I notice that (at least in Belgium) it's still quite a "hot topic" on how to handle NAV 2009 Forms and pages. Should we develop pages? Or should we develop forms, transform them and start from there? Or should we maintain a 100% form transformation to pages and never touch the page designer?
Well, my comments on this: it depends. It all comes down to the context. It all comes down to the customer's needs, the support you want to give … and your knowledge (probably the most important one). I have been diving into this lately and came across some interesting links, advice and such, which I wanted to share with you. Probably there is already a lot online about this … but hey … "repetitio mater studiorum est" .
As you already know, there is a lot about developing in NAV 2009 on "Microsoft Dynamics NAV 2009 Developer and IT Pro Documentation". Also specifically things about NAV 2009 Form Transformation.
Here are a few tips.
Get familiar with the Core Application
It wouldn't make sense to transform to pages, to set up the TIF tool, while you're not familiar with the page types and other page-related stuff (taskpanes, actions, promotion of actions, … ). Here is a link that can help you with that.
Furthermore, learn how Microsoft dealt with certain difficulties. There are a number of occasions where Microsoft had to redesign a certain form. You can learn a lot from this. Check it out here. On this page, you can find a number of "how to's" as well (How to handle Matrix forms, how to handle journals, …).
Get familiar with the Form Transformation tool
What can you expect from the Transformation Tool? How can you debug it? How can you influence the transformation process? These are all stuff you have to know to efficiently use it. Therefore, get familiar with it's architecture.
Furthermore, the Form TransformationLog Output file is a very useful tool to see what is going on. First of all, you can get an impression on how much work a form transformation is going to be (export all forms, run the transformation and view the output), and it shows you what work exactly has to be done. Check out here for an explanation about the Log file.
Next, how to influence and work with the tool? There are a number of mapping rules, and you should get familiar with it. Here is the one and only starting point for you.
Get familiar with the most common troubleshoot examples
Here they are:
I'm sure a lot of them will be added. Keep this page in your favorites as a reference.
I could get into every single topic separately (and may be in the future, I might do that), but hey, it's there online already - out in the open. Microsoft has put a lot of work into it … so my advice would be: use and abuse!
Well, this has been a weird convention for me. I have been doing a lot and nothing at the same time. I was trying to combine some days of rest with a convention where I was exhibitioner and where I had to do a session as well. A lot to do, in a time you don't want to do quite much ;°).
The accommodation was just perfect. Very nice hotel (Hesperia Tower in Barcelona). Nice and trendy … and may be a little bit too much of a holiday-feeling ;°). The organization was good … very good in my opinion. Organizing three days of sessions and entertainment for 300 people can be challenging. The organizing committee did a very good job … above expectations. If you're not able to network on Directions, then you're either blind, deaf or mute.
It was clear to me that we were in Barcelona … and in the evenings, many people rather wanted to explore "La Rambla" in stead of explore the Expo. It was noticeable that everyone was disappearing quite early. That's what I mean with "may be a bit too much of a holiday-feeling" ;°). On the other hand, personally, I made some nice new contacts (who are in for a free version of our tools ;°)).
My Session … oh my god. If you want an honest review, read kriki's blog: http://mibuso.com/blogs/kriki/2009/04/03/developing-a-certified-add-on-by-eric-wauters-gerdien-cammeraat/ . His quote: "I have to admit that Eric has done better presentations ". Well, probably he's right. I got commented about the fact people had trouble with understanding me. Some of them were saying it was the microphone, but others said it might be my pronunciation. Anyway, the content was good (as people told me) and that counts for something as well, no? ;°).
What was the content? Well, the title was "Developing a certified addon". On kriki's blog, you can see what we (Gerdien (who did the admin stuff) and me (the development stuff)) talked about. You can also download the pptx here.
NAV2009 Form Transformation Lab
On Saturday, they organized the opportunity to get a feeling about what Form Transformation is all about. What to expect, and how the tool works. This was rather interesting for me, because we're in the middle of an add on development and we're doing it in NAV2009 … off course. In Belgium, people (and even Microsoft) are not really thinking about this yet … can you believe that?
Here is me in the middle of pronouncing rubbish ;°):
And on my Expo booth: