In 1988 I went back to school, after 2 years working with accounting and sales in a small factory in Denmark. I had been working as a "junior project manager" at an ERP implementation company. I really got hooked and wanted to learn to program a much better system, than the one we used in my role. 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. in 1991, after finishing school I was hired by a Navision partner as an instructor and project manager. In 1995, I moved to the US to work for 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. 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. Windows 95 made it even more accessible to individuals by 1995.
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 and couldn't get many answers to my questions. I started emailing back and forth with my friends back in Denmark, at least the ones who had an email address back then. In 1995, we decided to form a user group. I created a homepage at www.navision.net. My ISP sponsored an internet mailing list so all my Navision contacts could subscribe to the email. Each time someone wrote an email it was automatically sent to all the subscribers.
Navision Online User Group (NOLUG) was born on October 1st, 1995. Navision Software headquarter didn't have a website at that time. Navision.net was the first that came up if you searched on Yahoo (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. In 1998, I built a new site using Microsoft Frontpages build-in debate/forum setup. Basically just one long page with all the discussions added, but people didn't really care for it. At that time NOLUG 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. In 2001. we upgraded to a forum software called Snitz 2000 Forums. It was based on ASP Forums, but it had several 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 are rich in historical discussions from 15+ years ago. At the same time, 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 off. In the peak around 50-100 new users registered every day, which started to cause performance issues on the website (a good problem to have).
It was time to update the forums again thanks to the increasing DUG activity. Through my new MVP Award in 2004 I learned about Telligent Community Server, which also was used by Microsoft on many of their websites. Telligent is based on SQL Server and ASP.NET. After attempting to convert the old site without success 6 months, I decided simply to leave the old content as "read-only" (for search purposes), and 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. However, we were not able to get updates from Telligent via the MVP program any more because Telligent was sold to a new owner which didn't have free versions available. Having no major sponsor to fund 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 issues. We also lost a lot of activity especially to Microsoft's own Dynamics community website. 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 released just before Christmas 2015.
Now DUG is a modern and fully responsive site, working on all devices while keeping our old logo/branding. The biggest change with version 6 was no longer have a siloed look and feel. Previously, the site was organized per application (blog, forums, gallery and wikis), which 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.