"Skills All Dynamics NAV Developers Need to Know To Keep Their Job" @ Decisions Spring 2011

I hope you all attended Thursday's virtual event "Decisions Spring 2011"? It was once again quite a success, I guess: Over 1000 people paid a visit to the conference! And it was NAV specific, so doesn't that make this the biggest NAV conference there is?

Well .. I know .. a lot of people only stayed a little amount of time (52% stayed more then 3 hours), visited only what they wanted to visit .. but it's exactly that what makes a virtual conference so interesting, isn't it - don't waste time to travel, and efficiently visit the conference, going to the things you want to go to.. .

I had three roles yesterday on the conference: I had to do a session as a Speaker, I sponsored the conference with iFacto ReVision, and I visited some sessions (obviously).. .

Decisions as a Speaker

After doing a session on the "Fall" event in 2010, I was asked again to do a session, of which I could pick the contents myself. I came up with one that I struggle with myself sometimes in my company: what skills should a good NAV developer have? It resulted into a session of which I thought I had just not enough time. I can talk for hours about this topic .. and I only had 30 minutes. The recording happened two weeks ago, and I was a little bit afraid about the comments I was going to get .. because in my opinion, there was just so much more to cover. And I also quoted myself .. who does that, for crying out loud? :-/ Anyway ...

Luckily, comments were great! (thanks again, guys). I didn't even have the time to answer all questions .. they came so fast .. unbelievable. In fact, Ashok Lad (one of the attendees) suggested to answer some of the content on my blog .. good idea :-). Let's do that. If you have comments as well, please share!

  • Kalana Dias asked wether the recording was going to be available: yes it will be available within a week, and I will post it on this blogpost as a comment .. .
  • Darren Bezzant: if you were putting a training proposal together for practice manager, how much time do you think should be spent on Professional development on a weekly/monthly basis?

    I didn't actually know how to answer this, because I don't really understand the question very well. What is a practice manager? So, Darren, if you would like to rephrase, i would be happy to answer (if you read my blog, of course :-)).

  • Dmitry Lysenko: Eric, how can you explain the lack of NAV books in market?

    Well .. It's ICT, so when books come out, they are already "old" in some way. Plus, the amount of people that do NAV is nothing to compare with the amount of people that do .Net, or Linux, or whatever.. . That does count as well, in my opinion. Less people, and changing environmen .. .

  • Paul Fisher and Asish Datta: As a NAV developer who knows C/AL quite well but hardly any .net, can you suggest a starting point for learning .net interop?

    Very good question, and in my opinion, a hard nut to crack for pure C/SIDE-ers.. . A good starting point I guess would be the blogs. I have been posting (and will be posting) articles about .Net Interop, to get people working with it (and also to get myself working on it). You can find them here. On top of that, also check the other blogs... . That's for now the only answer I can give you.. . Keep in mind: .Net Interop is likely to replace COM .. because it just makes more sense.

  • Darren Bezzant: can you recommend a good resource for RDLC report development? This is one of the key areas that I find is hard to find good information on how to write a report that will actually be used in the real world. It's easy to build list reports and such, but everything else just seems to take forever to get right!

    Well, I got my training from Plataan (Belgium), which actually wrote the Reporting course for Microsoft. Was great, I would definitely suggest to start with that (because it's just so different then what we're used to ..). After that, there are also some blogs (Rene Gayer, Reporting Blog (Dynamics NAV Team Blog), Alex Chow) that can help you out.

And to end with .. some cool comments which are the reason why I keep doing this ;°):

  • Ashok Lad: Thanks Waldo...I now know what I need to brush up on.
  • Chelsi Hill: great information, thank you.
  • Taddeo Zanga: I always follow your blog and recommend it to everyone and I think there are very few creative developers in the NAV world...
  • Darren Bezzant: Thanks for this - as a developer since 2.0 - its amazing how far the product has come, and how much more we have to know.
  • Henrik Langbak: Hi Eric - Nice Philosophical Presentation - with great real world examples

I was so happy :-).

