A few events took place before DUG started in 1995.
In 1988 I went back to school, after 2 years working with accounting and sales in a small factory in Denmark. The reason I wanted to study again, was because I had been the "junior project manager" of an ERP implementation in my company. I really got hooked and wanted to learn to program a much better system, than the one we used in my job.
Back in school I learned a lot about computers, systems development and standard applications. This was the first time I met PC&C - the original name for Navision Software. I made a special report on the accounting system called PC-Plus. This was a wonderful little system which could do almost everything a small company could need. Actually even today, more than 20 years later, a lot of companies are still using it. I really liked it, it was so advanced back then.
After school I got my first job with a Navision partner in 1991. I was hired as a instructor and project manager. And in 1995 I moved to the US and found work with the first Navision Solution Center in New York City Business Management International.
Before leaving Denmark, I had been active on Bulletin Board System (BBS) run by Navision Denmark, for their Danish partners. These modem dial-in based BBS's were the first online "forums". In 1994 the internet started to become easier to get access with IBM's release of OS/2 Warp. It had build in internet - still with dial-up. And in 1995 Windows 95 made it even more accessible to private people to get it.
It was also in 1995 the original user group started. It was a big challenge to work in an office where nobody really knew Navision except me. The support staff from Navision US (back then called Avista in the US) were also all very new to Navision. In many situations I knew more than them, so I couldn't get much help from them. So I started emailing back and forth with my friends back in Denmark. At least the ones who had an email address.
I created a home page at www.navision.net - and I had my local ISP sponsor a internet mailing list. This way all my Navision contacts could subscribe to the email list. And every time someone wrote an email it was automatically sent to all the subscribers.
Navision Online User Group - aka NOLUG was born. Officially on October 1st, as that's when the first website was online. Navision Software headquarter didn't even have a website at that time. Navision.net was the first that came up if you searched on Yahoo (it was before Google).
After a year or two the mailing list grew too big. You often got 30-50 emails a day from the list. More than 500 people on the list. Nobody had time to participate this way any longer.
So in 1998 I build a new site using Microsoft Frontpages build-in debate/forum setup. It was ok, but very simple. Basically just one long page with all the discussions added. We used it, but people didn't really like it so much.
At that time he website was hosted by Navision Software, on a server in their internal server room. It was a deal we made, after their lawyers took our domain name navision.net away us. They still allowed us to use it until 2000.
In 2000 we had the first real forum using a database on our website. We used the famous old ASP Forums. A free and open software with a Microsoft Access database and ASP coding. It was a good time and the forum was great.
We upgraded again in 2001. This time to a forum software called Snitz 2000 Forums. It was based on ASP Forums, but it had lots of additional features and many developers supporting it with add-ons and enhancements. This site was mostly known as mbsonline.org. The forums we have today goes back to this time and you can find all the old post from back then today.
This is also Axapta starts becoming a more visible part of Microsoft Business Solutions User Group - MBSOnline.Org, but still only a fragment of Navision.
In the Snitz time the member database really took of. In the peak around 50-100 new users registered every day. So we started to have performance issues. Access isn't really build to handle that many users.
That's it was time to move on again. Time to change forum software again. Through my new MVP Award in 2004 I had learned about Telligent Community Server, which also was used by Microsoft on many of their websites. Based on SQL Server and ASP.NET. After having worked with getting the old site converted for 5-6 months, without success, I decided simply to leave the old site as "read-only" (for search only), and just open the new site. So in June 2006 the new and fifth generation of the Dynamics User Group website was live.
We upgraded to Community Server 2008.5 in 2008. But then we were not able to get updates from Telligent via the MVP program any more, as Telligent got sold to a new owner, which didn't like to have free versions available to anyone.
Having no major sponsor would could pick up the price of upgrading to a commercial version, I spent most of my "community time" from 2012 to 2015 evaluating, testing, programming possible replacements for DUG. We also had a lot of performance issue, which Microsoft back in 2012 had said, only could be solved by updating. It was not the best years. We had also lost a lot of activity especially to Microsoft's own Dynamics community website.
By 2015 there is just as much Dynamics AX activity on DUG is as NAV activity.
In August 2015 I was almost ready to shot down everything and let sail away. But then Telligent was sold again. And now it became possible to upgrade again.
I had the first upgraded test site online in October 2015, but decided to wait for the release of their newest version (9.0), which was release just before Christmas 2015.
On March 18th. 2016 the old site was shut down and 26 hours later the users could login again. Now on a site now running a modern fully responsive (works on "all" device sites) design. Still with our old Logo and so.
The biggest change with version 6 was the going a way from "silo" setup we had on the old. Instead of organizing per product, it was organized per application (blog, forums, gallery and wikis). That made it very difficult to get AX blogs to link with AX forums etc.
Now DUG is organized in a separate user group per product. So there is a user group for AX, NAV, CRM and GP, and all product related resources and content on DUG goes to one of these groups. Or their sub groups.