have a much higher number of unique visitors. Almost 100,000 members, of which 40,000 were active the 6 months.

    What to come in the future

    The first you’ll see is the invite to the Dynamics Users Community Survey 2012. Everybody who have been logged in the last month will start by reviving it, but you can also access through this link:

    Dynamics Users Community Survey 2012

    So my birthday wish for the website is that you all will be clicking on the link about and help tells what you think.

    Next you will start seeing a slow change in the layout of the site, going to make a few changes in colors and layout and so. Web design changes, but no actual change in the functionality as such for now.

    Then by Q1 2013 you will see more changes, which I will be able to write much more about soon.

     

  • Where are Microsoft going with the Dynamics NAV license pricing?

    I just read Vjekoslav Babic’s post Licensing Model Changes for Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013 on http://msdynamicsworld.com. As of today October 1st. 2012 Microsoft are changing the licensing model for Dynamics NAV and Dynamics GP. They are introducing a new license price model with the Starter Pack and the Extended Packs replacing the BRL (Business Readly Licensing) BE (Business Essentials) and AM (Advanced Management) licensing. Microsoft is calling the new model for “Perpetual Licensing for Microsoft Dynamics GP 2013 and Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2013” you can read more about the details in Vjeko’s post or on Microsoft’s partnersouce site.

    Personally I'm very puzzled about the message Microsoft are sending with this new pricing. For the last years the message has been that Microsoft Dynamics NAV should be for the smaller customers and Microsoft Dynamics AX for the large customers.

    But I just don’t see how this new licensing can make Dynamics NAV more accessible for smaller companies? For the real small ones with only one or two users it’s even more expensive, especially if you only need a bit of the more “advanced” functionality (but none of the modules you previously had to buy on the AM licensing).

    And since they have also no longer the "waterfall" discount when you are buying more then 10, then 25 etc. users then Dynamics NAV is also becoming more expensive for larger companies (on less of course a large number of their users really can manage with one of the new “Limited User” licenses)!

    Cheaper Dynamics AX?

    On the NAV Tech Days last week I was talking to some consultants telling me that Dynamics AX licenses now with the new pricing in many situations are cheaper than NAV and that it surely didn’t help them selling to neither small nor mid-sized companies in their countries.

    I’m sure Microsoft have thought this well over.

    Is SPLA licensing the answer?

    So maybe what they planning are to lowering the pricing on SPLA licensing. SPLA is the program where you don’t buy your license, but instead pay an monthly fee per user in a cloud hosting center. I have not found any official updates from Microsoft in that direction. Even though many Microsoft employees were at the NAV Tech Days last week, then they were all from the Microsoft Development Center in Copenhagen. That’s all our wonderful product developers, and where they know everything about the product, then they know almost nothing about licensing and sales and so. But what I did hear (and not form anyone at Microsoft and therefor not even slightly confirmed) was that SPLA pricing was to be increased with 65%! Hope that we’ll be able to get the SPLA license pricing confirmed soon.

    I’ll promise to post an update when I hear about it.

1 2 3 4 5 Next > ... Last »