This Extensions Stuff, is it version 0.1, 0.9 or 1.0?

Unless you have been living under a rock it is impossible to have missed the discussions about Extensions, or should I say fights. When I was walking my kids to school this morning my neighbour asked what the argument I had on LinkedIn with Marko was all about.

As MVPs we have to get used to a new reality. Blogging is no longer something that nerds do to share their personal opinion. Blogging is part of a marketeers day job and people get paid for what nerds like me do for free. I like it because writing allows me to clear my mind.

Oh, I remember the old days when people did not understand what an MVP was and we had huge debates over project green, SQL Server performance issues and other problems. No Microsofties getting in our way to have a good rant after having a bad day at the office.

In fact, in the real old days Navision employees were not allowed to be on (Now MiBuSo) or MBSOnline (Now DynamicsUsers). There were people that would do that anyway under an alias (which as very normal back then, you didn’t use your own name on forums) and helped people in the ecosystem.

Hey Mark, are you done already? I thought you were going to talk about extensions.

No. But be patient, we will get there eventually, maybe…

This is my blog. If you don’t want to read my thoughts, that don’t go here. Nobody forces you to read this. You don’t believe what I write is true? You think I am spreading rumours. I challenge you to test it yourself and if you prove me wrong I stand corrected. Happend in the past and I am a big boy, I can handle rejection.

Protecting code

Yesterday I spent most of my day on the Phone and on Skype. Talking to friends who attended Directions US.

On one of the calls I stood corrected. In one of my rants against Extensions I talk about the negative side effect of them being protected. You cannot see the source code.

This is bad, but not a new problem. It has been a challenge in our ecosystem for a longer time. A few months ago even I was asked to do a second opinion on a Navision 5.0 system that was running on a Native database. The source code was protected, not only the isv-range but also main posting routines like codeunit 12 and 80. This customer was held hostage by its partner.

In an unprotected situation I could have helped this customer and prevent an unhappy Navision customer leaving our ecosystem looking for another software.

Less serious a situation is where an ISV protects a few of their codeunits via the licensing system. In these situations you can still use some backdoors that Microsoft kindy enough left in the system to analyse the code and even correct a thing or two before sending the solution to the ISV.

Extensions are protected but also have a backdoor. I’m not going to blog that and I am not taking the credits for finding the backdoor. One of my friends did that. So if a Navision 2016 or 2017 customer runs into issues when using an extension there is a way to change its behaviour without being held hostage by the ISV.

So what version of extensions are you talking about Mark?

I’m not going to tell you just yet. Please remember that NAV2017 is not released just yet and information is officially still under NDA. Strange situation because hundreds of people have access to the preview and every NAV partner seems to get access to Yammer with the Microsoft ace programm these days.

What I do want to share are some other things.

Inside the VSCode project

One of my friends I called yesterday was Arend Jan Kauffmann and he shared the same with me as he writes in his blog, which is mandatory reading if you are taking your job as a Navision developer serious.

In his blog he is actually answering the question I raised as a title of the blog but I want to add some background which I will blog once NAV2017 is released maybe together with some videos.

He estimates an ETA of two-three years for this project to complete.

It sounds like a lot of problems I had with the current Extension model will no longer be valid but in return we will get an extra challenge called object oriented programming.

Again, something for a future blog post or a video.

Solution Apps

James Crowter writes about Solution Apps. This is something I first heard about after WPC and it seems that partners who have a vertical solution which is not loosely coupled with the current design patterns can put their code into Dynamics 365 anyway.

This makes me smile. Yes we need to move to extensions, but in order to match sales targets we allow large vertical partners to take a backdoor.

I’ll leave you to have your own opinion here.

Future of my blog

If you are still reading this you are still on my blog. Since it is my blog I might post something tomorrow about my dog if I want to. It’s your choice to read my blog and my goal in life is not to be an MVP but to help the community.

If something is wrong with your Navision, call 911 (NA) , or 112 (Europe) and I will try to save you. I prefer to do that by sharing what I know in training, coaching, books, blogs, forums or videos. That allows me to multiply myself and ultimately have a better Navision ecosystem.

Sometimes I will share weird code that I find in Navision and try to explain how to work around it. This is normal I think in open source situations.