Do you remember the Fiat Panda 30? It was released in the year 1980 and it was one of the best ever car models released from Fiat.
Fiat Panda 30 was one of the most appreciated models ever expecially because:
But today, do you ever want to buy a Fiat Panda 30 again if you think on your future new car? Probably someone could answer yes (oh my god!) but I’m quite sure that for the main part of you the answer is NO.
Yes, you can trick your old Fiat Panda in order to appear as a modern car, but this is only an exterior appearance. Under the hood you don’t have a modern car, its technology is always old.
In year 2019, we want a modern car, with more features and a real new technology under the hood.
This is called evolution and evolution is an aspect that covers all fields in your life with more or less speed. If you think on the software world, this is where the evolution speed is more increased.
Now think a bit to the software inside your company and expecially to your ERP. Do you want a Fiat Panda 30 as your ERP now? Or do you prefer a modern ERP?
Why this post and this question?
Expecially for these two main reasons:
Stay with the past is in my absolutely personal opinion the worst choice you can do now in the Microsoft’s ERP world.
Microsoft Dynamics NAV was and IS a great product and C/AL was and IS a great language for the platform. But C/AL has a big main limitation: extensibility. You can do what you want with C/AL but C/AL is not born to be extendible. Ok, now we have events also in C/AL but your code is always in the same big box and upgrading is not just a one click operation.
With Dynamics 365 Business Central and the new Modern Development platform, Microsoft for the first time offers us a great way to enhance an extend our ERP. This is the first real step, not the final one. But this is a step in terms of evolution.
Start change your mind, detach it from the old monolythic C/AL. The platform has absolutely to change in this era and a jump must be done in all layers, from Microsoft to Partners to Customers.
Stop thinking on conversion of code, but instead start thinking on rearchitecturing and refactoring your codebase. This is a big investment I know, but in a long term it will be a big advantage for you to have all your codebase as extensions.
My few suggestions:
Is the C/AL going to an end? Yes. No way. Customers and solutions that will still remain on the C/AL platform are like the Fiat Panda 30: they just works (and also in a great way), but they will not be future ready.
Will Microsoft support an actual C/AL platform in the future? Yes and no. They will receive cumulative updates until the maintenance period but no mayor features or platform improvements. The future has another direction, print it on your mind.
The actual Extension’s model will be improved in the following years for sure, this is only the beginning, but the road is now tracked.
What about the decision to cut the C/AL in the October ’19 release? I think it’s the best choice to do. The ideal way to start the platform evolution is a platform R-evolution and the new major release must have a clear cut with the past. On or off, on board or not. It could sound too hard, but it’s the more reasonable choice.
Few suggestions to Microsoft for the next years:
As I said to all partners and customers I had the pleasure to meet during this year: invest on your evolution. The Fiat Panda era is finished.