Available from: http://msdynamicsbooks.com/product_info.php?products_id=207
The last time I reviewed a book was over a year ago and, looking back, I think I may have been a little harsh. In my review of David Studebaker’s book (Programming Microsoft Dynamics NAV) I complained that the book was rambling and contained many errors, although overall I thought it was a good book and I still recommend it. A lot has changed since then. For one thing, I consider Rene Gayer, one of the authors of this book, to be a friend and he gave me a free copy of the book (which has to be worth a favourable review, don’t you think?) Possibly the biggest change in circumstances from a year ago is that I have also co-authored a book on Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 and I now understand what a massive undertaking this is. As a result, I’m going to praise this book, since I admire those that take the effort to share their knowledge, but mainly because it is a good book. Before I get on to the good bits, you may be wondering what I didn’t like. I promise to keep it brief…
If I were to attempt to write a book in German, it would be very short and full of all kinds of mistakes. Writing a book in a second language must be difficult and I know that I could not possibly attempt it. I admire the authors of this book for their achievement. Having said that, if you are to enjoy this book, you will need to accept that it is written by people for whom English is not their primary language and focus on the content, which is very good indeed. Phew! Now I’ve got that off my chest, let’s see what I liked.
This book has a lot of tips and tricks for NAV programmers that are looking to work with NAV 2009. It is not an introduction to NAV programming, but is aimed at those with experience with previous versions. If you are new to NAV 2009, you will get a good introduction with plenty of practical exercises to work through. I’ve been working with NAV a good number of years, I co-authored a book on NAV 2009, and I still learnt plenty from this book. If you don’t plan on working through every exercise, you’ll find you can read this book quite quickly, which is a great advantage for the busy professional.
The team have put a lot of effort into solving some of those problems that you will face with NAV 2009. The chapter on creating report layouts was outstanding and I have learnt things that have been of immediate benefit to me in my work. The hidden feature of the report viewer (press Ctrl+Shift+Alt+F12 when previewing a report to see the dataset) was something that I needed so much, I actually wrote a .NET program to do a similar thing, before reading about this feature in this book. In the section on Pages, the team have provided tools to help create Matrix Pages easily. You can download the various tools from http://www.dynamicsblog.at/index.php/nav2009:.
The chapter on Web Services covers the basics. I felt a little cheated (cheated being a relative term when you have a free book) that the three and a half page sequence explaining how to consume Web services was repeated for Visual Studio 2005, 2008 and also for VB.NET with a few minor alterations. It would have been nice if these differences could have been covered without repeating so much text. This chapter is only a small part of the book, and is a good introduction to the topic, so don’t let this put you off.
Transforming Forms to Pages was well covered by Chapter 6. The authors have used a number of examples that show how to re-create some standard Pages by using the TIF editor to create the required transformation rules. I found this a great way to cover the transformation process and if I had read this before starting my latest NAV 2009 project, I would have had a much easier life.
Overall I enjoyed reading this book and I recommend it to anyone that wants to learn about programming the new features in NAV 2009. The section on using the new Reporting Services layout is the best part of the book and, in my opinion, it is worth buying the book for this chapter alone.