I just couldn't resist posting these links:
The Waldo Ultimatum: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TkXnvEUeBncWaldo caught on tape: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7v14r2MlWys
As promised, 5.0 SP1 W1 is available for download.
Versions W1 (WorldWide), DK (Danish), DE (German) and US are available at this moment.
These are the other release dates: Group 1 (GR1) countries are expected to release 7th May 2008
Group 2 (GR2) countries are expected to release 17th June 2008 - No UA (online help)
Group 2 (GR2) countries are expected to release 14th August 2008 - Incl. UA (online help)
I have some time on the airport to write down some final thoughts of what this Convergence meant to me (actually, I had to wait for 8 hours for my connecting flight from Washington to Brussels - luckily I decided to pay Washington a (very very) quick visit. Washington Dulles Airport has been named "Dulles" for a reason - but anyway).
This was my 4th Convergence. Previously, I went to Munchen, San Diego and Copenhagen. This was by far the most interesting one - as well as personally as professionally.
Location: Orlando Orange County Conference Center
This time, Microsoft used the Orange County Conference Center in Orlando. Personally, Orlando isn't really my favorite destination. Everything seems so fake down there. Disney World, Universal Studio's and some other attractions have a lot to do with, but also ... Orlando doesn't feel like a city. It's more like a huge theme park without a theme or townhall . People call it "Toon Town" or "Plastic City" for a reason . I liked Denver (WWPC) and San Diego a lot better for that matter. Anyway, I had some spare time to visit the Kennedy Space Center (Cape Canaveral) - which was interesting.
What about the Green Initiative
In one of my previous blogs, I announced that Microsoft made a huge effort to keep the conference as "green" as possible. The waterbottle-instead-of-a-humongous-amount-of-plastics-cups was a remarkable initiative for that matter. More then 9500 attendents got a nice blue reusable waterbottle ... Too bad that still, the plastic cups remained available to use, and still, people kept on using them, causing for, still, a big pile of wasted plastic. I was surprised to see that.
As you might have read, I had a lot to do at the conference. I worked about 10 hours in the Community and Learning Center and about 5 hours in the Expo, spread over 4 days. Now, do not be mistaken ... This was my own choice. I first put together my agenda with all the sessions I wanted to attend. The spare time I suggested to Microsoft to fill it up with Expo and C&L center. Both are a very good way to not only help, but also meet people with different kinds of interests and problems - which was one of my primary goals this conference.
I am grateful to Microsoft that they trusted me on this. I suppose they know their own people's knowledge, but I guess they don't know mine ... . I'm glad they wanted to take the risk and I hope their experience (with me) was as positive as mine (with them) .
Well, not much more to say about that. Besides of one session (hardware session) I've written everything down in my previous blogs. Overall, the content was good and the sessions were brought in an interesting way. Only two things disappointed me. The in summer to be released SQL Tool and the small new features in 5.0SP1, which are not 100% worked out. Also the Michael Devoe's statement about index hinting bothers me a bit.
Because of the full schedule, there wasn't much free time. I won't go into it too deeply. Just wanted to say that mainly Olga accompanied me. I really appreciated that . Thanks, Olga, I really had a blast! I also got to know Philippe and Gary better. Those guys are hillarious!
Last day, I visited the Kennedy Space Center. If you're sick of fake Orlando I, Kennedy Space Center is a good way to get out of it .
Good conference, bad location, nice opportunities, mainly good content, very amusing free time, nice Space Center!
And to you guys (and girls), thanks for reading my blog. Your comments keep me going.
Martin Nielander (from the systained engineering team) and Jesper Reabild wanted to give an overview of what SP1 of version 5.0 has to offer. I know it on the SQL side, but may be there are other things that were added.
He started off to give an overview what 5.0 already had to offer on top of 4.0. It was already a huge improvement in functionality.
The SP1 improvements are grouped in three major things:
So first the Application enhancements. They did over 300 enhancements (or should I say bug fixes) based on feedback from partners and customers (Wow, that's huge). Furthermore, a few small nice things are included, like:
Time for a demo. The document line comments is just in for example a sales document, click on line/Comments. A disadvantage: you don't see it right away! So there is no indication on the lines that there is a comment added to a specific line. Come on guys, that's a small effort ! They even recommended that when you add a comment on the line, you should also add a comment like "there is a comment on lines" on the header. I will do a customization on the default SP1 database right away to improve this... . It's a good new feature, but has to be somewhat finished in my opinion .
There is a new checkbox in the sales & Receivables Setup: Archive Quotes and Orders. In the navigation pane, there are extra links under "history". Finally, automatical archiving of orders and quotes is now a fact. The next step will be to restore them, which is not possible yet. You could always use the Copy Document feature, I guess. Furthermore, the same is available on the Purchase side. This is available in the 'smal business licensing' model.
Furthermore, there is now a Vendor Purchase History (like there already was for sales, now there is for purchase as well). There are some other small improvements, where he didn't go deep into.
Indeed, it's a small feature push. Definitely nice and asked many times by the end users.
