One of the things that I noticed while doing some development in NAV2013 is that keys are now part of the Symbol Menu (F5) in the C/AL editor!
This allows you to select all active keys for example when using SETCURRENTKEY.
Very handy, since most of the time you had to go to for example the design of the table to look for keys, copy and paste, and then implement the quotes.
How cool is this!
I'm currently involved in my first customer/end-user upgrade. It's a system that I implemented myself three years ago with 2009 RTC. Highly (extremely) customized, 50GB and a gazilion interfaces.
The first step in an upgrade, besides merging the objects, is opening the database in the NAV2013 development environment. Previously known as the classic client.
When you do this, first the database should be compatible with SQL 2008. If you upgrade from 2005 this is an option you can set via SQL Server Management Studio.
Then the good old "do you want to convert this database" question pops up. Like Always with upgrades from client to client.
NOTE: Before you do this, all forms and dataports should be removed from the database, which is done by step 1 of the upgrade toolkit.
So what does it do? A lot actually, but the step I wanted to discuss is the upgrade to Unicode.
SQL server supports unicode, but NAV did not use that before, therefore NAV used a datatype on SQL Server that did not support unicode. This is the VarChar datatype. To support unicode youl'd have to implement the nVarChar datatype.
This is done by the upgrade step.
So is this use of Unicode standard?
Yes it is. You cannot use the VarChar datatype anymore, it is automatically replaced by nVarChar.
But there is a bug.
You might run into issues when importing a FOB file that the Text and Code fields are converted to OemCode and OemText.
If you look in NAV2013 you'll see that Text and Code datatypes (both convert in SQL to (n)VarChar) are new optionvalues. The old 2009 values are now OemCode and OemText. This means that you can only store non-unicode or single byte characters in that field.
You cannot choose these options from the dropdown list.
So how do you get to this bug?
If you save a fob that is created with NAV2009 from the import worksheet in NAV2013 and then import it again, you will have OemCode and OemText.
My guess is, this is a bug.
Fortunately I was involved in the beta program and did some testing with Unicode in a CTP build where you'ld have to manually change this, otherwise I would be completely puzzled what this OemCode and OemText was.
This does mean some overhead to SQL Server. Unicode strings use more diskspace and more memory. But my database did not double in size. It grew with about 50%. How much your database will grow depends I guess on the amount of textfields you use compared to decimal fields and dates, etc.
Just got back from Directions USA. Phoenix this time. After Atlanta (2006), Orlando (2007), Austin (2009), San Diego (2010) and Orlando (2011) my 6th, only missing the first and the one where my daughter Saskia was born.
Since 2006 something was happening at directions each year. I still remember being amazed in 2006 that the few Microsoft people who were there were yelled at since people were afraid that they would let Navision die. This was before Microsoft started to be a big sponsor of the event, or like some people phrase, high jacked the event. To me the yelling was surprising since I just got from TechEd where I was impressed by the Role Tailored Client that then was not yet called that.
After that we had the event where someone (of Microsoft) boldly stated that using the RTC, a single change to the database required a full recompile. Also bullshit, but a message that confused people.
Then the RTC was released with NAV2009. A great release and many people started investing in new technology. Many, but not all. Others were unimpressed and complaining about complexity.
Last year Microsoft introduced what we now know as Dynamics NAV 2013. We learned about Queries, RDLC 2010 and the new functionality. Oh yeah, and the cloud. But under NDA since we were a year from the release date.
So what about this year.
This year was all about the big release of Dynamics NAV 2013. This is a release that we will remember for a while. Everything is perfectly balanced, technology vs. functionality. Kind of like with Navision 2.60, but way, way more enhanced.
So this was what we were living towards since all the events since 2006, yet, I did not feel any real vibes.
Why is this? Its celebration time isn’t it?
Yes it is! But not for everyone.
With Dynamics NAV’s flexibility we always had the add-on program. Vertical or Horizontal solutions that made it easier to use NAV in a certain industry or filling requirement gaps with proven applications.
Even though this program is very successful, it’s not successful enough. The reason for this in my opinion is that a.) many NAV partners still sell many large development projects and b.) many NAV partners use their own ISV solutions for this projects rather than looking for ready-made solutions.
Off course there are exceptions. These exceptions are now used as examples and partners are made aware of these possibilities. This awareness is emphasized by a change in the licensing policy.
The add-on program allowed partners to purchase the objects they need for their solutions with discount or even for free if it’s CfMD. In short it is no longer possible to use add-ons for one-off projects. Instead add-ons have a minimum sales quote within a certain period.
Off-course doing these large implementations is still possible, but not using “add-on” solutions that are only used for this of few projects.
At directions, this message was talk of the day. Together with all the new technology that not everyone has adopted to me gave the feeling that people were outside of their comfort zone.
All people? Now, definitely not. Microsoft has been messaging the ISV story for over a decade and for over 5 years we know that the .net version (my own invented name for everything that has to be done with 3-tier technology) was coming. I’ve been talking to many people who are very enthusiastic about this release and the vertical possibilities.
The industry solution that I use in my daily projects and started development over 10 years ago is CfMD for 2013. One of the first five!
It’s very clear that this release is the start of a new era in the Dynamics NAV community.
The community that has changed.
So you ask, what about the sessions? Being involved in NAV2013 since the kickoff meeting in Vedbaek and seeing sessions last year and at NavTechDays I’ve not attended many. The ones I did were mostly chalk talks, a session from Per Mogensen and our own PRS session.
Per did a great session with tips about how to upgrade your ISV solution to NAV 2013. Waldo led a two hour! chalk talk about tools where we discussed versioning using for example TFS. Soren Klemmensen showed how they use this at his work. Very impressive.
I always attend the performance chalk talk, just for personal interest of the subject and to hear what partners are struggling with. What I remember from this session is that the G/L Locking improvements is a confusing statement towards many NAV partners. Maybe I’ll blog about this later. Another thing that was discussed is whether or not Microsoft should and could support technical upgrades with the RTC.
Our session was fun to do as always and we had great feedback. Gary introduced the ever growing urge of designing repeatable software, something we have been evangelizing for more than a year now. Eric introduced a great example on how to develop facade interfaces in Dynamics NAV allowing flexible and extendable solutions. Lastly I did a deep dive into the redesign of Dimensions in NAV 2013 as explained in the blog series (that has yet to be completed).
Dynamics NAV 2013 is by far the best Navision version ever! But no longer to be implemented like we did with previous versions.
High volume repeatable deals is what Microsoft wants from us now and in the future. They’ve given us all we need for this. Now let’s move some ass and start materializing this.