NAV 2018 CU9 new features

Last week Microsoft released a latest cumulative update to NAV 2018, CU9. This update contains only some platform fixes, which suggests that the client side is beginning to be in a mature state of development.

The Application hotfixes is another story. There is quite a bunch of fixes and documented changes like new Integration Events that I do not go through here. These can be checked from the microsoft KB page.

What mainly interests me are the changes and additions MS adds to each CU silently. I like to think these as "easter eggs", meant for developers like me or enthustiastic application consultants to find and delight.

Microsoft introduced a nice feature in NAV 2017, Work Description on Sales Header and Sales Invoice Header tables. It allows user to insert free-form text into sales quotes and orders, from where the text is inherited to Sales Invoice. Work Description can also be opted to be printed on the documents.

This feature is something that had been requested by a lot of customers, and very many partners have implemented as well. A very good example of the implementation you can find from Mibuso or Waldo's blog (WaldoNavPad tm).

The main difference with the Microsoft approach and most of the ISV approaches is that ISV's mostly used text fields, when MS implemented the functionality with Blob field. There are good and bad sides to both approaches.

Text field lengths are limited in NAV, you can only store 250 chars long texts in NAV database fields. So developers usually somehow split the text into multiple text fields after the text has been handled with some sort of word editor window.

Blob however does not have a limit normal ERP user would collide with the data he would like to save in one record. Then again, Blob fields are non-filterable. You will always have to decode the text stored in blob and only after that you can search a piece of text from it. This makes it a bit cumbersome to use.

At the same time when MS introduced the Work Description field, they also actually published a new Pattern for handling text in a blob field. This is very convenient for developers to refer. The GetWorkDescription and SetWorkDescription functions can be found from the tables where Work Description field is available.

With CU9 release Microsoft has now extended the use of Work Description field. You can find it now in two additional tables.
* Sales Header
* !Sales Shipment Header
* Sales Invoice Header
* !Sales Cr.Memo Header
* Sales Header Archive

Reports that have handling for Work Description:
* 1303 Standard Sales - Draft Invoice
* 1304 Standard Sales - Quote
* 1305 Standard Sales - Order Conf.
* 1306 Standard Sales - Invoice

So, from now on, the Work Description blob field is inherited to Sales Shipment and Credit Memo headers as well. Perhaps in the future MS will add the field to the Shipment and Credit memo printouts as well?

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