You can download the presentation here.

Decisions as a Sponsor/Exhibitor

I was exhibitor with our new product: iFacto ReVision. You know, the only solution there is for sourcecontrolling your NAV ;°). (hold your horses, waldo, this is not the time to advertise .. ).

At first sight (we're only two days further now), it was money well spent. I got to convince quite some people about the approach we have with the product, the necessity of it, ... you know .. the "marketing fluff" (to quote a good friend). Above that, over 100 people visited the booth and downloaded the content. That's great stuff!

In fact, these are some exhibitor-related statistics:

-        Average number of unique booth visitors per exhibitors: 102

-        Number of times attendees visited exhibit booths: 2928

-        Number of booth items downloaded by attendees: 834

-        Total time attendees spent in exhibit booths: 218 hours, 23 minutes, and 8 seconds

-        Percentage of attendees that spent 3 or more hours actively logged into the event: 52%

-        Number of instant messenger chats between exhibitors and attendees: 646

-        Number of in-show emails sent between exhibitors and attendees: 474

We have actually more then 200 extra contacts now .. thanks to the event.

Decisions as a Visitor

There is not much to say here.. because exhibitors were restricted from visiting other booths. Strange though. I wasn't able to visit one single booth (besides my own).

But I WAS able to follow some sessions (and even keep an eye on my booth). But I didn't have too much time to enjoy them, because of the many people who were interested (and should!) in ReVision.. .

The software of the event is great, very intuitive, with sounds, visuals, and all that.. although sometimes I had the feeling that people were struggling with the performance of it: people who tried to go into the booth, or sessions, that just didn't work. Well, I must say, I was on my Mac, and all worked like a charm :-).

See you next time in the fall:-)!

Comment List
  • Sure, I'm planning to attend NAVTechDays!

    See you there.

  • I can only agree on this .. thanks, Laura!

    and see you at NAVTechDays? :-)

  • Yep, I have also read the "Application Design" book and it's a good one!

    "knowing the bussiness" is actually not an easy concept to define, but I'll try!

    A NAV developer usually specializes on a few functional areas. And they learn what fields of what tables must be filled to do something, or what check must be marked to make NAV work a certain way.

    But it does not end here. It is important to know why something is done, what the company needs to controll, why this has to be controlled, the workflow it follows... from a bussiness point of view!

    An example: You cannot develop a customization for the Financial Management area if you don't know what an account is, what's used for, the basic accounting rules, etc.

    It is also true that this gets mixed with the consultant role.


    Laura Nicolàs

  • Thanks! :-)

    In fact, I did cover the "knowing the standard" in my recording.  It's very important: what I do: I make the book "Application Design" from Mark Brummel mandatory to read in our company .. which covers a lot on "knowing the standard" :-).

    the "Knowing the business" is something else.. .  It depends in what you exactly mean with that .

  • Great presentation Waldo :-)

    I wrote an article about this topic on my blog a few weeks ago (todosobrenav.blogspot.com/.../experto-navision.html) yes, I know, it's all in spanish!

    I'm missing the "knowing the bussiness" and "knowing the standard" part on your presentation. I think those are skills a developer must also have. What do you think?


    Laura Nicolàs

  • thanks for the kind words, Erik.. :-).

    It surprises me that I'm already blogging for more than 4 years.. I'm getting old .. or may be not old, but definitely bold and crippled ;-)

  • Had to add this: Another great post by a great Eric! You always have great posts, and I'm admiring you for your continuity. Not many NAV bloggers have such a large number of posts in his blog.

  • A great post I really enjoyed that. As for my self I have yet to "try out" Decisions, but after your recommendations I will surely try "it" out. I was asked to do a session, but I had to turn it down as I have been extremely busy the last 3-4 months, that's also why you hardly have seen me around here on the Dynamics User Group, your blog and other parts of the community.