To conclude the application enhancements, there has been done a "Planning Engine Refactoring". The main message is that the engine is rewritten (about 40% of the code) so that it's more easy to understand for developers what's in it. Martin excused himself not being a planning engine expert, but still, he did a demo. In the Planning Worksheet, there are now working icons available. The icons show you what's going in. Clicking on the icons give you the warnings per line that made it create the line (if you understand what I mean ... ). You get now a better system response in regards to planning messages: Emergency messages, Exception messages, Attention messages.
Next, the Platform Improvements. They have been doing the following optimizations:
The last thing is the "Mobile Solutions" as a new business opportunity. Microsoft Dynamics Mobile is a platform on which to build mobile applications. ISV's are picking this up, so expect a lot of applications to pop up that uses this platform. One of the applications to show the possibilities of the platform, is "Mobile Sales" on a pocket PC.
A Demo. There is not really much new to say about the application. Good to know is that the framework is very flexible. You can use bluetooth, wifi, cable, offline and synch, ... actually whatever to connect with your NAV database. He showed the six steps you need to create a sales order (with scanning the item and such) and the fact it synched with NAV. They didn't go into the architecture "because it was explained in an earlier session".
To conclude, some Upgrade Considerations. As you know, you can choose between two possibilities:
Keep in mind, if you want to go to the NAV2009 RoleTailored client, you'll have to upgrade to the latest version (5.0 SP1).
This concluded the session. It was a nice short overview of what SP1 has to offer. I hope it was useful for you.
This session is presented by Michael DeVoe and Robert Miller. They're both really good, so I expect a lot of it.
Apparently, there is a new tool coming available to analyse the performance of a NAV database on a SQL Server: the SQL Server Performance Troubleshooting and Analysis tool. Robert and Michael are both working on it themselves. Apparently this is what the session will be all about.
So, what is it?
It consists of 6 built-in tools.
This soulds cool, but really ... I want to do this from within SQL Server, not from within NAV :|. I should try this out (we're getting a beta version on a USB-solar-calculator-device (yes, indeed )).
Hey, here is a statement. Michael DeVoe sais that Index Hinting by default is a HUGE mistake. It shouldn't have been in there. Quote: "I'd rather trust theSQL Server developer's tool to find me the correct index instead of an application developer". Furthermore, this tool is worthless when index hinting is on, so be sure to switch it off.
To drill down into the tool, let's talk about the zero SIFT record deletion tool (try to put that into a sentence). One note for this tool: make sure you're on 4.0 SP6 Update 6 because of the bug in the SIFT calculation. The tool is completely dynamic and will work on all standard and customized tables.
The next tool, SQL Index Defragmentation Tool, works with the sys.dm_db_index_physical_stats DMV. You use this to defragment indexes, which can have a noticalbe impact on performance.
Furthermore the SQL Index Statistics Rebuild with FULLSCAN tool [gulp :|]. It uses the UPDATE STATISTICS ... WITH FULLSCAN. The FULLSCAN forces SQL Server to read all records in the table when compiling the stats instead of just a sample size. The tool works best when used as a periodic activity in conjunction with "auto update statistics". Michael hopes everyone turns ON auto update stats. Me? I don't know anymore. I'm really starting to doubt that it matters that much.
The SQL index Fill Factors tool will rebuild the clustered index on any NAV table with a fill factor. It allows you to choose a table or a group of tables to rebuild the fill factor on. By the way, fill factors help avoid SQL Index page splits helping increase performance. Processing table such as Sales Line and purchase Line can benefit from Fill Factors, but do not set fill factors on transactional table such as Value entry and Item Ledger Entry. Because of the entry no., all records will be inserted at the bottom of the last page. Setting fill factors will only create unused space.
The SQL Index utilization Analyzer is based on the sys.dm_db_index_usage_stats DMV. It shows you the table name and all non clustered indexes associated with each table. It will allow to set filters such as number of rows and number of seeks and scans and allows you to generate recommendations on what indexes can be dropped due to little or no usage. Before you drop indexes, make sure you got a full backup.
Last tool is the SQL Missing index Analyzer. This tool is based on the sys.dm_db_missing_index_details DMV. It is clear what the tool does, I guess .
A lot of the tools are based on a DMV. DMV's are only available since SQL Server 2005, so this tool will only work for NAV databases on SQL Server 2005. Furthermore is the data in DMV's reset every time you restart the SQL Server Service or reboot the server. Keep this in mind. If your server is only running for 1 day, the data in the DMV's are not really thrustworthy.
Over to Robert Miller with a demo of this tool. He warned us that due to some limitations of ADO (2000 character string buffer), the code isn't that so fantastico. Therefore, they had to write some stored procedures to be able to keep the SQL string limited.
Anyway .. Lets bycicle through the tools (like we say it in Belgium ). He started off with the missing indexes tool. The tool suggests what indexes should be created, lets you select the indexes that you would like to create, and creates the indexes. Good to know: the indexes are NOT added in NAV, only in SQL Server! I find this a little bit awkward. I would never recommend this.
Furthermore, the Index Usage Analyzer tool shows you which indexes might be deleted. The deletion of these indexes are also deleted from within NAV. Again, no synch between the MaintainSQLIndex field and the indexes that were delete in SQL Server .
Hm, not all tools are shown. At least we have a global overview on how it is going to work. Let me check if I can make this available to all of you.